Williamsburg Color- Unstuffed

May 23, 2013



I was very pleased to get this news!  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has partnered with Benjamin Moore on a collection of 144 new colors– ” Based on original pigments developed more than 250 years ago, Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have re-created this rich, authentic palette.”  TREND MEETS TRADITION.

Take a look at a few of these colors, used in really fresh new settings not your mother’s (or grandmother’s house)!



Washington Blue and Cornwallis Red


Spotswood Teal, Everard Blue and Damask Yellow



Green Umber and Hardwood Putty

Damask Yellow



Carter Gray and Capitol White


Bracken Cream and Williamsburg Wythe Blue


Raleigh Peach



Gunsmith Gray and Mopboard Black 


Ewing Blue and Market Square Shell


Bone Black and Lamp Black

Carter Plum


Williamsburg Stone and Hardwood Putty


Williamsburg Wythe Blue, Palace Pearl and Claret

Tyler Gray and Palace Pearl

Tyler Gray and Palace Pearl



Greenhow Blue



So, I’m seeing some old favorites here but the palette has most definitely been “refreshed”.  I’m loving it!





The color I’m “dying to try”?   Definitely “Greenhow Vermillion”.





There are some great reds in the collection!


Am looking forward to getting some of these colors up soon…stay tuned!  For more background on the Collection..watch here:





all images via Benjamin Moore




Take Me… to the Kasbah

April 24, 2013



I love clients who really GO FOR  IT.  Just returned from a visit with a client– her renovation has progressed slowly over the last year. The living room, filled with yummy art, antiques, rugs and textiles, was the last room to be painted… and what a difference it made!  We had done the adjacent rooms in saturated hues and the living room was just hanging out there in an anemic pale shade of lemon yellow. This rich butternut squash color,  C2Paint ‘Delicata’  (a champion color btw) did the trick.





The  vibrant colors in this rug hold their own and anchor the room (love the pink).





Now, fabulous sculptures and paintings practically pop off the walls. And the rich brown ‘walnut’ stain on the floors tames the vibrancy of the “orange”.





The tiny hallway above was the perfect place to get a dash of red–   Benjamin Moore’s ‘Caliente’.   This is an exceptional red– I specify it in the Aura line, with the recommended primer and 2 coats.  Only after my client added a light fixture to wash the wall and artwork, did  the color come to life.





The ‘Kasbah’ reference?  Well, that would be the from Benjamin Moore ‘Affinity Collection’.   The small entrance hall got a shot of that burnished purple ‘Kasbah’.  It balanced the yellow- orange tones of the kitchen cabinetry (in sight lines from the entry).




This kitchen, in place when I arrived on the scene, informed the palette for the house.  It is “heavy” in a good way– lots of warm wood which I balanced with a medium toned gray-green on the walls–  ‘Jojoba’, also from the Affinity Collection.   The client has a gorgeous verdant garden, visible from the french doors and windows– the green wall color invites the outdoors in.  Stainless steel appliances and these fabulous ‘industrial’ metal chairs also temper the warmth. Isn’t the assymetrical table a surprise? Custom made by the talented Alexandria craftsman, Ian Lowrie.




Another view (above)  of ‘Jojoba’  on the kitchen walls with warm wood trim and a slice of the hall wall color- ‘Kasbah’ .





The “before”  version of the  paneled dining room (the original) had loads of white window trim, which, aside from being high-contrast, did nothing to enhance the wood. I switched the white trim out with a warmer mid-toned green — Benjamin Moore  ‘Aventurine’, also from the Affinity Collection.  It is  actually much warmer — not as minty as shown in the rendering above (still learning Photoshop..sorry), and paired with warm woven-wood blinds, it softens the room considerably.




We rearranged artwork (fab purple tones) which relate to the hall color (visible from the room) and added buffet lamps to add ambient lighting for evenings.





Another lesson in balance– wood tones of cabinetry, furniture and especially floors are integral to a successful color scheme.



Happy colors… happy client…. happy me!


Thanks for stopping by~






“Skiff Waiting”

February 7, 2013



Had a late afternoon visit recently with a favorite client. Over a cup of tea, we had a little ‘catch up’ on the progress (almost finis) of her historic bungalow renovation.  I would say that any major design project is rarely a neat process– there are almost always surprises, delays, disappointments, and indecision. Spaces we inhabit are wrapped up with emotion– a messy business, for sure. But I must say that this project actually was (after MANY months) sort of “wrapped up” with a pretty little bow–and just in time for the holidays.



Skiff Waiting


The dust had settled, furniture returned and wreaths hung. And on Christmas Eve my client’s husband presented her with this sweet little watercolor. It shows their beloved dog, Skiff, waiting (for someone to come home) at the window of their newly painted front library. Skiff is certainly the star of this show but C2Paint ‘Savannah’  most definitely plays a supporting role!








The library is the center ‘cocoon’ space in this house with the new addition (open family room, dining room and kitchen)wrapping around it. We felt pretty strongly that this little space (original to the house) needed a strong + warm color to make it inviting and cozy. It was christened ‘The Savannah Room”.





A light neutral, Benjamin Moore’s Misty Air,  was chosen for the entry and staircase walls. The color is repeated on the ceiling of the library (above).





Benjamin Moore’s White Dove was used on all trim and casework throughout.











The real challenge was to choose a wall color for the main open space (kitchen, dining room, family room). Fixed elements were the soft white cabinetry and trim, the red oak+pine floors and exposed brick.  We needed a warm /versatile neutral and found the answer in the C2 Paint range:



I absolutely LOVE this color– a complex khaki whose undertones change with the light throughout the day.  Designer Whitney Stewart is also pretty crazy about it. She gushes, “This is it, a soft camel that has red and green and yellow in it. That’s why it goes with everything… When a color transcends itself to coordinate with so many different colors and still retains warmth, it jumps to that ethereal level. It’s a color you just love to be around. You would feel like a million dollars in a family room, a living room, a kitchen painted this color.”






On opposite sides of the main room are two small spaces (zen den and office). We chose greenish neutrals (Benjamin Moore Nantucket Gray and Dry Sage) to create a subtle shift from the more golden Enoki.








And a sweet little powder room gets a shot of Benjamin Moore “Tropical Dusk”— a beautiful complement to the greens and golds outside the door.





And as for Skiff?





He sat very patiently for this shot.  I’m know he’s happy that pesky hammering has stopped. And, perched high upon his throne in ‘The Savannah Room’,  he enjoys a  great “room with a view”– outside and in.





Looking for C2 Paint in the DC metro area ?  You can find this gorgeous collection of hand-crafted color  (and large samples) at Potomac Paint.



Where Gray Works in the Kitchen

January 26, 2013



Gray… at least 50 shades of it,  is still going strong in DC interiors these days. And suddenly, everyone seems to want “Tuscany” out of the kitchen.





I view gray as a neutral, but it can be tricky to work with.  When layering grays and other neutrals, there are those pesky undertones that come into play (grays have an undertone of either violet, blue or green). But another important factor to consider when “going gray” in a kitchen is how to balance it with warmer elements so you don’t end up stirring your marinara sauce in what feels like a chilly operating room.  Here are 15 “gray” kitchens that manage to achieve that balance.



via Willow Decor


This is one of my favorites– designed by Jeanne Rapone and Bronwyn McCarthy Huffard. The weight of the dark cabinetry is balanced by the soft, light floors and a fabulous pop of yellow on the door and rug (below).


via Willow Decor



Here, the austerity of the gray and stainless steel surfaces is balanced by the texture of baskets and rustic wood floor.



via House and Home



Pattern comes into play with this gorgeous marble backsplash and  chevron rug. But the warm orange tone of the floor pairs perfectly with the soft blue-toned gray cabinetry.


via Design Sponge


There is nothing soft, warm or quiet about this next kitchen… but what fun!  The Decor Demon is obvioulsy no “shrinking violet”.


via Decor Demon



via Casa Suga



The  kitchen below is uber elegant  and soft with glints of polished chrome– but the sight lines take us into what looks like a warm wood paneled library.


via Better Homes and Gardens



Again, wood floors are an important component here.  Cabinetry (below) is painted in Benjamin Moore Gentle Gray, with uppers lightened by 50%.



via Remodelista



From across the pond, the sublime work of Plain English.  The soft chalky finishes on floor and cabinetry are just beautiful.



via Plain English



Below… a two-toned cabinet treatment with walls and upper cabinets ‘Lime White’; lower cabinets,  ‘Mouse’s Back’ ; window sashes and doors, ‘Stoney Ground’ (all Farrow & Ball).



via Urban Grace Interiors



Below, Benjamin Moore ‘Storm’  is paired with a warm gold wall color and chesnut flooring. Works.


via Benjamin Moore



And here, a subtle treatment of Benjamin Moore ‘Gray Owl’ on the cabinets with a warm, rustic wide-planked pine floor feels warm and cozy.



via A Perfect Gray



And Martha always gets things right in the kitchen.  Here, cabinets are painted in Bedford Gray.



via Martha Stewart



This Sally Wheat  kitchen (below)) went viral in the blogosphere for a reason–  cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore ‘Fieldstone’.


via Cote de Texa


And next, a warm gray marries beautifully with an antique pine table  (I love this one).





There are many good tutorials out there on painting kitchen cabinets. One of the better ones is here. Most major cabinetry lines are now offering a nice range of gray finishes.  Crown Point Cabintery  offers beautiful custom painted finishes in the Farrow & Ball range.  And appliance manufacturers are getting in on the act.  GE has debuted a new finish called  “Slate”



via Plain and Fancy






But of course another way to get gray into the kitchen is to pair a great gray wall color with white cabinetry. Another post. Another day.






Until next time… thanks for dropping by!




Respect the Architecture

December 4, 2012



I think for just about every designer, there is that queasy wait after a new paint color goes up– for the panicked phone call from the client. It happens often, with lots of reassurance and hand-holding needed until furniture is moved back into place, art work hung, and heart rates returned to normal.


via Tackorama


But there are also those calls from clients instantly ecstatic over the transformation– ” The house looks great… you have to come over to see. We love it!”


via Tackorama


I got one of those calls yesterday (the nice kind) and just returned from the project… no tweaking needed, every single color (10 rooms) pretty much spot on.  #happydance.

Now on to the more serious “respect the architecture” bit.




I loved this house– a cozy, traditional Cape Cod with great bones. It had been remodeled by the previous owners with care.They had preserved the cozy scale and original pine flooring but had updated the space with clean lines, good lighting, a streamlined white galley kitchen and ordered, contemporary maple built-ins. The owners had lived with the existing colors for several years but were ready to make a change. The challenge was to transform the space to reflect the clients’ tastes without compromising the strong architectural elements already in place.


There was a slice of  free-standing wall off the main hallway (visible from the dining room) that was the very first thing that caught my eye (potential color plane). There was a central hallway running through the middle with the stair case just inside the front entry (above).


Dining Room BEFORE:







Two rooms, the living room and dining room, flanked the entry. The living room had little natural light and both rooms had been painted an anemic pale green and grayed white. I settled on one of my favorite Benjamin Moore warm neutrals for both rooms- ‘Honeymoon’ from the Affinity Collection. It is the perfect mid-tone camel/gold and washes a room with warmth– a cozy and happy color, perfect for this active, young family. The slice of  wall, visible from the dining room, was painted a saturated  blue, ‘Cambridge’ from C2 Paint and is a great backdrop for a bold black and white print.




The bright white contemporary kitchen informed the color choice (Benjamin Moore Super White ) for the center hall walls and all trim throughout the house.  It was visually important to balance the “weight” of that kitchen’s white throughout the rest of the first floor.




Along with the clean contemporary lines of the interior, the white kitchen and warm wood floors,  I was working with other fixed design elements.  The owner had lovely chocolate brown linen window treatments in both living and dining rooms and rugs, pottery and textiles with accents of brown, blue, lime green and orange.







Living Room AFTER:





Accents of brown, burnt orange and blue.





This is the view from the entrance.  The stair risers were painted out in white to create graphic interest and movement.  Glimpses of strong color planes of white, gold and blue draw the eye through the white hallway.



Above, the owner’s favorite “color vignette”.




Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan, a cool mid-tone complex gray (with a blue undertone) was the perfect choice for the family room (flooded with natural light) to balance the warm tones of the maple built-ins and floors.




A lively large-scale brown and white print and lime green accents enliven the white kitchen.





The finishing touch:  a powder room in a deep saturated burnt orange– C2 Roasted Tomato.






Let me know what you think!