Showing posts with label color scheme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label color scheme. Show all posts

23 October 2013

Yes, you can buy cabinetry online

Say you’re working with a design-only designer on a kitchen renovation. Say that said designer puts together a plan to end all plans. A plan that takes efficiency and good taste to levels previously unimagined. Then what?

Since the lion’s share of kitchen design involves cabinetry, what do you do with a set of completed plans? How do you get from paper to a room you can cook in?

Well, one really simple way is by taking the plans you have and generating a list of components if your designer hasn't done that already. With that list you can go to a website like Cliq Studios, and place an order. There are a number of websites out there that’ll allow you to fulfill a cabinet order. A few more such sites are The Cabinet Factory, Kitchen Resource Direct and Kitchen Cabinet Depot. If you’re a homeowner buying cabinetry for the first time, each of those sites have staffed, toll-free numbers to hold your hand through the process.

These sites are set up to allow just about anyone to order semi-custom cabinetry. You choose the components you need in the dimensions you need them from an interactive catalog, just about the same way any industry professional does.

Ordering cabinetry is complicated but it needn't be overwhelming. There are a lot of parts to consider and to take into account but if your needs aren't too complex and you’re diligent in your approach, ordering cabinetry online may be the answer you’re looking for.

Explore the sites before you make a final decision though. Look for testimonials and look for details and descriptions about how the cabinetry’s constructed. Check to see where the cabinetry’s manufactured and for how long it’s warranted. Buying online is like buying anywhere. Ask a lot of questions and kick the tires as best you can before you take a leap.

Many online suppliers sell what are called RTA cabinets. RTA means flat-packed and ready to assemble. Be sure you’re up to the added labor if you buy RTAs and if the site doesn't define that term clearly, don’t buy from there. Similarly, look for details about the types of hardware used for hinges and drawer guides. If that information’s not listed on the site, call the 800 number. Good value kitchen cabinetry isn't just in the finish. It’s the hardware used that makes them last.

See too if they have a sample ordering program and what if any the charge is to get samples. Seeing color accurately on the internet is impossible, absolutely impossible and you have to see the actual product if you’re going to get an accurate preview of how things will look in your home. Again, if the site you’re on doesn’t have samples available or if they charge you for them, leave that site.

As you navigate the sites, look for endorsement logos from other entities. Such entities as HGTV and DIY Network don’t let fly by night organizations use their logos and only legitimate suppliers can be members of the NKBA.

Some sites have budgeting tools that will help you in your planning too. This tool from Cliq Studios is particularly helpful. Use budgeting tools as you plan and to help you keep a handle on costs as you move ahead on your project.

If you’re a design-only designer have you ever recommended an online resource to your clients? And if you’re a homeowner, have you ever used one of these suppliers? In either case, how was your experience? What advice do you have for someone who’s considering an online cabinetry purchase? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear some stories.

24 January 2013

As if to prove my point

This e-mail just arrived:

For starters, what color grout to use on your back splash is not a huge dilemma. Deciding to take a loved one off of life support is. Let's try to work on getting some perspective.

For seconders, your dilemma would be solved best by the designer you're working with or the sales person you're working with where you bought that tile.Posting photos on Houzz and asking me for advice on grout colors I can't see is how you end up in real trouble.

If you're working with a designer or a reputable salesperson, he or she will ask your installer to do two mock ups. Each will use your back splash tile. One will have your tile with Pewter Waterfall gout and the other will have Silver grout. Once you see how those two different grout colors affect the color of your tile in your own home your decision will make itself. Do not buy tile from someone who won't do a mock up for you.

You're welcome. you're killing me

I haven't written for for a year and a half, yet every day I wade through no fewer than five e-mails from Houzz members. To a one, those emails are asking questions that can be answered by clicking on the "more info" link next to a photo I posted, or they're asking unanswerable questions such as "what color is that?" or "what's the name of that granite?"

Again, judging precise color based on an internet photo is impossible, especially if it's in a product photo. Product photos tend to be heavily Photoshopped and actual colors get lost in the mix. Never mind that you're viewing everything on an uncalibrated monitor.

What prompted this post was an e-mail I received a half an hour ago. Here's the question and the photo:

Clicking on the "more info" link would have told this person that what's in that photo is a cork floor from US Floors in Atlanta. Those floors aren't sold retail and are only available from a showroom at around $8 a square foot. I get it that most people don't buy things like new floors every day and that the general population doesn't have the product knowledge that people like I do. But still, think and be respectful. Houzz's links are clearly identifiable and they're there for a reason.

Aside from that, the colors and patterns you see on the internet aren't real and the only way to select a color for anything is by looking at a sample in real life.

This vignette is from a showroom where I once worked. The cabinetry colors are Oyster Vintage over Maple and Harvest Bronze on Knotty Alder from Medallion Cabintry. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams 7037. The back splash is two colors of mother of pearl. The hardware on the cabinets is from Schaub and the finish is oil-rubbed bronze. The faucet is from Rohl and the counter is Tusk from Avonite. I know this because I designed this display.

However, this vignette was shot by a professional photographer who flooded the whole showroom with artificial light. In your home, colors such as Oyster Vintage, Harvest Bronze and Sherwin-Williams 7037 will look nothing like they do in this photo. Asking for their names is irrelevant  Ask instead for a white-ish paint color, a rich brown color and a strong neutral for the walls, because trust me, the colors shown here look very little like this in real life.

Similarly, natural stone patterns don't have formal names. What's Labrador in your market is Uba Tuba in someone else's. Not only that, those patterns change, often radically, over time. A stone labeled Crema Bordeaux today looks nothing like the same stone from the same quarry in Brazil five years ago.

I get a lot of e-mail from people who describe a room and then tell me about their dilemmas about how to furnish or paint said room. While I appreciate that strangers see me as an authority, I won't answer a question like that out of principle. My training as a designer taught me early that I need to see and be in a room before I can figure out what to do with it.

A designer sees things from a dispassionate, removed perspective and it's a designer's job to a) plan a space, and b) save you money in doing so. If you have a difficult room or if you've hit the wall, hire a designer.

Good design advice is never free in the same way that legal, medical, real estate or tax planning advice is never free. Designers make a living from their expert opinion, the same as any other professional. It's as true in real life as it's true online. has done amazing things in providing the public with a library of inspirational photos. They've done a great job of designer outreach too. But there's a disconnect in there somewhere. The people who write for that site aren't there to offer free advice. They're there to increase their presence on the internet and they do it for very little money. Please respect that. What you see on the internet isn't real and there's no substitute for a design professional. Hire an independent designer.

13 July 2012

Kohler Colors with Jonathan Adler

Kohler's rolling out four, new and vibrant colors with the help of Jonathan Adler. Say what you will about Adler, but I give him all kinds of credit for bringing vibrant color to six, select kitchen and bath sinks from Kohler's existing collections.

Here's the full palette:

In situ, those colors are Greenwich Green,

Piccadilly Yellow,

Annapolis Navy

and Palermo Blue.

These Jonathan Adler colors are only available in enameled iron because the degree of saturation shown in these sinks can only be achieved with enamel. The sinks available in these colors are Tides, Canvas, DemiLav Wading Pool for the bath and Whitehaven, Riverby and Iron/ Tones for the kitchen.

These sinks are cast in the Kohler foundry in Kohler, WI and carry a lifetime warranty.

There was once a time when I lived to take potshots at Adler's work. While it's true that his creations aren't for everybody, what's also true is that he's a fundamentally decent man who understands his audience perfectly. Besides, anyone who'll pose with the likes of these two can't be anything but a good guy. Right Cheryl?

So what do you think? Is there room for this kind of bold color in a sink? Would you ever use color this way in your own home?

27 February 2012

What's that color?

I get at least three e-mails every week from readers of this blog and other things I've written around the internet. This is immensely gratifying and most of these e-mails are questions about a photo or a request for advice about flooring, appliances, counter materials or cabinet brands.


I'm glad to answer these questions and I love that strangers look to me as a source of solid information. However one question I'll never answer definitively is "What's that color?"

This happens most often in response to the things I've written for It's a legitimate question and every time someone asks it I launch into what's by now a rote speech.

The short answer is that it doesn't matter because you're not seeing the actual color. What human eyes see as color is reflected light and how a color reads in a photo is completely dependent on how a subject is lit at the time the photo was taken. So the act of photographing something distorts its color, sometimes pretty radically. So that's one degree of distortion.

Add to it that you're seeing that photo on an uncalibrated computer monitor and that's at least two more degrees of distortion.

After all those distortions, the nuance of the original color is lost for good.

Photos on the internet are good for general families of color. You can look at a photo of a room and know that you want a yellow kitchen or a taupe living room. But the actual colors used in the photo won't look in your home the way they do in the photo you're admiring.

Here's a detail of a kitchen I designed. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams 7037 and I picked that color because it played well with the off-white cabinetry paint color and it was as similar hue to the brown veins running through the Calacatta marble on the counters and back splash.

If I were to go to Sherwin-Williams' website and look at the swatch, here's what I'd get.

Even though they're same color, they look nothing like each other. What's more, the color as it appeared on the walls was off from the swatch in my Sherwin-Williams chip library.

The difference between a paint swatch and actual paint is typical, and a good designer knows how to accommodate it. The difference, by the way, is due to the fact that a paint swatch is a printed approximation of a paint color as it will appear with an eggshell sheen. Paint swatches are never the actual paint. Different sheens make even the same paint colors look completely different.

So the answer to "What's that color?" isn't an answer. Rather it's an explanation, and a long-winded one at that. It's impossible to specify precise colors with photos and even more impossible to do so with an image on the internet. The only way to gauge true color is to paint a wall, let it cure for a day and then decide whether it works or not.

I know that's not the advice most people are looking for; but it's the cold, hard truth. Use photography, be it on the internet, in a magazine or in the marketing collateral from a paint brand as a general guideline to help you identify a direction. But until a paint color hits the wall, you'll never know how it will actually look.

So go ahead, ask me anything. Just don't ask me what color something is.

27 March 2011

Sherwin-Williams knocks another one out of the park

Sherwin-Williams just rolled out their third in a series of paint swatch TV spots and so far as I'm concerned, this is the best of the bunch.

The spot is called Daybreak and it joins Bees and Paint Chips in what I say are the best TV and video spots in the home/design space. The agency behind it is Buck. They have offices in New York and LA and I am in awe of their work.

As a reminder, here's Paint Chips, the first in the series.

Here's Bees, the second.

Bravo Sherwin-Williams. And many, many thanks to David Nolan whose e-mailed links never fail to give me pause.

22 March 2011

Crossville has a great idea

Another cool innovation I saw at Coverings last week came from Tennessee-based Crossville. That innovation was a partnership with Benjamin Moore paints called Color by numbers.

Crossville developed a palette of 16 colored wall, floor, listello and trim tiles to coordinate with a palette of Benjamin Moore Aura colors. Between they two companies, they produced a full and complimentary palette that's bound to take away a lot of the guesswork out of room design.

Here's the link to a .pdf that gives an overview of the program. You can find out more information from Crossville's website and anywhere Bejnamin Moore paints or Crossville tiles are sold. Bravo Crossville!

05 March 2011

Color theory on Houzz

I've been running my mouth about color theory on lately. Here are the slide shows in case you missed them. If you're not already a reader over there, spend some time combing through our staggering collection of inspiration photos. Give us a like on Facebook too while you're at it. Thanks!

If you click on any of those slide shows they'll take you right to the site and you can read the original postings.

I like to give practical advice based on sound theory and I think that's what I've been providing over there. Stay tuned on that site for more of my color stories.

10 October 2010

Early autumn re-runs: Paint that ceiling porch Haint Blue

This post appeared originally on 1 June 2009. It remains one of my all-time biggest traffic draw to date. Who knew there was so much interest in Haint Blue.

I spend a fair amount of time specifying paint colors for people and last week I was working on a color scheme for the exterior of an older home. The clients warned me that they didn't want anything wild. I took that as a good sign because clearly, they'd seen some of my more adventurous work and they still called me.

So I came up with a scheme that involved three shades of taupe, white trim and a black front door. Ho-hum, but it was pretty refined and as instructed, "not wild." However, this house has wrap-around porches on the first and second floors, after all it's an old, traditional Florida house. I specified Sherwin Williams 7608, Adrift, for the porch ceilings. Adrift is a light, neutral blue. In an effort to sell the idea I referred to the ceiling color as Haint Blue and they were smitten and signed off immediately.

Painting a porch ceiling blue is a very traditional effect, even though it doesn't show up very often anymore. It's a southern thing, but I'm a Yankee's Yankee and I grew up in a house with a blue porch ceiling in Pennsylvania. Ours were blue because that was the color they were painted when my parents bought that house in the '60s and we never changed it. I think that there was some vague story about the color keeping spiders away. Like I said, they were vague stories and really, we never really talked about it very much. But every time we painted the house, those porch ceilings stayed blue.

Well, about a year-and-a-half ago, a great friend of mine moved to New Orleans. Within days of his landing there, he turned into a combination of Marie Laveau and Tennessee Williams. In a matter of hours, he'd absorbed all of the lore of that fable-filled city and was spouting it back like a lifetime resident. I have never seen someone make a geographic transition with that kind of ease and thoroughness. I envy him his sense of place sometimes. Anyhow, when he was telling me about his house on about day two, he mentioned that its front porch had a Haint Blue ceiling.

I'd never heard the term before, but I knew exactly what he meant. Apparently Haint Blue still figures prominently into New Orleans homes. I asked him where it got its name and he said that New Orleanians use that paint color to keep away haints, or or spirits of the dead with bad intentions.

Well, I did a little digging around, and the practice of painting a porch ceiling blue did start in the American south. The expression Haint Blue comes from the Gullah people of the South Carolina and Georgia  low country. They painted the entries to their homes light blue to keep the bad spirits away. The blue color represented water, and as everybody knows, haints can't cross water.

If you were an impoverished descendant of slaves in the coastal south in the 1800s, you got paint the same way you built your house --from scratch. Powdered pigments were mixed with lime, white lead and milk. The lime and lead content of those early paints probably had the added benefit of poisoning insects that landed on it. So even though the pigment got all the credit, the credit was actually due to the toxic soup the pigments were suspended in. Any color of those old, home-brewed paints would have poisoned insects, but the Haint Blue got all the glory. This is interesting, because a blue ceiling is credited with repelling insects even now. Paint doesn't have lime or lead in it anymore, so it's not surprising that modern Haint Blue (and all house paint) is completely ineffective as a bug repellent.

All of the woo-woo nonsense not withstanding, painting a porch ceiling blue is an interesting, and depending on where you live, unexpected touch. So even if I don't buy the myth, I appreciate the connection to the past. If you're in the mood for an exterior color change , think about adding some Haint Blue.

17 August 2010

Guest hosting Interior Design Chat on Twitter

Twitter has changed my life in ways I never could have imagined it would when I was fumbling around with it in the spring of '09. I remember thinking that it reminded me of radio static. It was noise and snippets of out of context conversations. "What's the point?!" I remember asking everybody who was telling me was an amazing thing it was. I kept at it because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

By the beginning of that summer I could see what all the fuss was about and then some. In a matter of months I went from being an outspoken doubter to an evangelist. Every great career opportunity that's come my way since last summer has come my way through Twitter. Someone very wise once said that Facebook reconnects me to my past, Twitter introduces me to my future.

And so it was on that note that the great Nick Lovelady asked me to host Interior Designer Chat tonight from 6pm to 7pm EST. Interior Design Chat is an hour-long discussion on a specific topic and it's attended by hundreds of design pros from all over the world. It's run by Nick and Barbara Segal. Nick's a kitchen and bath designer in Alabama and Barbara's an interior designer who lives in Newport, RI and who works in Chicago and LA. Nick Tweets as @cupboards and Barbara Tweets as @NoirBlancDesign.

Group chats on Twitter use dedicated tags to separate chat-specific tweets from the rest of the Twitter Stream. Everyone who participates in Interior Designer Chat tags his or her messages with the hash tag #IntDesignerChat and the conversation just flows.

A guest host's job is to introduce five questions at regular intervals to lead the conversation and my topic tonight is color. I submitted my questions last Friday to the Interior Design Chat website and everybody who participates knows to check the site prior to the Tuesday night conversation.

The questions (with accompanying photos) I submitted are as follows:

1. Gloss paint finishes are enjoying a resurgence in the design press. Do you like this trend? What sheens to you usually specify for interior paints?

2. Pantone's 15-559 Turquoise was named 2010's Color of the Year by Pantone. Has turquoise figured into your work this year? Why do you think they picked turquoise?

3. When there's a hot color out there, turquoise for example, are you more prone to acessorize with it or would you use on things that can't be changed easily (or cheaply) like a sofa? What role do color trends play in your work and why?

4. Sherwin-Williams recently issued four palette forecasts for 2011. I wrote about them on my blog here. The palettes look like this:

Do you see these color combinations taking shape in your work? Is Sherwin-Williams onto something or have they missed the boat? What color combinations do you find yourself coming back to time and again? How do trends influence that?

5. What message do you wish you could send to the people who decide which colors are used or ignored (in any product category) in a given year?

So if you're a design professional, no matter where you are, please join us tonight when I host Interior Design Chat at 6pm EST. If none of this makes any sense to you, get thee to Twitter and meet your future.

31 July 2010

I still love you Sherwin-Williams

Despite the mixed reception this latest round of color forecasts received, Sherwin-Williams remains my go-to paint brand when it comes to specifying room colors. Their paints are of exceptional quality and the specifying tools they provide me make finding the colors I need a snap. They have been on a real roll on the advertising front lately too. Check out their new TV spot, Bees.

It's the follow up to this gem, Paint Chips Animated.

And just to get a feel for their roots, here's a great one from 1966.

I like the new spot, Bees, even more than I did the original paint chips spot. I think it's the song that makes this one so enjoyable. Anybody know anything about who wrote it and who's performing it?

If you missed this past week's Sherwin-Williams color forecast roundup, I encourage you to go back and give them a look-see. Feel free to weigh in in the comments that follow. And remember, despite how that went, I still love you Sherwin-Williams.

30 July 2010

Sherwin-Williams' 2011 color forecast, part four: the last word

Here's the final palette of the four palettes that made up Sherwin-Williams' 2011 color forecast. I reviewed the previous three on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. To reprise, the palettes are called Bold Invention

Purely Refined,

Gentle Medley

and finally, we come to Restless Nomad. Here's the inspiration image.

Ahhh, finally. Something with some life to it. According to Sherwin-Williams, Restless Nomad can be summed up like this:

Thanks to the Internet, everyone now has a passport to wander the world, soaking up its flavors, images and colors, and stirring them into an eclectic global design stew. Morocco and Turkey are making their presence felt, but there’s no need to stop there. Today’s adventurers feel free to sample from anywhere and everywhere, pairing Persian paisleys with exotic animal skins and Indonesian batiks. Colors, too, wander all over the palette: from dusky darks, to hot vibrant pinks and reds, to earthy food-influenced hues that evoke eggplants and cabbages.
Sherwin-Williams took the following cultural cues to wrap up into this palette. They are:

  • Ethnic patterns
  • Exotic animal skins
  • Aged leather
  • Patchwork and tapestries
  • Moroccan and Turkish influences

I approve of this palette and the influences behind it. I think it's both lively and original. None of this is new, but it's been reinterpreted with a real edge. As with some of these palettes, this palette is broken into primary colors and support colors. The stars of Restless Nomad are:

SW 7602 Indigo Batik

SW 6551 Purple Passage

SW 6300 Burgundy

SW 6395 Alchemy

SW 6109 Hopsack

SW 6840 Exuberant Pink

SW 6354 Armagnac

SW 6691 Glitzy Gold

SW 7663 Monorail Silver

And in a supporting role, I present to you:

SW 6166 Eclipse

SW 6865 Gypsy Red

I wonder if this is the first step toward the rehabilitation of the color burgundy. Hmmm. With that aside, I think they nailed this one. Feel free to disagree if you're so inclined. I like the color mix here, I like the level of saturation and most of all I like the cultural influences they've identified and distilled into this palette. Kelly James there's purple here and Raina Cox they mentioned Morocco so be nice. What do the rest of you guys think? How well did Sherwin-Williams in part four of 2011 color forecast?

29 July 2010

Sherwin-Williams' 2011 color forecast, part three

What follows is the third of four color palettes Sherwin-Williams published recently as a forecast to what they see as emerging trends for next year. I profiled the first one on Tuesday, the second one on Wednesday, feel free to go back and review them.

Sherwin-Williams is calling this third palette Gentle Medley and here's the inspiration image that sums up the palette.

In Sherwin-Williams' own words:

Hard times call for soft colors: the hint of green in a spring leaf bud; the chalky blush of a seashell; the time-etched beauty of a vintage fabric or photograph. Fashion has turned a romantic, nostalgic corner, bringing pastels and parchment-pale neutrals back into the palette. The hues are innocent without being sweet — flirty, yet not feminine. They reflect not just a yearning for youthful innocence and gentler times, but also a refreshing honesty and lack of pretension that are thoroughly modern.
I'm calling this one the Apartment Therapy palette. It's not really a dig so much as it's an observation that this palette's aimed squarely at a youthful demographic that doesn't include me. There's a nostalgia at work here, a nostalgia for a time I remember from having experienced it first hand. As interesting as the 1970s were, they were troubled times and the unfortunate aesthetic sensibilities popular then make me wince when I remember them.

This palette takes the following cues Sherwin-Williams identified as ascendant trends.

  • Vintage florals
  • Dragonfly, butterfly and leaf motifs
  • Mismatched flea-market finds
  • Hand-tinted photos
  • Maps

I'm not seeing this one at all and it pains me to write that. I have a brand loyalty to Sherwin-Williams that won't quit and though this palette hasn't changed that in any way, I can't shake the sense that this is a palette I can't relate to.

Here are the colors. As with yesterday's palette, today's is split into primary and support colors. I'll start with the primaries.

SW 6121 Whole Wheat

SW 6086 Sand Dune

SW 6463 Breaktime

SW 0073 Chartreuse

SW 6353 Chivalry Copper

SW 6442 Supreme Green

And in a supporting role

SW 7743 Mountain Road

SW 7509 Tiki Hut

So, what do you guys make of this one? I'm trying to generate some enthusiasm but it's just not coming. I could see Tuesday's Bold Invention and yesterday's Purely Refined, even if they didn't resonate with me but this one's escaping me all together. I'm not questioning Sherwin-Williams' research and I don't doubt for a second that these colors are an identifiable trend. It's just that they leave me cold. Copper and minty green are an unsettling color combination regardless of time or trend. So who's with me or am I just out of touch?

Mercifully, tomorrow's palette is one I can get behind but I think this one strikes out. How does Sherwin-Williams' Gentle Medley forecast land with you?