When the Color White is Just Right

As a Boston area Color Consultant I am obviously someone who LOVES color; so when I tell a client that White is the best choice for their room they always look at me surprised. There are situations though where I do believe White is just right.

#1.   A contemporary space with large windows and lots of natural light.

white loft

iHomee

In spaces with lots of natural light the color White will bring the room to life. I know it seems backwards because you may think it is better to use White in a dark space but just the opposite is  true. Color master Donald Kaufman puts it like this.

“A light color will never come to life in a dark room but a rich, deep color can make a dim, somber space feel warm and luminous – even though it receives no natural light.”

berkshire-lr-rich-holben

Rich Holben

 

White highlights the architecture and the light streaming in through the windows is an ever changing art show.

#2.    Kitchen Cabinets

There is just something about a white kitchen. White kitchens convey cleanliness and freshness.

white kitchen

Pinterest

White kitchen cabinets are timeless and by simply changing out the accessories you can update your kitchen for a lot less money than it will cost to replace dated Oak, Orange Cherry wood, Espresso, Pickled, Bleached or whatever color wood you originally chose.

white and red kitchen

Pinterest

#3     Beach houses

white beach house

Coastal Living

There is nothing more beautiful than a coastal view so why distract from it? Paint the walls white and let the view take center stage. Also White is unfussy and simple, usually just the look and feel you want in a beach house.

coastal Living

Coastal Living

#4        when surrounded by bright pops of color 

The color trend today finds lots of bright color in furnishings, fabrics and accessories so White walls can be the perfect neutral to give the eye a place to rest.

brights with white

Pinterest

The general rule to follow is the brighter the brights then the more White you need to support them.

Pinterest

White walls are the perfect compliment to all the different pops of color around the table.

Horchow

Horchow

The most important thing to remember about painting your walls White is that you absolutely must have lots of light in the room. Otherwise, white will just look flat, gray and cold.

So what do you think about white? Would you ever consider white walls in your home?

Art For the Love Of Dogs

This past Labor Day weekend we made a visit to a very special Chapel that I have heard about for years.

If you have ever loved a dog and especially if you have ever loved and lost a dog, you must pay a visit to the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury VT. Located high on a hill called Dog Mountain the Chapel was the final masterpiece of artist Stephen Huneck.

dog chapel 1

My husband and I own two prints by Huneck and actually met him many years back when he owned a gallery on Nantucket. His artwork was centered around dogs and the chapel was a culmination of his art and his lasting tribute to all dogs everywhere. Built completely by hand starting back in 1977 Huneck completed his dream and opened the Chapel in 2000. The Chapel resembles a 19th-century New England church from the outside, apart from the steeple topped by a winged Labrador.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Situated on 150 scenic acres Dog Mountain is a paradise for a dogs (and their human’s) with walking trails, a dog play ground and plenty of free doggie treats. There is even a swimming hole that is clearly marked “swimming for dogs only”.

Stephen Huneck Dog mountain

When you approach the Chapel you are greeted by a medley of dog breeds and a sign that proclaims: “Welcome: All Creeds, All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed.”

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Once inside, prepare to have a very moving experience. Soft spiritual music plays and visitors are encouraged to leave notes honoring their dogs that have passed. As you can see every wall is covered with photos, notes, stories and memories of loved and lost dogs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The pews are supported by Huneck’s iconic Black and Yellow Labs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The stained glass windows were my favorite part of the Chapel and I love Huneck’s color combinations. Each window features dogs doing what they love: eating a bone,

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

sharing ice cream cones,

and getting lots of love.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Reading some of the moving tributes to the dogs was difficult for me as our current dog Tucker is over 13 years old and we lost our 12 year old dog Maddy to Cancer just over 3 years ago.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

We pinned a note to the wall honoring Maddy and attempted to introduce our Weimaraner Tucker to Huneck’s Weimaraner but he wasn’t too interested.

Huneck dog chapel

He was actually spooked by the whole experience and just wanted to go back outside…or go eat some more treats.

As moving and beautiful as the Chapel is there is a very sad story associated with it. In 2010 after some serious financial struggles Stephen Huneck took his own life. His wife Gwen is doing her best to keep the chapel open but without her husband to keep his art going she currently owes thousands in unpaid taxes. The State of Vermont is threatening to close the Chapel and sell off the land in an auction. We did our part by making a small donation and buying a “Good Dog Bad Dog” reversible bandanna.

After such a moving experience we did cheer ourselves up by taking photos in front of the World’s Largest Maple Syrup can. How happy is that!

How about you are you a dog lover like me? Have you ever heard of Dog Mountain and the Chapel that Huneck built?

 

If you would like help decorating your house or choosing color give me a call.

Do You Agree With America’s Favorite Paint Colors?

The September issue of House Beautiful is out and it features a survey on America’s Color preferences. The magazine surveyed thousands of readers and hundreds of designers and bloggers.  The results revealed (no surprise here) that Blue is America’s favorite color just barely eking out Green which came in a close second. What was surprising (at least to me) was the different color preferences based on region. Below is the map that shows color preferences by regions. (click on the image to make it larger)

House Beautiful Color Map

House Beautiful Preference Color Map

I had no idea such a large part of the country still loves Brown, especially since I live outside of Boston and as you can see New Englander’s evidently like White.  I also was surprised how popular Orange is in the Southeast. I would have guessed they might gravitate toward more of a cool color since according to a friend of mine who lives in the South, this past Summer has been like living on the Sun.

The survey showed that we just love to paint. 77% of readers had either just painted, were currently painting or plan to paint within the next 6 months.

Yellow was the most popular kitchen color with a narrow win over white.

OLD&D Architects

OLD&D Design

Orange is polarizing, it’s the “hot” choice in the Southeast but also the color most people chose as “so over”. Tangerine Tango was  Pantone’s color pick for 2012 so for those that have grown weary of Orange there are just a few more months before a new color will be announced for 2013.

Orange Chairs

Via Pinterest

Green won out as favorite color for a dinning room followed closely by red.

Diamondbarratta Design

Diamond Barratta Design

Blue won hands down as the favorite color for bedrooms by both the readers and the designers. On the west coast Blue bedrooms were favored more than 2 to 1 over green bedrooms.

blue bedroom

via Pinterest

Purple is Hot…35% of Designers said Purple was the hottest color right now.

housetohome_idealhome

Via House To Home

The House Beautiful results also showed that our color tastes change as we get older. The over 45 crowd prefered White living rooms while the under 45 group preferred Gray living rooms.

gray living room

Jennifer Brouwer Design

The over 45 group also preferred Green dining rooms and Yellow kitchens while the under 45 group preferred Blue dining rooms and White kitchens.

white kitchen

via Pinterest

I do see in my own Color Consulting business that age does make a difference when choosing color. Most of my younger clients are very into Gray right now, especially for living rooms and family rooms.  However, most of my older clients will have nothing to do with Gray, preferring instead a soft white or beige… Maybe it’s too many bad memories of the 80′s when Gray and Mauve was all the rage.

What’s on the Bloggers radar?  Purple and Green.  Both Purple and Green were voted as the colors to watch for as being the next “Hot” colors….Maybe a hint as to the next Pantone Color of Year??

What do you think of the survey? Do you agree with America’s favorite colors?

If you would like help with decorating or choosing the perfect color for your home give me a call.

 

 

 

 

 

The Global Trend Yeah Or Nay?

I first noticed the Global Trend a few years back when it started showing up in the pages of  Design magazines.

global trend

Elle Decor

It has become hugely popular and Moroccan design, Ikat patterns and tribal prints is now on everything from dinner plates to picture frames.

Global trend

I keep wondering when the Global trend is going to run out of steam; especially since we keep getting messages like “buy American” and “support your local artisans”. So last week while shopping for lamps for a client, imagine my surprise when I walked first into Homegoods and saw India

Homegoods

Homegoods

and then directly into West Elm and saw South Africa.

West Elm

West Elm

So what gives? Are we suppose to support our local artisans or decorate our homes as if we just returned from some exotic land?  I always tell my clients to live with what they love and that which has meaning. Items brought back from travels are some of my favorite things to incorporate into their design. However, if one has never set foot in Africa or India are these items adding value to our lives or clutter to our lives? Does it even matter?

I would love to hear your opinion on the Global Trend, Yeah? or Nay?

Mini Bathroom Makeover Before and After

When my husband and I bought our (almost) new house in 2005 we loved everything about it except for the kitchen and baths. The previous owner/builder had very different tastes than us and we didn’t care for his choice of tiles or cabinetry. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time because we thought we would refinance in a year or so and redo both the kitchen and the master bathroom. Well then of course the recession hit and our house lost about 18% in value in the first two years. Refinancing was no longer an option so we just had to make do.  The kitchen is still as it was but this past weekend I gave the master bathroom a final cosmetic make over.

When we moved in, this is what I had to work with for tiles.

existing bathroom tile

existing bathroom tile

Pink and white tiles…NOT the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my dream bathroom.

The vanity was orangy cherry wood with a green laminate top. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the green laminate because we did change that out to a white quartz top. Since I had pink and green as my fixed elements I decided to just embrace the pink and green color scheme. I painted the walls green to match to laminate counter top  and I found a pink and green large scale botanical print to pull everything together.

bathroom window treatment

bathroom window treatment

 

 

I also had a collection of McKenzie Childs plates and knobs that fit my color scheme perfectly so I used my plates as wall art and switched out the stock vanity knobs to my McKenzie Child’s ones. Here is what our master bathroom  looked like until this past weekend.

 master bath before

master bath before

So what continued to bug me about this bathroom? I could live with the pink tiles and the pink and green color scheme but I could not stand looking at that orange vanity that related to nothing and stuck out like a sore thumb. Well this past weekend I decide to paint the vanity. I will admit I was nervous… now I don’t have a moments hesitation when it comes to painting furniture but cabinetry is different. What if I messed up? Also, being basically lazy when it comes to painting I didn’t want the hassle of  cleaning, sanding and priming those cabinets so I decided to use the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. You can read more about my experience with the paint HERE.

I removed the knobs and just started painting. I choose the Pure White as I wanted the vanity to match the white molding, white toilet and white tub and shower (which is to the left of the photo).

As soon as the first brush stroke went on I started to relax. The paint covered beautifully and I knew had made the right decision.

Pure White going on Cherry wood

Pure White going on Cherry wood

I wanted a smooth finish so I painted the first coat, lightly sanded with a 600 grid sand paper, painted a second coat, lightly sanded again and then applied 2 coats of wax. I thought the Pure White might be just a touch too “white” so I decided to tweak the final color just a bit by mixing a tiny amount of the dark wax in with the clear wax. It came out just how I wanted it and I could not be happier.

Here is the before again (minus the top knob):

Vanity before

Vanity before

and here is the after:

vanity after

vanity after

 

SOOO much better don’t you think?   Oh, and that white chair over to the left..that is going to get a coat of Pink paint ASAP.

bathroom after

bathroom after

 

Now I just have decide if I am brave enough to take on the huge job of painting the kitchen cabinets which are the exact same orange Cherry wood as what was in the bathroom. I know many people love the look of Cherry…it is just not for me.

I would love to hear what you think of my mini bathroom makeover.

 

If you would like help choosing color or decorating, give me a call.

 

 

 

Color And Design Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the Island of St. John.  It was a 30 year in the making honeymoon “redo” that you can read about here.   I must admit, St. John was not what I had expected. I pictured it as a flat island but it is actually the top of  a mountain sticking out of the sea. Three quarters of the Island is protected national park land so the Island is incredibly beautiful and unspoiled.

St. John USVI   Linda Holt Photo

St. John USVI... Linda Holt Photo

The houses, or villas as they call them, are built going up the side of the mountain. Some of them are perched on such steep ledges that it is amazing they don’t slide right off into the sea. This house below is where we stayed for the week. It is the only house WAY  out on a point…talk about privacy! There was even an electronic gate to get on to and off of the property. I felt like we were drug king pins or some famous couple seeking out privacy from the paparazzi.

Coral Bay house

Coral Bay St.John... Linda Holt Photo

We stayed in the Coral Bay area which is on the other side of the Island from where the Hotels and Resorts are located. Coral Bay is more rural and has a large population of wild donkeys, goats and sheep.

wild goats on St. John

wild goats on St. John

We would always stop the car until everyone was safely across (notice the little Egret on the right tagging along). The locals however have little patience and barely slow down; somehow though animals and cars seem to coexist just fine.

The beaches really do look exactly like I imagined; turquoise waters surrounded by white powdery sand.

Maho Bay St. John..Linda Holt Photo

Maho Bay St. John

St John has quite a few Ruins from Colonial times when the Island was inhabited by the Dane’s who used slaves to run the sugar plantations. Look at this pattern of painted tiles we came across while hiking. Doesn’t this look so current even though it is from the 1700′s? Can’t you just imagine this fabulous pattern painted on a floor or made into fabric?

The biggest surprise and the best part of our trip however was the snorkeling. St. John is surrounded by easily accessible Coral Reefs. You can walk right into the water and swim just a very short distance and see the most incredible colorful tropical fish and coral.  I had no idea I would be so inspired by color and design by spending several hours everyday floating above a coral reef and looking down.

I must be really twisted or maybe the sun and heat had gotten to me but everything I saw I imagined as some type of home decor. I was as excited and inspired as if I was at an art opening for some hot new artist.

Here are some of the things that most inspired me with both color and design. ( I do not have underwater camera so all photos are from Google Images but they look exactly as I saw them).

Look at the yellow pattern on these French Grunts. Wouldn’t these look great as a fabric design? Maybe drapes in a beach house?

French Grunts

French Grunts

This beautiful Queen Angel Fish really rocks the yellow and blue combo…humm..maybe yellow walls blue sofa?

queen angel

queen angel Fish

Just like in this photo below, we came upon a whole school of 50-75 Blue Tang. They are a beautiful shade of deep blue/purple. A color inspiration maybe for pillows on a turquoise sofa?

blue tang

blue tang

These giant sea turtles are plentiful off  St John. We saw about 8 of them. Look at that brown and white pattern…maybe inspiration for a stenciled wall or an embossed leather?

Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

This little Trunk Fish also has a great pattern of black and white dots that turn into a honeycomb pattern in the middle. Maybe a throw pillow or carpet pattern?

smooth trunkfish

smooth trunkfish

My all time favorite fish though has to be the Stop Light Parrot Fish. These beauties are about 15 inches long and are brilliant Turquoise, Pink and Orange with Yellow polka dots no less!  I looked at these fish for hours.

parrotfish

Parrot Fish

The funny thing is, while at the airport waiting for our connecting flight home I opened up the new issue of  Elle Decor Magazine and this is the first thing I saw… coincidence or not?

turquoise dot tray by Waylande Gregory Studios

turquoise dot tray by Waylande Gregory Studios

Maybe the designer had recently been doing a little reef snorkeling themselves.

How about you?  Have you ever been inspired with Color or Design in an unexpected place?

 

If You would like help with choosing the perfect color or with decorating give me a call at 617-965-3342.

Friday’s Photo 2.0 and temporarily signing off

On June 5th my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday and then at other times it seems like a LONG 30 years.

Thirty years ago we spent our honeymoon in a less than romantic situation. We drove from Boston to Point Clear, Alabama (long story) in a car with no air conditioning and arrived during a record breaking heat wave. The beautiful resort hotel we had booked lost their air conditioning on the day of our arrival due to electrical grid overload.  An entire week of 107 degree days that “cooled” to 101 degree nights does not make for the most romantic memories. Having never been to the South I had never experienced heat like that. I remember thinking I was going to die the first half of the week and then wishing I would die the second half of the week.

Ever since that hot week we said we would go on a second honeymoon…kind of like a redo. Well 10, 20, 25 years came and went and work, kids, and finances all got in the way and we never did. So next week, 30 years later, we are finally having our honeymoon re-do. We have rented a small villa (air conditioned) on the Island of St. John. This is the beach we will be visiting; voted one of the 10 most beautiful in the world.

TrunkBay

Trunk Bay St. John

I am so excited!! I can’t wait to get into that water. We fly out early tomorrow morning and I promised my husband no blogging, facebooking, tweeting, or emailing. So I am signing off now for the next 10 days or so.

Oh, and that wedding photo above was also a redo. It was taken about a month after our wedding in front of the Wellesley Town Hall. I am holding sad plastic flowers from the photographer’s studio and my husband re-rented the tux for 2 hours. On the day we actually married we had a huge rain storm. It rained so hard (plus thunder, lightening and flooding) that we didn’t get a nice wedding portrait of the two of us.

SO…off we go…Wish us luck that we don’t have any reason (weather related or otherwise) for needing a redo of our redo!

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