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5 posts from November 2010

November 29, 2010

Expert Of The Week: Heidi Pribell

Antiques Dealer, Harvard graduate, Interior Designer, Historic Color Consultant, and genuinely fulfilled person are all great phrases to capture just a few angles of the real Heidi Pribell.  Boston Home Magazine has honored Heidi with three consecutive "Best of Boston awards.  I understood quickly what sets Heidi apart.  She's informed, passionate, and in her own words "has a voracious appetite for learning."  But what makes her tick?

 Studio HP 1
Heidi's studio is a converted gas station.  Ah, what vision can do!  Image via here

Heidi has these great layers when it comes to how she thinks, yet it comes out in such a simple and balanced perspective.  A strong background as a successful antiques dealer, Heidi references the many lessons history has to teach when it comes to design.  "Antiques offer a personal component- they add soul and meaning--a connection to the past.  The human psyche needs to be anchored."

Heidi believes antiques "can add a sense of grace and wisdom to a minimal or modern interior."  If more of us considered history as a springboard for ideas, perhaps we wouldn't repeat the same decorating dilemmas so often!  In her designs, Heidi refers to tried and true design rules of the past, but finds ways to reinvent, recolor, and redefine spaces in a contemporary way.

I asked Heidi about her clients and how she introduces new color and design ideas to them.  When it comes to color, it "can be very emotional and when I use it for people, color can be soothing and a mood enhancer" says Heidi.  "Clients have a boldness about them and seek me out.  White from Fright is popular, but not my taste.  I thrive on bringing out their adventurous side using color--  interpreting the colors that will work for them."  Perhaps it's her ability to create fun and functional spaces that keeps those clients coming back to her over the years.

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell

Heidi's palette is vast and "inspired by the natural color spectrum that allows for every nuance of color."  Color helps to create harmony and that harmony helps those busy clients to "see" their space in a new light.  At the end of the day, Heidi truly prides herself on a happy client.

Location is key in deciding your palette, according to Heidi.  "Try to create the experience you’re after.  Keep your furnishings appropriate to the style of your home and pay close attention to proportion to get the look right.  Paint is the least expensive way to decorate your home, so it's a wonderful way to create many moods and satisfying environments."  When it comes to choosing colors, she says to consider your "exterior surroundings.  Geography makes big impact in my projects.  Light, location, experience of color in the natural world where you live, can all influence how colors look inside your home."

What are some of her tried and true palettes for clients? 

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell 

Current Color Combinations:

Coral and Celedon, Turquoise, Lime, & Lavender, Red orange and Yellow

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell 

Classic Color Combinations:

Claret and Sage, Pink and Green, Yellow and Blue, Red and White

In her own words, Heidi describes her design goals.  "I seek out these things in all my work: 

Vibrant Style: to create something evocative, with radiance and liveliness

Defining Detail: a focus on craftsmanship in everything

Bold Forms and Ornamentation as Art:  patterning and layering that gives groundedness

Fresh & Elegant: transcends time, always feel young

HP work Boston 1 
Image via here

Heidi considers her career and says she is "self taught on cultural history."  I would say she is defining the future of cultural history, too.       

Resources: Heidi Pribell Interiors, Adelphi Wallcovering, Best of Boston

Find Heidi at Benjamin Moore's Experts Exchange

November 17, 2010

Pairing Wall Colors and Art: Lessons from the Carnegie Museum

Picking out a color that works well with a favorite painting or artwork can be a challenge.  The best choice should flatter what’s hung on the wall and at the same time take a back seat so attention remains on the art.  Someone who deals with this challenge but on a huge scale is Louise Lippincott, Chief Curator of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Museum of Art, a 115-year-old institution with an incredible collection of over 35,000 works.  About 1,800 pieces are on view at any one time and the galleries, which range from a deep reddish brown to, yes, white, with blues and grays in between, are inspiring examples of how, in the hands of an expert, wall colors can enhance the way we see art.  Who better to talk with about the relationship between colors and art?


The galleries were redone in 2002, so all the colors were chosen at the same time.  Ms. Lippincott was looking for hues that would look beautiful together and bring out the best in the artworks.  "I'’s a very modern space, so the wall colors couldn't look too historical overall," she said.  The Scaife Galleries, shown here, house the museum's permanent collection.  The starting point for this palette was the terrazzo floors, which were predominantly blue and gray in their mix.  Those became the primary colors, with others playing off of them.  Lippincott put up 20-30 color samples up on the wall.  Eventually, those were narrowed down to 10-15 finalists before they began hanging paintings to see how they would look.  Look at the graceful progression of blues, blue-greens, and grays from gallery to galler--a simple lesson in how to link rooms that open on to each other.


For the first galleries showing mainly 19th century pictures, a deeper color was chosen, one closer tonally to the palettes of the art.  "We were trying to match the dark red color that was popular in picture galleries of that period.  It contrasts beautifully with the large gold frames. It also works with the blues and grays of the other galleries."  You don't need to own Whistler to use a color like thi--it's flattering to richer, earthier colors as well as golds.



Moving into the 19th century, rooms are close to the classic Wedgwood Blue.  Look how differently the artworks appear on this pale neutral as opposed to the dark brown.



The Impressionist room matches the sky in one of the paintings. 



The palette moves from the darker colors of the earlier galleries until you hit the most modern areas of the museum.  "As you move towards the 20th century, the colors get progressively lighter, with less blue in them, and more gray. Basically you progress from dark to light, from blue to gray to white."

20th Century galleries (not shown)


For more information, the museum’s website is: www.carnegiemuseums.org.

November 15, 2010

Expert Of The Week-- Design and Color Tips From the Pros

Being at Benjamin Moore, I've come across many talented people over the years who make me proud to be in the design industry.  These design professionals that are big fans of our company are experts at their craft and passionate in what they deliver to their clients.  So, I wanted to share more of their great ideas with you.


Looking for design solutions on how to deal with tight spaces, shrinking budgets, or growing families?  Ever wondered why a designer becomes a designer?  Well, consider this a designer's diary.  I'm featuring different designers in the upcoming months who will share a little insight that I hope will create big ideas!

Along with the expert's post on my blog, Benjamin Moore is scheduling a Q&A with the expert of the week and more information will be posted through Benjamin Moore's Expert's Exchangefacebook and twitter.

My First Expert Of The Week: Nelly Youakim


Here we go!  Nelly Youakim, of Youakim Home, is a residential designer and decorator practicing in Toronto, Canada for almost 10 years.  Her influence have come from Greece where she began her design career and extend to include a holistic interest in creating greener homes.  Part of her profits go to support charity, a lesson we can all take to heart.

I asked Nelly what room can be a small, but impactful project to take on.  She had this to say about the "Almighty Powder Room":


A small room that speaks great dimensions, the powder-room is one especially important space that needs extra attention when designing and decorating. Whether your preference leans towards classic, modern, transitional or eclectic style, allow yourself to go big and bold in, so splurge as much as you can. Remember visitors talk, so give them something interesting to talk about. 

With this in mind here are a few design and decorating suggestions that will help you make the most out of your powder room, and wow your guests while making them feel pampered and appreciated when they visit.

Whether you’re working with a generous budget or a modest one, you can achieve outstanding results with the following tips.

Elegant Powder Room 
Powder Room by Marsh & Clark Design via here 

Walls:play with a great paint finish, something that will expand your room, color and direction. If the room is narrow a pattern that is wide, will make it feel wider. Go wide horizontal stripes, or even wide vertical stripes; a tone on tone finish is a very elegant and subtle way of making the most out of your walls. 

Vanity: There was a time when only bathroom vanities were used in bathrooms, now more and more we see innovative and creative ideas, antiques are used with modern fitting creating unique pieces of art. The vanity should be your signature piece, if you are going to replace it, go all out. Buy an irresistible vanity that will leave visitors envying you.

Lighting:  It is very important to infuse good lighting. Use sconces and chandeliers; remember make-up touch up time, this is a task that requires good lighting, your great lights well positioned will make your visitors look good, and feel good!


Photo courtesy of Youakim Home 

Faucet: Invest in quality and design. Quality shows and lasts, select the finish and style that will complement the overall look you are after. Remember that water efficient units are not a splurge, they are a must and you will feel very good contributing to the environment this way.

Floor: If you chose to go with a full gut and replace your existing flooring, make it a heated floor, your guests and you will appreciate the warmth on the cold days of the winter. As On the other hand if you keep your existing tile, and select a rug, do not use the bath mats in your powder room, but go for a beautiful and sophisticated small area rug with colors that will complement your design.

Mirrors: A Mirror on the wall, is a piece of art in disguise. Select an elegant frame and quality mirror.

Windows: If you have been privileged to have a window in your powder-room, here is your chance to dress it up! Use luxurious fabrics and style.

 Art, Accessories and Everything else: The finishing touches that bring the entire story together. Give importance to the little things that make a big difference. From soap dispenser to towels to hand lotion, these are the things that your visitors will feel special using and make their experience unforgettable.

Beauty and functionality go hand in hand in the design of any room. Sheer elegance in big ways is the game you want to play here and make the most out of this small space. Go big go bold and enjoy!

November 11, 2010

Happy Chic: New Books from Jonathan Adler


The prolific and unflappably upbeat Jonathan Adler has just published two books on Happy Chic, his guides to using Colors and Accessories to perk up, add punch to, and positive-ize your decor--and your lifestyle.  The official book launch coincided with the unveiling of his newly re-vamped (and enlarged) store on Madison Avenue in New York.  Of course, the books, like the store, are filled with colorful moments together with a wealth of useful information presented in a fun and friendly way.


Even the guests at the book launch blended well with the new decor.  The hostesses for the party (left to right): Starrett Zenko, Celerie Kemble, and Rita Konig.  At right, colorful Jonathan Adler employee Ben Brougham, who helped decorate the man cave with its gingham and animal theme.   

J. A. tip: "Every room needs a dash of Hippie . . . and a dollop of Socialite."


Need a little something to perk up the bedroom?  How about these sheets in watermelon waves or a pink armchair with an embroidered banana pillow.  As you can see, there isn't a timid moment to be found in the shop.  It's totally infectious, too.  You feel happy being there.

J.A. tip: "Pure pink is too cloying; a hint of gray or lavender tempers the saccharine froth. Apply judiciously, lest you risk a slap-happy sugar rush . . ."


Afraid of using pattern?  Clearly, Adler has mastered the art of mixing and layering.  At left, a dining arrangement with no less than five patterns.  And it totally works!  The living room area on the right has three different scales of trellis pattern on the rug, couch and throw, topped by a bunch of contrasting pillows.

J.A. tip: "Mod up your sofa, bed, shelf, or window seat with color and pattern via granny-gone-wild needlepoint pillows."


Two takes on color.  At left: Another living area has a riot of blues on the couch, with a warm wood coffee table, variations of white vases, and red flowers.  So it's ultimately red, white, and blue--but here it looks so fresh and modern.  On the right is a dark and moody man cave, with tortoise shell lamps, ceramic animal horns, and a leather hippopotamus in the corner.  The shag rug and gingham-draped walls make the whole thing feel comfy and inviting.

Three Happy Color pairings:

Light Blue 2066-70, Mink 2112-10

Eccentric Lime 2027-30, Metallic Silver 2132-60

Outrageous Orange 2013-10, Old Navy 2063-10

J. A. tip: "Vanquish the vanilla. Bold colors will make you happy!"  It certainly works for him and his shop! 

J. A. tip: "I am a firm believer in neutrals to anchor bright pops of color; a neutral palette lets you go batty with hyperbolic hues and unapologetic pattern."


Packaging in the store is particularly nice.  Boxes and ribbons are bright and bold (plus they contain all sorts of goodies like animal ornaments or elephant salt and pepper shakers).  If you want to experience a little bit of the joy of color and pattern, visit one of Adler's stores or check him out online.  You can also get your own copies of the books on his site.

Jonathan Adler
1097 Madison Avenue (at 83rd Street)
New York, NY

link to book: http://www.jonathanadler.com/content.php?pageid=booktour

"Embrace chromatic exuberance through paint color, fabrics, pillows, and tchotchkes that are easily updated so your home can evolve happily and chicly with you."

November 09, 2010

DASH NYC: Kim Kardashians Haute New Space and Colors

If you're in New York, you know that the hottest new opening is DASH NYC!  The scene at the opening event last week was a mob of design hungry patrons excited for the store to unveil itself.  The Kardashian sisters are officially a chain with stores in LA, MIA, and now, NYC.  In the Big Apple, they worked with Studios GO's Gregory Okshteyn to create a space that is bold and feminine.  Yes, I said bold AND feminine.  What better concept to describe the trio behind DASH?


Photos via Kim's Blog

I'm planning to catch up with Gregory on his adventures with DASH NYC in the next few months (and there WERE some dramatic moments!) but for now, here's what you want to know from me.  What they used to get that unmistakable look for DASH NYC!  The space is a contemporary expression in style that emphasizes contrast to focus on the merchandise in the store.  

Will this palette do the trick? 

 Colors DASH NYC

They made some smart choices with the paint, too.  Here's why.  

Aura Interior was used for the main walls of the store.  It's durable, low VOC, comes in any color, and covers in two coats.  Sold!  Oh, and it's easy easy easy for touch ups which I'm sure will be required after the occasional dressing room brawl or general reality-tv wear and tear.

The Studio Finishes Metallic Glaze creates an accent band at the top of the walls and in the entrance area over a base of Edgecomb Gray.  Changing sheen or adding a bit of shimmer with a metallic glaze is like using a good bronzer-- it adds a glow that makes your look come alive.  I've used metallic glaze with hand drawn floral patterns in tight spaces to add some punch and reflect light back into the space.
Meet the Fifth Wall-- your ceiling.  You can make some major statements by what you do with it and at DASH NYC, they used Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint in Black on a stamped tin ceiling and on trim.  Go here for more ideas for ceilings.  Who says ceilings or trim always have to be white?  Not Kourtney, Kim, Khloe...or Gregory

In Kim's own words, they used Benjamin Moore's "amazing eco-friendly Aura paint in Violet Pearl for the walls, with a super-shiny black trim and pearlescent glaze! It’s so gorgeous!"  Thanks, Kim!