Happy Holidays Giveaway!

As a thank you to all of you, who keep the engine running over here and allow me to do what I love; readers of the blog, those who write with questions, clients who hire me to color and decorate their homes, I would like to offer an exciting  H O L I D A Y  G I V E A W A Y .

Here’s the scoop-

I’m offering a 1 room consultation, to a faithful reader who is struggling with paint color selection or issues coordinating furniture, wall color, and decor, etc… Email me (Jessamy) at j@paintbycolorzen.com and include a somewhat brief description of your design dilemma, a few good photos of your room, and the style you are hoping to achieve.

I will sort through the submissions and choose 1 (or maybe even 2 :) lucky winners. Your story, photo and my suggestions will be posted on the blog shortly after the New Year.

Hoping to get some interesting material. Have fun and stay tuned!

(thank you BHG for the photo)


Good flow.

You know… the longer I do color consulting, the more I realize, what I’m really trying to help you achieve is a good sense of flooooow. Good flow is priceless and I feel awfully passionate about the matter.

Perhaps this is why I always feel the job is much bigger than paint selection.

First, there are wise paint color choices, then there is everything else. The way your house feels, the way rooms connect, lighting, your sense of style, furniture, objects you’re looking to replace, meaningful belongings, purpose of rooms, coordination of surface materials.

Clients often struggle with the overall picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the flavor of the moment when out shopping for a room. But this leaves you with good and bad moments.

And wouldn’t it be nice to love it all, in a tastefully coordinated sort of way.

Seeing the big picture. Do you need to ditch half of your belongings? Probably not. There are many things you can do. Small efforts. Here are a few ideas-

1. Endless designers suggest staying neutral when it comes to big design choices. I completely agree. Flooring, sofas, tile, and surface materials. This is a big one!

2. Choose one neutral paint color to anchor your home. Repeat throughout.

3. Keep all trim (and most of the ceilings) consistent.

4. Pick two accent colors (that you really love). Repeat throughout.

5. Keep fixtures and lighting somewhat consistent in style and scale.

6. Clear out small cluttery decor and replace with a few large scale dynamos :)

7. Take time to consider the style you want to reflect before jumping into purchasing.

8. Try to relate furnishings with the style and scale of your home.

And if you need HELP? I would love to assist. Track me down.

(thank you Mark Williams Design Associates for the beautiful photos)

Seeing Red…

… Blue, Green, and a beautiful selection of Neutrals as presented by Sherwin Williams at the COLORMIX 2012 live presentation. My own personal haven.

I love the fact that employees of the company are paid to travel the world seeking global color trends that relate to all levels of design- from art, fashion, furniture, to paint colors.

And today I admit, I am a lover of trends. Some will wince, spit, roll over, accuse me of not being a “true” color connoisseur, ha ha, but I have one question for you- would you hire a designer who appeared wildly out of style and disengaged with the world? Didn’t think so :)

See, there’s something to staying current. This does not mean I talk you into the color of the moment. Nope, it’s always about what works in your space. But I truly believe worldly influences are important, interesting, and relevant to design always.

So without further ado, I would like to share with you the highlights of this presentation. The BIG colors headed down the pipeline and where they come from. I thought sharing my actual notes as scribbled in a dark room would be more interesting than paragraphs, so here goes…

And I promise, you will see these colors emerge! I’m already noticing them in retail.

• All colors are inspired by Earth and the global shift towards sustainability (which is here to stay).
• texture is the “new bling” :)


• 1st color used in cave paintings
• hardest pigment to make
• full range of shades from orange/red to red/violet
• haven’t seen red this prominent since the 1980’s
• a symbol of spirituality
• red hair
• inspiration from the human circulatory system


• major inspirations- water and denim (fabric of the American worker)
• lack of water on Earth has water on our minds
• floating home developments in response to rising ocean levels
• tons of blue on the runways
• blue and white are huge in dinnerware
• azure, cobalt, cerulean


• color of nourishment
• original meaning- to grow
• seaweed, algae and moss are an important inspiration as we consider them as alternate energy sources.
• aerial views of Earth and it’s shades of green.
• moving away from the ever popular yellow/green to a true green
• olive green in interiors and on the runway


• natural linen
• wheat, khaki, cream, porcelain, weathered wood, earthy clay
• from cool gray to warm gray
• stone and sand
• gray, beige, taupe and ochre

So interesting! View the video clips here… Happy Monday readers.

(thank you Clido Meireles for Tate Modern, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, and vi.sualize.us for the images)

Setting the table for Thanksgiving.

I had Thanksgiving once… it was A LOT of work :) I cooked for days! The menu: rolled turkey with stuffing, wild rice with cranberries, creamy mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans (highly recommend), cranberry/orange relish, etc. My mother started suspecting pregnancy after I “became ill” from mincing ginger (8am), ha ha. My son would come the next year, but I guess it was too early for all that jazz in the kitchen!

Anyway, be thankful for the kind relative putting on a fantastic spread for you. In our case, my aunt and uncle, can’t wait for a great meal!

In the meantime, I’m admiring some festive table settings. Creating the tablescape is my favorite part of holiday preparation. Maybe next year… I like to dig through our closets and yard for just the right selection of things. You would be amazed at what you can do with objects and fabric at hand…

And I must mention, the “Thanksgiving” palette as displayed by the images, would inspire a lovely array of paint shades for your home. The Benjamin Moore affinity line comes to mind- something like this… soleil, tumeric, honeymoon, oat straw, etruscan, satchel, elk horn, caponata.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

(thank you HGTV, Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Neil Alan Designs, and Martha Stewart for the images)

The Gift of Color *

Do you have a friend or family member struggling with paint colors? Lack of flow in the home?

As the holidays approach, I know many people search for creative gifts for the important people in their life. Especially for the those who seem to have everything, it can be difficult!

How about a color consultation? Something different. This year I’m offering holiday gift certificates!

I help local and national clients with a wide range of interior and exterior color dilemmas. From paint colors and coordination of surface materials to event color palettes, I love to assist.

Questions or interest? Contact me anytime.

(thank you David Stark and Martha Stewart for the images)

Transported… by a pillow?

Take me there please…

Recently, I was helping a client color the walls of her new condo. A bright, new construction with a lovely tree view. She mentioned she was interested in a West Indies design style. I thought, that’s refreshing, no one has asked for that before? Can you picture the look?

We chatted about color options, and she gave me a general idea of her likes, but was very open to suggestions. We came up with a palette full of caramels, olives, browns, and this fabulous, dark shade of plum/brown (Benjamin Moore bison brown). I just had a feeling it would turn out well. Clients who let go of the fear (too dark, too light, too bold…) and allow the process to flow, get the best result hands down. It was a real joy!

After the appointment, I went in search of accents to help pull the new color scheme/look together. You sort of meander from one source to the next, and in the process I landed upon these pillows from Koko Company

I would like to put this one here…

And this one here…

I thought they loosely fit the design style. A little (okay, a lot) pricey at around $100 a piece… but sometimes a single, bold accessory can make the entire room. I’ve seen this happen with a simple vase of flowers for example.

I would go for it, would you?

(thank you Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Orient Express, Road To Mandalay, India Hicks/Domino, Koko Company (pillows), Urban Outfitters (Luc Sofa), and Room & Board (Selby Leather Sofa) for the photos)

Magically Multicolored.

LOVE button, click click click. A quick note and a little eye-candy for you today…

I stumbled across this bench and it’s sweet tale- it put a smile on my face. The array of color is so beautiful and most of all I admire the lighthearted attitude.

Why don’t we let ourselves run with color like we did when we were children? I know my 4 year old would give this paint job a double thumbs-up. :) Read the story here- www.fauhaselmayer.com. Even the paint colors are included!

I think we all need a little slice of this in our lives, to hell with the rules.

Have some fun, cheers readers!

Fall Color * 2011.

I went for a walk the other night, on a beautiful evening, and much to my delight the air was scented with falling leaves, apple trees, and bonfires.

Fall is here.

I feel most creatively inspired at this time. The back to school season pushes you forward from the laid-back summer attitude to a more serious/productive mindset. When I worked in advertising, Fall always entailed a frenzy of new campaigns. It’s the big runway time in fashion. New beginnings, fresh ideas, and time for Color Zen to churn out 5 fabulous hues for the Fall Color post. Woo hoo!

In late summer I start thinking about this post… watching color forecasts (here’s an example from Pantone), watching runway shows, checking out Fall retail lines, but mostly relying on gut instinct. What do I want to be surrounded by and what do I want to wear!

This year I’m feeling global, organic, artisanal, earthly, fiery influences. Color with warmth and richness. Comfortable, cozy, livable, wearable. Hues that remind me of Indian tapestry, Moroccan throw pillows, hand spun pottery, and wool sweaters.

Let’s roll…

1. Olive Green. Obsessed– even bought the eye shadow :) Love it on the walls, feels very modern. Complements many accent and wood colors. Try Benjamin Moore hiking path 524 or providence olive HC-98.

2. Taupe. The perfect mix of brown and gray. Currently loving it mixed with camel tones (or any of the colors within this fabulous photo by Martha- Martha knows color). Try Benjamin Moore fairview taupe HC-85 or kingsport gray HC-86.

3. Plum. Otherwise known as red/violet. Could be an accent wall or accessory color. Plays well with wood. Makes people look good. Try Benjamin Moore bordeaux red 1365 or dark walnut 1358.

4. Ochre. Can’t get enough of this hue paired with gray! Sunny with a cool breeze. A touch of white and brown temper the gold. Try Benjamin Moore princeton gold HC-14 or summerdale gold HC-17.

5. Garnet. A slightly burnt red that almost leans orange. Pairs well with spice tones. For the feisty, firecracker client :) Try Benjamin Moore sweet rosy brown 1302 or spanish red 1301.

Readers, enjoy your season, hope you like the picks! If you would like to look back on last year’s colors, here’s a link.

(Thank you Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, Domino, West Elm, and Ingrid Pullar for the New York Times for the photos)

Stunning Wall Moments.

You see it, you feel it, you know it, and you want a slice of it in your own home.

Stunning Wall Moments. When paint colors and the ideal piece of artwork combine perfectly in the right space. Add a few accessories and you have design perfection.

How do we get there? Well, that’s the hard part (I can help). Sometimes it’s a slow, painful process requiring hard work, inspiration, patience, luck… Once in a while things just magically come together.

I don’t know about you but I learn a lot from admiring other’s work. When I see something really beautiful it fuels my fire. These are examples filed in my “Holy Grail” folder :)

Can you see why? It doesn’t even take much, or a huge budget. The world is your canvas, ha ha- now get creating!

(Thank you Martha Stewart, Design Sponge, Design Sponge, Martha Stewart, and Design Sponge for the photos)

For the Love of Mixing Paint.

To my fellow creative friends out there,

Does the sight of this painter’s palette get your blood flowing?

This is exactly where my love for paint mixing began.

College painting courses- I quickly chalked up the in-between paint color tubes to focus on the primaries (red, yellow, blue) + white. With these 4 tubes at hand, you can mix virtually any shade under the sun, even black.
I did this for 2 reasons. 1. Artist paint is pricey and I never had more than $5 in my college account, ha. 2. For the love of the game!
You know which colors were by far the most difficult to mix? The neutrals- beige, shades of gray, taupe, and off-white. I learned this quickly in trying to replicate a painting by artist Wayne Thiebaud (one of my favorites). I got pretty close but it took a few attempts and much effort.

What I didn’t realize at the time, was how relevant this experience in mixing, creating neutrals, and gaining perspective on the wild world of undertones would be in my future. It’s funny how things just happen…

There is definitely an angle from art school that I can’t help but bring, sometimes literally :), to your table.

Time stood still back in college when I realized (luckily) the direction in which I should head. Art/design/painting just ignited something.
And my how that is still true!
Just wanted to share, hope you have also loved your chosen path.