Color Planes

February 22, 2012



Few architects venture into the territory of color with the bravado of  Luis Barragán.  One of the Mexico’s most influential 20th century architects, he was a master of form, color and light.


Luis Barragan


Luis Barragan via Arch Daily


Luis Barragan


One of my favorite subjects of study is the use of “color planes” in both interiors and exteriors.  Local Washington, D.C. architect, Mark McInturff often integrates blocks of color in open contemporary spaces with great success.


McInturff Architects


Here, color is injected into an open floor plan in the form of  framed rectangular gypsum panels.  They not only define space within, but draw the eye through it.


McInturff Architects


McInturff Architects


And here, color and form marry with great success on two exteriors.


McInturff Architects


McInturff Architects


Modern, open spaces can be transformed using color this way. Often the perimeter color is a white or neutral.



Donald Kaufman


Color planes can also be used in a more traditional setting. The “plane” may not be a free-standing wall, but a floor or door.


via Living, etc.




Susan Sargent



Color is integral to design. I would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with a like-minded architect or designer to use color this way.



Color + Pattern + Pillows

February 17, 2012



Full speed ahead updating a family room in my own home and must share some great finds.



photo Lacefield Designs



I’m all for the ease and gentle price point of “semi-custom”, especially when it comes to decorative pillows. Of course,  my eye always seems to settle on pricey fabrics–  and with minimum yardage requirements for ordering plus labor this can bring the cost of a single pillow well into the triple digits.  So what is a girl (or guy) to do?



photo Lacefield Designs


Go online !    I found several great resources and just what I was looking for after spending about an hour surfing the web.  One of my favorites is Lacefield Design, where you can view fabrics and finished pillows by color.   Beth Lacefield offers textiles and pillows at a great price point.  Her pillows are finished beautifully and have an artisanal feel.  Another plus is that they are designed in Lacefield’s studio outside of Atlanta and are made locally.



photo Lacefield Designs



And then there is Etsy. You’ll find great offerings here. Seems there are plenty of  people out there with a good eye and a sewing machine.  Many of the pillows are finished simply though– three seams and a zipper– no fancy trim.  But designers can churn out (and sell)  several pillows per yard, so offer them at bargain prices.  And you’ll find gorgeous to-the -trade fabrics used as well as vintage textiles. Here is stylist Emily Henderson’s ” Etsy Throw Pillow Roundup” .   Apartment Therapy also has a few hand-made Etsy favorites.


photo Apartment Therapy


And moi?  I was just ready to head out to the DC Design Center today to check out a gorgeous woven fabric from the Celerie Kemble Collection for Schumacher:




With a few keywords and clicks… look what I found:



Wow…  so PillowMood (who has an art background, great taste and is from Boston)  has already made me just what I need.  I would have probably added some trim, but at $69.00 (!)  it is a steal.


Surf, click…. done.   Now this leaves me more time to obsess about something else.  Like rugs.

: )


photo Pinterest




~Happy Weekend ~



Visual Overload: Pinning, Chipping and… Flipping

February 9, 2012



Chances are, if you have meandered over to this blog, you may also have wandered onto my Pinterest boards.   If you are new to Pinterest,  dive right in.



Fabulous tool for curating, organizing and sharing images and inspiration with friends, colleagues and clients.  What I love most about it is that the images always take you back to the source– eliminating all of that filing and bookmarking.  And, of course, you can scroll across hundreds of images (viewing others’ boards) –at warp speed. I find my mind just buzzing with visual overload, +  it is addicting. And like much of social media, just as we conquer the learning curve of one thing, something newer and more clever comes along. So just today, I noticed that there is another new toy (and new verb) on the block.

Meet  “Chip It”, curtesy of  Sherwin Williams:



I’m not sure how I will use this new app, but it is super easy and lightening fast. I “chipped” (and repinned) these images in 5 minutes flat:


photo Holly Dyment / palette Sherwin Williams


photo via Color Sizzle/ palette Sherwin Williams


image via Remodelista/ palette Sherwin williams


image via House Beautiful/ palette by Sherwin Williams


image via Helen James/palette via Sherwin Williams


“Chipping”…. you might have heard it here first.

Exhibition Color

February 2, 2012



“The advantage of white is that is saves the curator from having to choose” ~  Jonathan Jones


Takada Gallery


One of my favorite subjects– how is color best used to complement art?


Smithsonian American Art Museum


I live in a city brimming with art museums and galleries and have written about the brilliant use of color on the walls of The National Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. The painting of gallery walls is most certainly an intellectual exercise and a subtle art. And the debate over whether or not the use of anything other than a neutral or white paint is simply a distraction… continues on.





MoMA, which set the standard for the display of contemporary art (in the 1930’s the walls were lined with a neutral beige monk’s cloth) recently initiated a repainting effort for a focused installation.  The color chosen was a greyish-beige– Benjamin Moore’s Big Bend Beige.

In an article about the history of MoMA‘s use of color,  Eleonore Hugendubel writes that its “adoption of the white-walled space set a pioneering, if not uncontested, international standard for exhibiting modern and contemporary art, one that to this day, by virtue of its chromatic simplicity, has remained somewhat of a norm. MoMA’s “white cube” galleries have been fertile ground for many critical debates and the subject of several not-so-neutral arguments.”




At the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, walls were recently “coloured” … the Museum noting that ,

“White kills all painting apart from 20th century and contemporary art. When you put an Academic or an Impressionist painting against a white background, the radiance of the white, its indeterminate aura around the work prevents the sometimes very subtle contrasts of values from being revealed.  In [our] view, white is the enemy of painting.”





The Guggenheim in NYC weighes in on the subject:

“Each time the Guggenheim mounts an exhibition it embarks on an elaborate design process to plan the gallery ambiance. Wall color is often used to convey a particular time, place, or culture, and must highlight the works of art without competing with them. The choice of wall color can influence how a museum visitor experiences the artworks, so this process is crucial to the presentation.”








The Guggenheim has recently collaborated with Fine Paints of Europe to offer a curated collection of  50 colors, culled from its exhibition design archives and intended to guide homeowners in the showcasing of art.



And  more examples of palettes chosen by museums abroad… these from Aalto Colour of New Zealand:









For over fifty years, white has been the choice and integral design element of the work of the modernist, Richard Meier (The Getty in LA). Speaking on the subject, he says,

“There is plenty of color, and…  white allows us to appreciate that color. It intensifies our perception of color, and the way that color changes throughout the day the way nature changes.”



The High Museum in Atlanta




My thoughts on the subject?   I simply appreciate that color has become an integral part of the exhibition design process.  That said….. white is a color.



Your thoughts?