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 amykranecolor.com.

 

 

Fifty Shades of Grey, or Gray, in your Home

Neutral gray

Neutral grey shiplap walls

Let’s begin with the spelling. Both gray and grey are correct. I find myself in the minority,  using the “e” all the time. After (easily) 5 years, it’s still the “new” hands down favorite for a neutral home. Gray has nudged beige, cream and off-white aside, only lagging behind white as the “go – to” neutral for residential interiors. Depending on who you are; your taste, your sensibility, the style of your decor, you either love it or hate it. Deemed cold and blah by some, it is considered a very sophisticated choice by others. It will create a calm and neutral palette for your home.

Some things to keep in mind to use it effectively:  If you choose a very neutral grey whose make up is purely black and white, there is little complexity to the color (not necessarily bad) and this allows you to decorate with either warm or cool tones around it. Most greys however are either warm or cool themselves with visible undertones which lean towards blue, green, violet, red or yellow.

Each lends a VERY different feel to the room. Use the undertones to help decorate the room and tie one room’s color to the next. There are many more than fifty shades of grey out there. Benjamin Moore say they have hundreds, Sherwin Williams has a lovely selection. C2 has some great full spectrum choices and Farrow & Ball excels at grey as they do with each and every other hue.

The biggest mistake is to create a room ALL grey. No matter how beautiful the color, it will bore the heck out of you in short order. The human eye, brain (and soul!) needs variety and the inclusion of color to make a room feel visually ergonomic and to keep it from becoming sterile. While it may look great in a photo, I promise you, living in an all grey room is too dull. Here are some good ones.

Neutral gray dining room

Neutral grey dining area

warm gray wall

Warm grey distressed wall

warm gray kitchen

warm grey kitchen

warm gray dining room

Warm grey dining room

warm gray foyer

Warm grey foyer

cool gray dining room

Cool grey dining room

light neutral gray living room

Light neutral grey living room

Dont’ do this!

The gray room is sterile

This grey room is sterile

And Don’t do this!
This room needs much more color to bring it alive and make it relatable.

Boring gray living room

How NOT to use grey. This room needs more variety in color.