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The Journey Back to Black: The Nuances of Dark Walls

There is something undeniably glamorous about a minimalist stance — the balancing act of reduction; the idea of “less is more”. But to eclipse color and blanket everything with black holds a magic of its own.   Currently, I am experiencing a great sense of relief and freedom with this intentional choice and, for the first time, refusing to get caught up in the drama and complexity that comes with layering color and forming harmonious, complimentary color palettes. As much as I love, adore and appreciate color — and its walk before me every minute of my day — there is something  currently refreshing and appealing in the choice to remove it all and surround myself with black, and the many discovering shades thereof. I see that I have always underestimated the value of black as an exclusive choice, perhaps fearing that this strikingly dramatic solo player might possibly overplay its hand.

Experimenting with varying shades of black.


For me, black has always played the supporting role in a production. Though a valued and highly regarded team player in my cast of colour, it was never center stage. However, while walking this path of new discovery (also partly inspired by the purchase of my new home that begs for the unusual), I realise that black needs no partners; it has a mysterious and secretive world all of its own. It contains and absorbs all colour.

This black gloss powder room delivers the drama.

Many of you stand alone in the darkness, with the self-bravery and courage to venture out into this world.  For me, I am faced with my memory and fear of dark lake waters and being told to ‘jump in’. They say the dark waters represent the unconscious mind and your fullest potential, which especially at a young age are unknown and intimidating.
I’m inspired by the “dark side” of my friend, London-based stylist, retailer and designer Abigail Ahern  a who embraces the dark colors and adventurous interiors.

Ahern’s signature colour palette is an array of intoxicating, dark, inky “bottom of the lake” hues.

As I open myself up to black in its quiet, reflective solitude, I am learning to focus on its nurturing qualities – the richness of good soil, the lone flight of a raven across a grey misted winter sky, the surface of a long road that supports me each day in travel.

In my design, black supports and almost demands a lack of clutter and the introduction of furnishings and art that allows these pieces to shine bright like stars in the darkness.

And, I confess to going to personal extremes in my new-found respect of black by eliminating the flavoured creamers in my coffee that lined the refrigerator door. I am now a coffee-drinking purist with no ten word order for my morning java.

Black paint is like the color of my coffee

Taking my new affinity toward black personally by removing the creamer from my coffee!

Today, there are so many variations of the standard black-black that instead of feeling mired in the darkness, they highlight the subtle undertones: bruised blue-black, deep amazon green-blacks, black with a warm red or umber influence that looks like dark roasted coffee beans — all rich and intoxicating. 

C2’s line of “near blacks” represents a full range of the dark side with colors like Aperture, Stout and Baritone. The saturation of C2’s finely ground pigments provides a “black” with undertones of dark greens and blues that have much higher resolution and an intense depth.

black paint with white is a classic combination

The eternal classic pairing of black and white (featured: C2’s Aperture + Architectural White)

Embracing black is a process that I welcome and embrace, even knowing the challenges it poses. On a recent design collaboration for a public Buffalo Showhouse event, I used my new ally partnered simply with white. The classic combination was chic, classic and sophisticated. I partnered with Traci Ackerman of Red Disc Design and created a schematic around her Burchfield Penney wallpaper launch with the ‘Flowers at Night’ wallpaper.
wallpaper painted with black paint

With the historic 1921 design by Burchfield Penney we selected a contemporary C2 color palette of esoteric midnight black – Aperture, with a calibrated measure of Seraph – a soft blue grey tucked into window niches and the hallway.

The black and white schematic navigated me into a more minimalist aesthetic, which, given that I have moved home four times in the past 19 months, definitely has its pluses. Everything becomes so punctuated against a dark background — and needs careful curation. It is a more definite and orchestrated production in furnishing the space with a need to view and understand all the nuances and subtleties of light, texture and the combinations of finishes.  The identity of the space becomes a place for self reflection and peace for me.
How long this will last? I have no idea. The beauty of our homes is that they allow us to create a refuge that represents that particular chapter of our lives, and can change just as easily with the ebb and flow of time.For now, I’m enjoying and embracing “the dark side” for now, and all the teachings that came with this new direction.

How Color Effects Mood

Did you ever walk into a room and feel instantly calm? Often times it’s more than Yanni on repeat that generates that sense of calm. Much of that feeling is attributed to the paint color they chose, and more specifically the undertone of the paint color they chose.

When discussing paint color, we usually think of how the shade will look in a particular room. Did you know that color can also affect the way we feel? The philosophy of color explains how color is directly tied to our emotions. Everyone understands what it means to be “red with anger”, “green with envy”, or what it is to “feel the blues”. When it comes to color for your home, you can control how your home ‘feels’ by the artful – and strategic – use of color.


Color is connected to the light spectrum, and therefore affects our bodies physically, even when our eyes are closed. For example, you could walk into a freshly painted white room and feel how cold it is, but enter a different white room and it might feel fresh and lively instead. Much of this is accomplished by the undertones and formulation of the color itself. That’s why full-spectrum paints are so compelling.

Full-spectrum paints, like every color in the C2 Paint palette, are formulated using multiple pigments that represent more of the color wheel than traditional paint formulas. Additionally, no C2 Paint color uses any black pigment in their color recipes, so you never have a color that looks lifeless or dull. The beauty of full-spectrum colors is that regardless of the current light condition, the paint color interacts with light in a compelling, luminous way.


Beautiful full spectrum colorants

Combining full-spectrum paints and armed with a little knowledge about specific colors and how they make you feel, you can create an environment that really makes you feel good. Really good.

Here is a brief explanation of each color and how it affects you:

Yellow – It’s virtually impossible to be cranky in a yellow room. Using yellow, anything from palest creams to deepest golds, is like capturing the sun in a jar. Yellow is an energetic color, so use it where you want to bump up the joy.

Lightning Bug, BD-71

Lightning Bug, BD-71

Orange – If you’re looking to stimulate the appetite and add spice, orange is the perfect choice. It also symbolizes change when it’s bright and lively, and represents stability when muted and quiet. In design, energetic orange is a great color to excitement to a neutral space.


Bittervine, BD-45

Red – Ready to romp? Yup, forget those 50 Shades and use red instead. Red raises your heart rate and time passes in a blur. Take it a little more orange and it’s the perfect color to increase your appetite.

Plum Tomato, BD-62

Purple – Interestingly, purple is a combination of hot to-trot-red and cooler-than-cool blue, so it brings both elements to the table. Purple can make your feel very meditative and intellectual or vivacious and royal.

Tamarind, C2-505

Tamarind, C2-505

Blue – One of  the most popular and reassuring color used in design, blue communicates stability and safety, as evidenced on this chic office wall.

Espionage, C2-742; Whistler White (ceiling, walls, trim), C2-756

Espionage, C2-742; Whistler White (ceiling, walls, trim), C2-756

Green  If you want to create a soothing sense of calm, green is your hue. Soft colors, like green sea glass all the way to rich, deep emeralds and olives; green is a great choice.

Posh, C2-934

Posh, C2-934

C2 Paint Fall 2016 Color Trends

While still popular, the softer tones that headlined seasons past are moving toward more adventurous colors in deep and mid tones. Reflective of a strong desire for confidence and stability, blues are the lead trend for fall 2016 – ranging from light, milky tones to more robust, stately hues. We anticipate one of the most popular being deep, near black blues (like Espionage, C2-742 and Brigand, C2-757). Other more vibrant colors like emerald greens, green-based yellows and purples are also becoming more popular, while earth tones remain a steady favorite.

Watch the video of our fall C2 colors below!


Another current trend that is growing is the “finish of the moment”  – gloss. Using this beautifully reflective sheen with deep tones on walls results in a high fashion, high design feel. It’s also being used more regularly on ceilings to create polish, interest and a touch of glamour.

Tell us what color and design trends are inspiring you this season!