Monday, April 8, 2013


My childhood home was all 1970's wallpaper and carpeting. Dorm life was cinderblock and vinyl tile except for a few semesters of thin drywall separating me from a suite mate.

The requisite early-income rentals were thickly painted white: all the trim and details disappearing under their layers. With luck, we had nice floors.

There is a science to color; but best to go with your gut.

The 1890 Victorian townhouse we eventually bought for our family was a delightful change. The previous owner played with pink and peach tones in different rooms, painted the floors on the attic level in yellow and the kids room trim in cobalt blue.

On a limited budget, mechanical repairs were a priority. After that, we could only afford to customize through color. And, it was an opportunity to experiment.

Bold color blocking highlight the steep ceilings of this attic bedroom 

Rich colors on the walls and ceilings make this large 
bedroom cozier.
The palette was inspired by magazine images that I had collected over the years. I limited the range to five colors to manage cost. And, to stretch it, I painted every ceiling in a tint from the palette choices. I also mixed glazes blended from leftover paint and brushed that over the painted surface to get a cloudy, softer tone.

With continuity and repetition, color envelopes you. And, the focus moves to the experience of color instead of the color itself. You can make this happen with white, too, but with less personality.

Chalkboard paint adds a whimsical dimension to the color 

The experience of color happens on a grand scale in nature. The forest canopy. The sunset. A canyon surrounded by mountains. A midwinter, snowy field.

Use color to create a mood that is bigger than four walls.

At the Saguaro Palm Springs Hotel,  natural and manmade 
color gleefully coexist.