Warm Nuanced Neutrals

September 16, 2012



Well, it’s almost mid- September (my absolute favorite time of year here in Virginia). Fall is in the air and I do welcome the change of scenery outside. The verdant saturated greens of the foliage start turning more murky then soften to golds, reds and browns by late October. The  woodsy view from my windows is really part of the whole color tableau of my home. Today, I took a few photos of the nuanced warm neutrals that I live with… and want to share.



I’ve always loved soft and quiet neutrals in rooms where I really want to relax.  This gorgeous lamp, found in my favorite Old Town Alexandria antiques store, Imperfections- Antiques and Great Stuff ,  inspired  the color choice for my bedroom walls, C2 Paint Bristle. Trim and ceilings were done is a soft warm white C2Paint Cotton 



Yes, I love birds. The canopy outside is home to cardinals, jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, black-capped chickadees (and the occasional wild turkey).

And the calmest color of all and one of my hands down favorites is Benjamin Moore Dry Sage.  It is a toned -down grayed green– great with hits of gold and plum,  it is easy to live with and easy to love.

Cool Fusion

April 3, 2012


Case Study of the Month:  Urban Bodyworks


Photo Urban Bodyworks


Help!”  The voice on the other end of the line was the owner of  Urban Bodyworks: A Private Women’s Fitness Boutique in Old Town, Alexandria.  A major renovation was nearing completion with a painting contractor scheduled.  The studio, with an exclusive female clientele, is housed in the first floor of an historic townhouse residence with a traditional facade. The first challenge was to find a color for the exterior– one that would sit comfortably in the context of neighborhood, but visually “pop” from the street and be consistent with the business “brand”.



Exterior before


There were fixed elements: adjacent townhouse colors, white window trim, and a yellow/orange-toned natural oak door with a snappy black awning overhead.  In the rear courtyard there was a lush wisteria vine and abundant greenery.  After much sampling, we settled on a soft but complex blue from the new full-spectrum Color Stories collection from Benjamin Moore.




Exterior after


Choosing a palette for the studio interior was the real challenge.  The clients moved from Los Angeles to Old Town Alexandria 16 years ago, bringing with them nearly 20 years of experience, gleaming state of the art equipment (including The Power Plate) and cutting edge technique.  They had experimented with some color and finishes on the walls– mostly whites, pinks and pale blues. The colors, pretty enough, were simply lost against the array of mostly platinum, black and gray equipment.  I wanted to capture the serious, yet fun feel of their approach, while immersing the clients in an atmosphere of elegance.  I needed a color that would quiet down the busy contrast but also energize the space.We quickly ruled out warm colors because of the strong western light flooding through a bay window in the afternoons.



C2 Paint ‘A Cappella’ to the rescue!  And it feels like a swim in the ocean.





‘ A Cappella’  sings– a vibrant, complex turquoise now covers three walls, visually expanding the space.  A collection of black and white photographs now pop off the walls and little hits of purple, red and yellow (exercise balls and mats) come into sharp focus.





Adding another jolt of fun to the studio, the rear wall was painted in C2Paint Retro Lime. The adjacent kitchen, where the owners do fitness and  nutritional consultations (most of the room is lined with warm cherry cabinetry), was painted with C2Paint Stockholm (a mid-toned blue-lavender).  Through French doors to the courtyard, stem green (in the foliage) makes another appearance and completes the balanced palette.







The result is energizing and effervescent — just like my fabulous and fit clients, Shaun and Casey!


Shaun Shephard and Casey Purpus




Urban Bodyworksdistinctly different by design.