A Delectable Mix: Black & Brown.

I was struck by this lovely display from celebrationsathomeblog.com

Together, black & brown have powerful, modern edge. I love a mysterious, dark color combo such as this in fashion and interior design.

I think we’ve finally gotten over the old no black with brown or navy sentiment!

If Ralph can do it, so can you :)

And how do these colors translate into your home?

Perfectly. Mix with cream, linen, white, and a little pop of bright.

Need inspiration? Head to the truffle box.

And who doesn’t like to go there…

Need some help coordinating colors in your home? Contact me anytime, 414.303.7200 or j@paintbycolorzen.com.

(thank you weddingbee.com, Ralph Lauren, West Elm, markwilliams-design.com, and steamykitchen.com for the photos)


The New "Faux" is…

Modern, subtle, gestural, tonal, and on a larger scale (not so many busy little markings).

I am noticing this effect everywhere (design magazines, trend forecasts, catalogs, advertising, etc.)…

It mimics the look of old plaster walls. Could be venetian plaster or a number of distressed faux finish techniques. To be honest, I would probably wing it with a large sponge, water for blending, and a few shades of paint. Many ways to get there, right?

I like the look and feel it’s a reflection of the natural, hand-made, green, recycled, “of the earth” trend in design. Everything seems to bear this artisan, imperfect quality.

Clients are interested in wall finishes again as well. Sherwin Williams and Ralph Lauren have some pleasing versions. I was captivated by the beauty of Sherwin Williams finish display at their 2012 trend forecast.

 A little”faux” magic goes a long way. Are you ready to explore wall effects again? Or still haunted by forest green sponging (Believe it or not, I’m still helping people cover that up!)? ha ha

Have a great week readers and if you enjoy this blog, vote for us on the Apartment Therapy, 2012 The Hommies ballot!

(thank you ffffound.com and West Elm for the images)

Is Neon Contagious?

The future is looking very BRIGHT my friends.

This week I’ve been absorbing like a sponge. Between gazing at fashion week recaps and viewing Benjamin Moore’s color trend forecast, Color Pulse 2012, I’m filled to the brim with luscious color.

You know I’m a “tone it down” kind of girl, but at the moment I’m ready to let it rip with the best of the peacocks.

Color is exploding in design, decor, art, and fashion. There were so many bright hues included in the Color Pulse presentation (I’ll elaborate in a future post), it was difficult to keep focus on the forerunners.

Fashion runways are oozing with blinding shades of red/orange, orange, yellow, green, and violet to name a few.

Speaking of which, I was completely captivated by this collection of photos from Vogue entitled, New York Street Style Fall 2012.

Can you imagine how these photos might translate into an amazing interior palette?

Something like this…

Had to have my own piece of the pie…

Watch out clients, here I come :)

Need a little of this in your interior? Contact me anytime.

The Violet/Gold Color Combo & it’s Unique Following.

Over the past several years, I’ve been delighted to assist a diverse range of clientele throughout the country. I’m fascinated by people and their unique characteristics and how this translates into the home. As you can imagine, you see certain color preferences repeat themselves.

What I see most often are; people who love warm color, people who love cool color, people opposed to gray, people who love gray, people who love green & blue/green, people who love subtle neutrals, and the renegades who love bold color. Most people fall into one of these categories. But there is a small, unique group that go for the violet & gold shades. In my experience, they are the minority, unafraid to step away from the norm a bit. As a designer, you’ve got to love the spirit :)

I’m currently working with a client who likes this combo. After completing a paint overhaul (hope to share pictures, it turned out well), we are working on art & accents for a den painted a gold-toned neutral. We are considering this poster (Art.com)…

And throw pillows in an array of color like this (Crate & Barrel)…

In the design process, I found a few inspiring rooms…

I love the subtlety! A touch of color here and there tempered by white, tan, and camel. The neutrals give this beautiful color room to breathe.

Sure feels like Spring! Fresh, happy and a little royal. What do you think?

(thank you House Beautiful, Real Simple, and House Beautiful, for the photos)

Trend Alert: Black & Gold.

It’s funny, this weekend I considered writing a post entitled, “5 things that kill your look” :) #1 on the list, old brass trim and fixtures. Nothing new, I’ve purged this issue before, see post. I still feel the same way…

Though perhaps the universe is insisting I open my mind to reinvention, because from this thought forward, I SAW NOTHING BUT BRASS (and it’s pairing with black) for the remainder of the weekend.

I was browsing at a local H&M, which was literally glowing with brass jewelry, next I tuned in to the Grammy’s and noticed a more than ironic number of girls dressed in gold and black. I thought Taylor Swift’s version was the best!

Come to think of it, I’ve seen some beautiful black and gold room designs lately…

It’s a powerful, edgy combination that I admit to being a little fascinated by. There’s sort of a mysterious Egyptian quality I would be willing to explore further…

Could you live in a black & gold world?

(thank you thefashion-court.com, homerejuvenation.com, eclecticrevisited.wordpress.com, decorpad.com for the images)

The color of sophistication.

BLACK. Formal, elegant, classic, timeless, powerful. The color we wear on significant days. The color that makes even a simple t-shirt feel important. The color that adds rich contrast to a room. The color a very fair girl like me wishes she could wear, ha ha. The color that is always chic in decorating.

I started thinking about the visual power of black after driving past a business with black awnings. They add a level sophistication that makes me want to learn more about the business.

See what I mean? We need some classical music streaming in the background…

Adorable Georgetown Cupcake, inside and out. Had to add a cupcake (it’s almost black).

And for your home…

(Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain)

I think every home needs a touch. Are you a fan?

(thank you Georgetown Cupcake and House Beautiful for the photos)

What can Color Zen online consulting do for you?

The online consulting (paint color & design) portion of my business has been growing rapidly. What a pleasure it is to read your emails, discuss design dillemas, offer solutions, and help you create beautiful spaces!

California, New York, Florida, Texas, Chicago… Never thought I would experience such rich variety in job location. Although the details vary, my working routine is always the same. Listen, listen, listen to what you really want. Carefully study your photos. Think about other elements in the room and adjoining rooms. Consider your climate, lighting, and regional color trends. Develop a sense of your personal style. And then, go for it!

I have developed great relationships with clients who returned with additional projects, even designers who deal with all aspects of design but may not favor the paint color portion.

I say, bring it on! I sincerely love the work.

For additional information on online consulting, visit the tab on the right hand column of the blog, (here is the link). I am currently reevaluating payment options, so if you’re not sure how your project fits in, feel free to contact me (Jessamy) any time at j@paintbycolorzen.com or 414.303.7200.

And if you would like to peak at some real client examples, here are a collection of links to previous posts.

Kaysie’s House
Karen’s House
Elisha’s House
Stephanie’s Room
Michelle’s House
Peggy’s House
Sarah’s House
California Couple’s House
Sue’s House

Have a great week readers!

(thank you BHG for the photo, check out the other lovely palettes here)

Thank you House Beautiful for making my day!

You know the article you crash into, maybe once a year or so, that gets you so good you feel like you wrote it? I just read one and must share…

 “The designer (Pat Healing), one of the founders of interior design firm HB Home, shares how she brought color and contrast into one family’s home.” Check it out here.

Why do I love this so? Probably because I live this scenario, I love the optimistic spin, the happy ending, and all the advice in between. Let me share my 3 favorite points (otherwise we will be here all day :) –

1. I get a first-impression vibe, which I totally trust, and I said to my clients, “I’ve never seen such a mismatch of interiors to the personality of the homeowners in my life.””

Yes! The vibe… One of the most important design sensibilities you either possess or you don’t. Sometimes I try to fight my own gut instinct for different reasons and this almost always backfires. Good natural instinct is where a designer’s value lies. As a homeowner (myself included), you loose the ability to judge your own space objectively and appreciate it’s redesign potential.

2. “But we took a daring approach to color in a conservative way. If you know you’re going to use purple and turquoise and chartreuse, as we did in the living room, you have to use a lot of white. You need that pale contrast — you have to give the eye a place to rest. Once you have a white base you can work out any combination of colors you want.”

A neutral foundation really allows bright color to shine. When I’m working with clients who are hell bent on bright color, I sometimes feel pressure to offer dramatic paint color solutions. This is probably because paint is a quick fix. Often, the other elements in the room are the real issue. BALANCE is key.

3. “The main objective is to feel good in a room. Whether I’m using gray, red, or orange, I want to achieve the same thing: crisp freshness, without a heavy hand. Soothing, not jarring. Colorful to the point where you won’t get weary of it. I use color because to do that creates happiness. I really believe that. I love color. Nothing makes me happier than a box of crayons. And I think what color did for this house is nothing short of miraculous.”

 “Soothing, not jarring”, I should have that wonderful phrase embroidered on my briefcase, ha ha. Thank you House Beautiful and hope you have all been inspired.

Bold & Beautiful for Kaysie (client sneek peak).

This is exactly how I want to kick-off a new business year… With a dynamic, spunky, funny, positive, go-for-it client like Kaysie!

A few months ago Kaysie contacted me, she and her husband had just purchased a new home in California. She was interested in a paint and decor overhaul to transition the home into an updated, clean, contemporary, colorful look.

We started with the kitchen/dining/family room (Kingsport Gray). Then moved on to the rest of home.

What was remarkable about this project? I HAVE NEVER WORKED WITH A CLIENT WITH SUCH A UNIQUE SENSE OF COLOR! Look at the inspiration photos she sent me-

Amen! There isn’t a wimp to be found.

The first thing that struck me was that all of the wall colors were relatively dark, or as I like to call them RICH :)

So we started working together on the paint palette… Lots of space to consider (and future updates to surface materials, etc.) Here’s what we came up with-

((Benjamin Moore) Kingsport Gray, Senora Gray, Jamesboro Gold, Salsa Dancing, Brookside Moss, Fieldstone, Whitall Brown, and trim in Swiss Coffee.)
And an inspiration board-
In the meantime, Kaysie was waiting for a custom chair to arrive-
Isn’t that fabulous? We used the fabric as palette inspiration.
And they are just beginning to paint as we speak. I hope to post pictures of the finished product! Can you envision the new look?
(thank you interiordesignsguide.com, decoratingroomdesign.com, blog.barnfurniture.com, (inspiration board) ZGallerie (mirror), Shades of Light (patterned rug), West Elm, Apartment Therapy, West Elm (bedding), Shades of Light (rug), ZGallerie (print), Crate&Barrel (pillows))

Holiday Giveaway: And the winner is?

Happy New Year readers. Let’s start the 2012 posts off with a bang- congrats to Karen from California for winning the one room consult! Check out Karen’s dilemma… 

Dear Jessamy,

I am, as you say, lost in a sea of color chips! I stumbled upon your website and wish I had found it before I committed to several painting missteps. We are finally updating our living room (furniture, accessories) and I have been struggling with paint choices! The fireplace wall also has A LOT of brick, which totally confounds me. I have tried painting it white (too bright), dark grey (o.k), and the color it is now (just looks kinda strange – C2 Cafe Latte), and don’t like anything I have tried. Not only am I at my wits end, but my husband has basically banned me from entering our local Benjamin Moore store until I discover the paint color that I will be truly happy with. HELP!
I would love to get your professional and fresh approach to reinventing this room. I feel like the paint should be lighter–maybe a warm grey? I’m totally lost on how to handle all of the brick.

There are just 6 hours left in 2011 (we live in California), and I swore that I would send you this email before 2012! I would REALLY appreciate your help!


Dear Karen,

I imagined choosing a winner who’s room was screaming in need, so when your tasteful photos came rolling in, they threw me off in a good way (that’s why I picked you). When people come to your house, they probably say, “Looks great in here!” It’s a very cute place with a happy vibe, nice work. I love your furniture selections, etc. But you’re not sold on the living room…
Here are my thoughts: I don’t mind the current latte color on the walls/fireplace, reminds me of a toasty little coffee shop. I think the real issue is a disconnect between your latte scheme and the new gray sofa and rug. Perhaps you are missing the cohesion that creates the wow.

What if you shift the wall and side panel brick to a warm gray. Then paint the mid fireplace panel brick (and wood mantel) a nice bone white color (relates to the dining area but lighter). Let me demonstrate with the use of my beloved Photoshop.

A totally different look! Oh-la-la?

The next step would be to rework the accessories a bit. I love your framed prints! Though I think they would be better suited in another location in the room, hung in a gallery wall type fashion. I would beef up the scale on the new objects placed near the fireplace. My ideas here- mirror by Crate and Barrel, tan print by West Elm, green print by Crate and Barrel, plant pot by Ikea. Keep a touch of red (and a little green) going to ensure flow between the living and dining room.

 It was a pleasure reworking your room Karen! What do you think of the new look?

p.s. My husband also begins to sweat when I step foot in a Benjamin Moore store, poor men :)