Why you'll never choose colors without a consultant ever again!

Why you'll never choose colors without a consultant ever again!

I was talking to a fellow contractor friend of mine not too long ago and they told me, "man, our clients could have really used your services". He told me how the customer bought $800 worth of a single paint color and his team got the entire first coat of the project complete (around $2,000 in labor) when the client came in and burst into tears because she hated the color.

There is your reason. Need I say more?

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Much More Than a Sample: Paint Cards and Their Purpose

Beneath the Paint Chips: A Sample of Their History

We often think of home decorating starting in a some airy interior design office. There's a mood board on the wall and books stacked neatly with a terrarium on top. Perhaps a display or two of personal artifacts acquired during world travels. An actual scene or not, one thing is for sure: a trip to the paint store is still a must. 

Image: Decor Pad

Image: Decor Pad

 

The Ends of the Rainbow

Ah, the dizzying, inspiring, and—let's just take a moment to tip our hats to the merchandiser who set this up—impeccably organized paint sample display.

 

As someone who might have enjoyed arranging her crayons as much as using them, the ordered spectrum of paint chips has always been a restorative sight. Surely I'm not alone in collecting these cards for fun. And attendant to my appreciation is curiosity. Unsurprisingly, delving into the history of paint cards necessitates a look at Color Theory's own lineage: the origins of house painting. Yes, I actually did this Google search:

The short answer is sometime around the Industrial Revolution. The long answer, which I found here, is certainly worth the read. (Did you know there was, effectively, underground paint mixing? Me either.) New, efficient systems of manufacture, along with advances in the chemical formulations of paint, dovetailed with a growing rail industry in America. Put simply, more paint could go more places. A growing middle class had access to a product which allowed them to have their own slice of luxury: a home that was not merely functional, but stylish—even enviable—as well.

Paint companies began investing in the potential of this emerging market by developing new methods of promotion. The advertisements below date from the 1880's. What I especially love is how they glued on actual samples of paint. Restrictions in technology (mass-produced color printing had a ways to go at this point) ultimately resulted in a very real, physical presence (rather than an image) of the paint in the consumer's home via "color chip cards." I like to imagine that, not unlike us, those 19th century home-owners held teeny-tiny examples of paint up to the wall, attempting to envision it covering the entire surface. And, not unlike us, I imagine they struggled a bit as well.

Check out Architect Magazine's article, A Colorful History of Paint, for even more information and images. They also have a link to this veritable treasure trove of historical home decorating and improvement books. 

 

What's In a Name?

Another thing I noticed about the early paint samples is the color names. Apple Green, Pink Tint, Flaxen Yellow: The 19th century names are distinctly descriptive, definitely a far cry from more, um, poetic, names used by contemporary paint companies.

Today, our homes are more than reflections of class; our personal spaces communicate who we are as people—our personalities, preferences, and histories. In addition, we consider these rooms as intimate enclosures. Mood and ambience are no longer decorative by-products; They are structural and functional in the most definitive sense. For a sensitive, and perhaps transformative, meditation on our collective notions of home, Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space is a great read. And for a lighthearted take on paint color names, check out this Reddit thread

So now you know: A paint card is much more than its name. Beneath its seemingly disposable purpose it is actually something of a relic, a modern-day descendent of the complex—and ultimately, deeply human—desire to carve out a piece of the world that is truly ours.

Souces: Architect Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, Shearer Painting

 

Do you find yourself gravitating towards a particular palette when decorating your own home? What do you want these colors to say about you? If you ever want to discuss these questions further as you undertake the task of re-doing your own home, drop us a line. Color consultation is one of our passions!

What to Expect at Your Color Consultation

What to Expect at Your Color Consultation

We know what it's like to stand in front of the wall of endless color at the paint store and feel overwhelmed by all of the choices! There are few things more disappointing than spending time picking paint colors only to discover - after painting - that the color you chose isn't quite right. With our color consultations, we aim to take all the hassle out of choosing the perfect colors for your home.     

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Facing Your Painting Fears

With Spring on the way, many people will be looking to update their homes. Taking the painting plunge can be daunting, but we have ways to make the process painless. 

Start with what you already have

It is much easier to start your color search with the decor that you already have in the room. Take note of colors and patterns that are already in the room, and pick paint colors that go well with the decor. If the room is unfurnished, or you are changing the furnishings, pick out the new items before choosing your paint colors. Remember that it is much easier to pick a paint color that fits with the decor, rather than decorating to fit the paint. 

Don't be overwhelmed by the paint rack

When searching for a new paint color, skip the paint rack. It's too easy to become overwhelmed by all the color choices and different shades of the same color. Instead of fretting over picking the exact perfect color, decide first the feelings and function of the room. Do you want a warm, cozy living room to curl up and watch a movie? Or maybe a clean, fresh bedroom for an invigorating start to the day? Once you have an idea of the feeling and function of the room, call a local color consultant (like Torlando at Color Theory) to assist in choosing the exact color for your dream room. A color consultant has a vast knowledge of colors and how to best use them in certain spaces. They can take all the stress out of picking the right colors for your home.

Compare paint colors next to objects other than your walls.

When holding paint samples up to walls (especially white walls), it's difficult to envision how the colors will go with everything in your home, and you will be more likely to pick a color that is too light. Make sure to compare colors against a variety of backdrops, including, furniture, rugs, flooring, etc. That way you can choose a color that works with all the furnishings in your room.

Test your final choices

Once you have narrowed down your color choices, purchase a small sample of each color and test it on the walls. In doing this, you can be sure that the color looks good with the lighting in the room as well as with the furnishings. Just make sure that the samples are in the same finish (high gloss, matte, etc.) as your final product, or the final product may surprise you. 

Hire professional painters

Painting a room may seem like an easy, weekend project, but finding the right time and using the right tools may be harder than you think. For a room to really look spectacular, it is best to hire a professional painter or painting crew. Make sure to research the painting companies in your local area before hiring one. The best painting crew/company will he highly rated, with exceptional painters using high quality products (Pro-tip: Make your search even easier by calling us!). Professional painters will get the job done quickly, and leave your home looking better than when they came. Plus, you have your weekend back to do something much more fun! 

So, next time you're looking to repaint your home, don't fear the painting process. However, if you do still have the painting jitters, there are professionals here who would love to help you create the home of your dreams!

Successfully painting white.

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When I was in college I took an acting class as one of my electives. I did a little bit of theater in high school. I infamously played the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz which drew a standing ovation upon entrance. So for me, an acting class was a chance to hone in on those acting skills and relive my glory days. For our final project we were assigned a three man scene from a play about a character who buys a very expensive painting that is painted in no other colors but white with subtle textural variation. The other two characters were his friends, one of which who thought that the painting and the price were ridiculous and the other (me) who was open to the idea but mostly just supportive of the idea that one should be able to buy whatever they want or what they are moved by. 

 

I ended up painting a prop painting for the scene and later hung it up in my bathroom. I have to say the more time I spent with my white painting as bathroom wall art, the more I began to appreciate the color. 

 

I have had clients on both sides of the coin. Some who crave the life of a colorful room and detest the plainness, while others love the clean, open, elegance that white provides; not to mention its versatility. I say white is versatle because it is the supernal neutral. In a way it gives itself no impression. It hardly detracts from the colors it accentuates and yet there are SO many options.  

 

When selecting the proper white for your home the most important consideration is lighting. Lighting changes not only from room to room but from wall to wall. And as such, what is the best option for one room may not be the best for another room. That's why it's imperative to take your color sample into other rooms to make sure it has the same qualities you loved in the previous room. Or you may need to adjust the color a little to suit the lighting effects of each room.

 

We had this very design challenge in this beautiful Renwick home in Bloomington, IN.  

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The large open windows and vaulted ceilings provides tons of natural light into the space and the subtle off-white palette keeps the openness alive. The color here is Glacier White OC-37, a bit of a misnomer to this warmer in temperature hue.

 

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A breakfast dinnette with near floor to ceiling windows lets the sun light in and wakes you up to yet another wonderful day. 

 

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The light from the dinnette travels through the kitchen all the way to the formal dining room. The earth tone granite countertops and rich wood cabinetry promote calmness and peace when trimed with soft white walls and trim.  The cream island connects the walls together makIng this white more intentional than default. The eye is drawn to pops of blue ceramics.

 

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Keeping with the neutral scheme, the formal dining room was painted in a light grey called Greenwich Gate CSP-170. Being on the north west entrance with the sun setting in the view is the perfect place for an evening dining room with more open windows. Greenwich Gate is a warm-toned grey. The warmth turns the formal feel into a cozy formal. You don't feel like you can't touch anything or crack a joke. It's elegant but it's not cold.  I feel like a young couple could announce their engagement to family here. 

 

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Now comes the grand entrance. Everything about this entrance is grand. However, comparitively, the window only allows for a limited amount of light. This changes things. We can't just use glacier white in here and expect it to do the same as in the well lit rooms. 

 

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The color here is Winds Breath OC-24. The goal here wasn't to match the glacier white but rather to find an appropriate white for the space. The lighting of this room, with less natural light and more warm lighting caused the glacier white to take on a green tint. However, Winds Breath maintains the warms while keeping the room light. Which was the primary goal. Lightness. 

 

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Up the stairs we can see into the living room with this stunning chandelier and intricate railing.  

 

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Again in the bathrooms we chose different shades of white to account for the change in lighting. In this half bath we used Stoneware CSP-245. All of these colors can be found in Benjamin Moore fan decks. 

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And below we have a Jack and Jill bathroom with entrances coming from two guest bedrooms painted in Ice Fog CSP-575.

 

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Finally in the grandkids' bedroom we've brought back Glacier White in keeping with this simple but elegant neutral white palette. 

 

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To Get an Estimate for painting your home white call 812-668-2113 or connect with a consultant online now!

Color Recollection—visual memory

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Early on in my fine arts education I read the book Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. This book shaped much of what I think about color and how I use it in my professional practice as an artist and craftsman. The main lesson that I learned was that use of color shouldn't be technically prescribed by a set of rules but rather through regular practice and trial and error one can develop an "eye for color". That subjectivity makes it an art practice.  I also learned as Albers puts it, "In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually". (Albers, introduction)

I titled this post the same title of the first chapter of Interaction of Color.   More out of self-indulgence than public education am I using this platform to remark on Albers's seminal work. And perhaps as I read through the book again I will, from time to time, digest the chapters that I think will prove both relevant and interesting to those interested in color for their home or in art or in general. But I don't think I'll hold myself to it, just in an effort to keep things organic. 

The first thing you need to know about color recollection is that there is no use even trying. Our memory of color is terrible. If I were to tell any number of people to think of the color coca-cola red they would all readily imagine the color. However, each hue of red would be most likely distinguishably different from one imagination to the next. This is the example Albers uses to convince us that we are incapable of perfectly remembering a specific color. It would be nice if, like our auditory memory of picking up a tune and getting it lodged firmly in our minds all day long, that we could do this with color; it would make picking out curtains easier. But instead, it would be wiser to have the sample handy when decorating. 

The secondary problem in retaining color is that the categories and classes are both too broad and too narrow. "Though there are innumerable colors —shades and tones— in daily vocabulary, there are only about 30 color names", Albers says. (Albers, I)  "Bride to Be" and "Crocodile Tears" hardly describe or evoke any thought of a particular shade of white or green and do more to increase the subjectivity and confusion than do they clarify. Their use case is that they make matching to a computerized code and formula more or less easy to retreve and remember. Case in point, "bride to be" and "crocodile tears" were two of the earliest colors I painted in my career. To one in which the home owner exclaimed, "I don't care if it looks pink! It looks good!" Who comes up with these color names? A question I get asked, every time I say the name of a paint color outloud. 

Nomenclature could be the culprit. The Hembe tribe in Southern Africa sees color differently than western cultures according to a BBC Horizon expose entitled "Do You See What I See?". In the clip there is a computerized clip where we see green squares arranged in a circle. 

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The circle pattern on the right shows a clearly discernible blue square amidst the green squares. However, in the test the Hembe people had a very difficult time identifying which was the out-of-place square. Conversely, on the left, there is also an out-of-place square. Can you tell which? The Hembe people can. In fact they can tell outlier as readily and as easily as you or I can identify the blue square on the right. The theory is that the language of the Hembe people classify this type of blue as the same name given to the other green squares. And because they have always given them the same name and are not distinguished, they cannot notice the difference. However, the same theory is to be applied to the circle on the left with us. There is a quality in one of the squares on the left that our language apparently does not distinguish. 

Interesting, but why is this important? To go back to Albers's point, we must first "recognize that color deceives us continually."  Just for a moment, look at the color of two adjacent walls in your home. Perhaps one where the daylight is casting it's shine and the other is in shade. They are the same paint and therefor the same color, but in this moment, are the two colors the same? No they are not. Lighting is the primary driver of color perception. Change the light source and you will perceive the color differently. I've noticed this in homes where there are older bulbs and newer bulbs. You may be switching to florecent which produce a white light but still have several incandecent lights which cast more of a yellow or orange hue. Even if your paint color is the same the two different lights may cause your one color to clash with itself. Or perhaps you are trying an accent wall by going just one step up on the color swatch. The result could be the appearance of one wall in shade and the other in light totally nullifying your accent wall. Are you getting nervous about the color you picked because your painters have only gotten through painting the borders around the room and it doesn't look like it did on the swatch? Be patient, your old color is literally influencing the appearance of the new color.

What we'll learn in Albers's book is that colors interacting with each other influence heavily the way they are perceived. And with practice or with the help of a Color Theory color consultant you can pick colors with confidence understanding how they will reacted with one another. 

How to Pick Colors for Your Home

You've been there, I've been there, staring at that wall of color trying to figure out where to begin and all of these colors have simply left you in the dark...(get it? It's because their silhouettes in the stock picture are dark...).  In all seriousness, it's hard, you don't know if it's going to all flow together in real life the same way it flows in together in your mind (not to mention the spouse isn't helping at all).  Trust me, I've had that same argument with my wife and picking colors is what I do for a living.  That's why color consultations are so important when deciding to paint your home. 

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