Color Cues

The Master Color Scheme

In creating room designs and color schemes I typically start with a centerpiece.  If you can find a fabric or piece of furniture or paint color that you really adore, that is all you need for a jumping off point.  For the master bedroom, my starter piece was a bedding set from Costco.com that I hemmed and hawed about for a couple of months before finally pulling the trigger to order.  The saving grace was that they sent me a free fabric sample, upon  request, so I could actually hold the fabric and see the true colors.  **I have nothing against shopping on the internet, as long as you know that objects on your screen are not always the color they appear**

Yorkshire Bedding

Comparing the real thing to the internet quality photo, I would say that it is closer to a shade of blue (rather than green). Normally, my philosophy is to have one pattern fabric and pull solid tones as accent colors.  But…..I really love my new sale fabrics, so I am going to step outside of my comfort box and use two prints.  Yikes!

Bedding Fabric

Wall Color

Accent Fabric

Accent Furniture

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Accent Furniture: Sherwin Williams – Riverway SW6222  & Wall Color: Behr – Warm Muffin 330D-4

I have a special project in mind for the accent fabric, just waiting on the perfect piece to practice my upholstery skills.  Which are none. But I’ll post my attempts so we can all learn from my potential mistakes. And speaking of…

~A Short Story~

I will share with you something that I had to learn the hard way, and hopefully help others avoid the same mistake.  The Behr paint chip I had picked up and was carrying around in my pocket, are only sold at Home Depot.  One day I happened to be buying supplies and plants at Lowe’s, so I asked them to color match my paint sample chip.  The gentleman behind the paint counter did warn me that different manufacturers use different base colors, so the match would not be exact.  “I’ll take my chances”, I said.  Big Mistake.  The color was completely different once we got it up on the walls.  I learned my lesson, and it wasn’t a complete failure because it actually worked great as a primer in covering up the hideous forest green walls the house came with.  Then I went to HD to get the real Behr paint.

~The End~

My collection of furniture is still on-going, but so far I have an armoire, dresser, vanity and ‘project’ piece.  All of which are stacked around the garage waiting to be sanded, stained, painted and generally ‘loved-up’.  And so my design process continues, as I pick up pieces here and there, to create my world.

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Adding Some Summer Zest

I Want. I Need. I Must Have.

Pottery Barn Lemon Collection

Such a beautiful collection for summer decor, and the lemon fabric is my new favorite. It’s casual, watercolor design is cheerful and is the perfect palette for the next season.  I’ll be out hunting for galvanized accessories, mason jars , and lovely shades of green, yellow (Go Ducks!) and blue.

Fabric Hound

I know they do it on purpose, because it is hard to miss, but do all of the clearance sale signs have to be in bright yellow?  It’s like a ray of sunshine, calling me to come and play. That is what Hancock Fabric has been taunting me with, and I finally decided to see what all the banners were about.  They did not disappoint.

I know I have touched on the subject before, of finding that one magical piece of the design puzzle that makes your heart skip a beat.  I found two! I was sifting through the clearance table of upholstery fabrics and found both of these beauties:

Upholstery Fabrics

I knew immediately that I loved them, though at the time I wasn’t sure for what purpose.  I just had to have them, and at $7.00 a yard I would take what they had left.  Imagine my surprise when I got to the register and found out it was an additional half of that! At that point I didn’t care if they sat in a closet for a year (shame on me for thinking that) because I was getting such a bargain.

After a quick internal design discussion, I decided that the faded blue floral would look great on our dining room chairs (craigslist find) and that helped my with my hutch dilemma in choosing a gray paint. I am attempting to teach myself how to take better photos, so these will have to do for now. When I first picked up the fabric I thought I was looking at the back, because it looked slightly faded.  But after turning it over I realized that the great aged, worn look was the right side.  It almost has a linen like texture, and you can see the thread lines and the non-uniformity as the pattern fades in and out.

Fabric Detail

The chairs are a bit run down, but have a great shape, so those may get a coat of gray too. These chairs are much taller than most (like me) and are currently sporting a green velvet seat.  You see that one cane back is damaged, but after paying only $40 for 4 side chairs and 2 armed-captains chairs I’ll make it work.

Wicker Chairs - Before

I’ll have to dissect the piece to see if it can be repaired, or perhaps a new look with an upholstered back also…what do you think? I’m torn because the caning is really starting to grow on me.  I have been looking at some antique French chairs for inspiration.

Country French Louis XV Dining Chair

French Antique Louis XV Side Chair

French Antiqui Louis XVI Giltwood Armchair

images found at: Alhambra Antiques

Insert Dreamy Sighs…..Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Spring In Your Decor Step

My recent posts have been few, and far between and here it is… Summer time.  But that does not mean I have forgotten all about spring!  I was inspired in my early decorating this year by a single table runner and centerpiece.  Yes, believe it or not, one key element is all I needed to build my accessories and color scheme.    

I was browsing through TJ Maxx and came across a table runner by  (cost about $10) and loved the colors.  This was right before Easter, mind you, so I was looking to branch away from the bright neon and pastels that usually pop up around this holiday.  Non that I might cutesy easter color, but I was more in search of a plan that would extend itself beyond the holiday and through spring, and maybe even summer.  I settled on just the table runner (but ended up going back to get the matching tablecloth and placements) and a set of tan-colored, faux leather, basket weave place mats. The tones are muted, yet bold, and went perfectly with my “antique” look (see centerpiece) for the spring. I then had a color palette of blue, yellow, green and tan to lead my search for accessories and decor to coordinate with the dining room and living room. Watch me go!     

If you have not yet realized my love of Pottery Barn, you may not be reading closely.  For I have once again taken an idea from their catalog and made it work for me and my budget.     

Pottery Barn Centerpiece

  

  First I fell in love with their large spring centerpiece because it wasn’t a traditional cut flower arrangement and it was oh, so grand.  I felt it would be great for our Easter table because it was tall enough that you could see through it, and it kind of makes you feel like you are eating outside in the midst of a spring bloom.  I scoured my local arts and crafts stores looking for tall, willowy branches but they all seemed too flowery, looked TOO fake, or we beyond my price limit.  I knew that I would need at least 8 to 10 of these branches to get the full effect.  Finally, while scouring the clearance section at Michael’s Craft Store, I found two types of stalks that would work perfectly together…and at $2 a piece I knew I wouldn’t find a better deal.  As it happens, I also spotted a charming collection of ceramic birds (in blue, yellow, and green) that would look great trickled down the center of the table. The were not solid figures, and they bodies of the birds had a lace-like appearance …and they weren’t too “cute”.     

My final project involved a bit of elbow grease (and hot air!) and attention to detail.  I adored the beautiful hanging eggs that adored one of the centerpiece photos and though, I can do that!  So I gathered my supplies:      

1 dozen eggs
white craft glue
hot glue gun
Craft knife
water in glass or cup
small paint brush or sponge brush
needle or stick pin
botanical prints (from book or magazine, or printed from computer/internet)
spool of thin ribbon  

Eggs & Supplies

  

   

If you have never blown out a raw egg, it can be a bit time-consuming.  I usually pock a small hole at the top (smallest crown of egg) and a larger one at the bottom, about the size of a pin head.  Use the needle or pin to try to break up the yolk, then blow the eggs insides out from the top hole into a bowl, or the garbage.  Patience is the key.  When you need to take a break, use that time to cut out the flowers with the knife.  The more delicate and free of paper the flowers are, the easier it will be to spread them on the eggs.  I used a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part glue and coated the area that I would place the flower, then placed the cutout on the egg, and finally covered the whole area with the glue/water mixture until it layed as flat as possible on the egg.  Don’t worry about getting glue everywhere, because it will dry clear.  I managed to finish 6 eggs, and ended up pasting multiple flowers on some of them.  I then used my hot glue gun and very thin, green ribbon to create a loop that would let me hang the eggs from my centerpiece branches.     

 Now you know my daunting adventure in the name of spring decor, and below are the fruits (and eggs) of my labor.    

  

Easter Table Scape

Easter Chick Blue

Easter Egg #1

Easter Centerpiece

 

Easter Egg #2

Easter Chicks

~ Happy Spring Styling ~

Color Me Silly

Sometimes the most simple decision can stop people in their design tracks.

What color?

What color to paint. What color to accent. What color to emphasize. What color to highlight. What color is too bold.  What color will make a statement. What color can I live with.

For those of you that have no trouble choosing your favorite shade of green for an accent wall, or matching your linens to your furniture, you may want to skip ahead a bit.  Choosing a color palette is not as scary as some think.  Remember back when you were a kid and at the start of each school year there was a fresh, untouched box of crayon sitting in front of you.  Oh the possibilities!

Colors Galore

Maybe you could draw a purple dragon, or a yellow frog.  A blue and pink castle might be the ticket, or a colorful family portrait.  No fear, just grab a crayon and let your imagination run wild.  Tap into that! I know that come the end of the school year there were always a couple crayons that had been worn down to the nub because they were my favorite.  Let’s start from there, shall we?

The Drab Age is over. Color is coming into its own again. Until very recently people were literally scared out of their wits by color. Perhaps this was a hangover from our Puritan ancestors. But whatever the reason, brown, grays and neutrals were the only shades considered ‘safe.’ Now we know that lovely, clear colors have a vital effect on our mental happiness. Modern doctors and psychiatrists are convinced of this!

-Dorothy Draper

If you look back at my desk picture, you will see that the office was painted a gray-blue.  That was the original inspiration starting point for my home office.  I often sort through catalogs and home decor magazine, ripping out pages that catch my eye.  Then I can recycle the rest of the magazine, and keep a collection of pages to look back at later.  I had ripped out a page with the most beautiful blue room, with white accent furniture and vintage artwork throughout.  Now finding the perfect shade was easier said than done.

Color Chip

I will be the first to admit that the color on the paint sample, is not always the color that ends up on your wall… and that was the case with my original selection.  While I was searching for dusty, muted, gray-blue color I ended up with more of a dark turquoise.  But the great thing about paint is that it’s no permanent!  After about a week of hemming and hawing, ‘Do I REALLY hate it?’, I gave it another shot.  Lucky for me, I had yet to remove the painters tape, so no additional prep work there.  Finally the right color was up on the walls, and the room was on the right design track.

Typically, I start my rooms with a base color or pattern (blue for the office) and build the palette around that.  It was time to consult my design color wheel, and in this case I chose a complimentary scheme introducing yellow.

The primary color wheel starts with blue, red and yellow.  I chose to use blue and yellow to compliment each other.  When the secondary colors  of orange, green and violet are added, your options are expanded.  Let’s explore the color wheel later…it makes a great art project!

My new color palette looks like this:

Office Palette

Blue walls and creamy, yellow accents, are mixed with my new, white desk and dark stained buffet (next edition of Spruce News). Black and white are really neutrals, sometimes not considered colors even, and can be integrated into almost any design palette. It’s a work in progress, but I’ll follow-up with some photos soon.

So tell me…what’s your favorite color?