Your Internal Color Compass

Isolated coloured pencilsWe all have our favorite colors.

The ones we’re drawn to instinctively in the way we dress and what we surround ourselves with in our homes.

Me, I like blue, especially a faded blue, one that leans toward blue-grey. Other days I might be more in the mood for yellow.

Speaking of moods, who among us hasn’t had ‘one of those days’, the kind where you look in your closet and nothing suits your dark mood but black.

So you dress yourself in black, head to toe, and head out the door.

That’s a good example of your Internal Color Compass dictating what you should wear, based on your mood.

Of course, this internal compass can serve you just as well when you’re feeling sunny and upbeat, and it can also help determine the color palette in your home.

The following four Color Palettes were shared at a recent Sherwin Williams Color Forecast presentation.

If you’ve never thought beyond your favorite color and considered your Internal Color Compass, this might be fun for you to play with.

I’m sure you’ll recognize yourself in one of them.

 

Restless Nomad

You’ve only to think of all the journeys you’ve taken, imaginary and otherwise, to recognize your inner nomad.

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Are Your Kids Missing School?

Allergy ConceptDid you know that asthma in children is on the rise, resulting in a lot of missed school days?

(According to the latest statistics, more than 25 million people are affected.)

That’s a lot!

The likely culprit might surprise you even more – toxins in the environment.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The rise in asthma has been specifically correlated to a group of chemicals commonly referred to as VOC’s. (That stands for Volatile Organic Compounds).

Even the word volatile sounds scary, doesn’t it?

You might be wondering what that even means.

Well, you know how, when food has gone bad, it typically has a rather awful smell?

Think of VOC’s in the environment as being the household equivalent to rotten food.

So, just as you wouldn’t eat food that has obviously seen better days (gluten-free, or not) you really don’t want to surround yourself with chemicals that poison the air you breathe.

In fact, we now know that indoor air pollution can actually be 50% worse than outdoor air.

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HOW TO BOOST YOUR HOME’S ENERGY IN 2013!

This isn’t a post about energy consumption.

Not in the typical sense of the word, anyway.

Instead, this has to do with the energy in your home – in terms of the positive or negative vibes contained between the walls.

In other words, you may have heard that people emit either positive or negative energy.

Well your home exudes a certain energy, as well.

It may be closely related to your own mood.

More specifically, if you’ve been neglecting yourself lately and are feeling tired and overwhelmed, this might have rubbed off on your surroundings.

And chances are your home is feeling the same way.

Take a look around you.

Is your furniture looking a bit worn and tired?

Are the walls faded and in need of a fresh coats of paint?

Do the carpets need replacing?

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‘TIS THE SEASON

Recently, I wrote about the giving of gifts, and my fascination with the Japanese scroll.

The Japanese scroll, as you may recall, reveals itself just like a gift when removed from the custom box it has been stored in.

A home can reveal itself in very much the same way.

If you think about it, just the act of entering someone’s home can feel like a ceremony.

As you move from room to room the house will continue to reveal itself.

There could be a pleasant surprise around any corner, maybe even the kind that takes your breath away.

“Oh, what a beautiful room!” we’ve all been known to say at one time or another.

This is one reason why both designers and architects will typically hold back with their design.

We don’t want to overpower your senses all at once.

We want you to take things in a little bit at a time, and take a moment to savor the design before revealing the next surprise.

So take a moment to to ask yourself  – what is the first impression visitors have when they enter your home?

Let’s start with the Entry.

The main entrance to your abode should always say something about the person who lives there, i.e. YOU, so the question is – what do you want your entry to say about you?

You can emphasize either your decorating style, or your personal interests, thus setting the tone for the rest of your home.

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DOES A ROOM HAVE 4 WALLS OR 6?

OK, that’s a trick question.

Strictly speaking, most rooms have just four walls.

However, it’s important not to overlook the floor and ceiling – the other ‘walls’ in the room.

It’s what we call looking at the big picture.

So the correct answer here – you guessed it – is six.

Yes, whether walls, floors or ceilings – when designing a home, everything counts.

It’s the ceiling, though, that tends to get overlooked.

Other than a coat of paint, and a light fixture, you might be thinking what more does it need?

As with everything else, the details matter.

This means careful consideration of the paint color, specifically whether to go with a lighter shade, or dark.

Usually, the advice is to use a slightly lighter shade, especially if your ceilings are low.

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ARE YOU STALLING?

“Ambivalence – is the liminal point between the problem and the solution.”

 

It’s that point of uncertainty, when you’re not sure what to do next and perhaps terrified of making a mistake.

Let’s say you’ve been thinking about a kitchen remodel, or are toying with the idea of re-decorating your home.

Let’s also say you’re feeling overwhelmed by the details and not sure where to even begin.

Could be you’re stalling.

A few days ago, I was talking to a couple of friends, both interior designers. The one friend is planning to remodel her townhouse and is brimming with new ideas.

She’s a designer, after all.

Still, she’s not sure where to begin.

She’s stalling for time.

The intentions are usually good.

Still, you might be feeling stuck, not sure what to do with the old furniture for starters.

(It’s a classic case of “Designer’s Own Dilemma”) .

For many of us, that is the BIG question,  i.e  what to do with the old furniture?

Do we donate it, sell it or give away?

And to whom?

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RULES FOR A COLOR PARTY

Last week, I shared a rather unique concept in “Have Yourself a Color Party”.

(If you haven’t already read that article, you might want to click here).

This is all about creating a Color Scheme, something that is fairly basic to almost any home design project.

Yet, how does one create a Color Scheme?

Broken down to it’s essence, it’s a simple matter of knowing which colors to invite to the “party”!

And yes, there are Rules.

 

Purchase a Color Wheel                                                                                                                                                 

A color wheel is a handy tool that can be purchased at any art supply store.

This is a great resource for educating yourself on color, especially if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘complementary’, or analogous’, or the meaning of hues, tints and tones.

Brushing up before hand, so you can address your guests accordingly, is always a good idea.


Consider a Theme                                                                                                                                                  

What mood are you striving for?

A few words come to mind: 

Sensuous  – As in slightly exotic, with  rich reds, browns, and gold

Nurturing  – Earth tones, in varying shades of green or brown

Contemplative or Serene  – A watery theme of cool blues and greens, mixed with neutrals such as taupe, beige, or off-white

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HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of COLOR!

Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, and replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

(In design parlance, that’s what we refer to as the scope of the Project).

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue?

The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one.

It’s what usually gets the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

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THE ‘AMUSE-BOUCHE’ OF YOUR HOME

Are you familiar with the term ‘amuse-bouche’?

Normally experienced in a restaurant setting, an amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre – complements of the chef .

Its purpose is to tickle your taste buds and whet your appetite for what’s to come.

If you think about it, the entryway to your home is a kind of amuse-bouche, although you aren’t likely to see it described in that manner in any publications on interior design.

Why do I say this?

Let’s explore the purpose of the Entry, and you will see what I mean. The Entryway is:

  • A place to enter the home
  • A place to receive visitors

Here’s what else the Entry is meant to do:

  • Say something about the people who live there, by suggesting their interests and personalities
  • Be warm and inviting, so visitors feel welcomed.
  • Offer a hint of ‘what’s to come’

 

Do you see the connection?

In my own home, the Entry is pleasant enough, although fairly typical in size and furnishings – with a low ceiling, a small table, a mirror and a closet for hanging coats.

Yet one is immediately aware of an immense space around the corner, and the furnishings in the next room that definitely say something about me and my family.

Now, if you’re like me and your home has an attached garage, it’s a whole different story.

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THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

I’m a big fan of multi-functional furniture, and ottomans certainly fit that description.

I think every home should have at least one.

In the world of furniture, the word ‘ottoman’ originally referred to a particular sofa style.

I kid you not.

Of course, this was back in the 18th century, and things have changed somewhat since then.

Furniture historians aren’t exactly sure why this one-time sofa morphed into a padded stool, but there you have it.

Now, you might be wondering what’s so great about an ottoman, so let me explain.

In my living room, we have a large ottoman that is roughly 4 ft x 5 ft in size.

This one piece of furniture can hold multiple stacks of books and magazines, thereby serving as a coffee table.

Yet it can just as easily fill the need for extra seating.

In addition, if the top surface is flat and sturdy, it can even hold a tray of food.

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