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December 13, 2010

Expert Of The Week, Alena Capra: Beat the Winter Blues With These Cool Hues

Alena Capra is our Expert of The Week.  She hails from the North, but lives and works in South Florida designing one beautiful space after another through her firm, Alena Capra Designs.  Alena's focuses We asked her how to use cool toned colors in a way that beats the Winter Blues.  Here's what she had to say:

Capra Alena 

Alena Capra

As the weather gets colder, the scenery around us begins to get a bit grey...a little less vibrant than the rich outdoor colors of fall, spring, and summer.  Although I live in South Florida, and we actually don't experience any change of season, I AM a native New Yorker, so I can relate! I've always liked having  bright, fun colors somewhere in my home to keep that feeling year round.  

So, I thought I would share with you a recent 'cabana' I designed to illustrate how to use  beautiful shades of Benjamin Moore blues and greens..to bring a little bit of vibrant, fun colors to a space to warm up your day.  Let's leave winter behind for a minute, and beat those winter blues with a little tropical punch!

"Tequila and Lime on Ice, under Blue Skies..."
Imagine yourself on a tropical beach, sipping a nice cold drink, palm trees swaying in the breeze..ahh...makes you forget it's cold outside already, right?  Well let's keep that image in mind as we choose our colors.
When beginning to choose a color palette, I often like to find a fun fabric that incorporates several beautiful colors to serve as my inspiration. The printed pillows pictured below were my starting point to build a palette of cool blues, vibrant greens, and a crisp white. I used my Benjamin Moore fan-deck to select matching colors to this fabric. The colors I decided on were:
The colors create a bright, fun space... I use them to help select other accessories and items I place in the space as well. Now it's time to add a little color to the walls...let the painting begin!
"Prime Time..."
I had the primer for the "Baby Boy Blue", (the main wall color)  tinted to be just a shade lighter than the actual paint, to ensure the best coverage and color saturation of the paint. Then, I decided to do some color blocks, alternating with large areas of blue (Baby Boy Blue) and white (Ice Mist), to add a little interest.
I separated the colors with a 1" piece of wood trim, which is painted in a metallic silver. I like the addition of a metallic hue in a room, to add a little sparkle and shine!  The trim is also a nice way to add a little dimension to the wall, as well as to cover any paint lines that are not perfect!
Now that I had the blue and white walls done, I then found some tropical wall art and a natural woven jute rug that both incorporated versions of "Tequila Lime" to pull the color through the space.  Adding in accessories with these colors in mind helped to bring punches of vibrant color everywhere. I kept all of the furnishings a simple white..to really pop against the blue walls, lime green woven rug, and colorful accent pillows.
"Spice it up..."
So, now the room is painted... and the accessories, furniture and art are selected...we're just about done, right?  Well, sometimes you just need to spice things up a little.  The white color blocks on the wall seemed a bit plain. All of the fun tropical art really works well against the blue walls....but the white walls...they needed some depth.  I found some great wall appliques from Architexture, that  can be painted any color, and quickly and easily applied to the wall! I chose a fun pattern that played off the printed pillow fabric. They were painted the same shade of "Baby Boy Blue" and put up on the white walls.  Problem solved!  The best part is, it looks like something that took hours to paint, when it was simply painted and applied in just minutes.  Truly, a great find!
"A Relaxing Retreat..."
Now the room is all finished....we have a cool cabana where you can relax and let all your troubles drift away.  The bright hues used really help create a relaxing environment, with just enough of a punch of color to warm up any day!
Winter Blues 1 
All photos courtesy Alena Capra Designs
 What colors would you use to create a vibrant sense of calm to balance the cold chills of winter?


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i agree with Paula....if the outside world is grey and around -10 degrees C, and the sun is scarce and weak, these colors won't warm up or bring joy & fun into the space, it would just make one's eyes itch...

I find the measure of a truly talented designer is found in their ability to create beautiful and unexpected designs.
Alena certainly did make bright colors work! I applaud her being bold. Her balancing act of turning cool colors into an inviting retreat shows her strength as a professional. Well done, Alena!

I can't imagine using those colors - even if I did live in Florida. A little gaudy? However, bright sunlight helps absorb bright colors, so while these eye scorching brights might look okay in So Florida sun, in another climate and a softer light angle they would look like a circus.

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