Color for an Open Plan House

lindal cedar HomeIn 2001, a Bucks County, PA couple fell in love with Woodstock and began what was to become an annual ritual visiting the area. In 2008 they bought 3.5 acres. Drawn to area by the excellent hiking and the Woodstock Film Festival they decided to build their retirement home there. They started researching house styles and realized the perfect layout was one that they designed themselves. The couple chose to work with Atlantic Custom Homes, independent dealers for Lindal Cedar Homes. The Lindal Homes are semi-custom and the house they designed is loosely based on the Elements line. Using a software program called Chief Architect, they made drawings of what they wanted, then bounced ideas back and forth with the Atlantic rep, eventually submitting drawings to the Lindal architects for the final plans.  To quote the couple, “We wanted to design the house around the natural slope of the land, including roof pitches. It needed to include a walk out ground floor to accommodate the "daylight basement" and large picture windows with views. gray open plan living room Set deep in the woods on a mountainside, taking advantage of the setting was key. Large picture windows in the main living space frame the view and allow masses of light into the space. The home is compact in size at 1850 sq ft and has all that they desire. Open Plan Kitchen The open plan situates the kitchen at right angles to the main space and the soaring 20 foot ceilings lead up the clear varnished cedar staircase to the open master suite on the higher floor. Privacy is not an issue as the guest bedrooms are on the lowest floor. Lindal Cedar HomeThe house has a covered porch for al fresco dining. The choice of wild flowers instead of front lawn is inspiring. On the lowest floor, the home includes an office/library, a yoga- exercise room and a guest bedroom and full bath. Loft bedroom color The color scheme is focused around a light-medium gray, Benjamin Moore's  Bunny Gray for the communal spaces. The gray rises to the highest elevation into the master suite. We chose Benjamin Moore's Toucan Black as an accent wall to create contrast with the pale gray. The floors are Brazilian Koa, which adds warmth to the overall color palette. All of the paint colors chosen are cool. They work well in the house because of the preponderance of very warm colored woods. The master bath is Wedgwood Gray which actually is a muted blue/ green that highlights the Mexican ceramic tiles in the shower. woodstockmasterbathAK Exchanging visual reference with a homeowner is a hallmark of my color consulting practice and the wife’s reference for her yoga room was an explosion of pinks and lavenders.
Yoga Room

Yoga Room Reference

We landed on a muted lavender called North Cascades which was enlivened by a shot of hot pink in an over dyed rug. The mix of cool violet and hot pink serve to both relax and stimulate as the couple practices yoga, meditation, weight lifting and elliptical in the space. lavender yoga room On the bottom floor, the library continues the cool theme with a deeper blue green, Benjamin Moore’s Mystic Lake. The Guest bedroom is Sage Wisdom from BM’s full spectrum line called Color Stories. With all of the greens chosen, the colors of the interior echo those outside. Benjamin Moore Mystic Lake The difficulty choosing color for an open plan house is of course where to choose your color breaks. It’s best to choose accent walls which are architecturally unique or which signal a change in function to use a new color. Keeping flow is of upmost importance because changing a color in an illogical place wreaks havoc on the senses. With an overall medium to light hue for the main space we were careful to add contrast here and there to keep it interesting. Besides the almost black accent wall in the master bedroom the powder room is a dark blue, Benjamin Moore's Old Navy. A return visit to the home found the couple in love with their new home, their color choices and their life in Upstate NY. If you’re in need of help with interior or exterior color you can find me at    

What Makes a Great Paint Store

paintNeed to buy paint for your home renovation, office redo or restaurant redesign? Do you find yourself waiting impatiently at the counter in your local hardware store for someone to guide you through the thousands of colors offered? Whether a box, chain store or mom and pop shop, most sellers only employ enough people to keep up with the demand to mix the colors. There rarely seems to be anyone with color knowledge and design experience available to help  consumers navigate the walls of chips. "Hardware Retailing Magazine", a monthly trade magazine which reaches 35,000 hardware stores across America, asked Amy Krane Color what makes a better paint department and what are some color picking tips which everyone can use. For starters, stores should hire employees who posses skill communicating about color. Next, have visual examples which illuminate practical advice about combining colors. Read more about what to keep in mind when choosing colors for your home or office and what makes a great paint department here.    

The allure of pink and orange.

This color combination conjures up associations with the exoticism of the East. For some this may mean Morocco, for others India. Either way, it's an unusual palette in the American home, but sensational, nevertheless. Admittedly, it's not for everyone. Pink has gotten a bum rap, being tied to all things "little girl" since WW2 in the States. Previously and in some cultures still, it is considered gender neutral or even masculine due to its derivation from red, an aggressive, active, powerful color. Orange has virtually no negative cultural connotations. It's considered joyful and happy. Together they create a vibrant, warm space. This combination needs to be used carefully. Muted tones are easier to live with in large doses. Orange and pink can be combined creating lovely outcomes used as accent colors against a neutral background or against complementary, cool hues like blue or green. For the more adventurous, one can create an environment which envelops the inhabitant in a cocoon of warmth by boldly using the duo as the main players in a  room.
Dar Faracha

Albert & Liz Watson's Dar Faracha

Pink and orange on white

Shell pink accent wall and orange cabinet

orange, pink and gold living room

orange and pink living room

muted coral with a toned pink

muted coral with a toned blue pink

soft tangerine and shell pink

Soft tangerine and pale pink

soft pink and orange accents

Pale pink, blue and orange accents with rustic grey wood paneling

orange and pink living room

Sophisticated orange and pink living room