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.

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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

Five degrees this morning,…frigid weekend ahead..more snow for Monday.   It’s a winter like this that makes me appreciate a sight like this even more.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

A gorgeous yellow and pink orchard on the counter today at the hair salon. Come on Spring!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday’s Photo

It may not be immediately apparent but this is a photo of a sunset taken in my hotel room. Actually, it’s really just a plain shear curtain with red dots. On my final night stay I came back to the room just as the sun was going down. The light was reflecting off the adjacent buildings and bouncing back through the shears creating this gorgeous array of colors.

 Linda Holt photo

Hotel Sunset: Linda Holt photo

The lesson? Sometimes it’s fun to see the usual from a slightly different perspective.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

 

Friday’s Photo

When looking for color inspiration we often look to nature or maybe exotic travel, or a beautiful fabric or artwork.  However, color inspiration can also come from the most unlikely of places…even trash!

While in Florida last week I spotted this fabulous color grouping of stacked plastic buckets, bins and water bottles and loved how beautiful the colors looked together.

Then while perusing Pinterest, there it was! those colorful plastic buckets turned into a room.

color inspiration

Have a great weekend everyone and don’t forget to keep your eyes open to color, it can show up in the most unlikely of places.

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

My favorite way to find color inspiration

Sometimes choosing a color palette is no big deal. You simply match a color from an already existing item such as your drapes, rug or art work and snap….it’s done.  Sometimes though, choosing color is not so easy. You’ve build a new home or added on or you just want a whole new look.  Starting from scratch is when choosing a color palette can become more challenging. Many homeowners simply don’t know where to begin.

In my guest post this week for New England Home I share my favorite way to gather a little color inspiration along with designer rooms that used those colors. I hope you pop on over and take a look.

http://www.nehomemag.com/blog/linda-holt-new-england-color-inspiration

Linda Holt Photo. porch via Pinterest

Color inspiration really is all around us…you just have to look.

 

Decorating From Scratch-Choosing a Color Palette

I am working with a new client who by choice, has decided to bring absolutely nothing with him to his new home other than his clothes. For some people this would be a dream come true…”Woo Hoo I won the lottery and I am buying everything new!”  For others this would be a horrible nightmare, for example the home owners who lost everything during hurricane Sandy. I thought it might be fun to share with you my decorating process and how I am creating a home for my client starting from scratch.

When decorating from scratch there are two equally important first steps; creating the floor plan and the choosing the color palette. In this case I was asked to begin work on my client’s home before the closing so I was not able to get in and measure for the floor plan for a few weeks so I started with a color palette.

Since I had no inspiration pieces such as art work, carpet or fabrics to pull color from I began by asking my client lots of color preference questions.  His favorite color is Orange and his favorite neutral color is Gray. To get a little more inspiration I spent some time walking around his new town.  Located on the water it is a town with a history rich in both nautical and factory work. I wanted to be sure to honor this in the color pallet I chose for his circa 1850’s home.

newburyport-ma

What colors did I see everywhere I looked? Orange and Gray! Two of my client’s favorite colors. The down town is lined with Orange brick buildings and Gray cobblestones.

Newburyport MA

I also saw lots of deep blues and Navy reflected in the water of the harbor. My palette was chosen. I decided to use a warm Gray as the anchoring neutral with Orange with accents of Navy.

Here is the color pallet I presented to my client which he loved.

We painted the walls of his living room, dining room and kitchen which are all open to one another Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. I also added a little pop of Orange to the back of his built in bookcases which flank both sides of a window seat. Here is a sneak peak of the built in with the orange on the back and Revere Pewter on the walls.

little pop of orange

 

Before settling on the final color pallet I chose all the fabrics for the window treatments, pillows, and carpet. It is kind of like a puzzle when starting with nothing. For example I found a Gray and Orange fabric I loved then tweaked the Orange to better relate with the fabric. Everything relates to each other and you need to think about not only the room as a whole but the flow of the colors throughout the house. In my next post I will show how I used my color pallet throughout the first floor so that everything flowed and related to one another.

Have you ever decorated from scratch? If so, what inspired you to choose your color palette?

If you would like help decorating from scratch or just getting a better color flow in your home, 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.

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