Archive for the ‘Design Talk with Stacey Severs’ Category

Helping from a distance.

My Mom lives in Ontario, and has been asking me for help on her bedroom makeover. Obviously I have spent a lot of time at my Mom’s house, and yet I still found it difficult to remember the exact colours she used throughout her home. Why? Shouldn’t a colour consultant have perfect colour memory? Well although I feel that I do have a heightened colour experience the fact is “colour-memory” is short! That means it’s almost impossible for someone (even an expert) to look at a colour chip display and pick the exact match for a colour in their memory.

This is why it’s important to take your colours with you when you are out shopping. And a photo isn’t good enough; there are too many factors that affect the colours in a picture (e.g. the room’s lighting, the camera’s flash, the ink used to print the picture or the display screen’s settings, etc). So, when you’re browsing paint chips for your master bedroom bring your bedding (or at least the pillow shams) with you.

So once my Mom decided on her bedding, I needed to see it so that I could make suggestions for wall colours. Fortunately, big box stores allow Mom and I to look at many of the same products in our own respective cities.

I selected Cement Gray 2112-60 for my Mom’s walls. It’s a soft grey with subtle mauve undertones that harmonize with the purple embroidery on the bedding. Mom tested the colour on her walls and it looked too purple. My Dad was horrified, how could his only daughter suggest he should sleep in a purple room?!?

In the room’s unique lighting the subtle mauve was not so subtle. This is why it is so important to test a paint colour on your walls! And why I offer colour consultations in-home. Every space has its own unique lighting finger print that cannot be predicted 2000 km away, and can’t be predicted in a store either.

My Mom then tried a second choice, Stonington Gray HC-170, and was able to achieve the soft gray tone she was expecting from the first option.

Defining colour can sometime be like trying to catch a cloud and pin it down. Because lighting conditions are unique to your location, so is the way you perceive colour. This challenge is what I love about being a colour consultant, and it’s also what causes such frustration for my clients (and my Mom). Bringing a sample of the colour with you can help predict the colour’s shift, but you have to see the colour, on your wall, in your space, to pin the cloud!

My Mom went shopping.

And like many people she found lots of choices. So I wasn’t surprised when she came back to me with two COMPLEATLY different bedding styles to inspire her bedroom makeover.

The first one had lots of colours, but it was VERY floral. My Mom chooses it because the colours were right, but the style wasn’t. This is a mistake a lot of people make. Colour is a VERY powerful driver, that’s why it is so heavily relied on in marketing (quick, what colour is a Coke…easy right!). So when we see the colours we are looking for, we buy! But colour isn’t always a good indication of style.

The second option was more my Mom’s style. A simple feather graphic embroidered into the comforter. I was impressed she went out of her comfort zone with the colour. It was a rich navy blue. Now we could start picking wall colours…

Well… we could have… but Mom needed to ask EVERYONE what they thought of her choices. Not surprisingly she got a lot of different opinions. It rattled her confidence in her choice. She has informed me she is going to take both bedding choices back to the store and start again.

Her mistake was asking too many people their option. You should only ask people who are directly affected by the decision, or those whose decorating style you like (i.e. a professional decorator, or you’re stylish BFF). So my Dad definitely deserves a say in how his bedroom looks, but her entire book-group (who will never see her bedroom) shouldn’t be asked for input.

Better luck next time Mom.

Working with Mom; My Most Challenging Client

When people ask me about clients that I’ve found challenging my Mom is the first person who come to mind. I love her, but for most of our lives the expert balance has been tipped in her favor (she really did know better than me when I was 16, but don’t tell her that). So now that I have acquired knowledge in an area outside of her expertise I think it’s hard for her to trust that I’m right. When I answer her decorating questions, she always gets a second opinion to test if I’m right. She was shocked when she went into her local Benjamin Moore store and they repeated the same advice I had given her!

Now she is redecorating her bedroom and has asked for my advice. I advised her to go shopping for some inspirational bedding. When re-designing your bedroom, it’s always best to start with the bedding. It’s easier to match the thousands of paint colours to your bedding than it is to choose a paint colour and then force it to work with the linen options in the stores. Trust me, I’ve tried!

Happy Shopping Mom!

When in doubt, call an expert! A colour consultation could be the answer you’re looking for.

As a colour consultant for Benjamin Moore Southpointe I’d be glad to come by your house to help you select the perfect colour for your painting project. It’s more affordable than most expect and includes up to an hour and half of my time. During this time I will help you decide on a colour pallet for your whole home. Furthermore, I often have ample time to answer other decorating concerns you have such as ideas for window treatments, furniture placement or flooring options.
By being in your house I can evaluate your home’s unique lighting, flooring and furnishings. This gives me a personalized perspective on your style and design goals, from which we can work to find the best colour solutions to create your dream space.
As part of the experience I will create a full write up. You will get a portfolio you will be able to use as a reference guide so you can decorate on your own timeline and at your own pace.
Call or email me today to find out more, or to book your appointment.
Stacey Severs
403.726.9161
southpointepaint@telus.net

What’s the most popular colour for?

People often ask me what the most popular beige is?  Or the most popular white? Or the most popular… well you get the idea.  Why do people want to know? Well firstly, we all want to feel like part of the in-crowd and knowing what’s popular allows us to do that.  However colour is a personal expression of style and most people realize that, so why do we still need to know what’s popular? When it comes to colour popular also means tried and true. The popular colours are popular for a reason..they work! Colour can be a tricky road to navigate, but if you start with an idea of what colours work best in most situations, like having a map, you’ll get safely to your final destination. 

So here is my list of the most popular colours:

White: Hands down Cloud White CC-40 (This colour out sells ALL other whites about 4 to 1)

Beige: Sandy Brown CC-150 and Stone House CC-120.  These colours have been my most popular recommendation for a neutral for the last 3 years in Calgary.

Taupe: Smoky Taupe CC-490.  This colour is increasing in popularity because of the new trend towards grey.

Somewhere between beige and taupe: Greenbrier Beige HC-79 and Bleeker Beige HC-80.  People often want something between beige (which has a high degree of yellow) and taupe (which can be too grey for some) and these two options are the perfect middle of the road colours.  For this reason these are the most popular wall colours found in newly built houses and show homes.

Red: Sundried Tomato CC-62.  This rich warm red is a classic choice for an accent colour or dining room.  This colour contains neutralizing grey which tones done the intensity and gives longevity to this colour selection.

Orange: Maple Syrup CC-420 and Greenfield Pumpkin HC-40. These oranges are not too bright and harmonize with most woods since they contain brown-undertones.

Yellow: Dijon CC-210 and Vellum CC-200. These yellows are neutralized with orange which allows the colours to maintain their warmth (in comparison yellows that are neutralized with black often have a greenish undertone).

Spring Green: Georgian Green HC-115 and Dill Pickle 2147-40. Bright and cheerful, spring green is the perfect way to accent a monochromatic room. These greens could also be used to create a fresh feeling in the bathroom.

Sage: Herbes De Provence CC-634. This colour is my most popular alternative to a traditional neutral (i.e. beige or taupe).  This colour will still behave as a neutral in that it will compliment most other colours in your decor, however it will also add some colour and personality to your walls.  Once you try this colour you’ll fall in love! I did!

Spa Blue: Smoky Green CC-700 and Wedgwood Gray HC-146. We are seeing a lot of spa inspired spaces being created in the home.  These two shades are the best choices to capture that watery spa feeling in your own private space.  These blues have grey and green undertones that keep them restful and interesting.

Brown: Whitall Brown HC-69, Davenport Tan HC-76. These browns are lighter than dark chocolate without the pink-undertones that can occur. I often see these colours used for an accent wall with beige or taupe. This keeps the overall scheme monochromatic while adding some emphasis and interest to the walls.

Grey: Ashley Gray HC-87, Boothbay Gray HC-165.  Grey is presently the trendy colour to use in your home, but these greys will stand the test of time.  Ashley Grey is warm and I see if often used as an accent like the popular browns.  Boothbay Gray is calm and cool and can be used in the same way as the popular spa-blues, especially in the master bedroom.

Kid’s Room Colour: Denim Wash CC-770 and Grasslands CC-590. Like a pair of old jeans that will go with any t-shirt, these colours will go with any kids theme wither its sports, cartoons or movie stars.

 Use these colours as a guide, come into Southpointe Benjamin Moore and pick up the colour chip for the colours your interested in and then explore what other colours are on that chip as well as what colours are on the chips next to the popular colour. Somewhere in that mix is the perfect colour for you!

-by Stacey Severs

Decorating with Brown

Brown covers the entire spectrum of the rainbow. Add in tints and shades and you get hundreds of browns to choose from.  So how do you know which one will work in your space?  The same colour principles apply to the brown colour wheel as do to the primary colour wheel.  

The Brown Colour Spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, black and purple undertones.

The Brown Colour Spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, black and purple undertones.

 Selecting a brown starts with deciding what undertone would work best for your space. If there is an undesirable colour element in the space, using a brown with the same undertones as the undesired colour will create a neutralizing effect on the unfavourable element.  For example if there is honey oak in your home, a brown with yellow or orange undertones will harmonize with the oak and make it less noticeable in the space.

 If your decor (i.e. furnishings, paintings and accessories) is mostly green it would be best to avoid a brown with red undertones since these brown will create an unpleasing amount of contrast because red and green are complimentary colours.  This is especially true for lighter tints, as the green decor would make a red-based beige look pink.

 Brown is a versatile colour to decorate with because it comes in so many different tones. One popular combination is using a grey blue with black-based browns; for example Mount Saint Anne CC-710 with Bittersweet Chocolate 2114-10.

 Earthy greens are easily paired with brown (inspired by the natural colour pallet of a trees leafs with the bark).  Try Herbes De Provence CC-634 with yellow browns like Norwester Tan CC-332 or green browns like Otter Brown 2137-10.

 For a trendy look pair lavender with a purple-based brown; for example African Violet 2116-50 with Mississippi Mud 2114-20.

Brown can also be effectively used for a monochromatic pallet, just choose different tints with the same undertones; for example use Sandy Brown CC-150 together with Norwester Tan CC-332 or Bluffs CC-338 with Maryville Brown HC-175.

Colour Pulse 2011

Every spring Benjamin Moore forecasts the colour trends we’ll see in the coming year and the report for 2011 is in! Benjamin Moore’s design team travels the world to see how colour is being used in everything from fashion to home accessories. They also look for texture, materials, fabrics, shapes and manufacturing methods.  All theses influences give rise to their predictions for colour directions.

colour blocked dining room

Create a statement in the dining room with a back to basics colour blocking design using Neon Red 2087-10, Sunburst Yellow 2023-40 and Twilight Blue 2067-30 with Black Tar 2126-10 trim.

 

When it comes to the primary colours, think back to basics. A re-emergence of clean bright hues is happening to red, blue and yellow!  Colours like Neon Red 2087-10, Sunburst Yellow 2023-40 and Twilight Blue 2067-30 bring life to black, white and grey pallets.  These colours are best used for colour blocking such as in cubic, circular and geometric patterns.

yellow-orange living room

Create a warm living room with warm food inspired colours; Sunvalley 350 walls with Butterscotch 2157-30 accents.

 

Colour is also being inspired by produce and food. The entire rainbow can be found in your grocery aisle, everything from fresh greens like Grassy Fields 2034-30 to purples like Dark Burgundy 2075-10. Warm colours like Butterscotch 2157-30 and Sunvalley 350 can be found inside of spice jars. These colours are enriched with red reflecting earthy tones and are paired with this season’s cornerstone metal: Bronze.

layered brown bedroom

Layer neutrals to create a calm earthy atmosphere in the bedroom. Pensive Bedding AF-140 is layered over dark furniture (Sierra Spruce 2108-20) and paired with Hush AF-90 walls.

 Neutrals are also earthy and grounded inspired by the earth’s strata.  Monochromatic pallets are created by layering browns like Paper Mache AF-25, Hush AF-95, Pensive AF-140, and Sierra Spruce 2108-20. Neutral is moving from khaki to camel (i.e. less green and more red).

makeup pallet living room

This airy living room uses makeup inspired hues to create a welcoming feeling. The Batik AF-610 walls are grounded by the fireplace (Galaxy 2117-20).

Makeup inspired colours like blued pinks and flesh tones are also being used to create airy monochromatic pallets. Colours such as Chameuse AF-265, and Batik AF-610 can be used like neutrals, while Bunny Nose Pink 2074-60, Spring Violet 2117-50 and Galaxy 2117-20 can be used to accent and ground the palette.

-by Stacey Severs

Trendy Grey Kitchens

Ashley Grey used on Kitchen Cabinets

Ashley Grey used on Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re looking for cabinet options for your kitchen there’s more out there than wood and white!  The hottest trend for cabinets is grey. Homeowners are choosing stainless steel appliances more often, and it follows that grey cabinets are used to harmonize with the stainless steel creating a unified look in the kitchen. Try a deep grey like Ashley Grey HC-87, this colour has warm undertones that will add a welcoming layer to your space. A medium gray like Stone Hearth CC-490 will add colour to the cabinets without darkening the room.  If you have a small space a light grey such as Collingwood OC-28 will keep your space feeling bright and open while creating this trendy look.

grey kitchen 1

To take this trend one step further, consider painting your base cabinets dark grey and the upper cabinets light grey.  This look can also be achieved by painting your kitchen island a different grey than your wall cabinets.

-By Stacey Severs

Choosing a Colour for your Front Door

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression; and when it comes to your house your guest’s first impression will start with curb appeal.  Impress your guests with a bold colour statement that sets your door out from the body of the house, thus guiding and welcoming your guests into your home.

Try to think outside of the neutral colour box (i.e. brown, or black) and put something exciting on the door.  Remember,  you only have about 18 square feet to create a wow; it’s a small area that can have big impact.  Of course,  the colour you choose should relate to you’re homes overall colour pallet, but for extra impact,  think of choosing a complimentary colour (i.e. purple door with a yellow house, or an orange door with a blue house).

 Red is a classic colour choice for the entrance because it instantly grabs people’s attention. Try Dinner Party AF-300 or Sundried Tomato CC-62 on your door. An orange door would create the same impact as a red door while providing your home with something out of the ordinary. I suggest Rusty Nail CC-390, Buttered Yam AF-230 and Greenfield Pumpkin HC-40.

Colonial home with a front door painted Dinner Party AF-300.

Colonial home with a front door painted Dinner Party AF-300.

Green is another classic colour choice, but to add your own flair,  consider trendy colours like Miramachi CC-752 or Bonsai¯ CC-666.  Navy Blue is also returning to the  forefront of trends, and a colour like Van Deusen Blue HC-156 or Marine Blue 2059-10 will catch people’s attention.

 For something completely different,  consider painting your front door purple.  This will definetely  make your home standout on the block. Choose a purple with neutralizing black like Chambourd AF-646, Cabernet 2116-30 or Super Nova CC-990.

A Craftsman home with a bold purple door painted Chamboud AF-645.

Craftsman home with a bold purple door painted Chambourd AF-645.

If a neutral is still the best option for your home consider doing something slightly different than a pure tone, this way you can still create the impact desired for great curb appeal.  If you want a black door, consider choosing a soft black like Wrought Iron 2124-10 or one with blue undertones like Abyss 2128-20.  If brown is more your style try Chocolate Candy Brown 2107-10, Grizzly Bear Brown 2111-20 or Bittersweet Chocolate 2114-10.

 Whatever colour you choose, it’s sure to create the welcoming first impression you desire for you home.

-by Stacey Severs

How to Paint Circles / Polka Dots

Circles and polka-dots are presently very trendy for kid’s bedrooms, and are very easy to do. (I promise it’s very easy; I was able to get it done in an evening with my 2 year old helping.)

 The first step is to find a template for your circles.  Look around the house.  I wanted large dots so I used the lid to our garbage can (cleaned up, of course).  Depending on the size you want you could use dinner plates, a paint can lid, drinking glasses, anything with a smooth circular edge.  Here’s a list of the other material you’ll need.

 Material List

  • ¼ inch painter’s tape
  • 2 inch painter’s tape
  • Paint brush
  • 4 inch roller
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Circle template (i.e. something to trace)

 Next measure where on the wall you want your circles… or create a random pattern (this would look great with 2 or 3 different size circles). Place your template on the wall and trace it with your pencil.

Trace your template, then outline with 1/4 inch tape.

Trace your template, then outline with 1/4 inch tape.

The most important step is taping around the pencil line.  Use ¼ inch tape. This tape will easily curve with the line, and you should be able to tape around the entire circle with one long piece. The next step is to add 2 inch tape around the circle to bulk up your tape line (so that it’s easier to stay inside the line).  Rip off pieces around 4 inches long and tape them on a tangent around your ¼ inch tape.

Seal the tape edge with the background colour paint.

Seal the tape edge with the background colour paint.

To ensure you get a clean crisp paint edge, the next step is to paint over the tape edge with the background paint colour.  By doing this, you ensure that any bleeding that happens under the tape will be the colour of the wall; it will seal the tape so your circle colour won’t bleed through.

Use a 4 inch roller to paint your circles. Then remove the tape while the paint is still wet.

Use a 4 inch roller to paint your circles. Then remove the tape while the paint is still wet.

The last and easiest step is to paint the circle your desired colour. Use a paint brush for smaller circles, and a 4 inch roller for larger dots. Remove your tape while the last coat is still wet. The results will be a perfect circle with crisp clean paint lines.

finished

Finished Circle with clean crisp edges.

-by Stacey Severs