Out of my color comfort zone

Living in New England, I must admit I am spoiled when it comes to the surrounding environmental colors. Lush green trees, sparkling blue waters, pure white snow against crisp blue skies and brilliant yellows, oranges and reds of the Fall foliage. That’s why I was so out of my color comfort zone last week while vacationing in Arizona. I joked on Facebook that I felt like I had landed on another planet, either that or I was in Afghanistan. At first I just didn’t get why everyone told me how beautiful Arizona is. I saw only brown, grey/green and terracotta and to me it looked depressing and barren.

Scottsdale AZ

Scottsdale AZ

After a few days though, my visual color meter adjusted and my color comfort zone expanded. By the time we left I had a new found appreciation of the all the subtle earth tones. I saw so much beauty in the Arizona color palette. As we drove north from Scottsdale to the North rim of the Grand Canyon I couldn’t get enough. Here are some of my favorite color palettes.

Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale Arizona

Terracotta and sage green were the primary colors of our drive north to the Grand Canyon.

View from Najaho Bridge

View from Navajo Bridge

I loved the layers upon layers of soft pinks and browns.

SAMSUNG CSC

layer upon layer of soft neutrals

I saw so few bright colors while in AZ that when I did see one it really popped out against the quiet neutrals.

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Bright red stop sign in the desert

Approaching the North Rim of the Canyon was eye opening. There was a huge fire in 2012 and the mountains sides were stripped clean of all vegetation. In the years since, the hills are reforesting and bright yellow Aspen trees are the first to re-establish.

Yellow Aspen trees re-establishing forest growth.

Yellow Aspen trees re-establishing forest growth.

The bright yellow of the trees against the chard black tree trunks was surreal and looked like an abstract painting.

North Rim Grand Canyon

North Rim Grand Canyon

The grand Canyon itself is layer upon layer of browns, reds, grays and greens.

Sedona AZ

Sedona AZ

The red rocks of Sedona are of course world famous. When the sun hits them in the evening they almost glow.

One of the things I loved most about Arizona is something we don’t have here in New England and that is “big sky”. How can you not love a huge expanse of blue sky dotted with white clouds?

SAMSUNG CSC

To me, these colors are breathtakingly beautiful; soft neutrals against a clean blue sky. Nature never gets it wrong does she?

What do you think of the Arizona colors?

Friday’s Photo: A study in turquoise

Happy Friday! Today I want to share this beach inspired turquoise study from the Holiday House Hampton Show House.

Bjornen Design /Linda Holt Photo

Bjornen Design /Linda Holt Photo

This small study just off the main living room was designed by Bjornen Design.  The designer said since the Hamptons are all about the beach and horses, the sea horse lamp was his inspiration and starting point for the whole room. I love the turquoise and sandy beige color palette and the drift wood like coffee table.  The wall paper and carpet reference the ripples of the ocean waves and the beach inspired accessories like the sea glass balls and the nautilus fossil remind you this is the Hamptons.

My favorite part of the room though are the black and white photos which ground the room and keep it from looking too themed.

This room was one of my favorites. What do you think?

Color Inspiration from 100 years ago

Last week international color guru Leatrice Eisman gave a color talk at the Boston MFA. Eiseman just might have one of the best jobs on the planet if you like art, fashion and travel. She travels the world in order to pick up “clues” about color and observes which ones are trending….hint…blues are still hugely popular everywhere and mauve is trending big time in Europe. On any given day she might be at a fashion show in Paris, or at a furniture show in Milan, an art show in New York or even a skate park in Barcelona.

After Eisman’s talk I checked out the new American quilt exhibit. I was just blown away by the artistry and color combinations of these 100+ year old quilts. To put it into context, many of these quilts were made by woman in a very rural setting. There were no color experts guiding them as to what colors were trending. There were no color blogs, fashion magazines or TV and in most cases the quilts were sewn in the evening by candle light. Somehow these woman put together color combinations that are as “on trend” today as if they were made yesterday. Here are a few of my favorites.

This one almost seemed to vibrate as you looked at it.

quilt1

The detail on this one was amazing.

quilt2

 The quilts were large..can you imagine how long it took to make each one?
orange and black

pinwheels

I even spotted one in Pantone’s color of the year: Radiant Orchard

quilt4

Aren’t they amazing? If you get a chance to visit the MFA I highly recommend checking them out.

Which one is your favorite?

Looking to update your home this Spring? Give me call, I can help.

 

Trending color at High Point Market

One thing I heard over and over at High Point last week was how everyone was so excited about all the color in the showrooms. Evidently for the past few years the showrooms have been awash with shades of gray and white.

As someone who is passionate about color I was on high alert for colors I saw as trending. I saw plenty of blues and greens and also purples (no surprise since Pantone picked Radiant Orchard as their color for 2014). What I didn’t except though was a color that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of love lately and that is RED! Not the deep dark “oxblood red” of the past few years but big bold tomato red!

Take a look at some of these gorgeous showroom where Red was definitively the center of attention.

Alexa hampton

Alexa Hampton for Hickory Chair: Linda Holt Photo

 Possibly my favorite show room in all of High Point was this teal and red room for Hickory Chair by Alexa Hampton.

red and turquoise for C R laine

C.R. Laine showroom: Photo Linda Holt photo

C.R. Laine    showed vibrant tomato red with aqua. A hot/cool color combination I have always loved.

Wesley Hall Showroom: Photo Linda Holt

Wesley Hall paired red with charcoal and creamy white for this fresh looking showroom with fabrics from Tilton Fenwick.

C R Laine showroom: Linda Holt Photo

The above vignette was also at C.R. Laine; Don’t you love that red leather stool and red coral art work paired with the red trellis patterned chair?

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald for Chaddock: Photo Linda Holt

Mary McDonald used gray and white for her new line for Chaddock Home but look what she used as her accent color! If you look to the left there is the most beautiful red leather and brass side table. That floor by the way was one of my favorite elements of the show.

I have SO MUCH more to share but for now I wanted to spread the news that Red is trending!

What do you think of red? Do you use it in your home?

If you would like help updating your home for Spring or want to incorporate red into your home, give me call!

Friday’s Photo

I often challenge my clients to think outside the box when looking for art for their walls. Who said wall art must be flat?  Here is a wall grouping of clay pottery that I saw on display last Spring at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Wouldn’t you smile every time you walked into the room if this happy colorful collection was on your walls?

Have a great weekend!

I’m sorry I can’t find the artist’s name. If any of you know who it is please forward it to me.

 

Simple trick for determining the undertone of white

I think for many people the most difficult color to choose is white. So often you think you are picking a “clean white”  and you get it up on the wall and it looks green or pink or blue. Well here is my super easy trick for determining the undertone of white.

Take a look at these three different whites.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

When you bring home sample chips from the paint store and you look at them on your wall, can you tell what the undertone is?  Can you tell which one is “whiter? Probably not. However, ask the store if you can take a look at the fan deck and simply look down the strip and you will easily see the undertone.

Linda Holt Photo

Now I’m not saying that these whites will go on the wall and look blue or green or orangey/gold (but they could) but notice that the first two are cool whites and the one on the right is a warm white. The bottom line is that most whites have undertones so it’s better to find out before you get it up on your walls and it turns blue or green or yellow.

If you are still uncertain and struggling to find the “perfect white” give me a call!

How about you? How do you choose the perfect white?

 

Which wall is best for a painted accent wall?

I recently received this question from a reader who was painting her family room and wanted to know which wall would make the best accent wall. She was confused as to whether she should pick a solid wall that was a side wall, the fireplace wall, or the wall behind the sofa which had a window and a door.

Regardless of how you feel about accent walls (many designers and decorators see them as dated) they are still very popular here in the north east and quite a few of my color consulting clients ask for them. When choosing an accent wall, remember it will be a focal point in your room, so be sure there is a good reason to draw attention to it. A random “side wall” doesn’t make for a good accent wall just because it’s a solid wall. Also, don’t default to an accent wall just because you don’t have the courage to paint all four walls your accent color, otherwise it will just look like you haven’t finished painting.

So, which wall is best for a painted accent wall?  Here are the three things I look for when deciding on an accent wall.  

1. A solid wall with no breaks or interruptions. A solid wall behind a sofa or a bed is always a good choice. It is a great place for a pop of bold color that adds visual interest to an otherwise lack luster room.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

2. A symmetrical wall. If you must use a wall with windows or other architectural features it will look best if the wall is symmetrical.  A wall with various sized windows or windows and a door is not the best choice.

symetrical accent wall

In the photo above, the accent wall is symmetrical with the two matching windows and sconces. The dark gray also relates to the sofa and draws you visually through the room while adding some interest to what looks to be a long narrow room.

3. The ceiling. Painted ceilings are very on trend right now and since the ceiling is the 5th wall it is a great place to add a pop of color.

blue painted ceiling

image via Apartment Theraphy

Similar to solid walls, a painted ceiling works best if there are clearly defined boundaries. In other words, if you live in open concept house, a bold turquoise ceiling may not work for the whole house. Bed rooms and bath rooms are my rooms of choice for a painted ceiling.

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

The Novagrats via Apartment Theraphy

This morning I stopped by a client’s home who I had helped with choosing color a few weeks ago. She had recently moved to a beautiful new condo and her main floor was one very long and narrow single room (approx. 60′ x 20′) that was kitchen, living room, dining area.

We decided on an accent wall for the far back wall for two reasons. She wanted to tie in the orange accent from her rug, pillows, fabric and art work and we also wanted to visually shorten the room with the advancing orange wall. Here is the result.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Here is another view of just the wall

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

She told me it is her favorite thing about the condo and just loves walking in and seeing the pop of bright color.

As always, I love feed back…What do you think of accent walls?  Do you have an accent wall in your home?

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