7 Necessary (but not evil) Exterior Spring Cleaning Projects - Checklist Included

7 Necessary (but not evil) Exterior Spring Cleaning Projects - Checklist Included

Something truly magical happens the day Spring arrives. Bloomington feels different. It's like breathing is fuller and my eyebrows feel lighter. It's finally time to get outside and become a real person again. Unfortunately, the winter has turned your house into the setting of the Walking Dead. It's time to get to work.

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How To Know If Your Exterior Needs Painting

How To Know If Your Exterior Needs Painting

Not all exterior paints are made the same. There are different quality levels that make a real difference in terms of how long a coating will last.  

As a rule of thumb we direct our customers to a higher quality paint that will last a long time and provide a fine finish.  

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Valentine's Day Inspired Pinks - Best Shades of Pink to Paint a Room

Happy Valentine's Day - Let's paint something pink!

Today is a great day for remembering the people we love. In America, 25% of the cards sent each year are Valentine's Day cards. People love emotive cards, decked out in pinks and reds. 

Why is pink and red the color of Valentine's Day? Well, in general reds are associated with passion and pinks associated with flush skin. So, when you feel the warm rush and pitter patter of love, that all too familiar rosy blush surfaces and you know that the feeling is mutual.

Pink Paint Colors great for any room, not just a little girl's bedroom

Wheatberry 2099-70 Benjamin Moore

Wheatberry 2099-70 Benjamin Moore

This light pink paint is called Wheatberry 2099-70 by Benjamin Moore. Kind of a dusty pink; this color is a great choice for girls bedroom ideas, but is muted enough to surprise guests as an appropriate color for an eclectic den space.

You may consider using this pink color in a high gloss on a sliding barn door. I took this idea from a friend of mine who just built their home. I think her husband took a leap of faith with her on it but it paid off big time. Click on the paint drop for more info.

Sea Salt CSP-95 Benjamin Moore

Sea Salt CSP-95 Benjamin Moore

Consider pairing Wheatberry with a light neutral gray like Sea Salt. These two colors would look great together in adjacent rooms. Use Sea Salt for your entry and Wheatberry in a connecting Dining Room for a feminine look that isn't too overwhelmingly pinky.

Gray neutral paint colors anchor more daring color schemes and allow you the flexibility to choose something a little more off-beat.

Spice Market CSP-925 Benjamin Moore

Spice Market CSP-925 Benjamin Moore

Now warm up the palette with Spice Market. This deep gold is strong but won't over shadow your understated pink and grey. Bedrooms, Kitchens and Bathrooms would look dynamic and vibrant when found at the end of our pale pink and light gray path.

Used as an accent color, not on walls, but in furniture. That's where I think this color might find its stride. Add to that the return of brushed brass lamps and table legs and you'll have a home decor look that is current.

Dark Pewter 2122-10 Benjamin Moore

Dark Pewter 2122-10 Benjamin Moore

Last, somewhere in your scheme find room for our boldest choice of all Dark Pewter. Color Theory's Color of the Year. What I love about Dark Pewter is that its just so dark. But it also has this really pretty shade of blue that comes out mid-day.

There is a depth to it that will make your room feel endless, while paradoxically making an oversized room feel smaller and cozier. Paired with any of the other colors in this scheme and you'll have a dramatic, sexy home.


Get help choosing a color scheme for your home by setting an appointment with our Color Theory Consultants.

Kitchen Design - What to do with your Kitchen Cabinets

Coming up with a good kitchen design idea is equal parts fun and overwhelming. Here are a couple of things you can do with paint to overhaul your kitchen without ripping everything out.

Color - White Cabinets

Always a classic look, never going out of style, painting your kitchen or bathroom cabinets white is a clear win for a modern, clean look. White is a little tricky because there are so many shades. However, there are a few colors of note that we really like on cabinets.

First, is Cloud White OC-130, Color Theory's neutral color of the year. Cloud White offers a warmth in a tone of white that avoids sterility and lack of creativity. We find that painting cabinets with a Satin sheen in the Cloud White provides a smooth finish with added durability.

Simply White OC-117 has some of the same aesthetic qualities of Cloud White, yet in certain lighting conditions fares a little better. As a simple test, swing by your local paint store and pick up the two whites and tape them to your kitchen wall side by side and see how you like them over the course of the day. Do the colors change over the course of the day? If so, which color do you like best?

Last, Chantilly Lace OC-65. Chantilly Lace is the chalkiest of the trio. With the first two white paint colors, the warmth in them can sometimes become amplified by incandescent lighting which may be a turn off. The Chantilly Lace doesn't have that problem. While in a natural day light it will exude vibrance and cleanliness, throughout the evening it will maintain a pristine whiteness.


Change up your kitchen island

Going with a more dramatic darker color for your kitchen island will provide your kitchen design with an anchor, contrasting your lighter scheme all around. With the desire for more kitchen cabinet storage, sometimes the kitchen starts to enclose in on itself and it starts to look like some kind of mammoth. Especially if your current cabinets are a wood finish.

Painting your kitchen island just might add the variety you need. This two tone look has become very popular with modern kitchen cabinets.


Where to begin painting cabinets

The most important thing to get right in this process is cabinet paint. You do not want to skimp on paint when it comes to cabinets. The best paint for kitchen cabinets right now is a waterborne alkyd. As paradoxical as it sounds, waterborne alkyds are a somewhat newly formulated product that combines the durability and hardness of an oil based paint with the environmental standards of a water-based latex paint. 

We've had success with the lighter colors with Benjamin Moore Advance. Advance dries very hard but struggles with darker colors because of the amount of colorant necessary. For cabinets going from wood to paint, its best to start with the Advance Primer.


For darker colors and a faster dry time, you may consider Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic. While the Pro Classic doesn't dry quite as hard as the Advance and sometimes requires additional coats in lighter colors, we've still had excellent results with it and air towards using it on our cabinet projects.  Extreme Bond primer is the recommended primer to go with the Pro Classic on cabinets.


Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?



The decision is up to you on this one. This is definitely an advanced project and one that many DIY'ers report that they probably wouldn't attempt on their own again. The tedious factor is high as well as the elbow grease factor. But the time commitment is doable. More than a single weekend but it's easy enough to break up.

To Learn More about Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets with our DIY Guide to Painting Cabinets

What Kitchen Remodel Ideas do you have? Post in the comments!


How to Start a Painting Project with a Professional Painter

Deciding on whether to paint your house on your own as a weekend DIY project or whether to hire out painting is a big question. When I meet with homeowners they are often weighing out whether it's worth it to pay the premium cost to have it done or if they will be pleased with their own craftsmanship.

Between you and me, if it were my home, I would probably do it myself. But that's not fair because I'm a professional. There are three things to consider when choosing between having your home professionally painted or...um...not so professionally painted. 

The Pro vs. DIY Debate - The Time VS Money Factor

How long does it take to paint a room? How much does painting cost? Obviously, it depends on the room size but your standard american bedroom will take a professional between 4-6 hours to paint the walls, another 4 for painting trim, doors and windows and an extra 1.5 to 2 to paint the ceilings. This is two coats and basic prep work included.

DIY Pros

If you've got time and patience and you find some catharsis in painting, then you might want to take a stab at it and do it yourself. Most DIY'ers are a little less concerned about perfection when they are trying to save money. With this, you have the flexibility to decide on the fly if things like one coat coverage is sufficient or whether rigid tape lines are going to matter to you as much. Being less picky will allow you to save time on a DIY project. You'll also save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

DIY Cons

The flip side to the time question is, what am I sacrificing by spending my whole weekend or even week painting? Is there an activity you'd rather be doing with the family? Could you make more money in the time that you're painting than the amount that you're saving? Maybe it's a more efficient use of time to be really good at what you do and let the pros be really good at what they do.

So if you're thinking you can knock out an entire room top to bottom in a day, you may want to think about how much time you actually have to block off. If you are just moving into a new home and you have to do multiple rooms, you're looking at a week or two week long project with multiple painters on the job. I hate to say it but your average DIY'er isn't going to have that big of a chunk of time to get the project done. Unless you're willing to spread it out or take use your vacation.

Pro Pros

The plus side to hiring a paint pro is that you don't have to do anything. With a reputable company and trustworthy painters, you don't even need to be home. You can rest assured that your home will be taken care of and that you'll come home to it looking so much better and clean. The small details will be tended to. Straight lines, full rich color with two coats of a high quality paint. You can be picky! We don't mind, too much.

Pro Cons

The honest truth, it does cost money. Typically, the better the craftsman and the more organized the company, the more you will pay. But like we say, "the bitterness of poor workmanship remains long after the sweetness of a good deal is forgotten." A good professional painter is going to know what it takes to get the job done right, without being overly priced. However, many painters who take too long to get back with you on a quote, or guess on their pricing by just "looking at it", are often going to undercharge and as a result under deliver.

So, How do you get started?

The first step is to get a quote. We offer online quotes free and easy. How this works is we take you to our website on our Pricing Page. From there you can get a ballpark idea of what your project would cost per room for the walls. If you'd like trim, windows or doors painted, it's usually best to have one of our consultants come out for measurements. But if you are just trying to get an idea of what it would cost, look on our site and build your project through the shopping cart. If you get stuck you can give us a call and we can help walk you through it.

Once you've got a good idea of what it might cost, then we'll come out to confirm pricing and look at color options. Color Consultations, while they do cost a little extra, are extremely helpful in deciding which colors to coordinate with your home furnishings and decor. From there we book the job with the help of our Production Coordinator. They'll work with you on scheduling through our online system.

While you're waiting your turn in line, we'll make sure to keep you posted on how our schedule is working out. With painting, you can't always work when the weather is bad and so sometimes our schedule gets a little jostled around. No worries though, once we get to your painting project, we are there until it's complete. Super simple, super fun and super exciting.

A Word of Advice...

If you're trying to tackle a project and don't know whether to do it yourself or hire a painter, don't be afraid to ask questions. When we give our paint estimates we split every room out by line items so you can choose which projects you want to do on your own and which you want to hire us to do. We're totally flexible!




Best of Houzz 2017: Press Release

Color Theory of Bloomington

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

Bloomington, IN, January 19, 2017 – Color Theory of Bloomington has won “Best Of Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The color-centric painting company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Torlando has an impeccable eye for detail and elegant design, plus an extremely professional team of artists, (and overall AWESOME people), that completely transformed my home. Very tidy; non-disruptive and genuinely talented group. Nearly every room color was updated and actually looking forward to having them back to update intricate French kitchen cabinetry. Absolutely the best in Bloomington.”
- Color Theory Client

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Color Theory,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

About Color Theory

Color Theory is a company dedicated to helping people love their home through great color and craftsmanship. Beginning in Indiana in 2008, founder Torlando Hakes started Color Theory while pursuing his art degree with nothing more than a backpack and a bicycle. Today Color Theory employs several artists and craftsmen and helps hundreds of customers a year with finding the perfect color match for their home. With proven painting methods and a star team Color Theory will give you the best painting experience in Bloomington.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Torlando Hakes in Bloomington, IN on Houzz



Painting Dark Pewter

Earthy tones and warm visual details give Edouard Vuillard's Project for the Public Gardes: Le Square de la Trinite a characteristically intimate feel. Though the arrangement of the forms is flat, his eye for the pattern on a woman's slipper and the delicacy of new leaves on a tree establishes a different sort of depth. 

Our second half of this year's Color Combo, Dark Pewter, is interwoven through the greenery. When offset with sienna-tinged oranges and creamy light greens, it displays an unexpected softness.

All colors by Benjamin Moore. Image source: Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide.

Painting White

Paint like a painting.

Since exploring our Color Combo of the Year, we wanted to find some different ways to feature colors we feel passionate about. We especially want to place what we do and what we love at Color Theory in contexts that might not always get discussed in the interior design blogging world.

One of Torlando's strongest beliefs is that paint is not just a color that lays on the wall; it is an integral part of your home and informs the nature of the space you live in. When you paint a wall, you are painting the scene that is your home.



Image via Hyperallergic. All colors Benjamin Moore.  

This week we are sharing a piece by contemporary perceptual painter, Lois Dodd. Soft-spoken, yet emotive, her pared-down visions of the everyday American landscape use color sensitivity to invite meditation. Check out an interview with her here. Her 2014 painting, Porch Roof Snow Pile, feels particularly appropriate given the snow on the ground today and the appearance of one of our colors for 2017: Cloud White. In matte finishes, the hues of this snowy day palette will give your living space a feeling of thoughtful serenity.

Check back next week for another painting and another palette. If you've got a color or painting you'd like us to work with, let us know!

New Year, New Hue(s)

A lot happened in 2016, including a widespread obsession with gray. Versatile, sophisticated, unexpected – Gray did it all. And it continues its evolution heading into 2017.

Introducing our 2017 Color Combo of the Year...Dark Pewter and Cloud White

dark pewter + cloud white.jpg

The combination of Dark Pewter's jade-influenced gray and Cloud White's soothing, but bright, cream occupies the space between dramatic and tranquil. Together, they draw from the best of higher-contrast pairings and unfussy mid-tones — a choice that doesn't involve a trade-off. If you've ever wished you could pick A and B at the eye doctor, Dark Pewter with Cloud White may just satisfy that desire.

dark pewter + cloud white 2.jpg

From Dining Areas...

...To Nurseries...

...Dark Pewter + Cloud White is the perfect match.

Try Cloud White on your Cabinets...


And for a variation on this pairing... 

...darker darks and crisper whites result in an unpredicted airiness. We particularly love Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray, pictured on the right. Matched with their Simply White (or any comparably bright white) on ceilings, cabinetry, and trim, Gentleman’s Gray feels on-trend but also attuned to more stately eras of the past.


Articulate and modern...

...Dark Pewter is one of Benjamin Moore's most surprisingly complex offerings. Whether in a whole room, or used as an accent color, Dark Pewter consistently provides the drama of black or deep navy, while maintaining the adaptability that makes more traditional grays so appealing. When paired with Cloud White, it truly settles into itself, giving interiors a sort of introspective sensibility that opens up with the unique warmth of Cloud White. As we move forward into the new year, be on the lookout for this bold next step in gray: high contrast, high impact color pairings. It's a match that is artful indeed.

Edward hopper's iconic  nighthawks  at the art institute of chicago    Image via flickr user steven zucker

Edward hopper's iconic nighthawks at the art institute of chicago

Image via flickr user steven zucker

Dream Clean

My sister is one of those fortunate and unusual types who enjoys cleaning; her home is always neat as a pin. For the rest of us, news of Color Theory's new cleaning service is something of a Christmas gift.


The Color Theory Clean Team is more than a post-painting clean up service. Committed to eco-friendly, yet thorough, cleaning solutions, our clean team will leave your home sparkling and leave you with a rewarding customer experience.

We use environmentally responsible products, giving you peace of mind. Essential Oils are another key element in our cleaning services. We can even work with you to select aromas that suit the personality of your home.


Who Is the Clean Team?

Our employees are selected for not just their skill, but their work ethic and dedication as well. The Color Theory Clean Team also believes in mentoring its employees, fostering entrepreneurial engagement. If you love your home-cleaner, let us know and we can send this person to you again. A personal relationship with the Clean Team is yet another way we make our services a wonderful experience.

Check Out the Clean Team

Swing by the Clean Team's site to get an estimate today! 

The Mid-Century Palette

One of the biggest trends in home decor at the moment is Mid-Century design. The child of modernism and the Bauhaus, Mid-Century design is recognizable in its clean, yet never-austere profiles, geometric and elegant construction, and intentional use of materials.

Today, the seminal work of Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and their contemporaries has been co-opted by the likes of West Elm and even Urban Outfitters. While certainly commercial, this proliferation is actually in keeping with a core belief of Mid-Century's founding fathers (and mothers): The conviction that design should be functional, beautiful and accessible in both cost and aesthetic.

Mid-  Century Icons: The Eames Lounge Chair (left) and Isamu Noguchi coffee table (right).   Images via Pinterest and Design Within Reach

Mid-Century Icons: The Eames Lounge Chair (left) and Isamu Noguchi coffee table (right). Images via Pinterest and Design Within Reach


Beyond furniture and decor, color plays an equally important role in creating a Mid-Century space. Though rich, mid-century colors are often somewhat tonal and offset by contrasts in value and hue. 

Deep jades and wood finishes are paired with airier cream tones.  Images via Pinterest.

Deep jades and wood finishes are paired with airier cream tones. Images via Pinterest.

Variants of complementary colors, such as warm rust and toned-down cerulean, are mid-century decor staples.  Images via Froy blog (top) and Curbed (bottom).

Variants of complementary colors, such as warm rust and toned-down cerulean, are mid-century decor staples. Images via Froy blog (top) and Curbed (bottom).


Another source of color inspiration can be found in the artwork of Bauhaus artists like Paul Klee, Annie Albers, and Laszlo Maholy-Nagy. These works all offer nuanced palettes that are right at home in a Mid-Century room. 

A  split-complement  color scheme, like the one used in this watercolor study by Paul Klee, allows for contrasting, dynamic hues that are also harmonious.  Images: HGTV, Pinterest .

A split-complement color scheme, like the one used in this watercolor study by Paul Klee, allows for contrasting, dynamic hues that are also harmonious. Images: HGTV, Pinterest.

Annie Albers' neutral tones feel fresh and lyrical in geometric forms.  Images: (L to R) brit+co, Alchetron, and digsdigs.

Annie Albers' neutral tones feel fresh and lyrical in geometric forms. Images: (L to R) brit+co, Alchetron, and digsdigs.

It's not hard to find cost-friendly version of the classic  Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chair  (or just DWS as it's known to friends). Rove Concepts styled their  iteration  by using a vivid goldenrod in clean, contained shapes set against a more expansive, warm backdrop.  Left: Rove Concepts; R: Laszlo Maholy-Nagy,  A II , 1924 .

It's not hard to find cost-friendly version of the classic Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chair (or just DWS as it's known to friends). Rove Concepts styled their iteration by using a vivid goldenrod in clean, contained shapes set against a more expansive, warm backdrop. Left: Rove Concepts; R: Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, A II, 1924.

Whatever your personal tastes may be, the studied yet unconventional mid-century use of color fits just about every home.  

I Know How You Feel About All This Christmas Business

Christmas ideas for your wife or ideas for teenagers can be tough, especially when life is going pretty well.

For me, I'm always looking for gift ideas that don't increase clutter in the house. This is one of my favorite parts from Charlie Brown Christmas:


Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.

Charlie Brown: What is it you want?

Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.

Consider Paint! 

With zero-voc paints like Benjamin Moore's Natura you won't have to worry about suffocating fumes because today's paints are safe for painting indoors during the winter.  

Your spouse or teen daughter will love the gift of a brand new bedroom with colors that reflect their personality.  

Give your family the gift of Color Theory!

Check out our pricing to see what painting a single room costs!


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!

Trim: Go Bold in Your Home

When we imagine rooms in our mind's eye, wall color is quite often one of the first things we think of. To that end, as we plan updates to our homes, a change in wall color is at the top of the to-do list. Trim, meanwhile, is not infrequently painted a white semi-gloss. Doors, too, are typically painted the same color as the trim. And that white semi-gloss is tried-and-true for a reason: It's neutral, easy to clean, and makes just about any color look pretty darn good. 

Glossy white trim gives this dining room a clean and bright look.  Image: HGTV

Glossy white trim gives this dining room a clean and bright look. Image: HGTV


But trim can also make quite an impact when it is done in unexpected colors. In fact, just a simple change in hue can shift the entire look of a space. The father of color relativity, Josef Albers, noted, "We are able to hear a single tone. But we almost never…see a single color unconnected and unrelated to other colors." This is what makes trim such a surprising—and likely untapped—element in a room. A thoughtful change in its color will noticeably affect the colors surrounding it—walls included.


This color plate from Albers' seminal Interaction of Color demonstrates how the surrounding color transforms our perception of the color in the center. Those small squares are actually the very same color. AND...


...That square could be a door...

Image: Design Sponge

Image: Design Sponge

A super-lemon yellow door lends zest to the pale hardwood and gives the otherwise unmemorable white walls a refreshing, icy sheen.


...Or Entryway

Image: houseandhome.com

Image: houseandhome.com

Warm, dusty teal quietly encloses the height of this space, making this entryway that much more inviting. By using teal on the doorframe, it becomes adjacent to the orange wall just behind—an unexpected and humorous touch. Deep wood-stained accents give the unusual trim work a traditional underscore. As a whole, these color choices make for an area of the home that becomes even more rewarding through experience.


...Or Kitchen

Image: lightlocations.com

Image: lightlocations.com

Grey has been quite the favorite as of late. And for good reason; it's flexible in both range and personal style. While remaining true to its classy neutrality, it becomes graphic when used on trim and built-ins which allows the whiteness of the walls to feel soft and considered.


...Or Bathroom

Image: House Beautiful

Image: House Beautiful

Sea glass-inspired blues and greens make for lovely bathroom colors. This particular iteration has a wholeness that lends it a farmhouse practicality. Yet its use on the trim and wainscoting, in addition to that clawfoot tub and marble floor, bring to mind more decadent spaces...


When in Versailles make your trim bold (and gold).


If you're looking for a simple way to refresh a room, a change in trim color may very well be your answer. Our daily rates are perfect for accomplishing these lighter tasks, so whether you'd like to give scuffed wooden door frames an update in minimal and modern white or you want to add earthiness to an entryway, there's truly a spectrum of accessible, exciting options. (And, yes, we can do gold, too.)


Maximizing Storage and Style in Your Mudroom

When you've got the space, a well organized mudroom is a must. Everyday we get home we kick off our shoes next to the door. Throw our coats and bags on a kitchen chair and leave ourselves a mess to clean up later. But it's later right? We take care of later stuff later! 

With mudrooms, you don't have to put anything away because its already there! Wouldn't it be nice to just walk in, take off your shoes and coat and be done? Just go relax now?

Here are a few ideas for built-ins that will do just the trick for you and your family. 

Baskets on shelves help you to contain the crazy. You know stuff gets out of hand. You know its impossible to sub-compartimentalize every last part of your life. Throw it in a cute basket, duh! Also, don't forget to switch out your throw pillows and rug for the season you're in. 

Baskets on shelves help you to contain the crazy. You know stuff gets out of hand. You know its impossible to sub-compartimentalize every last part of your life. Throw it in a cute basket, duh! Also, don't forget to switch out your throw pillows and rug for the season you're in. 

Try separating out a compartment for each person in the house. Give them the responsibility to maintain their own space. Reward them for organization and shut the door on them for being disorderly! Just kidding. Be nice. 

Try separating out a compartment for each person in the house. Give them the responsibility to maintain their own space. Reward them for organization and shut the door on them for being disorderly! Just kidding. Be nice. 

Whether your storage is overhead or down below, leave a little room for decoration to make the mud room inviting. The mudroom for you family is a "welcome home". We want it to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Now it's time to de-stress. 

Whether your storage is overhead or down below, leave a little room for decoration to make the mud room inviting. The mudroom for you family is a "welcome home". We want it to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Now it's time to de-stress. 

You might be asking yourself, "why is wainscoting so popular in mudrooms?". Good question, I'm glad you asked.

The reason I like wainscoting in mudrooms is two fold. First, wainscoting has a really nice interesting look, however, if it's over-used in a home it can look like it's trying to hard. Small areas like a mudroom or bathroom are great choices for a modest use of wainscoting. 

The second reason is durability and washability. Wainscoting is made from a particle board print that is much harder than gypsum board (drywall) so it doesn't damage easily. In addition to this, wainscoting looks best with a satin or semi-gloss finish which is very washable. Smooth walls don't do as well with higher sheens because they tend to show imperfections and roller marks.  The verticle pattern in the wainscoting doesn't show these same imperfections.

Do yourself a favor! 

This year make a plan to flesh out your mudroom. You'll be so glad you did. Your house will feel cleaner and more organized and you'll love walking home and not tripping over a pile of shoes you don't know where to put. 


If you're interested in getting a custom built-in ask us about our friends the Walnut Builders and lets come up with a plan!

Find Out More > 

Hello, Fall!

Our past few posts featured some lovely outdoor spaces. But the recent cooler days (not to mention fallen leaves on the porch) may have you wondering how to make the most of your “fifth room” before winter sets in. Below you'll find a few easy tips to add warmth and coziness to your deck, porch, or patio. Better yet, these ideas work just as well in any living area.



Fall in Bloomington is particularly beautiful. If you've ever spent a sunny afternoon out at Lake Monroe or Lake Griffy, you're familiar with the rich and colorful trees. You can easily borrow from the feeling of the landscape itself with textured pillows, throws, and rugs. Consider layering different textures to mimic the variation found in one of fall's best features: foliage in transition.

Image: Style Files

Image: Style Files

Image: DIY Network

Image: DIY Network



Let's be honest: Some people just resist being outside as the days and evenings turn chilly. In addition to offering a favorite autumn sweater, adding visual warmth through lighting accents, such as string lights and votives (and maybe even a flame-free DIY fire pit, too) creates an enticing — and cozy — environment.

Image: Brooklyn Limestone

Image: Brooklyn Limestone

Image: Sunset.com

Image: Sunset.com

See more outdoor lighting inspiration here.

image: apartment therapy

image: apartment therapy

These DIY votive holders work well in outdoor both and indoor spaces. Apartment Therapy has even more ideas here.



Perhaps the easiest way to get your outdoor space feeling Fall is through autumnal patterns and, of course, our favorite —color! Buffalo checks and other plaids make an even bolder impression in rich, warm palettes. And — dare we say it — usher us into the holiday season ahead. 

Image: Howtodecorate.com

Image: Howtodecorate.com

image: designsponge

image: designsponge

Image: sua casa sua festa

Image: sua casa sua festa


Adaptable to any home, these ideas are also well-suited for personal interpretation. They work in just about any decorating style. What's your favorite aesthetic for fall? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!

Outdoor Livin'

Summer is a great time for backyard renovations. You can create a beautiful backyard that can be enjoyed through fall (and sometimes even winter). Below are some ideas for your perfect backyard, no matter your style  or space. 

These backyards are perfect for the garden lover. It's so nice to be able to grow your own food, right in your backyard!

These backyards prove that you don't need a huge yard to make a functional space that everyone will love to spend time in. 

These last backyards are just dream yards; gorgeous pools, mature trees, plenty of space to run. Sounds like heaven to me! 

What are some things you would like to see in your dream backyard? Let us know on here, or check out our Facebook page and leave a comment there! 

Getting Ready for Summer Parties!

Summer Backyard Bbq Grill Party Scene

The first day of Summer was this week, and Fourth of July is coming up soon, which means the beginning of Summer party season! Summer is the greatest time for outdoor parties, get-togethers, and barbecues. Below you will find some ideas to really make your Summer parties spectacular! 

DIY Paper Cup Lights

Paper cup lights are an easy way to add some cute decoration to any party, while still being functional. All you need for this project is a strand of Christmas lights, 3oz paper cups, and an X-acto knife (colored/patterned paper and glue optional). If the color or pattern on your cups doesn't appeal to you, use the paper and glue to cover the outside of the cups. Then, use the X-acto knife to cut a small x on the bottom of the cup. This is where the bulb from the Christmas lights will go. Attach a cup to each bulb along the entire strand of lights, and voila! You have a beautiful decoration and light source for your party. 

Keep the Bugs Away

The worst part about summer parties are all the bugs, especially mosquitoes. There are many different tips and methods for keeping the pests away, but the easiest and most effective way to keep your party as insect-free as possible is to set up at least two electric fans (more for bigger areas). Many small insects, including mosquitoes and gnats, don't have to strength to fly in the breeze. You can create your own breeze using the fans and the bugs will stay away. Plus your guests will be kept cooler and more comfortable. 

Make a Clean and Inviting Space

No one wants to attend a party or barbecue with too little seating, an overgrown yard, and a dirty space. Make sure to have enough clean, comfortable seating for all guests (or invite guests to bring their own). Yard work can be a pain, but it is important to get it done before a party (or at least get the lawn mowed). Finally, clean the outside areas of your home. Siding can become dingy and covered in mildew over time. Same with your driveway, fence, and deck. Before you have a party, have all these surfaces power washed. If you don't want to worry about taking on all that work yourself, call us. We will come to your home (you don't even have to be there), connect to your water source, power wash anything that needs to be, including windows and gutters, and clean up everything before we go. Then you will be all ready for your perfect Summer party!    

Dad's Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

Tomorrow we celebrate all the men in our lives, our fathers, brothers, grandfathers, spouses, friends, and loved ones. For this special day, we want to bring you some of the ultimate outdoor kitchen spaces for that special grill-master (or sous-chef) in your life! 

Outdoor kitchens are a perfect addition to any home, especially in the summer. Cooking in the house heats the whole house, leaving no relief from the rising temperatures. Plus, outdoor kitchens are great for summer parties! Let us know which one you would want for Father's Day!

8 Clean, Cool, and Functional Kitchens

Summer is right around the corner, and that means friends and family gathering together for summer parties. And what are parties without delicious food? Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, especially when entertaining guests. These 8 kitchens are some of my favorites, not only because they have interesting designs and are beautiful, but also because they are totally functional, with plenty of cabinet and counter space. Check them out below, and let us know which kitchen is your favorite! 


I really love this kitchen (even though you can only see one wall), because of the stark contrast of the light walls and backsplash with the dark cabinets and flooring. 

Cozy Country Reno

I like the old-fashioned, rustic feel of this kitchen. To me, the room feels almost serene, with the pale green cabinets and walls. It's a great use of color without being overwhelming.


This kitchen proves that even smaller spaces can be beautiful and functional. The spice racks on the cabinet doors is a great space-saver, and the green island adds a pop of color and extra storage (and it can be moved for greater accessibility into the rest of the space). So cute!

City Homes

This kitchen really caught my attention because of the way the cabinet doors are painted. I have never seen cabinets painted like that, but I absolutely love the way it looks! 

Noe Valley

This kitchen is very sleek with the white subway tiles and off-white cabinets. All the light colors in the room just make that hint of blue pop even more. 


This kitchen is similar in color to the first kitchen, with the light walls and dark lower cabinets, but this kitchen is a little more industrial with the silver countertops, sink, and handles. 

Wahoo Lake house kitchen

I am crazy about this kitchen. It is so bright and the blue is such a fun accent color. You can even see it in the pantry just off the kitchen. And these floors are just gorgeous. Add in all the cabinet and counter space, and you pretty much have a perfect kitchen.

The Balham Kitchen by deVOL

This final kitchen looks like my kind of kitchen (complete with cat)! Exposed brick is one of my favorite features in a house, and here it complements the dark cabinets beautifully. I would live in this kitchen.

Remember to like us on Facebook, and tell us which kitchen look is your favorite!