Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Winter Holiday

I'm on vacation this week. It's rather nice; lounging in new flannel pajamas until lunch, playing with the kids and their haul and STILL eating way too much. What more can I ask for?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Power of Paint

Here in the Northwest, we are still recovering from a MASSIVE power outage that occured last week. Reports are now saying that 1.5 million households were without power. It was kinda stormy.

This is something I wouldn't have been able to guess:
People will come into a paint store looking to buy product - even if there is no electricity in that store! Not only that, but they will try to choose paint colors in the dark.

Our Bellevue store was only down for a day, luckily, but even so, we had a smattering of traffic. To sell paint, you need electricity to tint and shake the stuff. On Friday (day of no power), we actually sold white primer and white paint - only color where you DON'T need power!

I don't know if they thought they might try and kill a few hours by painting at home, since there was nothing else to do.... but it was too cold even for that.

Our production factory flooded in a major way. There was nothing to do (besides unplug everything) except wait until the storm subsided. Water was literally GUSHING in from a drain spout. Water covered the complete basement floor. Thankfully, our finished goods are stored on palettes and raised shelves, they escaped unharmed.

Here is our factory clean-up crew - don't they look good in their matching rain boots?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weekend Party Preparations

This Saturday is the Daly's Holiday Party. We are returning to Hale's Brewery in Fremont (yum!), and I am soooo behind! I am in charge of creating the annual slideshow. Nowadays, it's Powerpoint, but I think we will always call it the slideshow.

I get to create a story around all the different employee photos we've collected over the year. But I haven't really started yet - I am searching for a theme... Last year it was a tour of Dalysnorts School of Witchraft and Wizardry. This year??? Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Brain Hurts

Christian and I took a reconnaissance trip across the lake (also known as "going to Bellevue") to research Storage solutions for a feature article coming up in January.

There is a lot out there. My brain hurts.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Amazing Lighting

Last night I held a movie fest (number in attendance, one) with my favorite Jane Austen film, Persuasion. It's a BBC production that was filmed at least 10 years ago and it's not like a Hollywood high budget affair by any means. The movie was filmed under natural light conditions - so the candlelight in the evening scenes was lit with those actual candles. Gorgeous!

It lent the film a real feeling of authenticity. And it confirms the fact that we ALL look good in candlelight!

I think "Persuasion" would make a great C2 paint color name. Hmmm... perhaps a flattering candlelight pink?

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I can't believe this.... I am actually considering purchasing 2 FAKE topiary-like pre-lit Christmas trees for the front porch! I have a tough time with artificial/fake/faux - whatever you want to call it, I like REAL.

But, these two 4' trees are kinda cool. Plus they'd dress up the front door. I'll let you know if I actually do it. It depends on how they look in the store.

Speaking of real - we purchased our two Christmas trees last weekend. One for the family room, stuffed with kid decorations and the other for the living room with all types of crystal ornaments, birds and ephemera.

Yes, I'm picky about the trees (is this really a shock?). They have to be noble fir, the boughs are strong and there is room for ornaments to dangle between branches. I am a white light or single colored light fan, the multiple-colored lights are a concession for the family room - but even I admit they add a festive air to the kid tree!

Let the season glow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What are readers searching for?

One of the main reasons people find this blog is because they are searching for "cool paint colors", or "interesting color combinations". I find this interesting, but not surprising, because to me, color is one of our universal languages.

There are always cultural accents (but that just keeps our "language" fresh and interesting!), like white symbolizing purity in the West and death in the East - but for the most part, color needs few words to understand. Here are a few quick examples:
  • Red - means passion, either in love or anger
  • Blue - is calming or can mean depressing
  • Yellow - ranging from life giving and energetic to extreme edginess

Both positive and negative emotions are tied in with color and how they affect us both physically and emotionally.

One reason we are looking for direction with color is that is EVERYWHERE. In the design related field, it is part of every single choice we need to make for our homes. This can be stressful, because even switchplates have color choices! So many choices can become overwhelming.

On the other hand, color choices give us a lot of control over our environment and we can help to create the feelings we want gain from our environment. Paint is the perfect example here: You can change the nature of a room by simply changing the color on the walls. It's also one of the cheapest design tools - a $40 bucket of paint goes a lot further to transforming a space than a $40 yard of fabric. Both the fabric and the paint do have a commonality: one of the basic elements we of how we relate to both is via their color.

What colors turn you on? I find that my personal paint color palatte for my home is become both lighter and muckier (these are not exactly mutually exclusive characteristics) - heavy colors aren't making my heart soar, right now. Neither are colors that are too, well, colorful. I suppose we could call them saturated, but the effect is that they are too colorful and distracting from the activity going on in the room.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Attention to Details

I've been spending some more time at home recently and it's gotten me to thinking about the objects we interact with on a daily basis, and the pleasure we can get by using them. I think about how we can convert daily chores from drudgery into tactile experiences.
For example, I use a counter top spray by Mrs Meyers. It's lemon-verbena scent is unusual, doesn't smell artificial, and the packaging makes me happy. So I don't mind spritzing and wiping down the counters, in fact it's kinda fun. As an added benefit, the product is vegetable-based and natural, so it's not bad for me or the environment.
Another cleaning tool I really value is my feather duster. This one is great because if my 5-year old sees me pull it out, she grabs it out of my hand and goes to town (okay, it happens to be pink...). Makes my job a snap!

Interesting Question

The other day my son posed an interesting question - and while it had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with design, paint or decorating - it is worthy of discussion for its pop-culture ramifications:

If Han Solo and Jack Sparrow were engaged in hand-to-hand combat - who would win???

While we were contemplating this, we came up with another character dilemma with no clear answer:

Who would win if Legolas was pitted against Will Turner?

See what I mean, it's a dilemma!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Mad Dash

Spent a lot of time painting this weekend - I've got to say that I really like using C2 Paint. I didn't do any taping, no dropcloths AT ALL, and the paint was so creamy and easy to apply. Wow, it works like it's supposed to!

Just a little more rolling in the kitchen and we'll be ready for the holidays. I didn't use one square inch of tape in the kitchen around the cupboards or moulding - no drips, no mess and it was quick! I guess that's what quality paints are supposed to do, but it's always nice when things perform as promised.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cool Wallpaper Site

Check out this wallpaper site, Flavor Paper. It's full of exciting, super-cool patterns and you feel hip just looking at their product! The papers are hand-screened, and the colors pop. An eyeball feast.

In our industry we keep hearing murmurs that wallpaper is coming back. It's probably a 5th of what it used to be in the high-flying early 80's... when I see designs like this, it makes me aware that there is a whole high-end design culture that has ignored the naysayers and has carved their own path. These trend setters indicate that there will be a trickle-down into the middle market - so maybe wallpaper IS coming back.

Just in the last 6 months we have seen a rather sharp increase in the wallpaper category in our stores and this has resulted in more orders.

Monday, November 13, 2006

At Last!!!!!!

So. Holidays are quickly approaching and it's beyond time to repaint the living room, potentially the dining room and for sure the kitchen. We've had swatches on the living room walls since summer. Beige swatches. Absolutely wrong.

The kitchen has been a saga of sorts. You'd think with all my work with color that choosing my own would be a snap. Right? Well, the chocolate walls are not making me a happy paint princess. A color might work just fine and still be wrong, that's the situation we have going on in the kitchen. I love to eat chocolate, but it's not so great for the north-facing kitchen.

Regarding the living room - much as it pains me to say this, it's true: Mom was right again!

She suggested a color to try for the living room, C2's Bamboo. While it's too dark, I had a C2 Sampler pint made of the formula at both 75% and 50% strength. I even had a 50% formulation made with no black pigment, just to see if the spectrophotometer could match to color accurately without using any black pigments.

It's great! I think my trick of eliminating the black pigment kept the lightened color from mushing out to a blechy greige tone. Sometimes lightened colors can loose their character and vibrancy when cut down too far. Then they become shades of grey on the wall. Or they look like "why bother" versions of the richer color - too safe and weakened from the original.

It looks great in both the living room AND the kitchen. Surprising about the kitchen, who knew the same color would look so great in both spaces? It's just a great color that supports all the millwork and furnishings - I love it. I might try lightening the living room formulation a tad more, maybe C2 Bamboo at about 40%... just a titch lighter... but even so, I really like the color a lot. It's quite neutral without resorting to safe beige. Lots of yellow/olive undertones, it's great. I can't wait to get it painted!

Who knows, maybe this color will even last in our house more than 6 months...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Help Wanted! Update

I took my recent post that cried for "Help Wanted!" (October 23rd) and turned it into a newspaper ad. We got some real-life actual responses from it! Hmmm.... maybe we are on to something here. Actually show our personality up front and find people who are interested in contributing to our store culture...

Back Again!

Hello. I'm back. I know, I know, it's been 2 weeks since I've posted! What kind of girl do you think I am?

I've been rather busy, sorry I haven't called. Or written. Or emailed. Blah, blah, blah.

Before we get any further into it, I need to ask you, "Did you vote today?". Hope so.

I saw the finals on our Wood Stain labels! Final proofing is underway right now. I can't wait to show you how they look! Soooooooooo much better!

I spent the weekend in Chicago with a couple of my C2 partners. We closed down this great bar called Blue Chicago before finishing the evening at a pub (who's name I just can't recall!). I had to send almost all my travel clothes out to the cleaners - I forgot what decades of smoky bars does to an outfit.

Of course, we worked most of the weekend. We have a great marketing team, and we were planning our strategy for the next few years. I can't tell you what we have in the hopper, but let me just say that it's definitely going to be a "panty dropper" when we come out with our new initiatives. Yup. So cool. The designer in me screams, "I want it now!"

Speaking of cool, check out this paint store. It's called Colori Chicago and they exclusively sell C2 Paint, no other brand.

What I love about Colori, is that the owner, Michelle Herzog has NEVER owned a paint store before. So she doesn't come to the table with a lot of preconceived ideas about what will or won't work. For example, all her sundries are displayed in tote bins. So her shop looks more like a studio than a paint store. Why not?

She's gotten some great local press, and she is getting noticed. Which is great, because it's giving her some momentum to get her new baby off the ground.

We gave a Designer Presentation at Michelle's store on Saturday. I find those experiences very interesting. We have such a compelling story to share, and we get pretty deep into what happened, who the players are and why this affects the product we produce for our customers. It is so much more information than people are used to getting, I think - it's not just the surface "marketing" stuff, but the real story behind C2 Paint. Gets 'em every time.

Personally? I still haven't found my own color scheme for the living room and kitchen! But I'm getting closer...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

SeaFin Rocks

How cool is this?

We just recieved an order for 40 gallons of Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil to be shiped to a marine business in Egypt.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Help Wanted!!!!

We are looking for interesting, responsible, articulate, multi-tasking, outgoing, colorful people to work at our company!!

On the surface our job might look like a typical retail sales position, but in reality you are helping people make choices that mean a lot for their homes. I like to think we are in the business of making people happy - how cool is that? Way better than simply selling someone a meaningless "thing"... It's rather interesting and rarely dull or boring...

If you know someone who would like to work at Daly's email or stop in and fill out a job app.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


This painting class has gotten me to think about creativity in all sorts of ways (thus the Project Runway addiction!). Color, design, the act of actually creating versus just thinking about doing something.

So Friday was a stupendous Seattle fall day - so beautiful in fact that I just couldn't haul my behind into the gym after my painting class. Instead I decided to walk around Greenlake, Seattle's version of Central Park.

What a great idea this turned out to be. As I was just about ready to turn around and go home, I ran into someone that I hadn't seen for years and who has created living based on his creativity. He's Kim Hall, the older brother of a friend I had hung out with during my early years of college - back then I remember a musical instrument he made out of varying sizes of metal hip replacement joints. Visualize a xylophone-type instrument, and you start getting the picture of his sense of humor and creativity. As I recall, it actually sounded pretty good.

If you are from Seattle, you might recognize Kim from his bicycle that he regularly rides around Greenlake... He is perched about 5 feet off the ground, trust me, you can't miss him! I still haven't figured out how he gets atop that thing.

Check out Kim's website for a shot of inspiration on a scale a bit larger than most of us operate within... Pretty cool stuff...

One more thing - his official job title - "big important sculptor".

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Project Runway Finale

Did anyone else watch the Project Runway finale last night???

I had a sinking suspicion that Jeffrey would come out the winner. His punk attitude and approach gives his clothes a edgier personality.

BUT - I wanted to wear Laura's clothes! I really did. I wanted that swingy beading at the hem my cocktail dress. Not so much the feathers on the shoulders, but ohmygod the beaded evening gown with the acid green belt? LOVED IT! I wish she had kept the coat that she was working on in the episode where Tim visited her at home. I thought the color was so fresh, myself.

I was impressed with Uli's constrained use of palette and pattern. However I really was not fond of the combination of silver accents on the khaki-beige fabrics. Gick. I thought her choice of music was very fitting and supported the visuals.

Michael's clothes were too testosterone-based. A man's idea of what a "hot" woman would wear to show off her body. Thank God he didn't send that scary white shirt with the gold sequined pockets down the runway! It reminded me of those oversized shirts women wore with leggings in 1992!

The newspaper said that Seattle was one of the biggest markets for the show. Pretty funny considering our polarfleece reputation!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


As a customer, how much responsibility do you take to make sure your home project turns out correctly?

Do you try colors on the wall before painting the whole room?
Do you check to see if your painter is licensed, bonded, insured AND has a good reputation? Would you hire then, even if you didn't communicate well? What if they are fine people, but you just don't "connect"?
Do you take advice blindly, even for your own home? Do you filter it through your own set of values?
Who is responsible if you don't like something? Let's say it performs well but you just don't like it? Is it the paint stores fault for selling it to you?

These things drive me nuts sometimes.

Store Business

I've been focusing on some store issues recently.

The Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) is looking into giving Stone Way (the street on which our Seattle store is located) something called a Road Diet. This means converting a 4 lane road into a 2 lane road with a turn lane in the center. Plus the addition of bike lanes in both directions.

On the surface it sounds like a change that would make the road more attractive, however the lower half of Stone Way is zoned industrial, and I think the changes would negatively affect business operations. However, we all agree that we want pedestrians to feel safe, too. There is a garbage transfer station less than 2 blocks away, and they have these behemoth freight-sized trucks of trash being hauled up Stone all the time. Imagine being stuck behind one of these babies for over half a mile at 15 mph.... Not my idea of a good solution.

There are neighboring businesses that unload their freight right on Stone. With a Road Diet solution, they'd be forced to unload in the center turn lane and cross traffic on foot or with forklifts to move merchandise and supplies. How safe is that? Or practical?


Have also been thinking about rebuilding the 30+ year old wallpaper book bins. I want the showroom to have a bit of a design studio feeling - so when customers bring in their projects they can really have a sense of creativity. We have such great windows, literally floor to ceiling -a studio concept would be so cool.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Color Influences

So I've been thinking about color palettes lately. Both for the canvas and for the home.

I just started an oil-painting class a couple weeks ago, something I've not really had much personal experience using. I have always had acrylics on hand, but never oils. I took one art class in high school, and the instructor was less than inspirational. I think I accomplished one painting - of a wall and outlet. Pretty boring stuff, and Mr Hoy didn't give us any help in how to use the paints, composition, or really anything. He was cranky most of the time.

I learned more about the concepts of design in my high school yearbook class. We learned about the Golden Mean, balance and proportion, the value of white space and meeting deadlines (if you don't think deadlines are important to interior design, try missing the installation of those draperies before the Big Party!)

When I was in college, I took a painting class, and we used acrylics. Then, I felt that to be an art major, you had to have burning issues or extreme points-of-view to express to be a legitimate artist. These days, not so much. Who has time to care so much about what others think of your stuff? I like that freedom.

Anyways - color palettes. First I got into a conversation with my friend Philip about full-spectrum colors, then I started this painting class where we don't even have a tube of black amongst our collection of colors. Confirms Philip's perspective.

THEN, I started looking at the latest Vanity Fair magazine. After reading Dominic Dunne's column (always my first stop!), I started noticing the advertisements. And then I was literally swept away by a photo of the set of Sophia Coppola's new movie, Marie Antoinette. I want to see it just for the lush colors! Ohmygod, I they looked so beautiful! What a gorgeous contrast compared to all the heavy browns and neo-70's colors we've been seeing so much of lately. So refreshing!

Of course there's the tiny little issue of the French Revolution...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sometimes Nice Things Happen

This is Sophie's Playhouse. It was built by volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Daly's was happy to supply the perfect shade of pink paint needed to make it feel like home!


Here is the benefit table that we created from our Thrift Store adventures. We called it "Camelot for Not-A-Lot". A wedding brunch for Jackie and John Kennedy.

- Thrift store pearls dripping from vintage champagne glasses
- One of the glasses was inscribes "Bride, another "Mother of the Bride"
- Classic 60's buffet plates
- Silverware with major patina
- Romantic rose petals (faux) tossed over the surface of the table
- Tons of polished silverplate dishes, platters, containers
- Pink tablecloths trimmed with black tassels
- Black and white wedding photos of Jackie and John at each placesetting

While we didn't win (rats!) we felt very good about our table. Unlike some other tables at the function, ours didn't look like a store display of current mechandise off the sales floor - we actually put some thought and creativity behind our presentation!

Our shameless splurge? We bought NEW tapers - the clearance ones we were originally planning to use were simply too ugly! And the champagne is real - it goes to the lucky winner who won a consultation with Christian and I... maybe she'll share!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hip House Remodel Blog!

Modern and fun. Check out Club Fizz.

Seeing Color in a Whole Old Way

I had a great conversation with my friend Philip Reno yesterday. He has designed his own palette of paint colors that he calls "Philip's Perfect Colors" (available exclusively at G&R Paint in San Francisco). The concept that supports the entire palette is that each color is created using the full spectrum of tints - he uses compliments (opposite colors on the color wheel) to "tone" the colors instead of using black.

In the architectural coatings world, most paints have maybe three tints in them to make most colors. By using full spectrum formulations, there are usually a lot more colorants in each color. This makes the paint color read very differently in a variety of lighting conditions.

So, back to Philip. Last week he gave a Continuing Education presentation to over 200 Interior Designers in Boston. I imagine all these designers are now running around to their favorite paint stores requesting that their colors be tinted as full-spectrum colors... Think of the colors the Old Masters, like Leonardo and Botticelli, used to create their art. They employed the same concept for their paintings - using compliments to make their colors appear rich and luminous. Philip believes these colors are part of our consciousness and that they never go out of style.

Philip had some of his colors published recently in House Beautiful. Gorgeous!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Fan Deck for $165?

I just read a press release/article in the paper this morning about Pantone entering into the retail paint market.

They are producing a paint line with Fine Paints of Europe. The fan deck alone sells for $165. Wow. Makes the $30 C2 Paint deck a bargain!

Are the colors samples made from real paint, like C2's? Hmmm...

Friday, September 29, 2006

One More Thing...

Okay, it's after 11 and I need to get to bed - but - if you are in the market for a career change, we have openings at both stores!

There is a direct correlation between how well the economy is doing and how short our staffing levels are. The better things are the more difficult it is to find staff!

From talking with some of my East Coast friends, things are a bit soft over there. But here in Seattle, it's still popping. We are coming off one of our best seasons on record - and we did it with too few people. As a business owner, one is always interested in keeping costs down (really I do enjoy a profit!), but when we are missing 2 bodies in each store, it gets stressful for everyone.

So, I invite you to send your resume in! It's actually a very interesting environment, always dealing with different situations and coming up with unique solutions. It's messy. You can be creative. It's retail with and edge.

True Confessions

Is it okay to dislike a paint system that tries really hard and touts itself as being full of beautiful colors? Maybe "disliking completely" is a bit strong, but a lot about this color system really bugs me - like the colors. It's not a brand I carry in my store, but customers have certainly asked for it.

The colors are all dull! They are not as sophisticated as they are talked up to be. It looks as if too much black is used to tone down the colors - and while this makes for a subtle-hued palette, it ends up looking a bit dead on the wall.

I admire the marketing, though! This brand has certainly hit upon some hot buttons in consumers minds, but again, the colors don't hit the mark enough. Listen to me, Miss Picky-Picky-Picky.

In my travels, I have had to do more re-dos from this palette than any other. Makes me sad because I think the right concept is there, just not the right colorants (maybe that's why the colors are a bit too heavy looking).

It's an odd experience to be called in for a re-do. Color tastes and trends change over time, so it makes sense to re-visit a color scheme after a number of years (I have redone my old work for clients who are ready for a change), yet redoing a fresh scheme feels a bit like cheating on your boyfriend. This town is small enough to know the designer who's work your are erasing.

Makes me wonder how many of my schemes have been redone!

Rearranging Furniture

I spent the day at home yesterday with my ill 9-year old. I tend to I look at these days as unplanned opportunities to get things done around the house that I never seem to get around to otherwise. Typical stuff like sorting piles of outdated magazines and junk mail, really washing the hardwood floors (not just a quickie Swiffer treatment), and cleaning out closets.

Of course, it never works out that way.

Instead I played with my new MP3 player (Wow, it IS really cool!) and watched a movie with my son. I did get the floors swept, and then the living furniture started calling out to me. It's been over 3 years since we rearranged things - that's like 15 Designer Years - plus when you rearrange, you can avoid all those other pressing tasks like cleaning!

Now if I could just settle on a wall color...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Attention to Details

I was waiting for my lunch date today, when I noticed a fellow sweeping up small leaves and petals that had fallen from the flower baskets that adorn almost every lamppost at the University Village (an outdoor shopping center).

As a shopper, I might not consciously notice that the ground has leaves... But I am always struck by my overall impression of the place. It's this attention to details that makes it special. Attention carried out to the smallest leaf that may fall to the ground.

I think the same analogy can be applied to design. Good design can be imitated or copied, but unless the details are tended to, it won't stand up against the real thing. You may not know all the reasons WHY it's good, but you can recognize it when its missing.

This is not to say that good design needs to be expensive. It does not. It's just all in the details.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chatting with the Girls

I just came back from an interesting lunch with two women who have decided that they both had something unique to share. So they started their own radio show focusing on the things they'd like to learn about.

It's called Chat with Women, it's on KKNW 1150am. They now broadcast 3 mornings a week. Wow. How cool is that? You can even listen to them off their website, so now you can "pop" in for a chat anytime.

Connecting with them reminds me that I still feel like I have a lot to say and maybe it's time to get back to finding a radio home (or TV!). I know Christian and I can do more with our combined talents. Yup.

Both Pam and Rochelle have business backgrounds, and I think these skills will come in to play and they grow and expand their show. They have the passion and the drive to make something of this! Keep your eyes on them!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Elmer Fudd

Okay. Go to Google homepage. At the side of the Google search bar, click on "Preferences". Once there, scroll up one spot from "English" as the language preference, and click on "Elmer Fudd". Click "Save".

Did you do it? (Go ahead, do it now!)

Isn't that hilarious? Who knew?

I've snuck around to a few computers here at work, and changed their language preference... I wonder how long it will take people to notice???

Evolution of a Concept

Christian and I mock-arranged our table this morning. It's been a good challenge to try and create a tablescape from thrift stores - adds an interesting twist to the mix.

While officially titled "Goodwill Hunting", we are now subtitling it "Camelot for Not-a-Lot". Our wedding brunch theme is now specifically for Jackie O. And John Kennedy. We are placing vintage wedding pictures of them at each place setting. Looks neat.

Pearls dripping from champagne glasses. Doves on the centerpiece. The more embellishment, the better! More is more in this case.

The centerpiece was the real challenge. Once we amassed our silver treasures, we realized we didn't have a strong enough focal point. We tried Christian's dressmaker's torso - adding a tux jacket and wedding accessories. Ended up looking like a Ralph Lauren store display.

Knowing we needed height, we next tried a cage-like basket that is a familiar sight in paint stores. It's a jumble basket, and usually holds things like sponges or cheapie roller covers. We inverted it, and it looked a bit like a very tall bird cage. Nope. Decided the association of CAGE and MARRIAGE didn't create a positive image.

Finally, we took our tasty silver martini pitcher, filled it with sand and stuck a bunch of curly branches in it. While we won't win the prize for most innovative, it looks waaaaay better. I'm going to spray them with sparkly iridescent paint (remember, more is more!), and we're going to have the doves perched on the branches with beribboned wedding rings hanging like ornaments.

This has been a fun project. It will be interesting to tally up all our receipts to see what we really spent... My guess is that we are under $300, including the objects we bought but DIDN'T use.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Goodwill Hunting

Christian is the only person I know who can shop ANYWHERE with style - even Goodwill.

We are participating in a fundraiser for Overlake Hospital where we are designing a table for 8. We decided that all our supplies needed to come from thrift stores... We wanted to see what we could find to design a high-end looking table.

Find we did. Look at that cart FILLED with silverplate things. We found tablecloths, silver, dishes, glassware, and decor items galore...

We are getting together on Thursday morning to pull the whole tablescheme together. Our Theme is "Wedding Brunch" - thus the silver. I call it instant family history, and all for under $200 bucks.

Business Ethics


I just learned about a business that is run by this woman whose former business took Daly's for $5,000. It was for a marketing opportunity at a trade show that didn't pan out, because the trade show was cancelled. But not our checks!

Her company cashed the checks and never returned the money to Daly's. They never gave the funds to the cancelled show, they just kept the cash. And we even paid early... grr...

That kind of unethical behavior just burns me. We even agreed to a pay-back plan, etc. Nada. Her husband PROMISED he'd pay us back. Riiiiight.

The argument can be made that $5,000 is just not enough money to get in a knot over, but the fact is that we aren't the only ones who have gotten burned. What about those folks who find that $5,000 is VERY important to their livelihood? It's not a one-time instance, it's a pattern. They owed my friend over $10,000. That's an attention-getting number.

So... now she has a retail/decorating store? Of course it's all the way across the country, but hey, I've never let little details like THAT get in my way before! Maybe it's worth a plane ticket to go pay her a little visit... What have I got to lose?

Friday, September 01, 2006


I received TWO compliments from Vic Babel in one conversation! This is an event of note... even he felt weird about it.

Check out his business, Babels Paint & Decorating.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What a Weird Week

I can't believe how actively stressful this week has been, and it's all been from external sources.

Tomorrow is my Bellevue store manager's last day. He has been a paint store kid since his Dad was our store manager! But, it's hard to compete with the pull from Microsoft. Rats. Gonna miss Lucas and his energy a whole bunch.

Had an employee collapse at work last Friday. There's some drama for ya! He's back at work with some staples in his head.

My friend Dennis.

An intense brain storm meeting in New England for C2 that I jetted off to for 2 nights. It almost took longer to recover from the jet lag. All I can say is I have a WONDERFUL spouse.

The burglar alarm went off at midnight last night and I got to hang out here in the very, very creepy dark for an hour and a half. Not so fun. And now I'm tired and I want to go shopping. (Actually, I'm not sure those two things are related, but I DO want to go shopping!)

A trade magazine, The Paint Dealer, was kind enough to feature me in their August issue focusing on women in the paint industry. Not stressful - fun! But still, clustered in this busy week of highs and lows...

Cool news:
My partner Herb and I had a new label presentation this morning. We are redesigning the Daly's Wood Finishes labels (and boy, is it about time!) and our design team (Turks Head) came to us with some real great concepts. Herb and I even agreed on the direction we liked - and that is notable. Our design tastes are different, but the work was very good.

I'm looking at this as a good sign. Ending the week on a positive note, setting the tone back in a positive direction.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Goodbye Dennis

Dennis Vacca died this weekend - cancer. Only 57.

Truly a complex color, Dennis will be missed by his C2 partners. Smart, loyal, often challenging, sexy - he was the consummate salesman who looked out for the best interest of his clients.

He talked about our stores being Best in Class, and I think he strived to be that way himself in his approach to work.

I was with some of my C2 partners on Sunday morning when we learned of his passing. While not a surprise, it did happen too soon.

We were gathered together for some brainstorming work pertaining to marketing - and Dennis was supposed to be part of that process. Instead we spent a few hours processing our friend Dennis and what he meant to us. I was lucky to have the opportunity to do that with my C2 group, since I won't be able to make his wake or service. Sometimes living on the west coast can kinda suck when things often happen back east.

Dennis definitely had it going on.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why Get Mad at Us?

Is it us? I mean really, are we insane?

It's happened again. A woman came in today loaded down with all her ideas and samples - she is pulling colors together for her exterior. She specifically wanted to work with one of our store designers, and she got Richard.

He noticed that she had all these Home Depot and Lowes paint brochures amongst all her stuff. So he asked her (very nicely) if she was planning on using paint from our store.

"Oh no", he was told, "My painter won't use your paints, but he told me to come here for my colors." He asked if there was any way she would reconsider - nope. Richard (again, very nicely) explained he could only help her with our colors, and she gathered up all her things and left in a big if it was Richard's fault! She was genuinely mad at him.

To me, this is different than when you are going out in the marketplace, doing research on products, trying to learn all you can from the salespeople. In that type of scenario, salespeople are usually happy to help you find the right solutions for your needs.

She was just ballsy in my book.

I suppose it IS Richard's fault that he won't just give away his expertise. I think this kind of behavior is sooooo weird. What other type of business do you go into, hoping to get advice (for free, I might add), and then plan of going somewhere else for the product.

Can the customer be right if they won't even be your customer?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yay! I can finally let you know!!!

C2 had JUST introduced the coolest thing in paint sampling - it's just as cool as the 18" x 24" Ultimate Paint Chip...

It's the C2 Paint Sampler. Okay, fine - right? Everyone has sample pots of wet paint now, don't they? So what's the big deal?

Alright, here's why I am so excited: These sample pots are 16 ounces! Not 2 ounces, not 4 ounces, but 16!!! That's enough to actually get a good sense of the color on the wall or side of the house.

But wait, that's not the ultimate in cool color work. It gets better, way better...

Not only are we able to provide samples in sizes that are actually practical - but we can make these samples in ANY color you want. EVEN CUSTOM MATCHES! That's what gets me feeling good. Yup, custom colors in a SAMPLE. Thanks to cool technology and forward thinking.

Now the possibilities are endless....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Making the Right Call

If you are starting a radio show, shouldn't you be excited about it? Telling everyone, including the checker at the grocery store?

I thought so too. So, that's why Christian and I decided to pull the plug on our radio show.

We were in a foggy place... not horribly opposed to doing the show on a station where we didn't feel our values were aligned, but things didn't feel crystal-clear either. I kept waitng for the fog to lift, giving me the feeling that this was the right path to take.

Even after learning we had a show sponsor, it just wasn't popping. Visiting the station last week was probably where it occured to me that the only thing that was clear was how unclear about it I felt.

Why, you ask? Conservative Talk Radio is a format I do not feel comfortable aligning myself to. While the weekend lineup is less intense, those are the listeners who will be tuning in on the weekend, and I don't think our style would really fit THIER sense of style.

Christian and I both feel that this is not the only opportunity we will have, and that helps. But it's very disappointing, I really DO want to reach out and communicate with people! But it has to feel right, or it's not fair to anyone.

Once we made up our minds, a huge sense of relief was there and that fog lifted. So, we made the right call this time.

But... no show for now. Bummer.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bad, bad news.

The supplies of C2 Designer Kits and Fan Decks has dried up. We have a VERY limited inventory of Fan Decks, and once they are gone, they're gone. We have NO Designer Kits at all. I gave the last few away at my Designer Presentation (which was GREAT, by the way!).

Word is we won't see any more color tools until Septemberish. So - we are going to craft our own version of the Designer Kit to keep the flow of color tools going. I don't want the designers to wait until fall, and lose momentum in specifying colors.

Tomorrow, Courtney (my office assistant who know everything) and I are going shopping. We need to find a cool looking container/box for holding the color chips. I have business cards from over 60 Designers who attended my presentation who want color tools - and they don't care if it's in a temporary container. I will do my best to make them happy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How Many Are Coming????

This Thursday, I am giving a presentation to interior designers at the Seattle Design Center - focus on color and C2 Paint (Hmmm... how'd they know?).

I just got a call from Rick Finer, owner of RL Finer Showroom... As of Monday, there are already 64 designers signed up! Yikes. I guess I better get busy and figure out what I'm going to be talking about!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tragedy or Comedy?

This photo is circulating on the internet... When I got it today, I had to run it down to the staff in the tint room. Ohmygod, can you even imagine?

Do you get mad at the kid for making such a mess or at yourself for giving him the opportunity for create it?

Or as my very experienced mother commented, "If it's too quiet, I know that the kids are up to something!"

That is not a water clean-up type product. Look at the sofa! Look at the TV! The floor! That will be no fun to clean out of little-kid hair, either!

You know, we often get phone calls from customers with "emergencies". In this case, I'd have to agree!

Just look at the little sibling; s/he still has the pacifier!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Designer Presentation

I'm looking forward to next Thursday, I've been invited by the RL Finer showroom to give a C2 color presentation to designers. How cool is that?

Now I just have to think about color trends and what colors to share...

On the radio front, it looks like our show is slated to start on Saturday, August 5th. I am learning that radio is a bit of a moving target, and it will happen when it happens - and not before.

Another cool development: one of our local NPR ( stations has asked me to contribute a monthly column to their website, in the "Around the House" section. Other quality contributors are there, like the Master Builders Association, Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light. I feel like I am in good company.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Customers Try the Darnedest Things!

We got a phone call from a designer in Vegas who wanted us to help by providing a semi-transparent stain. Okay, no big deal right? Wrong. The stain was to be used to recolor the trunks of the palm trees because the designer didn't like how they looked. Needless to say, we steered away from that one!

Another customer called in to complain about the harmful fumes of the teak oil she was using, it was making her throw-up. When questioned, it turns out she was applying the product in a 10 x 10 foot room with NO windows and no fan. Hello? Anyone there?

There must be a full moon....

Monday, July 03, 2006

While You Were Out...

Sometimes small businesses have a reputation for "not much action". I'm not sure that's altogether true... Here is what happened while I was on vacation:

  • My partner's sister passed away (very sad)
  • Our office manager was in the bank during a robbery (action! cops!)
  • Courtney our Admin. Expert told me all the reasons why she missed me while I was out - employee meltdowns, confusion over procedures, etc. (made me feel very needed afterall)
  • Bellevue staff got yelled at by angry stupid contractor who thought he could paint (hello! Painting is not for idiots, it actually takes skill, not slap and dash!) but all the problems were "application error". The paint itself is rarely the problem in most cases.

Well... I had a GREAT time at Disneyland!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So the kid is getting better, but she's still rather cranky.

I remember the last time I was at Disneyland, sometime during my high school years. Me, my Dad and little brother took a driving trip down the California coast. Three of us sandwiched into his Porche 924 (turbo-charged, for those who care to know) - this car was not exactly built for back-seat passengers to take long trips. Of course we didn't care... we looked cool in Dad's Silver Streak!

Madonna was big that year, every new city that we'd tune into had her on high rotation. We heard "Borderline" over and over and over! Each of us brought a tape to listen to; I don't even remember what mine was. But I DO remember that Ramsay brought AC/DC and Dad brought Alan Parson's Project. We hardly let Rams play his tape 'cause it was annoying. Plus, he had to sit in the back more often than me! Ah, sweet memories.

In the Porche there was a moon roof. On a long stretch of highway from LA to Palm Springs, we were traveling late in the evening blasting Dad's music, and Ramsay was standing up in the car with his heard popping out the top of the moon roof.

Dad did not go slow. All of a sudden, Rams yelped "Ow!", and sat back down very fast. He had been nailed in the back of the head by the biggest bug I had ever seen - at about 90 miles per hour. Bug didn't make it.

Anyways, one of my distinct memories of Disneyland had to do with an exhibit on Main Street USA. There was a house that was wallpapered with Van Luit wallpaper, and I recognized the pattern. Knew the book it came from, knew the price of the paper, even. Boy was I impressed. From my sixteen year-olds perspective, that was some expensive paper! It helped me to appreciate the amount of work and attention to detail Disneyland used to create this most perfect place on Earth.

Looking forward to seeing the place again with adult eyes. I wonder if the wallpaper is still there?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We're Going to Disneyland

Things at work are chugging along quite nicely. People are coming in to buy lots of paint - yay! I feel I can safely leave for a family trip to Disneyland on Sunday. Our plane takes off at the crack of dawn, 6:20am. Ouch, that'll hurt.

Oops! Just got a call that my 5 year threw up at daycare! Well, time to end this post and go collect the sick kid... Cross my fingers we'll all be healthy in time for our trip!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Check Out the Updated C2 Website!

C2 is announcing the arrival of 92 new colors into the palette - so exciting!

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Tomorrow I am meeting a painter who is on our Daly's reference list to get a bid to paint my own house. Guess that means I better get busy choosing my exterior color scheme! Hopefully it will be a little easier than finding our kitchen color.

Currently the siding is a mid-value sandy beige - really, it looks better than it sounds. But it might be fun switch colors a tad. I'm looking at C2 "Saddle" or "Clydesdale" or my current favorite, "Charlie Horse". Maybe I'll make my door an almost-black green or almost-black navy. One of those colors that doesn't look like a specific shade, just deep and rich. Yum.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lots Going On

I feel like it's been a while since my last post... I actually survived camp with all those 2nd and 3rd graders. In fact, it was pretty fun even if it did rain most of the time. As my friend Harry says, "It didn't suck".

By the way, the adults were the ones complaining about the rain, the kids barely noticed. What you can't see in this photo is the CONSTANT drizzle; these kids (and grownups) were soaked!

Christian and I are still working on our show. It's getting closer and closer... I met with a potential sponsor yesterday - THAT was interesting. I am usually on the other end of these sales calls, so I know how the guy felt...

Nobody likes getting sales calls - even if it is to benefit my business. But now I'm straddling both sides of the fence and I can see both sides.

Here's a new opportunity that I am excited about: I am going to be giving a presentation at the Seattle Design Center next month at the RL Finer showroom. It will focus on C2's 92 new colors, the as-yet unannounced C2 sample program and all the things Daly's can do for designers. Should be fun.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not To Panic

Correction on the number of kids going to camp... it's four classes of kids, so that means roughly 110 2nd and 3rd graders!

I'm okay...

Zip To It!

We are looking at the zip codes of people who come into the Bellevue store, to see where our current customers are coming from. Hopefully this will confirm our notion of moving the store over to the other side of the freeway!

Going over to Bellevue again today to look at a couple other properties with my partner Herb.

The next three days will be spent with about 60 kids plus some brave parents at Camp Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island. Since my idea of roughing it is Holiday Inn (why don't these hotels ever provide conditioner anymore????), spending 3 days with 60 eight and nine year olds should be just dandy. Hope I don't get boys bathroom clean-up duty...

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's Monday Morning and It's All Okay

It may be a Monday, but things are pretty mellow right now.

It looks like we are moving closer and closer to this radio show. Due to our mixed feelings about it, I placed a call to a local personality who also hosts a weekend radio show, and he was kind enough to take our call.

I wanted to speak to someone who is involved on the air, but not connected to radio sales, etc... So, I emailed celebrity chef Tom Douglas's office (he of the Dalia Lounge/Etta's Seafood/cookbook fame - and local 3 hour radio show), and they actually responded yes! How cool is that?

Christian and I spoke with Tom on Friday. He had some great insight into the benefits and drawbacks of the weekend show. I was telling my C2 paint partner Harry, owner of Adler's Paint and Hardware in Providence, RI - and Harry had just read about Tom's enterprise in an East Coast airline magazine. Tom gets around.

Got a call this morning from the radio station, Mark has been approaching local businesses to see if there is interest in our show. We are to meet with a furniture store next week so they can get to know us. Has been interest in other places, but like anything new, I think they want to wait and see if it's a success before committing to anything.

Had an interesting dinner this weekend. Did you know that if you meet someone at Daniel's Broiler you better be careful? There are three of them, and they aren't too far from each other. Oops! At least it's a quick trip to zip over to the correct one.

Our dinner was interesting because of a fellow who has interest in Daly's. From time to time there are people sniffing around the business, looking for opportunities - it always brings me right back to the conclusion of being happy I'm independent and want to stay that way. But the food was good!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bellevue Is No Longer a Little Suburb

Last week my partner Herb and I went on a scouting mission into the great Mecca of retailing known as Bellevue. Just past the mall and over one block is where we currently have our 2nd store. But things are changing so quickly; there is a HUGE multi-condo/retail/blah-blah-blah complex being constructed where the old Arby's (and other small scale businesses) used to be. Now there is a big gaping hole, and we can see Bellevue Square right from the front doors of the shop.

So. With the growth of snazzy shopping experiences and high-end condo living, our humble paint store needs to find new digs. This is a good thing actually. It will bring us closer to our core base of customers.

In the old days, it didn't matter that we were in the heart of Bellevue, that's where everything was. But now, it can take 15 minutes just to dive in from the freeway (less than a mile), so the hassle factor is soon going to outweigh and benefits of history. We have been on the same block since the early 60's. Before the 520 floating bridge, if you can believe it!

Anyway - Herb and I went on a hunt. BINGO!! On a whim I drove him past a competitor's paint store that is ideally located just on the other side of the freeway in a small shopping center with 2 hip furniture stores, an appliance store, children's boutique furniture store and a high-end cabinet shop. Guess what? The store is moving and the space is soon available!!

How cool would that be? Not only that, but people who used to shop at the old place might automatically come to ours.

Not so good, it turns out. The rent is ASTRONOMICAL. Plus, the landlord is not too excited about negotiating price. Scratch that one off the list. Damn, woulda been pretty cool.

All is not lost, however. Another space is probably opening up in a few months, and it's soooooo much more affordable. And ample parking. And visible from the street. And easy access.

We shall see!

Being Independent Has It's Risks

One of the reasons Daly's became involved with C2 Paint was because it was created by and for independent retailers. As in other industries, we have felt the pinch of corporate consolidations, the pressure of the manufacturer to please their shareholders over the need to please their dealers, and we are very aware of the warm breath of the category-killer box stores breathing down our necks.

Today, I am looking at another pressure. And this is by a company that we don't even represent in our stores! I suppose this is nothing new. If there is one lesson I've learned from my association with my C2 partners, it's this: Whatever affects one independent dealer affects us all. No great revelation there, really. However, it's in sharp focus right now.

It makes for very interesting times.

Speaking of interesting: My partner Herb and I are going out today to start scouting places to relocate our Bellevue store. All the development that's been happening in downtown Bellevue is showing us that we need to make it easier for our customers to have access to us. I'm excited!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oh, By the Way

The last two tiles were installed today. Can't wait to get home and see the kitchen!

Interesting Things to Ponder...

Met with some radio folks today. Their station is going BIG TIME, 50,000 watts. That's the maximum wattage allowed, apparently, by the FCC. The only other local stations at that size are KIRO and KOMO, so it's a bit of a big deal.

Christian and I have the opportunity to go with them on their wattage journey and grow. Should we do it? How can we not? Makes a girl think... and think...

Friday, May 19, 2006

When it Rains

When it's even the slightest bit overcast customers come out of the woodwork like slugs in the garden on a rainy day. Yesterday, which was gorgeous, there was nary a customer in sight... Why is that? You'd think it'd be the opposite phenomenon. Make hay while the sun shines and all that.

So, word to the wise - come in on a sunny day!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Moral Dilemma or Opportunity Knocks?

Okay. Here's the deal:

Christian and I have been approached to start a show on a local talk radio station - currently they broadcast at a low range (wattage, power, whatever...) but they are ramping it up in near future and are planning on going head to head with the reigning talk station.

Here's the issue: By talk radio, they mean CONSERVATIVE talk radio. Not NPR. Al Franken is probably their poster boy all thing wrong in the world.

Should we entertain the idea of hosting a weekend show that focuses on interior design and lifestyle? I find the idea of a live show very appealing, but is it the right home for us?

On one hand, this is the perfect place to be heard - people listen to their radios on the weekend for just this type of content when they want a break from the stresses of the week. No politics (besides recycling of resources, going green with building materials, etc) need enter the conversation.

On the other hand...

Last year Christian and I got our toes wet by hosting a short-lived show on a station that NOBODY heard. On the positive side, we found we work very well together, our content and guests were good, our banter was light and fun without being annoying - but we weren't live and it became a lot of work to fill that whole hour without the interaction from the listening audience. Oh, and the station wasn't on ANYONE'S radar. But the show itself was a good show.

The right home would make all the difference. It will be an interesting meeting on Thurdsay when we find out more about this potential show.

Mini Vacation

The floor refinishers arrived this morning to give the kitchen floor a much needed facelift. The next two nights we'll be living at the Silver Cloud Inn about a mile down the road.

I'm not sure what is more exciting to the kids - swimming pool access on a school night or the complimentary breakfast bar. Living like a tourist in our own town. Whoooeee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

San Francisco Days...

San Francisco is a pastel city. Even colors that aren't pastels, looks so amazingly rich but soft in this atmosphere.

Everywhere you look, it's so creamy and dreamy. All the Victorian embellishments you see on buildings practically everywhere make for some wonderful eye candy - and no calories!

See this house? It's the FIRST C2 house painted in San Francisco... the paint has only been available for 3 weeks, and it's already taking off. The painter was excited to be the first to buy C2 Paint, he was waiting at the doors for the store to open at 6:30am the first day it was available.

The amount of detail involved in a project like this just stuns me. This particular painter goes to great lengths on prepping the building - which insures a long life for the paint job. No small feat considering the city is perched at the edge of the ocean - never nice to paints.

And if you look closely at the detail shot, you will see these small ball accent features... the gleam in the sun comes from gold leaf - there is no way to replicate that with simple gold paint, the gold leaf makes the buildings POP.

I think I counted 9 different colors on this facade... I lost count!

I had a blast visiting paint stores in the area: G & R Paint in San Francisco, Tamalpais Paint in Corte Madeira and Gray's Paint in Burlingame... three top notch paint dealers who are rolling out the C2 brand in the SF market, all at the same time. I am so thrilled! (Hey, I can't wear the crown of Paint Princess if I don't wax poetic about my fellow INDEPENDENT paint retailers, now can I?)

The highlight of the trip was our Designer Presentation last night at the flagship Design Within Reach furniture store. About 60 designers turned out for the party, not bad considering I was hoping we'd get about 25. Food was tasty, wine was great, the designers were wonderful!

I have another house I need to show you. Philip Reno, owner of G&R Paints has his own line of complex full-spectrum colors called Phillip's Perfect Colors. These colors appear as if they have an almost pearlescent undertone built into each color. I have never seen anything like it.

Well, there is a STUNNING home which he was involved in tinting, I think in the Pacific Heights neighborhood... Look at this - delicate colorations; but strong enough to be used on a large-scale building without loosing it's integrity.


Although, what's with the tree pruning in this town? I saw tree after tree pruned (I'd consider it CARVED) down to stumpy branches... awkward looking. I wasn't just this house, I saw it all over the place. I don't get it.

Here's another beauty shot:

See how the gold leaf just gleams? Wow.

Over and out for now.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Two Tiles Short

My husband has come to the conclusion that contractors are an optimistic bunch. They have to be to think they can complete projects in the timeframes they give themselves!

Tile installation took two days, not one. Not only that, but we are two tiles short. Two!

Speaking of optimistic, why did I spend a whole hour watching the Dynasty reunion last night? It was soooooo bad - not even kitschy-bad, just bad bad.

Next week I am flying down to San Francisco to help some three new C2 partners get their line launched in the SF market. This is so exciting, to be able to roll out C2 to California in a very meaningful way. We are planning a designer presentation at the Design Within Reach store, and one of the designers who is attending has regular appearances on HGTV. How cool is that?

So... what am I going to wear?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Scouting for a New Location

We've been in Bellevue since 1961. Actually, we've been on the same street, in three different locations since '61. However, Bellevue is not the same town and we need to move.

In the early 60's there were 5 different paint stores within a 3 block radius. There was no Home Depot. Bellevue Square was an outdoor complex of shops. No Microsoft.

It's exciting to consider moving. The growth of that store has been very good these last few years, and if we are more conveniently situated, I imagine it only getting better.

Currently the challenge is driving through the downtown corridor to our store. There is a lot of new condo and retail being built - but we better serve single family repaints - not new construction. So the hassle factor will soon outpace the cool factor of shopping at our store. Not a good scenario.

I think we should just follow Whole Foods. Or Trader Joes. Where goes good food, goes good paint!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Earth Day and Daly's

Saturday, the 22nd was Earth Day and the Friends of Cowan Park chose that day for a park project.

In the Roosevelt neighborhood many local residents have adopted Cowan Park, trying to keep it clean and family friendly. They have even partnered with the Roosevelt Starbucks to help maintain it and have received some park grants from them.

On Saturday, a large mural was painted behind the cable swing (which many children LOVE) on a wall that has been hit numerous times with graffiti. If there is graffiti present, it encourages more of the same. If it is covered quickly it discourages the taggers. Best of all is when there is a mural in place - because they are largely left alone. Not only that, but it looks better too!

Daly's donated all the lovely bright paint colors for the project. Many people participated in painting the mural, so it was a great group effort.

Kudos to the Friends of Cowan Park! What a great community.

I'll add photos as soon as I get them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Choosing Our Own **** Paint Color!

Oh. My. God.

I soooooo relate to people who have trouble choosing colors. We are walking proof, and we live it all the time! I should have just hired a designer for some help! :)

First we tried C2's "Radiate" - Too bright, and it blended with the cabinetry too much.

Then we explored 5 different shades of green - NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. Even my contractor was telling us he didn't like the green. Any of them. Actually, I thought if the contractor didn't like it, we were probably on the right path...

Finally, closure. We FINALLY found the color! It's C2's "Alhambra", a deep reddish-brown. Won't my mother be surprised when she comes over? She still thinks we painted the kitchen a light mossy green. And she HATED the green concept too. And let us know it.

Half the appliances were installed yesterday, the others go in tomorrow. Need to get glass for some windowed doors, tile needs to be installed and floors refinished. That's about it. But we will be able to move in the room this weekend, if all goes well. YAY!!!!

I'm getting ready to cook up a storm. And clean the house.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Colors and Classes

Next week I'm giving a lunch presentation to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce on how to use color to create a better selling environment. I think I'll talk about color trends, how "coffeehouse" colors have influenced us all and the different effects each color has on us emotionally. Should be fun!

I am going to San Francisco at the beginning of May to help our 3 new C2 partners get rolling with C2 paint in their stores. My New England partners Harry and Shaun are also going. We will give a class to the staff and an invitation-only designer presentation at the Design Within Reach Store in SanFran.

Kitchen update: Counter are installed! It's interesting to watch the process. Those rocks are heavy, no doubt.

We finally settled on the tile for the backsplash. Unfortunately, it will delay the completion by two weeks, due to the order time. Rats! But I'd rather have a slight delay now and get the right material then to live with the wrong choice for years to come.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Eating in the Basement is Getting Old

The kitchen remodel is getting into the drag-on phase. It no longer feels like we're camping out in the basement. Now cooking in the utility room and eating at the coffee table in the TV room just feels annoying.

All whining aside, the countertops are getting installed on Wednesday! So, progress is happening, it just feels so sloooooooooow.

The GREAT PAINT DEBATE is winding down as well. Apparently this Princess of Paint cannot choose her own paint colors! How ironic is that? I almost resorted to a beige, but good sense kicked in with plenty of time to spare. What will we end up using? I dunno yet! We had a change of plans with our tile backsplash which put the paint color into nowhere-ville.

Tile is back on track (almost!), and then we will settle on paint. We have probably tried 6 different paint colors, 5 of then various tints of the same green. Once the counters are in, we must commit to tile and paint. Yet another case of impending deadline being a wonderful motivator.

Over and Out until Wednesday.

Monday, April 03, 2006

April Fools Fun

Christian and I wrote a newspaper column that was axed by our dear editor (I don't blame him, he has to keep us in line now and again). It was supposed to run on April Fools Day, and we had so much fun writing it - I was laughing so hard I was crying when we wrote it. Since we couldn't run it in the paper, I sent it out as a newsletter to our Daly's email list.

Here is is:

Dear Robin and Christian -
Over the years my wife and I have developed different collections; my wife passionately collects orca whale figurines while I like to display the trophies from my hunting expeditions. How can we best display our two collections in the same family room?
- Bud and Starr (the second R is silent)

Robin: Consider a Surf and Turf theme. Think of your room in terms of the eco system. Visually divide the room to represent the different layers of the earth: start with an ocean blue shag carpet to represent the water; If you have hardwood floors, consider an area rug in the shape of a whale. There are many custom rug artisans who can make one to your specifications. The closer to life-sized, the better. This will help balance out the scale of the heads that will be mounted above, on the walls.

Christian: When choosing paint colors, paint everything from the floor to the wainscoting in blues and greens. Above this, paint the chair rail red to represent the transition from cold-blooded to warm-blooded mammals. Paint everything above the chair rail brown to represent the **** you scared out of the last deer you shot.

Robin: The ceilings should be faux painted with white fluffy clouds.

Christian: This room presents many opportunities for fun accessorizing: First and foremost, don't forget the antler chandelier. A classic touch that no trophy room should be without. This will also come in handy during the holidays when you can hang orca ornaments from the different antlers of the light fixture for a festive look.

Robin: If you are feeling crafty, have lampshades made out of camouflage fabric and glue-gun spent shell cartridges around the base of the lampshade for a homey touch.

Christian: Make sure to display her Orca figurines in the lower half of the room. Get a hold of some Greenpeace t-shirts or flags and have them made into throw pillows for the sofa. These colors will contrast nicely with the camouflage accents you've already established.

Robin: Of course we suggest large overstuffed furniture to pull the whole room together. As you can see, this room will really make a statement and allow you and your wife to enjoy each others collections for years to come.

Christian: Don't forget to vacuum the animal trophies on a regular basis. And invest in a good shag rake for the carpet!

Robin: Thanks for your question, we really love to hear from you. We take your design questions very seriously, and answer them all to the best of our ability.

Christian: Did you really think WE were serious? If haven't guessed already - this is our nod to April Fools Day. Have a great day and if you are looking at combining orca figurines and hunting trophies - quite honestly interior design should be the last thing on your list of things to be concerned about!

There must be many people who have as poor taste and judgment as I - I have gotten more positive responses to the article than most other things we have written!

Speaking of Paint

There was in interesting article in the New York Times on April 2nd about the Lead Paint Case in Rhode Island.

Some people feel this is the Next Big Thing since the tobacco suits. Others feel that it's all manufactured fear-mongering since most homes have been repainted and very little lead is exposed.

Lead-based paint was banned from being sold in the US in 1978, but for homes built earlier, especially before the 1950's, there is a pretty strong chance there is lead present. If it's painted over, then it's probably encapsulated. But if the paint chips and exposes the old surface, then lead may be a concern.

How do I feel? I think manufacturers are in a pickle. They feel extreme pressure from their customers to make products that perform, and the lead helped do that. But there is an implied brand confidence that the consumer has in the product, and they certainly don't think it will be harmful to their health. But are they willing to give up performance for better health? Not always, I've found.

The question that I keep coming back to: Did ALL paint companies use lead back then? Was that the norm of the day?

If they made the best choice they could at the time, then I think this is wrong and it's attacking them for the wrong reason. If they had better options, then I understand the lawsuit - at least a little bit.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Harebrained Idea of the Day

Okay. I just googled "Interior Design Podcast" - not much out there. Hmmmm..... Perhaps Christian and I can create some fun content... Could be kind of cool!

Cabinet update: Chuck the contractor says we were the 2nd worst installation he's had the pleasure of working on (is this an honor I should be proud of?). Apparently there is no such thing as a plumb wall in my 1920's house. He planned for the install to take about 5 hours. Well, he and his brother arrived at 8am and left a bit after 6pm. And there are still more to go. As Christian says, "Have a plan, then be flexible".

Remember a few weeks ago I was complaining about our 1st Hate Mail? Life has a way of balancing out, and we got a truly lovely letter from a reader this weekend. Ironically, it was in response to our "Do's" column which was written to counteract the "Don'ts" column. The reader is actually going to read our column aloud at her club meeting on Tuesday. Nice!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

M:I 2

Going in ... how exciting (and what a mess!)


Cabinets get delivered this morning... between 7 and 9am. Chuck the contractor says he'll have all the boxes installed by this evening. Wow!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Favorite New Colors

Last week I gave a talk to Cancer Lifeline Friends Committee about color - the physical effects of color and new color trends. The most interesting phenomenon that I observed is how energized we all became when we looked at the colors. Especially since my talk was given in a hospital meeting room that was painted a bland off-white - not very healing!

Here are some of my favorite new C2 Paint colors:
"Venus Envy" (okay, let me pause here and confess that I actually was allowed to name this one!) - sizzling hot fuscia
"Diva" - classic deep red
"Vixen" and "Temptation" - two pink-based reds
"Pillow Talk" - soft peach-pink
"Cutie" - even paler peach
"Impeccable" - one of my absolute favorites; deep coppery brown
"Al Green" - impossibly fresh green
"Urban Dweller" - is it greenish, is it beigish? It's a sophisticated neutral
"Bluetonium" - it's a good blue... not too grey, not to intense
"Death by Chocolate" - yum!
"Luxe" and "Vicuna" - two perfect neutrals
"Final Straw" - might be my new living room color
"Paper Clip" - a grey that I actually like!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Partner Benefits

One of the great things about my C2 involvement, is that I can take advantage of all my other partners' knowledge and experience. Because wallpaper has been a weak category, I have been keeping my eyes open for other products to promote in my stores. One of my Ontario partners has developed a very nice lighting business, and I now am looking at adding some lighting products to our mix because of his success. Some of my New England partners have done quite well with decorative hardware... Is that a category that would fit well with the Daly's model?

Actually, I think hardware could be pretty good, since we do so much with wood finishing and stains. Hardware might be a natural next step in the refinishing process...

Another New England partner sells tons of ready-made valances. I don't think that's the right fit for us, I don't think Seattle and Bellevue can support a huge valance program. At least not our stores, it's not a good fit for our personality.

But what if we had a selection of tasty lighting fixtures and hardware??? A Daly's "look"? Might have some legs...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Uba Tuba Wins!

After much deliberation, Uba Tuba is still the front runner in the grand granite discussion. It just looks so rich.

Painting is actually happening tomorrow, and the walls are going to be C2's "Radiate" with "Coconut" trim and ceiling. Tasty! Chuck, my contractor has never used C2, so I am looking forward to getting his reaction to the product.

Getting past this point will be grand, there is wallboard dust on every single surface in the house! I can honestly say that I am looking forward to doing some cleaning this weekend, and yes, THAT statement is a first.

Yesterday, I ran into a client whom I helped with many decorating projects about 15 years ago. Her twins are now seniors in high school. It just can't be true! They were little boys! What's really cool is hearing that her wool challis draperies in the den still looks as good as the day they were installed. She always chose quality materials, and this is a perfect example of how well quality can last... She's not replacing them yet, simply updating the wall treatment in there.

How many of us can say we have the same window treatments we had 15 years ago? Or even the same house?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

There's Nothing Like the Last Minute...

Yikes! My contractor informed me last night that he plans on painting the walls on Thursday. Thursday! Ohmygod, I'm not even sure which granite I'm using yet, so how in the world will I choose a wall color???

Today, I decided I needed to go countertop shopping. Overwhelming about sums it up. Wow. There are a lot of shiny rocks to choose from. It was very interesting to walk amongst the rows filled with slabs of granite, marble and travertine. Our earth produces such beauty... But to choose that little piece of mother earth for my home is turning out to be a bit more difficult than I expected.

Just as I never thought I was a maple cabinet gal, I am turning into dark countertop gal. Will wonders never cease? Uba Tuba seems to be our rock of choice, and it's even in the lower realm of the price range... Am I losing my edge? Our budget isn't being being blown to smithereens, at least not with the counter. However, there's always the backsplash...

Like other projects I've undertaken in my home, I find it immensely easier to help others than to wade through the choices for myself. "Decorator, design thy home!"

Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's Cool What You Can Find on the Web

I just just noodling around on the computer (I should be out weeding the garden), and I Googled C2 Paint. I found a website that posted finished kitchens and realized how familiar this one was... I am positive I consulted on the colors for the whole house last year - typically I don't get the chance to see the finished job, so this was a bit of a shock to see when I wasn't focused finding it! Cool!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Had a "Don" Good Time

I am recovering from an intense few days of great meetings at the fabulous Don CeSar Resort in sunny St. Pete Beach, FL. The reason I flew across the whole country was not really for the sun (which admittedly was nice), but to be with my paint posse . Quite honestly, after a couple hours by the pool, I'm done with the relaxing part. Besides, I think I increase the light reflectancy value (there's some paint terminology for you) for everyone else around me.

I love the opportunity to spend 5 days talking exclusively about my passion - being an independent paint retailer with like-minded folks. I know, I know, it sounds REALLY interesting...

What you've got to understand is that we don't just sell this brand of paint, we all own a part of the company. Think of a co-op; but with business stakes that make it feel like a marriage or partnership with 50 (and growing) of your closest friends. It's a heady experience.

I remember when we had less than 12 partners, and that wasn't very long ago.

I did finally make it to the beach at about midnight on the last night of the trip. But at that hour of the evening, it felt more like Seattle than St. Pete's. The sand is so velvety between my toes and the water is so blue... Maybe there is a bit of a beach babe lurking inside of me.

Mary, another of my C2 partners, came up with a great color name: Eye Candy. Sounds like a clean, mid-value blue undertone pink to me. See... it never stops, even with the temptations of the resort!

Speaking of temptations - what a colorful bunch of partners I have. I think our whole partnership is really a great collection of alpha males - men and women. We represent Best in Class of our business, and that makes for some intriguing exchanges between people.

What other group of friends can I go out on "Date Nite with Harry" and be accompanied by 20 "Chaperones" to make sure nothing happens between me and my date (and yes, my husband is fully aware of my Gentleman Caller!).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Demo, Dinner and Decisions

I am now officially in the throes of a full-blown kitchen remodel. Demolition started on Monday, but our work really began on Saturday.

We had to clear out almost the entire contents from our storage room which is located beneath our kitchen to give our contractor easy access from below. We used this as a perfect opportunity to get rid of those things that have been cluttering up our storage room (and our life).

What a messy job! I filled the mini van full of things to go to the local charity. Good stuff, too. Just not things we want anymore and won't be using in the future. Framed posters, small appliances, full sets of dishes. Like I said, good stuff.

What a feeling of lightness! Well, that is until we realized that this was only part of our efforts for the weekend. We also had to empty out the kitchen in time for Monday's demolition party.

14 storage containers later, we had everything labeled and stacked neatly. We also created a temporary kitchen in the basement with a hot plate, microwave and griddle (and one really handy 18" deep rack as a temporary pantry). So far, we've only bought one take-out meal. Not bad!

As I was telling my girlfriend though, our meals are not so elaborate. We are consuming things like turkey dogs and baked beans. Lots of pre-bagged salad for the adults while the kids want Annie's microwave mac. If we can keep it easy and interesting, I'm hoping we can maintain this. the less we spend on take-out, the more that's left over for the remodel!

I've been feeling a bit of pressure to make sure I choose the correct finishes for the kitchen. I have settled on a lightly stained maple cabinet - which came as a surprise, I never really envisioned myself as a Maple gal - with rich marble counters. Our stainless appliances are already in the house and waiting to be installed... The door style is very simple, to fit with my 1920's house - not a true Shaker door either, I didn't want to date to kitchen with too specific a look. Yikes! I feel my customer's pain, I understand what they go through to make decisions!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Dash to the Ego

Well, well, well. Christian and I just received our first Hate Mail from a PI reader who DESPISED our most recent column. We were called, and I quote, "snobbish, judgmental, and arrogant". Wow, this is so exciting! I can't believe someone would take the time to write an angry response to an article on decorating for pete's sake!

That being said, we did have some fun examining some of the decorating choices that we feel are less than desirable... Like matching living room sets and unpainted hollow-core doors.

Here's the link to the article in question:

Are we really that evil?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Holding Down the Fort at the P.I. - Homeshow-Style

Homeshows are interesting... There is such a cross-section of people who come to these things, and many of them certainly provide an entertaining floor show. When it was slow, I had fun looking at people's outfits. Frankly, we are a sloppy people.

My favorite visitors were the ones who told me stories about their paper delivery days from long ago. One man told me of when he was 10 years old, and there was the biggest snowstorm happening, but he knew that delivering papers was his primary responsibility - well one of his customers found him in the snow literally freezing to death. Times have changed. I can't imagine letting my son out alone every morning at that age to deliver papers!

So, I was in the P.I. booth yesterday afternoon, sharing our Saturday "@ home" section, pointing out our weekly column - but frankly most people were interested in the Wonder Cutter (coupon cutter) that we were giving away! That's good for bring one down a notch... It was fun meeting people who actually read our column. And someone even told me I look thinner in person! Love her!

Christian and I will both be in the P.I. booth on Thursday the 16th from noon to 2pm.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Home Show Appearance

Christian and I will be presenting a seminar at the Seattle Home Show this Sunday (February 19th) at 4pm - We will be talking about one of our favorite topics: "Discovering Your Design Style". It will include plenty of time for question and answer, plus we give you real usable information on how to easily key into your own style.

It'll be fun, come meet us!

Color Me "Decorated Out"...

This last weekend was the culmination of a LOT of work for my newspaper writing partner Christian Ursino and myself (check out our website and columns). We were the designers for a new feature at the 2006 Northwest Flower and Garden Show called Destination Living by Windermere Real Estate.

Here's the basic concept: When you are ready to purchase your vacation getaway, Windermere wants you to think of using them because they have offices in many different states. This is a pretty good idea when you think about it, since the people who attend the show are the same ones who are buying 2nd homes.

So at the show, there were 5 rooms with coordinating gardens promoting different getaway themes. Christian and I were the ones responsible for transforming each 11.5' x 11.5' box into a space that would evoke the specific theme.

The kicker of the project: we received the assignment in early December - we had less than 8 weeks to design 5 rooms, secure suppliers for all surfaces (floors, walls and furnishings) and coordinate the whole thing. Sure, it sounds like a lot of time, but we had Christmas and New Years in there, a flu epidemic and a potential supplier who never materialized. We really pulled it all together in less than a month!

Our rooms turned out great. Our suppliers were angels, we could not have down it without Dania , Capers (206-545-7876), Daly's and Fidalgo's.

Nor would we have looked too pretty without the expert services of Queen Anne Painting and Elgie Gibson (425-485-3211) Wallcovering Installation.

More on our rooms later - I've got to dash off to the store to pick up Valentine's Dinner and Desert for the family - I think we'll have pasta with red sauce and strawberries with whipped cream for dessert (add a little champagne for us parents!). Kids will like having a red dinner for Valentine's Day.