Palette Inspiration.

I have piles of magazines. Design, fashion, cuisine… I guess they sum up my favorite aspects in life. Even that darn casserole magazine I read over and over (I’m pregnant okay?) before bed and my husband just laughs. I can’t decide which one to make? ha

But to the point, every so often something REALLY grabs me visually, and this one did for sure. A long spread in the May issue of Architectural Digest… “A sun-splashed Manhattan penthouse blends American efficiency with lyrical Franch flair, thanks to interior designer Delphine Krakoff and architect Mark Ferguson.” They had me at the lyrical French flair…

The place is huge, 9,000 square feet, and most, if not all of the rooms are shown- but I could live with the following, exceptional 3-

What do I love about these rooms? Absolutely everything. The bold graphic nature of the artwork, the elegant/modern fusion, the perfect sense of proportion, and of course… the amazing combination of color.

Although high-end, I believe there are many elements we can recreate for a fraction of the cost… So if you’re in love like me, get creative and go for it!

Here are some paint color leads (by Benjamin Moore)…

Happy Friday readers!


What to do with wood ceiling beams?

Love them! Suddenly they’ve become a room’s best asset, isn’t it funny how that happens? In past years, many of us were cringing, removing, or trying to camouflage.

So, what should you do with wood beams, if you happen to live in an older home and they need a little love? You might guess my stance- anything you want!

I found some great examples…

1. Paint everything white.

2. Apply a whitewash, distressed finish. Love this one!

3. Paint the beams white, and the ceiling a contrasting color. Isn’t this happy?

4. Paint the beams a color (why not)!

5. Leave the wood natural.

6. Stain in your shade of choice.

I was inspired by these examples, and how the rustic quality of wood beams can be successfully incorporated into contemporary decor. If your beams need a lift and you’re not sure what to do, I would be happy to help.

(thank you Wishful Thinking, Decor Pad,, Inspiring Interiors, Coastal Living,, Eleanor Cummings/House Beautiful, for the photos)

Good Eggs.

Coloring Easter eggs = pure, simple, joy. And beautiful color.

I like the old school technique best. Boiling water, poured into coffee cups, add a dash of vinegar, and a shameful amount of food coloring. Let those sweet eggs sit for about 7 minutes, until they are perfectly vibrant.

My son wants them all to be blue, I’ll have to work on him :)

My favorite special effect is the rubber band trick. It is so easy and look how cool they turn out…

I am fascinated by the natural dye concept. Here’s what was used for the eggs below- blueberries, turmeric, paprika, raspberries, and coffee. Love that (Real Simple)!

Thought this was a cute, simple treat (BHG) to make with the kids. Marshmallows rolled in coconut…

But this year, we baked banana cream cupcakes with caramel frosting. A recipe from a friend, so delicious! Here’s how they turned out…

On that sweet note, Happy Easter to all.

p.s. Here’s how our eggs turned out! Something magically simple about that rubber band trick…

(thank you Real Simple, Martha Stewart, and Better Homes and Gardens for the photo inspiration)

A Winning Moment!

Several months ago, California Paints sent out a call for entries for their 2011 Color Challenge. “California Paints is looking to the professional interior design community to determine the featured colors for our 2011 color card series. The winning color combinations and designers will be featured and published in our exclusive 2011 interior and exterior color cards.” The contest was judged by an impressive panel of designers and color forecasters.

You were allowed to submit up to 5 interior and 5 exterior combinations of 3. Full creative license over an enormous variety of colors. Count me in!

Actually, it was a little more difficult to whittle down options than I anticipated. In true form, I ended up doing the work twice. As I went to submit my first round of combos, I thought- b o r i n g, too conservative. I wanted the colors to be versatile with mass appeal, but also on trend and interesting. When I submitted the second attempt, I felt good about the work.

One random afternoon, while having a particularly Calgon take me away type day, the phone rang. Two of my combos (1 interior, 1 exterior) won! My day was turned around.

The color combinations are now featured in the California Paints “Designer Selections” booklets available where the paint is sold. I really like the variety of palettes within the booklets! Take a look at the designer gallery, You can view designer bios and winning color combos.

My personal favorites, weren’t selected. I’ll share a few…

Interior, Pop Art as an accent, I imagined a touch of this bright hue as a shelf backing.

Exterior, Veranda Blue as an accent, thought this would be a great door color.

What an exciting opportunity, thank you California Paints. I love the Historic Collection, beautiful colors!

Muddy it up!

Spring has finally sprung and the color biz is in full gear! Nothing like a new coat of paint, to invigorate your home and welcome the warm season.

Recent clients have reminded me of a common paint color dilemma, it goes something like this… “The color I picked is way too bright, it looks florescent!” “I thought I chose a creamy, subtle, yellow, but ended up with canary walls.”

When I was in college, studying art and learning to paint (love at first brush stroke), one of the first methods we learned was to temper color straight from the tube with it’s complement (in yellow’s case- violet). This adds depth, richness, and tones down the “straight from the can” screaming factor. The same basic principle applies to your wall color…

It is as if you were to add 1 part mud to your paint can. :) A strange reference I know, but you get the drift. I also hear myself repeating this often- your color needs to be “grayed” down. In fact, you can actually have black tint added to your can- but this can get a little tricky, so best to start off on the right note. Think Martha Stewart, she is a master of the muted tone.

Here is my advice… Choose the color you would like to see on the walls, then step down about two shades more muted. Paint colors tend to amplify once applied, so even if you final selection looks quite subtle, it will not necessary look this way on the walls. A few examples for you (final selections = paint daubs on right)-

And if you can’t decipher the difference when up against 1000’s of swatches (many people tell me they can’t)? I would be more than happy to help!

(thank you ARHDECOR, Design with Christine, DECODIR, House Beautiful, Domino, and Decor Pad for the photos)

A fun friend to have, you’ll see why…

My friend Michelle is part of a dear group of friends I’ve had for longer than I would care to admit (25 ish years). When I’m with them, the hours feel like minutes, it’s just always been that way.

Michelle, is the risk-taker. The person who actually acts on whims the rest of us ponder in moments of inspiration… or mid-life crisis, and then say, I could never get away with that!

An example- Approaching 30, she decides to leave her lucrative office job with the family business, to move from Milwaukee to Santa Barbara to attend the Brooks Institute of Photography- though she admits to never having touched a camera previously. In true form (with quiet, killer, ambition), she taps into this ridiculous level of raw talent. Check out her work and her bio! The story is both entertaining and quite inspirational.

See the photo of yours truly on the right hand panel? We took that in my garage! On a dark, cold, dreary day… I went shopping for props, Michelle set everything up, and she used what I would call a mushroom cloud- professional, model lighting. Asking me to fake a smile was like pulling teeth, but I was grateful.

To return the favor- Michelle and her hubby have just relocated to Connecticut from a tiny apartment (they loved… I mean loathed) in Chicago. They will be renting this amazing, mid-century modern home (her dream home/style) and she would like assistance choosing colors and accents in which to decorate. Renting eliminates the paint option, but don’t ever let that get you down… many other possibilities.

(they purchased this couch from Room and Board)

So I thought, what better way to draw inspiration than from Michelle’s artwork. And the girl likes edge (can you tell?), so let’s keep things a little murky and interesting, ha! 2 options…



color palette…



color palette…

Michelle and Joe, hope you’re inspired! Enjoy your happy new home.

(accent group #1- pillows- Crate and Barrel, World Market, table- Crate and Barrel, chair- West Elm, circular art- Z Gallerie, print- Etsy (theloveshop), rug- Color Reform by ABC Carpet, circular side table- Jonathan Adler. accent group #2- lamp- Crate and Barrel, pillows- Crate and Barrel, CB2, Ikea, chair- CB2, fish art- Z Gallerie, rug- Color Reform by ABC Carpet.)

Clients are loving… (hint, TV show)

…the Modern Family set (the blue wall color in particular)! Wow, I can’t believe how many people have mentioned, they love this set and would like their own homes to have the look. Admittedly, I have never watched the show (maybe I should expand my HGTV/Bravo horizons), but since it’s creating such a buzz, I had to check it out…

I found some great images and was able to judge objectively while viewing for the first time. You know what? I can see why it has so much appeal… The first thing that struck me was how very American it looks. An orderly mix of all different styles, colors, and patterns that create good energy and an upbeat state of mind! Overall, it looks just contemporary enough, so as not to intimidate (I find many households, deathly afraid of stepping away from traditional, they select contemporary inspiration, but they just can’t go there? hmmmm). It makes one feel like you can mix the old with the new while maintaining a cohesive, updated look.

One thing I appreciate in particular, are the wall colors! You knew we were heading there, right? The saturated, medium tones REALLY pull things together nicely. This is a great example of using just enough color on the walls. Now if they wimped out and used very pale shades…….. where would we be? Is this becoming a subliminal lecture? Perhaps… lol

Let’s take a look at the set, and I’ll give you my take on comparable paint shades (Benjamin Moore)!

The blue! Looks very different from shot to shot, but here are some great options… slate blue 1648, santorini blue 1634, and little falls 1621. Blue walls really work with white trim.

I like the look here, rich and inviting. Take a peak at these shades- been using them a lot lately! Davenport tan HC-76 and alexandria beige HC-77.

An old classic, beige is only boring when you don’t mix it up. Here are a few, ever popular options… Monroe bisque HC-26, shaker beige HC-45, and wheeling neutral HC-92.

Something like raccoon hollow 978 or river gorge gray 1537, love this ensemble.

Last but not least, the grayish neutral that has stolen our hearts. Take a peak at grant beige HC-83 or coastal fog 976.

If you love the look but need some assistance pulling it together, call me! Happy Friday readers!