Thursday, August 19, 2010

A look back on a great summer and introducing Colleen!

I’m off to the sunny (and dry) skies of New Mexico and anticipating even more color influences from this beautiful state! In my June blog, I talked about designer Alexander Girard, his fantastic colorful designs and his love for the state and culture of New Mexico. For me, warm weather always makes me think of shades of the summer sun – yellow! Pairing yellow with its monochromatic neighbors on the color wheel, like hot pinks and coral tones make for quite the vibrant statement, as seen in this photo from Fresh Home Magazine.
Images from Fresh Home Magazine

This bright combination creates the ultimate “happy place” and is great for parties and get-togethers with friends. The other color combo I love for summer plays off the blue tones found in water. Pairing cool blues with other monochromatic shades of blue, and adding in greens and a splash of yellow, conjures up days at the beach, lounging and relaxing! As you know by now, I am very fond of the color turquoise, and it can be seen here in these fun combinations (and everywhere in home furnishings for that matter!).

I hope you’ve had a great summer thus far! Though I do love warm weather and sunny skies, I’m looking forward to the colors of fall harvest and the cozy sweaters and fireplaces that come with the Minnesota winter.

Last month, my blog was all about stripes, and after it was posted I found a great article in the Wednesday, August 4th issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Variety section called “Before and After: Bold stripes and lots of color combine for a high-impact but low-cost bedroom makeover.” Lisa Ball, a designer in Minneapolis, started with a primary color palette for the bold stripes and adjusted it to suit a college-bound boy by making the colors more traditional, with a palette of red, gray, steel blue and a splash of apple green for some punch!

Introducing Colleen Sullivan, recent Interior Design graduate from the Art Institute International in Minneapolis! Colleen has been working with me this summer and lends great expertise and insight whenever we work together. She has expressed interest in home exterior details and will be offering her advice in a monthly column within my blog called “Colleen’s Corner”. Colleen and I share a love for Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. She based an entire project on the Pauson House (one of my favorites!) and the architect who’s building my new home in New Mexico was trained at Taliesin in Arizona. Great minds think alike! Check out her column this month and in upcoming Color Blog entries.

I don’t know about you, but picking colors for the entire exterior of your house can be overwhelming. I have enough trouble choosing a color for my guest bathroom! Picking drab colors can make your house look expressionless, but if the colors are too bright, they could end up overpowering the home’s architectural detail and maybe even upset a few of your neighbors.

When choosing an exterior color, here are a few helpful hints:

1. Keep in mind when your house was built

A good place to start your search is to refer back to the era in which your home was built. Nobody wants to see a modern house with pink and turquoise gingerbread siding from the Queen Anne era, or an old Victorian with corrugated metal siding. Yuck! You can either hire a pro to analyze old remnant paint chips and recreate the original color, or you can refer to historic color charts and choose a shade that might have been used at the time your home was built.

2. Focus on the details

“God is in the details,” said famous architect Mies van der Rohe. You always want to highlight your home’s architectural details – they give your house personality! You may end up picking anywhere from two to six colors, depending on the complexity of your home. Going a few shades darker with the shutters and molding can add drama, especially when you tie in the steps, railings, columns, windows and doors. But beware: too many colors can overpower (just like too few can end up boring and flat).

3. Look to nature

Nature is always a great place to look for inspiration. Consider your front yard garden – it’s blooming with complimentary and contrasting color ideas! If you don’t have a garden, take a look around at all the different types of trees. With fall right around the corner, nature’s phenomenon can inspire a great deal of color palettes. There is inspiration all around us, we just have to open our eyes a bit and look a little deeper!

4. Look up

To your roof, that is. Have you ever seen a roof shingle up close? From afar, they appear to be one single color, but up close, they are actually little specks of color that can vary from yellow, brown, tan, black, white, red, orange, and the list goes on! Pick one of the undertone colors from your roof to add spice to the overall appearance of your house.

5. Look around the community

Last but not least, your neighborhood sets a tone for the direction you should be looking on the color spectrum. In many suburban neighborhoods (sorry to say) what color of beige would you like? If you live in a small, artsy community with soft, natural colors I would advise against picking a baby pink house with white trim just because it was the color of your Barbie dream house. I’m certainly not recommending copying your neighbor, but it’s important to keep with the integrity of your block. The ultimate goal is to stand out, not stand alone.
That’s all for now! Tune in next month for another column. Thanks for stopping by!



Artful Kitchens said...

Great advice! It's nice to see something about exteriors for a change. I'm also a Frank Lloyd Wright fan and look forward to hearing more about new house as it evolves.

Siobhan said...

Thanks for the advise on home exteriors. I recently purchased a home built solidly out of brick, where the previous owners added siding to just the front-second-story of the house. I am in disarray as how we will fix this ugly design mishap. I look forward to reading future inspirations/thoughts.