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The 10 Commandments of Choosing Color

Selecting colours takes courage — and best done with lots of cups of tea (or bubbly). Here are the 10 things I recommend to make sure your color choices are spot on.

  1. To Each Their Own: Be authentic to yourself, as what really matters is how you respond to it. If the colour works for you, it’s right!
  2. Feel it Out: Ask yourself lots of questions about the experience you want to have within that particular space. What colours come to mind for you personally that create that feeling. That’s the best starting point and will lead you to making authentic choices.
  3. Identify Inspiration: What is the colour “driver”? That one ‘thing’ that you knew to be the engine starter, inspiration and energy instigator.  It could be in the form of fabric, tile, flowers, paper … absolutely anything! Once you’ve found it, you’ll know it.
  4. Colour Questions: Color is never seen in isolation – it is always in a relationship with something else, so the question is:  what kind of relationship do you want to have with colour? Dramatic, bold, energizing, neutral, quiet, calm, etc. Write out a list of words to best describe this for yourself.
  5. Exploration: We often imitate before we can innovate, so resource through as many areas as possible for ideas. Magazines, movie sets, art and nature…. get out there and explore.
  6. Form & Function: What is the function of the room? Is it used mostly day or nighttime? Ask yourself why you want to have that experience in order to broaden your vision and consider other contributing colour elements.
  7. Break it Down: Break colour down into manageable components considering your space like Paint by Numbers. Pair surfaces together as you build your palette (i.e. ceilings/floors). This concept helps you layer the colours while exploring the relationships between them.C2 color palette
  8. Let it Flow: Consider threading one colour throughout your entire home – one that links all of the rooms, varying from being a full on broad stroke to barely traceable. Your eye will always find it and it will help your color transition easily from room to room.
  9. Attention to Accents: All colour schemes are improved by accents, the final touches of colour that add an element of surprise, and bring rooms to life. Introduce colour accents with pillows or unique tabletop accessories – these will help tell your individual style story.
  10. Simple Surprises: Use colour in unexpected places, behind closed doors, inside cabinets, drawers and closets. All those tucked away places that provide an element of surprise once revealed. Much like having a beautiful lining inside your coat.

    C2 Al Green

    Painting the inside of your front door is a refreshing surprise.

Colors do not transition from home to home in the same way, so be mindful of using the same palette all the time. New spaces warrant new colour consideration.

I’m happy to assist with your color questions. Just add a comment in the area below.

Mapping: The Architecture of Interior Design

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”– Marcel Proust

For some reason we instinctively trust maps. They provide a sense of familiarity to the unknown and are seemingly trustworthy and reassuring that we are taking the right path…or that we ultimately know where we are heading. Today more than ever, we rely on maps to help us plan and navigate our daily lives. The GPS- enabled smartphone has become an essential part of modern existence, supporting a universal fast paced world where time is a valued commodity. Consider how chaotic and haphazard a life without direction would be, how much time would be wasted. Maps help navigate us into making better use of those precious hours and minutes. (more…)

Maps go way back. We’ve seen beautifully penned and coloured old maps where the countries are odd shapes and sizes— perhaps with no America or New Zealand because they hadn’t yet been discovered. There has always been a need to map out the world. To help us understand where we are in relation to other people or places, physically and culturally. Our sense of home is based on our mental map of the world as we know it, with us at the centre. Today, despite all the modern technology, the emotional need to know where we are and chart our everyday rituals and routine remains as meaningful as it did for those early explorers.

Part of the charm of the maps of old was their sense of history and adventure. Somehow, maps allow you to venture farther than you ever thought possible. The adventure of being original and defining our own style and sense of self needs supportive direction. In this way, mapping still revolves around the joy of discovery, about inviting your dreams into reality.

A map is your compass—in both life and design. It allows you to make note of a point of reference for your ideas and then expand them into other areas. It offers you the freedom to self-navigate, knowing that you can lose yourself in exploration, while being safe in the knowledge that you are tethered and able to find your way back to home base at any time. The same is true when you embark on your journey of discovering your personal style, and esthetic sensabilities.

Maps also remind you that there is more than one route to any destination. We’ve all heard the expression: “life is more about the journey than the destination” — and with design, that journey is one that should force you to explore new resources, or move into new arenas in an organic way. The more layered and complex the path becomes, the more options will inevitably present themselves. So trusting one’s intuition is essential when presented with a fork in the road.

“Utilizing a mapping process allows you to broaden your view and gain the confidence you need to tap into your creativity with confidence.”

 

At its simplest level, mapping allows us to take a bird’s eye view of any project.  A “you are here” starting point that offers you an overview perspective to see how a plethora of elements can be woven together to form a cohesive picture. Sometimes, I like to think of myself as a circus performer, spinning an array of plates around and around atop perilously long poles. These performers must be hyper aware of every individual plate’s speed and momentum in order to prevent everything from literally crashing to the ground. That’s how it can feel when monitoring the numerous overlapping elements of any design project, the mapping technique offers a way of staying on top of every situation and keeping those plates spinning.

Maps give us an all-important overview that helps make a project seem more manageable. Design projects often have a way of making you feel overwhelmed before you even begin, as you start to compile an infinite “to do” list. Your map also allows you to “zoom in and out” on the project as a whole. Zooming in allows us to hone in on the finer details, while zooming out allows us to examine the bigger picture at any time. It is always important to keep looking at both to foresee what lies ahead — truly one of the great benefits of mapping.

I also work specifically on colour maps as the beginning stage of colour selecting.  Colour is the starting point for me on all my projects, the discovery of the general palette and its complexities. It is a more inspiring and practical way to select and group the colors and chart their relationships allowing all the spaces to connect and flow.

“Mapping enables me to develop a design experience; it provides an overview of the spaces so that I can see how the colour threads weave between them in a mindful, orchestrated manner.”

This mapping method is a way of brainstorming and recording important details and information in a colourful and creative way. A freestyle storyboard, that is the whole picture of every thought, every idea, brainwave mental image and realization I have. Think of the all-too-common experience of having had a wonderful dream that you are certain you’ll remember — only to have every last remnant of that dream evaporate and leave you wondering how you could have lost such a memorable thought. Mapping enables you to capture those ideas in the same way you might record dreams in a journal — it keeps a record of those fleeting but often intuitive notions before they disappear into the ether.

C2 colour mapping

“Maps help to show you where you are, but a home is about developing who you are.”

I am a highly visual person, (compensates for my dyslexia!) so for me, connecting a subject with an image helps lock that idea in my memory. Sometimes on those inevitable complicated days, when it feels like nothing is working, having a map allows me to switch gears and move into another area, yet know that I am still heading in the right direction.

Mapping is a visual tool that you can expand continuously without upsetting any order of sequence that contains all the information I want in a personal, functional and artistic visual image. It’s a way to help us chart uniquely personal home stories and create decor and colour schemes that resonate with our home’s ultimate purpose and lifestyle choices.

How This C2 Partner is Adding Color to His Community

The name Harry Adler is part of the local vernacular in the town of Providence, Rhode Island. A founding partner of C2 Paint, his family has owned one of the most beloved businesses in the area, Adler’s Hardware for nearly a century. That’s right, since 1919 Adler’s has been a staple of the Providence community.

“When Woodrow Wilson was president, we were here. When women gained the right to vote, we were here. When man first walked on the moon, we were here. We’ve survived the Great Depression, Y2K and even the Big Box stores.”

Offering paint, hardware, home goods and a design center, Adler’s has evolved throughout the years to cater to the needs of its customers. For Adler, being a business owner is more than just making money; it’s about being a valuable part of the community.  He tells us how working with the right organizations helps him connect with his community, while also raising the awareness of his brand.

Harry Adler of Adler’s Hardware


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Q; How did you get involved with community projects?
In Providence, we have a lot of historical properties so it makes sense to align with a preservation society, which is an integral part of our community. Given the state of funding for non-profits, most are looking for funding and trade resources.We like to find a way to provide them with a service, like paint.

Q: What projects are you currently involved with?
We do a lot of projects with the Providence Revolving Fund whose mission is to preserve Providence’s architectural heritage and stimulate community revitalization through advocacy, lending, technical assistance, and development in historic areas.  Currently, we are helping to revitalize a property at 49 Princeton. We will be providing paint to help restore the exterior.

In progress photos of the 49 Princeton restoration

We are also gearing up for another exciting project at the historic The Wedding Cake House, a beautiful mansion built in 1880. Once the pride of Providence, it was occupied by the Tirocchi sisters who ran their couture business out of the posh location on Broadway Street from 1915 to 1947.

The “Wedding Cake House” was delicately designed and filled with exquisite detail, just like a wedding cake.

This historical building, which is listed as one of Rhode Island’s 10 most endangered properties, is undergoing an ambitious restoration. We plan to provide exterior paint, as this will no doubt be an extremely visible project. The community is very grateful that this property is getting the attention it deserves so we are happy to be a part of that process. See the progress here!

Q: What is the result you’ve seen personally and professionally from your involvement?
It’s really about generating community good will, which creates an opportunity to make a deeper connection with the community on both a personal and professional level, specifically with the people that are loyal to that organization. We find this to be a very valuable form of advertising since non-profits and the people that support them tend to be very loyal. Our goal is to help our community continue to evolve and transform.

Q: Why is getting involved with a community-based project appealing to you as a business owner?
The world of marketing and advertising is so competitive; there are so many options now…so much noise. There are few vehicles that can separate you from the larger competition in terms of traditional advertising, so you have to find other ways to stand out. For me, it’s been about finding opportunities to emotionally connect with the community. Supporting a non-profit and finding a way to help an organization that people care about is a really great way to accomplish a lot of things at the same time – you form an emotional bond, receive incredible visibility, receive an endorsement and at the end of the day are doing a good thing.  You can offer amazing service, all the best products… but the ultimate goal for a local business is to become part of the fabric of your community.

 

Techniques for the Evolving Interior Designer

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you decorate your home, how your writing looks and the way you feel.”
— Helen Bonham Carter

There are quotes that we find, or that find us, which strike a deep and resounding chord. The above is simplistic – an observation of finding beauty in the everyday around us.

As an interior designer, it serves to remind me that I don’t have to orchestrate large projects or depend on clients to be creative – that I am my own piece of working art, with a multitude of daily opportunities to be exploringly artistic. Being creative for my own purposes and development contributes so positively to my work to others. The results are not about design for design sake, but in creating environments that house and preserve experiences of everyday life.

To be self confident in design, to be able to envision, research and resource, craft and create a well tailored interior that resonates the personality of the dweller is an art form.  It is the creating of a visual map. It is the telling of a story that tells other stories – a collaboration that builds relationships based on intuitive trust between strangers with sensibilities that resonate and mesh. It is not about a designer’s prior achievements or well-styled portfolio, but instead, the recognition of a partnership – a chance to explore, journey and travel together and transform a home into something unique and beautiful.

Creating personal design stories with my clients.

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New projects demand new exploration. While the blueprint is different each time, there is a familiarity to the process that I am able to introduce to my clients. Establishing a visual guide and direction that immediately opens up the conversation to their individuality and personalization.

To me, the word “project” indicates a sense of movement that encourages me to collect myself from any disorder or holding pattern; it’s a signal to my creative resources that we will soon be called upon to contribute.  An inner energy and excitement is ignited, space cleared and prepared, tools sharpened.  The project assembly and mapping begins.

Mapping techniques provide a theoretical beginning, middle and end, that starts with placing my clients and I together at the “You are Here” point.  It’s the embarking of a road trip.

These techniques allow us to zoom in and out, with a bird’s eye view, of the terrain we will traverse.  This introduces my clients to a new approach, a new way of designing their home and developing their own sense of style with a greater confidence, appreciation and understanding of the design process. Developing a visual story is a balancing act, a collaborative art that helps achieve successful interiors.  After all, is that not what we are all striving for?  A nostalgic collective of timeless beauty, comfort, functionality and longevity? A surrounding that nurtures us, frames memories and marks time?

My role as a designer is ever changing. Though technically, “design” (purpose, planning or intention behind an action or material object) still defines my role, my approach has developed into something deeper and more meaningful.  For so many, the value of home life is lost in the hubbub, flurry, trends and speed of daily life. My approach, allows us to redefine what matters most as we layer and mix the relationships of our lifestyle choices, interests and style. It is all so intertwined.  Where else is there but within our homes to harness the opportunity to build our personal portfolio, that encompasses everything for each of us uniquely.

Like so many industries today, everything under the design umbrella has been affected by technological advancement, product exposure and of course, social media, at a pace I cannot pretend to conquer.  Though essential and beneficial, I am graced in that my world remains tactile and intimate…and in the knowing our responses are most honest when through direct visual contact, feel and fragrance.

I have entered hundreds of homes over the years, (I really should have counted!) of every shape, size, style, age and continent. I absolutely love the rush of that first introduction, the roaming through someone else’s rooms and observing, ingesting everything I possibly can.

Our homes represent so much about us; they are an insight into our minds, personality, order, energy and passions.  In an age where we live with such reconstruction and adaptation to new social and economic conditions, the need to feel our homes are authentic and true to our own nature and sensibilities, is paramount to our sense of well being and stability. I want to create homes that entice you to stay home more, enjoying the creature comforts and beauty of your surroundings. Mature and evolve as your own life does naturally, seasonally.

The accumulation of my design experience, trained eye and intuitive nature complimented by practiced studies, such as Vastu Shastra, Hygge living and Aromatherapy contribute in creating interiors that are carefully curated and tailored on many levels. The rewards and gratification support the belief and knowledge that our happiness is genuinely affected by our surroundings. There is a strong golden thread and building of all these relationships for our wellbeing.  It is a permanent practice for me, not an occasional exercise, but a way of life.

A “Hygge” (pronounced hue-guh) approach to living is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling of making your environment cozy, charming and special.

I am inspired by colour; it is my medium.  The starting point for almost everything.

“The whole nature of colour is deeply personal and subjective – but never private.”

Be it from paint, textiles, flora or art  – these are the necessary vehicles that convey and transport the world of colour and design for me. Colour is a living organism that grows and molds and shapes.  Colour is the daily mystery that I swim in.  It provides a renewed approach to my everyday living, everyday.

As I tackle new adventures in the upcoming year, I plan to devote more time to considering the why, what and how, to test my own techniques and continue to evolve as a designer.

I have the unique opportunity to use my own home reconstruction project as inspiration to test new design techniques so that I can help others create spaces they love to live in.

Though I have lived in and transformed many homes, my current (rather dilapidated) 1890s farmhouse home in Eden, WNY is a true test to all my skills as it slowly transforms into something that is essentially, authentically me.

Nature provides a constant source of inspiration.

Please join my on my design journey on Instagram @philipparadon.

 

The Creative Comforts of Winter Hibernation

As the autumn leaves begin to fall around our newly purchased farmhouse (another story to be told) and I see our neighbors’ iconic red barn, now glaringly exposed through bare trees, I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for us here in Buffalo as the barometer drops.

I try to imagine the sea of white that will inevitably surround us, replacing the current carpet of copper and luminous gold, and am inspired to push my level of creativity to consider the key factors that will make my new home cozy, warm and seasonally colourful—with out breaking the bank.

Our homes provide a sense of belonging, and winter is a time to hunker down, take stock & focus on our direct and personal surrounding – make design an adventure, with joy and self gratification the compass guide. We need to see the things we craft and make, and feel the results. Colour provides an immediate embracement of our work, that we can share and enjoy.

Eden, our new home, is located in an agricultural zone and snow belt. As a new Buffalonian, with my second winter fast approaching, I am told that snow often starts as early as late October, which sends me into accelerated “prep’ers” mode.

My new home, Eden in Buffalo, NY.


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These preparations include not only the practicalities, but also more comforting practices like nest building and some intensified colour reflection. My tendencies, especially in the colder months, lean toward creating a warm, inviting colour palette that will keep us inspired to embrace the coming months of hibernation in my transforming hygge home.

More often than not, a colour selection leads the way for my design aesthetic, whether it’s a paint colour or textile – but in circumstances like this, when I have nothing but an empty shell and only three finished walls, my inspiration often becomes stalled by overthinking…so I wait it out.

The outdoors provide constant inspiration.

And when I least expect it, a new idea arises – usually triggered by a visual in my daily maneuverings – that period of recognition that I’ve discovered my new “starting point”.  From this moment, I can commence mapping out the rest of the space, with careful consideration to my colour viewpoints. This is what I refer to as my “mapping technique” (which I will share with you at a later date).

This takes “in progress” to a whole new level…Lots of work to be done.

I find myself yearning for colours that will provide a sense of flow and continuity through the rooms in this 1890’s frame, but also a grouping that is unpredictable. A dark dining room allures me with its mystery. C2 offers a beautiful range of “near blacks” that will compliment my new metal-beaded, oversized chandelier – an investment from BoBo Intriguing Objects (which I am still trying to learn to install without my husband noticing the beast.)

Seeking inspiration from one of my favorite places, Beekman 1802.

Perhaps Stout, a deep, rich grey would be an appropriate color…or Aperture, a sort of dirtied green-black with an earthy appeal.

The beautiful, harmonious colors of nature inspire my design.

These colours elicit feelings of happiness, optimism and energy despite their dark moodiness – and also provide a classic and welcoming background to virtually any design. The draw toward these deep, rich tones sounds like winter magic to me.