Color inspiration is everywhere!

November 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

I am often asked if I have any advice about how to choose the right colors for a home. Whether furniture, walls, or a front door, that’s an easy question to answer.

My advice…just look around you. Color inspiration is everywhere!

The circles above represent colors that I’ve sampled from the photos above. All of these objects made me smile! The yellow Vespa looks like a fun ride and the warm colors of the changing leaves are inspiring. Nature really is the best teacher when it comes to color.

Objects like these can help you on your path to choosing colors for your home. You can see exactly how the color inspiration above translates into a color choice for a home in the picture below. What a gorgeous front door!

Can you imagine this conversation?

Homeowner: “I have a gray house, what color do you suggest for our front door?”

Paint store: “Orange. Definitely”.  (not likely)

This homeowner was not just daring but brilliant in their color choice for their front door.

My advice:

I always choose colors that make me feel good. It may sound corny, but it works. If you are trying to decide on a color for your interior, exterior, furniture or accents, be sure to ask yourself a few questions first. What do you want to feel when you see it? Calm? Inspired?

For example, I am usually trying to crank out creative work in my home office so I need to feel inspired. I decided on warm yellow walls to inspire me and all white furniture to act as a clean palette for each new project. The wall color makes me feel awake and ready to work while the bright white surfaces keep my mind uncluttered.

Of course, I had to make a mistake first in order to learn this lesson about color. I used to love the cinnamon walls at my favorite cafe. I loved them so much that I came home and painted my office that exact color hoping to elicit the same relaxing feelings I had at the cafe. When it was done, it looked amazing. Unfortunately, it was all wrong. Why? I enjoyed the cafe interior because it made me feel calm and relaxed, which was not the intended goal for my home office. Shortly after I painted the walls a cozy cinnamon color, all I wanted to do was sleep at my desk! Luckily, I learned an invaluable lesson about color that I can pass along to you.

I hope these ideas help you to find your color inspiration for your next project! I’d love to hear about it.


Plants and pumpkins? You bet.

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Plants and pumpkins? You bet.

If you’re like me and not sure what to do with your assortment of small pumpkins left over from Halloween, here is a great idea. Spruce up your outdoor container pots by adding your pumpkins, squash and gourds.

This is so simple and will add a bright touch of color perfect for fall just as your perennials begin to die back!

A cheerful front porch accessory

October 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

There was something about this house that caught my attention. I was on foot, chasing after my little bike riders when we all went flying past this house. The sidewalk we were on seemed really dark at this point because the trees were old and mature and had grown over the path creating a natural shade.

The kids were ahead of me screaming “weeeee” the way they always do when we go through a tunnel. As I passed through this dark “tunnel”, the light coming from the entry of this home made me jerk around to see what I had just missed.

It was light, cheery and quaint. And it was for sale!

No, we didn’t buy it or even make on offer…but I did take the opportunity to get a little closer and snap a few pictures. I had to get a shot of these adorable birdhouses.

I think this was such a cheerful way to dress up a front porch.  Two adorable birdhouses and an empty wire flower container. Furthermore, since red is opposite of blue on the color wheel, the birdhouses were in perfect contrast. I can’t say that it would cross my mind to put birdhouses on my front porch but now it seems like a fantastic idea.

Ironically, the following weekend we strolled past this house again and were lucky enough to be invited inside to view it. It was just as charming on the inside! You can see it here if you like.


Smart design for smaller homes

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Understated elegance is how I choose to describe this home.

Although not grand in size, these homeowners display impeccable taste. By using a neutral color palette, smart landscaping and modestly decorating their petite porch, they have created one of the most well designed houses on their block.

Many people find smaller homes a little more challenging to decorate and landscape. There is less room for error with a smaller space so consequently design choices need to be deliberate and add value whether by adding charm or function, or ideally, both.

The front yard has just the right amount of foliage that includes a perfectly proportioned boxwood hedge, roses and other low lying plants in front of the living room windows.

The hedge is a very important design element as it helps to define the boundaries of the yard. Building a bulky fence could cause this home to look small and uninviting. Keeping the height of the hedge low creates an inviting feeling while still defining the property line.

The single golden pumpkin on the porch of this home is a smart accent because it’s glamorous golden shine is in sharp contrast to the traditional elements of brick and the weathered wood porch. It also celebrates the season without taking up too much space or commanding too much attention.

Classic cement pavers offer more style points. They have been set into the grass walkway adding visual interest as well as function to keep our feet dry during the rainy months. These small details and design choices not only express personal taste but add tons of charm to this home.

This house is such a joy to look at and demonstrates a fundamental design lesson that once again, less really is more!

The Party Porch

October 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

The party porch. I happened upon this porch by accident. Innocently passing by. I was about to cross the street when the lights hanging from the trellis caught my eye.

Situated on a round-about street corner in Seattle, the trellis, lights and open design were impossible to walk past without snapping a picture.

This party porch was so welcoming because of its corner entrance and hanging lights that I imagined at any second someone would wave me up the steps for a drink!

Enjoy –

An inspiring walk in Calgary, Alberta

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Making a statement comes easy for a door like this.

I am guessing that whoever lives here has a ton of confidence or hired a designer who does. I discovered this jewel while out on a  walk on our winter vacation.  I LOVE this door.

This home had a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and was pulled together impeccably. Many people struggle with the idea that if you live in a traditional home that all design elements should be parallel to that particular style. This is a great example of how that is simply not the case.  The front of this house has two planters in very traditional round pots, craftsman style bronzed lamp posts and then a very contemporary metal door. The front gate is almost delicate in its design in contrast to the weighty style of gray bricks and massive single front door, and it looks amazing together.

Today was -26 degrees in Calgary, Alberta. I was bundled up and out for a fantastic walk through my cousin’s neighborhood.  His neighborhood is situated above the Bow River overlooking the downtown area. These are just a few doorsteps that caught my eye for different reasons.

In Seattle, I don’t usually see this style door in a light stain. I love the curved top, light stain and that it was paired with a modern nickel door handle. Beautiful.

This particular house reminds me of a modest, older Seattle home that has tons of charm inside complete with built-ins and paned glass. Even though this is a smaller home with a single door porch, it commands attention because of the substantial, wood door and rustic stain.

I couldn’t help taking a ton of photos when I was out walking.  I am intrigued by how architecture and design styles differ so much between cities, states, climates and countries – even neighboring countries. It was inspiring to see daring design choices, traditional charm and how architects are inspired by the elements (such as -26 degrees!).


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