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8 posts from November 2009

November 30, 2009

House Beautiful Surveys Colors for 2010

Cedar green 
You've probably read my take on color in 2010.  Take a look at House Beautiful's interview with me and others from the industry on what's next.

November 25, 2009

Carrie Fisher's Wishful Makeover with John Gidding

Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher's Broadway show, is light years away from her performance as the famed Princess Leia in Star Wars.  But in both cases, She Is A Star. 

And a Star needs a Star-Worthy dressing room, of course!  Enter John Gidding, designer from HGTV's Designed to Sell and ABC Family's Knock First.  His roots in architecture and international experience made him the right choice when Carrie was looking to add some livable panache to the tired dressing room at Studio 54 (If you're like me and weren't there to party it up at Studio 54 when it was the "it" spot, you can now catch a show there, instead.) 

Back to John and Carrie.  John had ONE conversation with Carrie about this project and decided to tap into a couple of key elements for his design solution-- Color and Sheen!  I asked some questions of John about his approach on this project.  He was was kind enough to get in front of our camera to give us some insights on this fantastic and whimsical space.  Take a look...

What I love about the space is that the solutions are practical and economical without sacrificing style and quality.
The color is brilliant and creates a unique combination.  It truly stands out as a beautiful array of color and is highlighted by John's playful variety of sheens.  John was inspired by colors in a Missoni fabric and created a similar combination through horizontal bands of color on the wall.  By using a high performing paint, Aura, they spent less time and effort on the paint job so Carrie could spend more time enjoying the completed room.  According to John, you have to just play with the sheen levels to really understand how it can effect the color. 
[My rule of thumb on sheen: Higher sheens result in more light reflecting off the paint and so the color looks a bit lighter.  Use matte sheen when you've got imperfect walls and accent with higher gloss levels for a touch of interest and surprise.  Try the same color in two or three sheens in blocks, polka dots or stripes to get a subtle shift of color.]

Can you take any cues from John's design solution?  Here are some golden rules I've gathered.
1.  No matter what the size of your space or what elements you can't change, you can still make it your own using simple ideas and color.
2. High-low is the way to go.  Decide where spending a little extra will make a difference.  In Carrie's case, the budget and timeline were tight.  John made great impact through color and light.  Much of the lighting and the even the makeup tables are from Ikea.  The accents are rich and meaningful like artistic photography and nostalgic memorabilia.   He didn't skimp on the paint but used paint that will show color well, will cover and hide easily, and will last until Carrie's ready for a new look.   
3.  Edit your space.  Add and subtract objects from your room to give it a fresh look and to change with whatever is happening in your life. 
Did you catch all the colors he used?  Just in case, here they are again.  Now it's up to you to play with placement, sheen, and everything else that makes these colors work for you!


November 19, 2009

Falling for Nature's Parade of Color

Did you know that temperature, light, and water supply can influence the colors we see during this season?  The authority on the topic is Weather.com.  They say, "Low temperatures above freezing will favor anthocyanin formation, producing bright reds in maples. However, early frost will weaken the brilliant red color. Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors. The best time to enjoy the autumn color would be on a clear, dry and cool (not freezing) day."  So check the weather report before you go in search of the perfect fall colors!  If you 're wondering where to go, like me, check out this article about the Fall Foliage Smackdown: East Reds vs. West Golds.

I'm looking for the best fall foliage by color because it's one of my favorite seasons.  It's gorgeous with all the brilliant reds, pungent yellows, and vibrant oranges falling from trees like confetti at mother nature's parade.  Fall also means the reveal of great textures and combinations of color.  Knit wool, soft silk, textured leathers, and plush chenille work in both fashion and the home.

I'm so inspired to get moving on the holidays because it's our first fall in our new home.  As always, it's the details that excite me.  I'm daydreaming of jumping into mini-mountains of fallen leaves, editing my home to add in some seasonal color, and getting friends and family together.  I'm keeping an eye out for the leaves piled up and family will come over whether I invite them or not, but adding color to the house takes conscious effort.  There are a couple of approaches that can work to bring in the rich colors of fall to a home.  They both begin with a touch of paint that can create instant impact in the rooms you use most for the season.  For me, that's my den and dining room.

The more traditional way is to use the true colors of fall.  You can look outside for your regional colors or look to books at your local library, magazines, or online for the place you want to recreate through color. 

To recreate that quintessential color palette, introduce a color that really conjures fall for you.  Some colors that work for me are:



The other way to go involves  the unexpected combinations of color found in the Fall.  Have you noticed the rich violets in the sky and clear blues in the water this season?  They're striking against fuchsia and citrine hues that are popular in home accessories.  So, I like to use rooted colors like French Press (AF-170) on a wall with vibrant accents that tango with tradition.  Colors like Buxton Blue (HC-149) create the feeling of a a billowy blue sky and a forever spring green like Perennial (405) offers an unexpected color combination in context with the warm colors outside.  


I've got a great built-in entertainment center/bookcase that I painted in Superwhite when we moved in.  I'm planning to paint the back wall of the bookcase in multiple colors. 

Are you planning to bring color inside this fall? 

November 17, 2009

Color Take Away: Quilts Tell Colorful Tales

Modern.  Interactive.  Conversational.  Irreverent.  I'm talking about quilts, people!  Though these aren't always the words you use to describe them, quilts can really be amazing works of art.  I've been obsessed with their beauty and their tactile quality.  Whether it's a quilt from the midwest, New England,  or India, there's a personal story told through the motifs, fabrics, and colors in each quilt.  The quilts below are each quite original in their style and colors and they're my inspiration for color as we move into winter.

Quilts are making history.  The International Quilt Study Center and Museum (IQSC) in Lincoln, NE is the best source I found for pretty much anything you want to know about quilts.  Their website is fabulous and they feature a Quilt of the Month that highlights a chosen designer's.  I've recently worked with them to identify the key Benjamin Moore colors found in November's Quilt of the month.  We featured it in our e-mag, Nuance, and I wanted to share it here, too.

NOVEMBER 2007_024_0001


"MOOG" by Jan Meyers-Newberry: Michael James, Co-curator of the collection made an interesting note about her hand dyed fabrics when he said "She works dye color as a watercolorist might...".  The IQSC site also says that the artist's inspiration came from the 1960's Moog synthesizer (an electronic keyboard!) that "had vertical bands of colored lights that run up and down as the music changed."  Meyers-Newberry also added, "Maybe I am imagining this...but that's what I remember." 

Quilts can fit in anywhere.  Though traditional quilts are blankets that can keep you and your special someone warm, some quilters are creating smaller quilts that can add eclectic beauty to any interior.  Victoria Gertenbach, the creative force behind Silly Boodilly, is shaking things up in the world of quilting with her mini fabric embroidered quilts and Mod Squares quilted pillow covers that were featured on Metropolitan Home's blog for their bold sense of color and their connection to Josef Albers in color theory.

I'm enamored with her sense of abstract style.  In Abstract No. 5, Victoria creates an assembly of color and texture that is a study of the simple use of color, line, and texture.  She does all this in a finished 6"x6" fabric canvas.  Other pieces by Victoria use "imaginary amoebas, space spores, and flowers" as inspiration.  Now, that's using your imagination! 

Quilts are a creative force.  What happened in the 1990s when a very talented woman with degrees in both theater and graphic design took a two-week quilting class and subsequently noticed that there's "something missing in the contemporary-quilt marketplace"?  She created Denyse Schmidt Quilts with a perfect balance of the traditional sewing techniques she employed in theatrical costume design and her graphic design sensibility. 

Denyse schmidt for Sarita Handa

Denyse has done work for private clients and well recognizable ones like the Pottery Barn quilt I covered in the summer and the Sarita Handa double sided quilt above, helping to establish quilts as a symbol of modern style.  A woman after my own heart, Denyse had this to say about her work.  "I'm not afraid to mix unlikely colors and patterns.  Creating unexpected combinations is freeing for me, and people respond to them."  Perhaps her confidence comes from her experience sewing costumes for the Boston Ballet or maybe from her time creating robes for a monastery?  Whatever the origins, Denyse Schmidt's op-art aesthetic is directional in the world of quilting. 

Quilts can easily add dimension, character, and color to your space.  To make a quilt work well for you, select one or two of the least prominent colors in the quilt for your walls.  If your quilt has a lot of organic pattern, use more straight lines in the rest of the space and if your quilt is more angles, use some organic inspiration in your room.  Either solution will help to balance the space and to let your quilt stand out a bit.

Have the itch to stitch and want to get into quilting?  Quilts are the ultimate in recycling and can really be made from anything-- your children's old clothes, remnants of bridesmaids dresses, old neckties...you get the picture.  The International Quilt Study Center has a fun tool on their site that lets you create your own virtual quilt and email it out to yourself or your friends.  If you're in Connecticut, sign up for one of Denyse Schmidt's Improvisational Patchwork classes where students blindly draw scraps from tall brown-paper bags and sew together whatever they get.  According to Denyse, "It makes you stay open to possibilities you wouldn't otherwise see."  Good advice for quilting--and life.

November 13, 2009

Toy Mompreneur Has it All in the Bag

What is a mompreneur?  By definition it's a woman who uses her super powers to create a business while raising children, addressing her need to fulfill others lives as well as her own.  Tina Hill, inventor of Kidzsack is a true momprenuer.  Her background in fashion design lead Tina to create this clever idea that's got it all in the bag and helps keep her four kids busy and creative at the same time.  The concept is simple & simple is key when you're on the go with kids.  Tina puts it perfectly.  "Kids color, mom/dad washes, and kids recolor." 


Tina has the right idea.  She uses 100% recycled fabric for Kidzsack (it's made from recycled cotton and soda bottles), the screen print designs are Tina's original artwork, and the back sack comes with 8 washable markers so kids can add the color!  I'm not the only one who loves this idea.  This year, Kidzsack won Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Product Award and the Creative Child Magazine Best Product Award in the Arts/Crafts/Travel category. 

I just heard today that Kidzsack is also a part of a fantastic project for the upcoming holidays.  3000 underprivileged kids in Arizona are about to discover the joy of color through Kidzsack.  The Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona's annual "A Visit from St. Nicholas" will bring St. Nicholas to 14 public schools on December 4 this year.  Tina's Kidzsack was selected to be the gift bag that will hold all their holiday treasures and will live on as a reusable coloring book and back sack. 

Tina's thrilled that "Kidzsack is a part of this great tradition of philanthropy.  For many children, this may be their only gift this holiday season."  What a great way for Mompreneur Tina Hill to inject color, design, and lesson on being green to philanthropy!

Check out your local community and it's volunteer opportunities to spread some holiday cheer and style in your neighborhood, too!  If you're interested in donating for this project, contact the Volunteer center of Southern Arizona at 520-881-3300 or visit them at www.volunteersoaz.org