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...