Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holidaly Fun!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Been a Loooong Time Since My Last Post!

My how time flies when you are crazy-busy!

We found our two Christmas trees this weekend: one for the family room with colorful kid decorations, and one for the living room with sparkly, more formal decor.

This year, the kids hung their own tree - and it looks totally great. Oh sure, there are lots of branches where my 6-year old has clustered 3 ornaments on the same low branch, in exactly the same spot - but that adds to the overall effect and charm. And nobody was able to get to the uppermost branches - so it's a touch sparse at the top. At night we've been singing carols around the tree before bedtime.

I ask you, how much more "holiday" does it get than that?

I'm getting ready to head out to New York on Sunday for a Deskside Media Tour to introduce a new C2 product to a bunch of great design and home magazines. I am so excited! NYC at Christmas-time.

So in preparation for the blitz, I needed to visit the salon to get my hair done. I've been visiting Gene Juarez for about the last year, and they just relocated the salon to a new space.

About that space...

On first blush, it's great. Contemporary, but with an approachable aesthetic that helps inform clients that modern doesn't necessarily mean "cold". However, the more I really looked at the details (and when you are getting your hair colored, you have time to look!), the more the details weren't appropriate for the function of the salon (At least from my point-of-view).

In design school you learn "Form follows function", meaning that if it looks great but doesn't work well, you have not successfully accomplished your design goals. Well, the salon looks GREAT. I LOOOVE the curtain of ball-bearing chain beads behind the front counter. You just want to play with it.

And the fireplace in the waiting area - nice touch. Especially during the months from October through March.

But the banquette-styled sofas were a bust. Not comfortable and nowhere to support myself and rest my arms. Not comfortable is not a feature I am looking for when paying a premium price in a salon. No, no, no, I want to feel LUXE (which happens to also be a great C2 color, #361, by the way).

Apparently, the row of hairdryers is a real problem. They are also situated in a row with banquette seating, instead of individual chairs. My concern was that clients personal space would feel violated because there is no real designation between drying stations. And I saw a woman try and balance her lovely cup of tea on the seat, because there was no place to set the cup.

Worse still... apparently the banquette is too high and many women cannot even rest their feet on the ground! Imagine! Sitting there feeling like a little kid. So the short-term solution has been to add some throw pillows for added back support (apparently that not working so well, either), but they are going to have to devise a foot-rest or something to accommodate. And if you are a person of size - you can't stay seated easily because of the design. Yikes. One month into the new space, and that is not fixed yet. Oh boy.

I am going to be watching how the pearlized floor tiles age. They are white with a pearlized glaze and an interesting texture that gives them a lot of surface interest. They are also getting splotches on them where hair color drips onto them. Even with quick clean-up, they are getting ghost stains if you look closely. I noticed that the stylists also have this as their flooring around the chairs - wouldn't that increase leg and foot fatigue for people who must be on their feet all day? This is where "Form follows function" is IMPERATIVE, in my book. Make the staff happy and they will make their clients happy! The traffic areas are some sort of warm wood laminate flooring.

The white walls are tasty. And yes, I can't believe I'm saying that either!

The citrus green accent shots, love 'em.

I found more of that purpley-gray I've been noticing lately. Yummy.

I think it will be interesting to see how things evolve there. Will the salon age well? What changes will need to be made now that it's real-life time rather than just a concept?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint you can on it." - Danny Kaye

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Color Inspiration

Inspiration for color and color combinations happens in the most unusual places sometimes.

This weekend I had to haul myself across the country to Tampa, FL for two nights. It's not a trip I recommend for the faint-of-heart - especially considering that those 7am business breakfasts really happen at 4am Seattle-time! Ouch.

However, as I was traveling home I found some really beautiful uses of color. Specifically, when I was going to Terminal E at the Tampa airport, I noticed a large WPA mural (originally painted in the 1930's by artist George Snow Hill. They were restored decades later by the artist himself) over the security line. The subject of the mural was the first flight landing in Tampa - but it was the use of color that really stood out.

The colors were all from a palette that was both colorful and muted at the same time. There were reds, blues, browns, golds and such, but none of the colors were "pure" or "clear". It created a harmony between all the colors and let the artist use a large variety of color without it looking like a mish-mash.

The same skills can be applied when using color in a home. This is how some people are very successful in having different colored rooms that all seem to flow together harmoniously. If the colors were "acid" or "bright", they would stick out like a sore thumb and not feel very good to live with.

My other experience happened on the airplane. The movie "Evening" was the selection on the way home. Starring Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Toni Colette and Natasha Richardson (whew! what a cast!).

I chose not to watch the movie (too tired for an emotional film), but I ended up watching the colors used in the different scenes. They skillfully used color to help define the different times and eras that took place in the film.

I got sucked into looking at the color combinations, without the sound. It was pretty cool to watch a movie without being involved in the story. You certainly notice different things.

The scene where Meryl Streep's character visits the dying Vanessa Redgrave character is all done with white. White suit, white pearls, white sheets, white nightgown, white light and white hair. In unskilled hands this would have been the most boring, washed-out scene imaginable. But every white was different and again, there was no "pure" white - it was all rich and warm. Tough to pull off, but very pretty.

I love these greens. I love the whitewall tires that aren't icy white. I love the intense light on the actors from the sun. A feast for the eyes.

Monday, November 05, 2007

2000 and Counting...

In June I mentioned we had placed a post on Craig's List that we were giving away our designer scrap paint (perfect high quality paint that was accidentally mis-tinted). To date these astute bargain hunters have picked up over 2,000 gallons.

That's a lot of paint!

It's a win-win for everyone. We aren't sitting on product we cannot sell in our stores and somebody gets a $40-50 product for FREE. Instead of ending up in some landfill contributing to waste, I am so happy to think of this ending up in someones home adding beauty.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Regarding Fall Exterior Painting...

Oh sure, the weather is supposed to hit 70 degrees today!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Again, It's Time To Stop Exterior Painting Projects!

One of the great things about this digital communication format is that I can see how people have found this blog - one of the main searches of late has been Exterior Painting. So I KNOW there are a lot of folks out there wondering if they can squeeze one last exterior painting project in under the wire...

Folks, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, it is time to put your brushes down for the season. Really.

Why? Well, unless there is a terrible storm your paint won't melt off (although that would look very interesting) - but the weather is too risky to predict a long enough dry patch to ensure that you will have the optimum result for your efforts.

Paint contains a lot of moisture, and if it is overcast, misty, drizzly (or any of the other descriptive words we use for rain), the moisture in the air hampers the ability for the moisture to evaporate from the paint and it will be sloooooooow going until the paint film is truly dry.

And if you have a high level of moisture on the surface to be painted, even worse. Trust me, this happened at my house and we had to have a whole side repainted in just a few short years due to moisture. This Paint Princess knows of what she speaks!

Paint may dry to the touch in a few hours, but it is not dry all the way through for quite a while afterwards - we call this the cure time. Cooler temperatures and moisture inhibit this cure process. So don't paint outside anymore (unless you really have too!) (And I understand this happens to the best of us!).

Instead, let's chat about some lovely interior color trends and turn our attention inside for a while...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Firing Our Customers

Yes, it happens - we have to respectfully break-up with our customers sometimes. It's never fun, and it upsets everyone. But you have to know where your line is in the sand.

Yesterday, I was called upon to do just that. A small mix-up in communication (from our perspective, no mix-up, but that's a story for another time!) resulted in the customer yelling, swearing and carrying on to the point where he not only alienated our two Design Resources staff, but the installer also insisted he would NEVER do work for that client.

I called the gentleman and as he was going on about our lacking service and attention to OBVIOUS details - I had to inform him that it was not acceptable to swear at THREE of our people over the relatively small issue at hand.

This is my favorite part, and the reason I wanted to share this: He hotly replied, "I swore at TWO of your people, not three!". (Isn't that like the sibling who tells his Mom, "Yeah, well he hit me back first!")

... Sending him a refund... (and besides, nobody refers to my momma as "THAT woman!")

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Color Perception

We had a customer come in to pick up a color chip from a color consultation she had earlier. She was looking for the color "Chutney" by C2 Paint. When she pulled it out of the rack, we could see that she was a bit surprised at how intense the color appeared.

Luckily we have a small wall painted that color right in the showroom - what a difference! The color on the chip looked a lot stronger than when applied on the wall. However, when you compare the little chip to the wall, they match.

This is a good reminder about why we often stress the importance of trying a new color out in sample form before making a final decision. If she hadn't seen the color in a larger example she probably wouldn't have felt the "Chutney" was the right color after all. Seeing a life-sized sample allows the eye to read the color itself, and not the contrast of the color against it's surroundings. Color is all about relationships, one color to the other...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Northwest Designers Showcase Event

Friday night I attended the opening party for a designer showcase event called The Northwest Designer Showcase, presented by Glenn Richards.

Glenn Richards is this great store in Seattle featuring a huge space filled with antique Chinese and Japanese furniture, architectural elements and accessories from all over Southeast Asia. Downstairs you'll find a very cool furniture designer, Rom Lee, who uses many reclaimed items and beautiful wood elements in his custom designs.

The itinerant proprietors of Glenn Richards (pictured above) John and Laurie Fairman have decided to create a gallery space within their store, and from now through November 17th, you'll find different rooms decorated by local designers:

Lisa Staton, Kathleen Williams, Rachel Marez of Fix Design, Rom Lee, and of course Christina Ursino!

Each installation in their gallery space will be quite different, with plans to feature specific artists and let them have a run at the space.Kudos to that!

Here are some more images from the showcase (and yes, we happily provided the designers with all the C2 Paint they desired! We LOVE designers!)

Here's Lisa Staton in her luxurious living room (a little alliteration on a Monday never hurt anyone...). Note too, that Lisa just had a baby 8 weeks ago AND pulled off a showcase room...

Christian outdid himself AGAIN designing a dining room - I think my favorite touch is the leopard pattern on the dining chairs.

Speaking of babies, Rachel Marez of Fix Design Studio was worried that her baby bump wouldn't look good on camera... as if that is a worry! And look at the cool bathroom she created too!

Kathleen Williams created a romantic bedroom that just GLOWED - I only wish my camera could do justice to these spaces! Sigh...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Isn't This Pretty?

We have lots of great, creative people here at Daly's. Sarah, who works our of our Seattle store is also an artist. She whipped this out for fun the other day - it was also quite lovely in it's simple black and white phase before she laid on the color.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Whirlwind Weekend

I just got back from a great weekend spent in Chicago at the Hard Rock Hotel. It was a mid-year meeting of all the C2 Paint partners from all over North America. Hanging out in a hotel that is constantly playing great music, has hip furnishings and good company makes for a fun event.

As you have probably guessed by now, I'm pretty immersed in C2 culture - I feel so fortunate to connect with other independent paint retailers from all over.

Here I am with Jeff and Harry. Jeff is from Milton, Ontario and Harry from Providence, Rhode Island. We make up the marketing committee for C2 - so we communicate on an almost daily basis. Fun, fun, fun. We have a lot of work in the pipeline that is getting so close to being launched, can't wait for the fun to begin!

Of course it's not all play and no work! What is Chicago without a little action in the blue's clubs? Blue Chicago isn't too far from the hotel... and it reminds me of the night the color committee went out to Kingston Mines - inspiration for a number of C2 color names.

Pictured here is our spot-on marketing team:
Jeff, Kim (marketing & branding), Tia (ditto), me, Harry, and Jill (PR maven). Tia is located in Atlanta, Kim and Jill are Chicago-based. I think there is something to the fact that we aren't all based in the same geographical region - gives us a broader spectrum to operate within.

When I left Chicago on Sunday afternoon, the weather was in the upper 70's. Came home to mid-50's and rain!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's End of Season Project Time!

It's the time of year when we can almost predict the traffic count in the stores by the way the weather plays out. If the sun pops out from behind the clouds, more people pop into the store!

Will you be able to get that deck stained this weekend? Here is the weather forecast for the rest of the month...

Speaking of decks: You need at least 2 dry days before staining for optimum results. With timing and a little luck - you can still squeeze it in before Halloween!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Saturday's Column

I just have to share with you our column that was published on Saturday in the Seattle PI. Christian and I wrote a number of definitions we call Designer Speak - it was so much fun to write, and I think a bit closer to the truth than anyone cares to admit...

The Design Files: Love it (or hate it), a primer to Designerspeak
by Robin Daly and Christian Ursino

It's time to learn a new language. Here's a basic primer in Designerspeak:
"There's been a delay in your order." (There's a war in the country where they are weaving the cloth for your sofa.)
"Let's do custom." (There's going to be a lot of time and money spent reinventing the wheel.)
"Let's break the rules." (I have a chair that's been sitting in my warehouse for five years and I want to get rid of it.)
"Oh, it flows!" (Uh-oh!)
"Let me put some ideas together, and I'll get back to you." (Don't sit by the phone. I have no idea what to do with this space and I need to go away.)
"Didn't you get my message?" (Oops, I forgot to call.)
"I'm waiting to hear back from the showroom." (I haven't done it yet.)
"It's a European fabric." (Break out the big bucks!)
"Fine craftsmanship." (Don't put that wallet away yet.)
"One of a kind." (You'll never get your money back out of it.)
"This will be fun!" (You're going to hate this.)
"I love it!" (I hate it.)
"Of course we don't have to replace the sofa." (Hmmmm. Wouldn't it be a shame if something were to happen to it?)
"I'll see if I can find it." (It hasn't been made since 1964.)
"It's just a difference in the dye lot." (It's the wrong fabric.)
"It's in stock." (You're still a month away from it.)
"It's back-ordered." (Oops, I sat on your order for three weeks.)
"They said 8 to 10 weeks." (Expect 12 to 16.)
"It's timeless." (It's boring.)
"It's hip." (It's overpriced.)
"It'll never go out of style." (It never was in style.)
"I'll meet you at the coffee shop." (I don't have an office.)
"Respect the process." (Just do what I say.)
"Evolve." (Wing it.)
"Trust me." (I'll be sweating bullets until it's actually done.)
"It looks fabulous; I knew it would." (I'm as surprised as you are.)
"You are my best client." (You're the one who pays on time.)
"You are my favorite client." (You're my only client.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Neat-O Blog mention!

Today is my first official day back from vacation (although I snuck off to Chicago for a 1 nite C2 meeting last week). The in-box isn't toooooo bad, considering.

Found a neat design blog today that speaks about color trends using C2 Paint: - I love it! Plus, grey is one of my fav's right now. Hard to believe I'd feel that way again after the grey and mauve 80's... I think I spent most of the 90's "beiging" out the 80's, come to think of it!

Speaking of grey, while in Chicago I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. The spacious rooms are painted an interesting shade of rosy/plum gray - I liked it a lot. It's actually a pretty strong color, not pastel or washed-out. So it made a great statement and was a calming foil to all the rock and roll iconography scattered around the hotel. Plus it looked great with all the chrome (it's the 70's again, baby!!!).

My one complaint - most of the sofas in that joint were UNCOMFORTABLE! How's a girl to strike a pose if she's not sitting pretty?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Customer Feedback

It's letters like this that make our day...

Dear Robin,
I am wondering if you could pass on my sincere thanks to one of your employees, Larry Wales, who literally saved my day last weekend. I had spilled some purple paint on a van floor that I was borrowing and was in a panic trying to get it off. I pulled into Daly’s and asked if anyone could advise me, thinking this was a lost cause. Larry Wales leaped up and confidently attacked the paint splotch, removing it completely! And all he asked was that I buy Daly’s paint in the future. Which of course, I will do!

You are lucky to have such a cheerful, competent, NICE gentleman working at Daly’s.
P.C., via email

A lot of businesses talk about the value of Customer Service... this kind of feedback, especially during the crazy/busy summer months truly makes my day. It's not all just lip service to the idea of it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Interesting Color Adventure

Over the last few weeks I've been working with a client to find the "perfect" color for her kitchen remodel. Her home is on a hill with a stupendous view of Puget Sound - this means there is a LOT of blue light that floods the room off the water. I have always found water reflections to be the most challenging when choosing colors. The changing nature of the light quality just makes it difficult to find a color that looks true in all lighting conditions, from day to night.

Well, we've been on quite a journey with our color. We decided the C2's "Mortar" was the right combination of neutral/taupe/stone. We then tried the same color but increased the formulations by 150% and 200% to determine which intensity would be the best.

An interesting thing happened. The color started looking "rosy". Not only that, but the other materials being installed, like the floor tile, looked different from the samples. Yikes!!!

So we then "de-rosed" the color. Ack. Too green! We also tried making the color without black tints, using complements instead. Lots of sampler pots and test quarts were flying out the tint room.

Nothing was quite right, and we were getting frustrated. We found a color in the Pratt & Lambert deck that was super close to "Mortar" - it is called "Seahawk", on of the tried-and-true colors that I've used for years. We looked up the formulation... Yellow oxide, low black and brown. Score! Checking the "Mortar" formulation it became apparent why it started giving a rosy cast - it contained magenta as one of the colorants. Aha!!!

However, interestingly enough.... "Seahawk" wasn't right either. Not alive enough. Apparently the magenta interacts with the other colorants in the formulation to make the color read better. So in the end, we pulled back on the magenta just a touch to minimize the rosy cast without getting rid of it altogether.

After weeks of color manipulation, we ended up almost back where we started. My client is getting her home painted this week. I can't wait to see it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interesting Conversation

I was chatting with our Seattle Assistant Manager about my thoughts over what happened during my weekend retail encounters.

We both agreed that there is a lot to giving good customer service - but that it's also simply part of the deal. Especially in an environment like Daly's where we are there to support customers with their projects, provide additional information and education, not to mention providing quality products and tools to get the job done. Right? Right.

Well, she said that when she gets poor service, she just never goes back.

We talked about how we probably never hear of the majority of complaints that people have about our store (What? We get complaints???) And how that is too bad, really, because then we don't always know what needs to be fixed.

That being said, I don't know anyone who finds complaints easy to accept. It sucks. But hopefully, we try to turn them around... except when it's the middle of the summer and there is nobody around to take the complaint anyways, because it's too damn busy!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Retail Reflections

I had a few opportunities to be the customer this weekend, and I had three very different encounters that left me with impressions of the establishments I was frequenting...

Saturday Morning
I popped into my local bookstore to pick up our copy of Harry Potter - my ten-year old made SURE we were there when the store opened at 8am! Not too hard to do, since the store is only one house away. We practically rolled into the store in our jammies.

Yay! Harry Potter!

While there, I ran into my neighbor across the street. Just 2 days before, she mentioned that the store gave a "Good Neighbor" discount. How cool is that, right? They HAVE been good neighbors to everyone, so this just furthered that warm-fuzzy feeling of supporting the local INDEPENDENT bookstore. That's why I bought Harry Potter there for about 30 bucks instead of at Costco for about 18 bucks.

So after making sure no other customers except my neighbor was in earshot (what retailer likes to have others hear that you are offering a discount that others might not be able to take advantage of?), I asked the guy behind the counter, who happens to be the manager, if we could sign up for the good neighbor discount.

"NO!" We all jumped.

He then said in what I felt was a very terse tone that they only did that for those directly affected by traffic that their store may have caused. I started to say that we were only a door away, on this side of the street ... he was shaking his head NO, and we were basically cut off at the knee for even asking.

We quickly left, and my neighbor was apologizing, etc.

I believe there are skillful ways of saying NO, and he really dropped the ball. It left us all with a bad feeling, my neighbor felt guilty and I felt like he didn't even care to know that I am a good neighbor to his business.

How did this leave me feeling about the business? Immediately I started to think of all the times that I HAVE been affected by their traffic!

If he had simply said "Gosh, I'm sorry, we no longer offer that discount" or something to that effect, it would have been a totally different experience. Instead I felt embarrassed and pissed at being treated like that. Will I go back? Yes, of course. Will I try to engage him? No, I won't.

A great illustration for us here at Daly's.

Saturday Afternoon
Popped into the local Starbuck's to look for a new tea thermos. Found one that met my needs, and went up to the counter to buy it. It's been a few years, but I remembered that I used to get a free drink when I bought a thermos or mug... That wasn't offered, and when I ordered a tea to be put in the mug, I was rung up for the thermos and the tea.

Not a bid deal, especially considering my drinks costs something like $1.50 or thereabouts... But still, I left bemused and wondering... And after the morning experience I had, I wasn't about to ask for anything special again!

Resultant thoughts: Felt let-down that I didn't get my special treat. Next thought was "Oh well, they are so big, who cares?" Next thought after that was, "Why even worry about a single little drink, I don't mind paying for it..." So why was I feeling a little let-down? Because it was there as a policy and now it's gone. More sad for Starbuck's than for me.

Sunday Afternoon
While shopping at Costco, I overheard an employee complaining to another shopper about how AWFUL this woman and her daughter were in the clothes area. They made messes, didn't treat the folded clothes with any respect; not even when the Costco employee was right there, refolding their mess.

My reaction: I didn't want to hear about her problems! In fact, I wheeled away from her table, so make sure I wasn't going to be engaged in her drama.

I think it's because when you are being the customer, it's all about your own personal experience, not the staffs. It doesn't matter if it's the small business down the street or the large behemoth where cost is the name of the game. It is STILL about the customer's experience.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

One of My Favorite Four-Letter F Words...


What did you think I was going to say?

Last week we posted FREE Paint on Craig's List. Whaddya know? It works! Like any paint store, we occasionally have mis-tints that we can't sell and after being in business for as many years as we have, those little mistakes can add up to quite a pile of perfectly good designer paint.

We donate lots of our scrap paint to worthy organizations, but since these scraps comes in one and two gallons units, it's not always easy to give away.

Enter Craig's List. In this last week, we have seen cars pull up, comb over the free pile in the front of the store, grab a bucket or two and zoom off. We've probably gotten rid of about 140 gallons so far. Not bad, considering that we have to pay quite a bit to get rid of unusable gallonage or pay rent to store it on our shelves.

I guess FREE is a word that everyone understands!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


How does your home shape you?I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how our home shapes the way we live.

I live in a 1920's house with distinct rooms; living room, dining room, kitchen and nook. The "old world charm" factor is certainly there, but how does it fit my lifestyle? How does a layout like this affect the way I live?

For example: We have some friends who are buying a new home with no formal living or dining room. Instead, the house has the open kitchen with a dining area and great room. This allows for more connected family time, and recognizes the fact that they do little to no formal entertaining anyways.

Would it be easier to live like this? Another friend has a deck right off her kitchen. Her husband is out on the grill all year 'round, because access is so easy. My kitchen is in the middle of the house, so I need to go down to the back of the house to crank up the grill. I can assure you that once the weather turns, our BBQ is closed for the season!

Needs change, too. The features you look for in your first home may be vastly different than what you desire as you age or as you raise children. Some homes are more easily adapted to change than others. How is your home suiting your needs at this point in your life?

Do you ever pause from the daily routine to review your lifestyle? Often small changes can have huge payback - creating a mail sorting system, for example. By constantly making small changes and improvements, you will find that over time you've adapted the house to your lifestyle rather than needed to change yourself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Usually Not the Paint's Fault

We have a customer who came to us with an exterior paint problem. She had her house painted last year, and earlier this spring (right after the first great weather of the year) she noticed the emergence of good-sized bubbles on the side of her house.

Naturally, it looked to her that the paint had failed. And not only that, but in less than 6 months from it's application. Imagine how frustrating that must be.

Bill, one of our senior staff paint experts went out to the jobsite with our Pratt & Lambert rep. to assess the situation. When they examined the underside of the bubble, they saw that they weren't only looking at paint, they were also looking at the PRIMER. In other words, the paint was doing its job very well and sticking like crazy, it was the primer that had released from the siding, not the paint.

This was a primer failure. To complicate matters further, the primer was a Sherwin Williams product, it did not come from our store. And worst of all - our records show that the painter purchased the paint at the end of October of last year. Meaning the paint wasn't applied until about the first week of November.

We are guessing that the primer was applied earlier in the season, absorbed some moisture before the paint film was applied - then on the first hot day of the year, the moisture steamed up and caused the bubbling to occur. Paint school 101: Water always will find it's way out.

So... is this an applicator failure or a product failure?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This is a shot of my friend Ron's store, Oswego Paint & Home Fashion, in Oswego, IL.
They are remodeling their shop, and as part of the redo they are using lots great colors.
I wanted to share this shot with you because it perfectly illustrates the whole concept of tinted primers.
In today's design market, deep-toned colors are in high demand. We are seeing a lot of clear Reds being specified, for example.
The red pigment is very transparent, and that usually translates to multiple coats (read:5 or more) on the wall to get full coverage. In this image, you can see the painter is actually painting "Mojo" (the clear red) over what looks like a maroon wall. It might seem a bit counter intuitive, but the maroon is actually specifically formulated for "Mojo".
Our Lead-Geeks (whom I love and are a father/son duo named Bob and Rob. Really!) analyze how light waves travel through the topcoat color, hit the primer color and bounce back up. They mathematically calculate the ideal primer color for each topcoat by looking at the light waves. There is a bright yellow in the C2 palette that had an army green primer - who knew? Yet these specially formulated primers allow the painter to almost always be able to count on only using 2 top coats - even for super clear colors like the "Mojo" pictured here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My New Favorite Color

When I repainted my house (I finally ended up using C2's Sea Salt) - I decided to try a color for the front door that wasn't black or deep burgundy... I love the sophistication of black doors, but this house is more "cottage" than "manor" and the black would look a bit too tres elegant.

Burgundy has just been so done. Over and over. I love it, it's attractive, but I was looking for something a little different.

Ah ha. C2's Space.

In some lights it's almost a black, other lights it's deeeeeeep turquoise. You look at it and think, "Is it green, is it blue, or is it black?" Perfect! Painted it in high gloss for that yummy finish that looks like it came from an old door off a 400-yr old house in Europe.

Speaking of gloss finishes... When you are choosing a paint color, you need to factor in the sheen and the way it will reflect the light. The Space color I chose is a perfect example of how sheen can take a color that looked somewhat dull on the chip - but once mixed in a high gloss it came alive. The light reflection created a depth for the dark color. The more matte the finish, the flatter this color would appear. And while this would be great for a media room, for example, in the more matte finish - for the front door it would have looked dead.

My trick for simulating the gloss on my paint chip: I painted a small corner of the chip with clear nail polish. What a difference. So there is your helpful hint of the day, my friends. If you don't have polish handy, you can also try shiny cellophane tape to replicate the sheen (even spit works - in a pinch! But only amongst your friends, please!)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Holding the Spec

What does "Holding the Spec" mean? To a homeowner or designer involved in a painting project, it means insuring that your painter uses the products and brands you specify, unless you've given them written consent they may make changes. When you look at the bid you get from your painter, make sure you are the one determining what paint brand he will use.

We spend a lot of time educating our customers about the different products we provide them. The designers we work with understand the different color systems and what they can expect from them. The homeowner usually just wants the color on the chip. They give it to their painter, expecting to get THAT color. But what if the painter goes down the street and substitutes the color and has it made in a different brand of paint? Is this acceptable?

Would a designer let the drapery maker substitute a different fabric for the curtains? Would the designer let the carpet store change the color or brand of carpet chosen?

Why do we let this happen, just because it's paint?

We witnessed an interesting example of this just this week. Our store designer Richard (on his day off, even!) went out to a distressed client's home because they were concerned that the newly painted walls were not looking like the colors they had worked so hard to choose.

Richard went out to the job to take a look. Guess what? NONE of the colors looked right. Each shade was totally off from the chip. As he walked through the house (because of course, this was an entire house, not just a single room), he noticed that the paint cans weren't from our store. The painter had taken the specified colors and had them matched into a different product.

The customer was not pleased.

The painter had all sorts of arguments for why he did this, and offered to repaint the house - but it would cost the homeowner extra money. So in other words, the painter admitted that the colors weren't the ones specified, but he was trying to put the financial load on the homeowner even though it wasn't remotely their fault.

Luckily, the homeowners pulled out their contract, where it was clearly written down that the painter was going to use the brand THEY had specified (C2 Paint, in case you are wondering). How does this story end? The painter is repainting the entire job in the correct paint on HIS dime, the homeowners get the colors they wanted and maybe the painter learned a lesson about follow-thru and responsibility.

As a side note: C2 colors are very difficult to match accurately using other color systems. This is because of the tint system C2 uses. No other North American brand uses the same system that C2 does - therefore the colors are difficult to replicate. C2 has some high strength pigments in addition to the regular strength pigments. Many C2 colors will look okay when matched under one light source, but totally off under other light conditions. This is most likely what happened to the homeowners that Richard was helping.

So it's easy for us to match other colors because we also have the typical pigments, but difficult for them to match ours. because they don't have the high strength ones. Either that, or the other paint store was just really bad at matching colors!!!

The lesson in all this is that it is up to you to ensure you are getting what you specified - and paid for.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

AACK!!! Did I say...

... that I am looking at using "Element" for my house??? I meant "Enoki" ... big difference in color! Boy, what a shock that would be, eh?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How to Choose an Exterior Paint Color

As I was driving to work this morning, I couldn't help but notice a trail of white paint drizzled on the road, the trail was at least 6 blocks long. Apparently some poor soul's paint can wasn't sealed properly, and it was slowly pouring out of the vehicle unbeknown to the driver. My burning question... Why white paint?

Luckily, the trail was not leading from our parking lot!

If you are planning on repainting the exterior this year, you are probably interested in finding the perfect color scheme for your house. Like a good haircut making you feel like a million bucks, the right exterior colors can make all the difference in how you feel about your house.

When you are looking a colors for the outside, remember they will look vastly different than when standing at the paint rack. If you drive by Daly's during the nicer months, you will always see us hauling people outside to look at color schemes. This is because color looses a lot of it's intensity outside versus inside and we want to see how the color reads in a more accurate manner.

A good rule of thumb is to push yourself a bit and find a color that is deeper/darker on the chip than you want it to look on the house. Since the color is reflecting off into the sky (as opposed to bouncing off a wall for interior colors, thereby increasing the way the color reads) the color looses a lot of definition.

Also, don't forget the roof!

Have you ever driven around different neighborhoods looking at house colors and realized that in many instances, the roof is sticking out like a sore thumb? It's probably because they forgot to take the roof colors into consideration when creating their color scheme. You don't have to make this same mistake.

If your house is surrounded by vast lawns or dense thickets of trees, then you will be getting a lot of reflected green light thrown onto your house, and this will affect how your colors will read. If you don't like the green effect, choose colors with a warm, reddish/orangy cast. Red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel, and will tend to cancel each other out. This doesn't mean you need to paint everything barn red, but just make the "flavor" of the color warm.

In some instances, you may even need to consider the colors schemes of your neighbors homes. If your houses are close together, they may be reflecting upon you. For instance, can you imagine two sage-green houses next to each other, especially if the greens weren't compatible with each other? It might make you feel more sick than serene.

Colors are all about relationships. If you are looking for a body color and two trim colors, remember that the trim colors will influence how sell the body color will read.

Here's a good example of what I mean: My cute neighbors who live across the street choose a body color they thought was a soft sage green. In reality, they realized it was seriously minty when the paint went up. Ack! The beigy trim color they had planned to use with the soft green was going to make the green look sickly (and who wants to spend all this money paying someone to paint the house and then feel heartsick over the colors?). So we rescued the minty green by adding crisp white trim with rich navy accents. The deep navy make the mint green look less intense, and the crisp white gave the whole look a clean cottage feel. Whew. Crisis averted.

They may have avoided some panicky feelings if they had tested their colors out first. I like our new 16 oz samplers, this is enough paint to test the color out on ALL sides of the house. Or I encourage people to use C2's Ultimate Paint Chips. These couldn't be any easier, they are poster-sized chips of real paint. No muss, no fuss. If you are like me, and tend to make colors 25% darker than the chip, or 50% lighter - the Sampler Pots (those 16 oz paint pots) are the next best thing to Fran's Gray Sea Salt Caramels. Any color I want, even custom colors, in a sample pot.

I have had all sorts of chips hanging off the side of my house all winter long, and I think I FINALLY have decided my new color! And it's not one I was even considering before: C2 Paint's "Element" - but at least 25% darker - of course!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This Has Taken Me ALL Day to Figure Out!!

This is Richard, one of our Seattle store designers. He's been kind enough to let me experiment with him on exploring how to make videos.
It has been less than intuitive, to say the least, but I couldn't have done it without a GREAT tutorial by Freevlog. Check it out!
I have sooooooo much to learn...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Philip's New Website is LIVE!!!

Check out my friend's new website, Philip's Perfect Colors. Now, it's not often that you will meet someone who can lay claim to creating perfect colors, but Philip has really done a bang-up job creating a palette that truly works!
One of my favorite features to Philip's site are his personalized stories on how each color was created. It really gives you a sense of Philip's thoroughness, and you can see how much thought goes into crafting a color.

He employs the full-spectrum philosophy when creating his colors. This means that the full range of color pigments are used in making every single paint formulation, giving the colors a rich depth and range. You may remember a post from some months back where I was talking about the "faux-spectrum" color I used on my walls at home... I simply withheld using any black colorant in my formulation. Looks great, by the way!

Black colorant has a new super-villain name: The Dechromatizer (means, kills color)

A true full-spectrum paint color never employs black to tone down colors. Instead complimentary colors are used. A complimentary color is one that is found on the opposite side of the color wheel. Orange is opposite blue, for example. If you mix orange and blue, you get a nice black that actually has a liveliness to it.
I am currently taking an oil painting class (never took it during college...), and I don't even have a tube of black in my paintbox.
I will say, however, that I do LOVE a nice black trim on an exterior when used correctly. To me, when you combine black trim with a putty-green body color you have the makings of a perfect (sorry Philip!) Seattle exterior color combination!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Check Out This Blog

I don't know how I stumble upon things sometimes, but I found this blog, filled with lots of videos and articles -

I'm not sure how she's funding the expenses of this venture, but she has a fun hook: explore interior design in all 50 states. A designer road trip. How cool is that?

I wonder how long it will be before she's scooped up by a media-type and turned into a TV show personality...

Monday, April 23, 2007

SPor ad - Painting

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I just Googled C2...

Help! Two questions on primers and C2 Paints, in particular. - Paint Forum - GardenWeb

The above link is to a discussion about C2 paint and primers. There is some GREAT information from a C2 paint salesperson (addict?) in Fargo, ND... Interesting feedback from users on their experience with C2. GREAT application suggestions, too!

Did you even know you could get C2 in Fargo???


I just wrote paragraphs - PARAGRAPHS! - waxing rhapsodic about how my life is so great 'cause I am involved in my 3rd generation family biz, helping to develop C2 Paint on a national scale and best of all, my great family life. Then, boom. I accidentally navigated away from this page without saving anything.

Gone. All gone. Sniff-sniff.

Rats. So earlier, in the posting that I mistakenly evaporated, I was chatting about this new seaside community I visited this weekend called Seabrook. They are literally developing a town along my favorite stretch of Washington beach... it's a "green" community, they even use the trees they harvest off the land and convert them into building materials for the new homes. Hmmmm...... I wonder if they need some fabulous Daly's Wood Finishing Products for their siding? We make a GREAT exterior stain.

What is really cool, besides the nature of the town, is there is renewal occurring all along the coastline. It's like this area is waking up and being rediscovered. Properties are priced at a premium in Seabrook (starter cottages - 770 sq.ft. - goes for $400k!! And NO beach view.), and there is already $pillover in other towns. Ultimately, I think this is a good thing, because Gray's Harbor County is a rather depressed area of the state (read: spotted owl/logging saga), so an influx of $$$ hopefully will help the economy there. And luckily for those of us who aren't in the $400k range for a vacation home, there are other properties available at more "affordable" rates. Of course, these other properties don't have the charm of a New England seaside town, but one gets over it!

I love the beach. While we were there, it was stormy, overcast, sunny, rainy and just all-around great. We had hot chocolate with marshmallows. Drank lots of wine. What more can you ask?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bellevue Relocation

I just heard that a property we had our eyes on, then found out we were too late, might be back in play... It's in the ideal location, it's more square feet than we want, so therefore it's too much, and I think it would be great.

I don't want to get too excited, but I'm happy I followed through on it a month ago, when it was looking bleak.

... more later, I hope!

We Work Hard at C2

Friday, March 30, 2007

What a Trip!

I just got back from C2's Annual General Meeting in Tucson, AZ - imagine 6 whole days devoted to my favorite work activity - Paint Princess Heaven.

However, there were a few dark clouds marring the perfect princess experience... lost luggage. And all things being what they are, of course, it wasn't a simple case of the airlines messing up - Oh No, it was much worse.

I left for Tucson early Saturday morning, parked the car at an off-site lot, and grabbed a shuttle in to the airport. Feeling lucky because I was able to upgrade to first class - I sashayed through the special first class security line (who knew! that's almost worth the full price fare right there!) and on to the plane.

Made it to Tucson and down to baggage claim. No bag. What? It was a direct flight!

Off to the resort, where I was SUPPOSED to wear a cute outfit for the evenings cocktail party. A call to the airlines indicated that the bag wouldn't arrive until the next morning. Rats.

Checked my messages later in the evening, guess what, they had my bag! Yay!

Not so yay. They delivered the wrong bag, unless of course I happened to pack a bunch of middle-aged men's clothes...

Spent over an HOUR on hold trying to talk to a live person - a freakin' hour! I had to plug my cell phone in to the outlet (inconveniently placed near the floor), because my battery was quickly draining. While hunched on the floor, I has the opportunity to catch up on the latest antics of The Girls Next Door. Whoopee.

Guess what else? It turns out it wasn't the airlines that had messed up - they had already spoken to the middle-aged guy and figured out what had happened - HE had my bag. Not only that, but he realized he had my bag BEFORE he left Seattle to head down to Monterrey, CA.

Apparently, our bags were practically identical, and we each took the wrong bag off the shuttle, when we were coming in to the airport at the crack of dawn.

Worried that my stuff would get lost at the airport, he decided to take my bag with him, to keep an eye on it. Not only that, but he wasn't willing to bring it to the San Francisco airport, where the airline would be happy to forward my bag for no charge. He was in Monterrey, and hour away.


He wasn't coming back to town until the day before I was due home to Seattle. Imagine, 6 days in the same bloody outfit. I had a great dress I was determined to wear, so I had to think of something quick.

Here's what I learned: FedEx has a great SameDay service they offer. Yes it comes at a premium... but desperate measures for desperate travelers. By about 11pm, I had it arranged that FedEx would pick-up my wayward bags early on Sunday, and have it to my room by Monday morning. Only $350 (I think. Haven't recieved the final bill yet.)

A quick visit to the overpriced gift shop for a cleavage revealing swimsuit and an overpriced top to replace my now sad-looking white t-shirt, and I was set until my bags arrived. Did you know the gift shop charges $10 for disposable razors, the kind that rip your skin to shreds? Sheer robbery.

Lucky girl that I am, my bag arrived early - I got the call at 12:05am Monday morning that my luggage had arrived!!!

I can't tell you how great it is to have your own stuff. Really and truly. Also, after paying so much money, I admit I didn't feel too bad that the gentleman who was "looking out" for my stuff had to go shopping himself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

First Day of Spring

I saw the sign today... the one that indicates Spring is here:
On my way into work this morning, I drove past a guy doing some exterior painting.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Funny Phone Call

Okay, so it takes someone in the color world to think this is funny - but - we received a phone call earlier this week from a customer who wanted to speak to Donald Kaufman. At our store. Like he was a Daly's employee.

Get it? THE Donald Kaufman??

Alright, if you are looking at this entry, saying to yourself "Huh? WHO is she talking about, and why is that so funny???", let me explain.

Donald Kaufman has made a name for himself as being a color GOD. He deals in full-spectrum colors and he sells his special formulations for a premium price. He's good at keeping them exclusive, too. Plus he's published some very tasty books on full-spectrum colors.

So, the staff got a kick when the call came in. How flattering to think he might be one of us!

Here's the real Donald:

Friday, March 02, 2007

Color for Spring

Who needs to be so serious about color all the time? Look how fun punchy color can be!

Purple: C2's "Get Back Jack"
Pink: C2's "Venus Envy"
Yellow: C2's "Plantain"


Monday, February 19, 2007


Was watching HGTV (I thought I never watch those kind of shows, but apparently I do - once in a while!) yesterday while putting away groceries.

Here's what I saw - a room makeover for a young girl. She hated her country-style bookcase, she's a more modern young thing.

So the decorator paints out the bookcase, so far so good, right? WRONG! The decorator didn't even scuff sand the old finish, much less prime out the piece, before applying hip red paint. Guess what? That trendy red is going to look tacky in no time. The poor kid can end up scratching the paint simply by dragging a book across the surface. What happens if she accidentally bangs into the corner of it? She may even be able to PEEL off the paint in large strips if she sees a tempting corner just waiting for her bored little fingers to give a tug.

It will take SOOOOOOO much more work to strip the entire piece, prime it, then repaint it. I lay money that it would never happen, instead it will just sit there looking crappy until it gets junked.

Why put so much work into transforming a space but take stupid shortcuts?

Maybe "horrified" is too strong a word, but I felt bad about the stupidness of it all. And the fact that people will see this episode and think they can do it that way, too.

Bellevue Research

I went out last week to start looking at neighborhoods for relocating our Bellevue store... It's pretty clear to me that we want to be in Bellvue proper - and I think we need to be near Bel-Red Road or near the 124th street exit off 520.

Keep your eyes peeled! I know I am.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (say this like your are David Bowie)

There is an old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I think about that sometimes as I drive through the neighborhood where our Seattle store is located.

I grew up less than a mile away from here, so I've witnessed a lifetime of evolution and change of this locale. I remember when walk/don't walk lights were installed on 45th street in Wallingford. I wrote my first check at Fuji's 5 and Dime (and I remember contemplating the idea of stealing a piece of candy there, too! Never could, never did. But I remember entertaining the thought...)

Stone Way Avenue is evolving. So many more residential units are being built on upper Stone. My business partner Herb recalls hanging off the end of the trolley on his skates and getting a ride up the street when he was a kid.

So things change. Others never seem to. Like our store being on this same corner since forever.

It looks like Daly's will be making some changes in Bellevue. The downtown core had transformed to a point where the rent is almost doubling. Wow. Who'd have thought?

Daly's has been on the same street (although 3 different addresses) since 1961. When we moved in to Bellevue, the Evergreen Floating Bridge wasn't even built, yet. Bellevue Square was a small outdoor mall. There were 5 paint outlets within that many blocks.

Change is good. The more we flex and adapt, the better we are at keeping up with the times. Small changes are easier than large ones.

So, we are going to get serious about finding a new home for our Bellevue shop. Ironically, even with all the annoying construction and traffic - we've have some great business in Bellevue.

The adventure continues....

Monday, February 05, 2007

... By The Way

Last week I was wondering how all these people would fit into the Colori Chicago paint store for the "Colori Me Red" party... We fit!
I would say there was about 150 colorful people who showed up; luckily they didn't all show up at the same time.

Life/Work Balance

I'm getting ready to go home - my daughter is sick today, and my husband pulled the morning shift - I get the afternoon.

Last week, my son was out on Wednesday (thus was I) and then I was off to Chicago for Thursday and Friday for C2 Paint work. Somewhere in there I need to squeeze Daly's work, too!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daly's SeaFin Rocks - again!

I just Googled Daly's SeaFin and found a neat little chat about SeaFin on the Continuous Wave website, a site for avid boat owners.

The concerns: Can you use SeaFin on brightwork in high sun areas like Florida (answer: yes) - and tips for application.


How in the World?

I just got news from Michelle at Colori-Chicago that they are expecting 175 people to the Colori Me Red party on Thursday. How will everyone all fit????

Should be a blast.

New Blog

Christian and I are trying our hands at sharing a blog. We hope you'll visit it every now and then!

Do I Feel Corrected?

Okay - Just yesterday I was complaining about the orange-based red clothing options for women. Or lack of options, as the case may be.

Last night, I was watching a recap if the SAG Awards on E! (see how deep my life is?), and many of the red gowns were in that same red!

So, should I feel corrected? Am I that out of touch?

Actually, I love the earthy oranges, the flame colors, salmons and other orange textiles. It's just that damn tomato-red for women that I don't like. So there!

By the way, I LOVED Cate Blanchett's golden gown and gold-trimmed shoes. TASTY!

Remember the 80's and early 90's colors? Peacock Blue, Fuscia Pink, Drop Dead Red - basically any color that was bright and loud. I remember silk was a big trend with huge shoulder pads and peplum skirts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Personalized Service

Yesterday I ventured out into territory unknown - I went to Bellevue Square with the explicit intent of spending money on clothes.

More importantly, I had a girlfriend with me for the event (it IS an event when the last time I was in that mall was literally years ago!).

What was interesting about this was the variety of encounters we had with sales staff.

We popped into a boutique that neither of us had visited before... not bad stuff (pricey), okay service, but no barn-burner. Then off to buy a piece of chocolate for fortification (I prefer dark chocolate caramels, by the way).

We had better acquisition luck at Ann Taylor Loft. Attention from the saleswoman was again, fine, but no ace-in-the-hole. Actually, the best service we got was at Nordstrom Cafe.

Even though we ordered at the counter and sat ourselves down, the busboys and waiter-types were courteous and inquired about our needs. Got a chocolate with a copy of our receipt at the end... nice touch! They were just plain nice without being annoyingly "nice". We actually talked about it, it was that noticeable.

Had GREAT experience at the Bare Escentuals cosmetic store. Very helpful staff, NO PRESSURE. Interestingly, my girlfriend needed to sign up for a makeup consultation (we were in the impulse mood, you understand), so we had to come back at a scheduled time. But it was handled in such a way that we didn't feel inconvenienced. I think it's all about approach. It didn't hinge on snob appeal. That's the key. Nordstrom cafe had same quality.

Off to Macy's for the final leg of the mall crawl. Anonymous city! We were wandering around for quite some time and not once did anyone inquire if we needed help (I needed something red for the Red Party at Colori-Chicago on Thursday). Gick.

Speaking of RED - what is it with all this ugly tomatoy-red fabric out there? Women prefer blue-based reds and I was surprised there wasn't more out there. Especially since Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Oh, and don't get me started on all the synthetic fibers. What is this, the 70's all over again???

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Colori Me Red!

Check out this great shot of my friend Michelle. She is the proprietress of Colori Chicago, a C2 only paint store in Chicago.

Next week she's hosting a Colori Me Red party (Yay! I'm going to be there, too!)

Even the Chicago Apartment Therapy blog gave her a shout-out today.

Should be quite a party...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Interesting Trend

I spoke with a woman in Florida who is interested in opening a retail faux finish and paint store. What I find interesting about this is that she has never worked behind the paint counter before. Her background is in specialty faux finishes, and she wants to have a retail presence in her growing market.

This is not the first time I have talked with women who want to see things done differently, or come from outside the industry.

Just look at Colori Paint in Chicago. It's styled more like a boutique than a paint store.

I am going to Michelle's store next week in Chicago - she is having a party to celebrate the color RED. How cool is that? My friends at Winslow Paint are another example (my apologies to Ken!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Catching Up

I've been playing catch-up with everything on my desk. My piles are a now a little more organized, so I feel less scattered.

I was reading one of my trade magazines (called Paint and Decorating Retailer - did you even think we'd have our own mag? Actually, there's also The Paint Dealer. Pretty damn exciting!)
and the focus of the issue this month is on faux painting trends.

Ack. I am sooooooo sick of faux. Blech.

I take that back. I do like decorative painting, murals and such - when appropriate. But all-over glazing is over! There was a counterpoint article from the wallcovering corner - and I do agree that wallpaper is seeing a comeback. This I am happy about.

However, the argument they used FOR wallpaper over faux was lame. I don't think it has to be an either/or proposition. Room for both texture and design on the walls.

I love some of the modern trends in wallcoverings. Funny, what goes around comes around. When I started selling wallpaper, brown was still very strong in the early 80's color palette. Here we are again - our front windows are all about browns.

Of course, mylars and the wet-look papers are gone for the most part. Good thing. And the country movement is b-l-a-n-d. Big trend with oversized graphic patterns in trendy colors. Mid-20/30 yr olds have definitely rediscovered pattern.

The modern look is less about trends from nature and more about graphic and iconic elements. It'll be interesting to see how well it ages. Although, I will say, one of my favorite design books is called The House Book, by Terence Conran - and it's all about the modern 70's!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I love our Readers

A couple of weeks ago, Christian and I published a Favorites survey. People have been filling out the newspaper form and mailing them in! Also, they can go online and fill it out - it's very interesting to see what people are thinking. You can really tell what neighborhood they come from simply by looking at the favorite stores they list.

Radio fav's range from NPR to oldies. Cleaning products go from vinegar to homemade with essential oils (I'm always so impressed with people who can take the time to craft things like that!) to high-end products like Calderra. We've had more than one shout-out for Dove as favorite soap! I think a standout answer is to the category of Housecleaner: "You never indulge this info!"

I'm not sure how we'll publish the answers, it should be interesting!

Wacky Weather

I am so discombobulated from all the snow days, I thought it was the 11th and not the 17th! Where did all the days go? I mean, I was truly shocked it was the 17th today!

January is a slow time of year in the paint store world, but it's my busy time. It's the only time I can get our store and department managers together for planning the upcoming season plus there is a lot of work going on for C2 Paint. Oh, and that darn school auction is happening in 2 months! While that seems far away, it's actually screaming upon our heels.

Christian and I are strategizing ideas for taking our Design Files concept to a new level. We have over 75 columns in the can, but what should we do in addition to our newspaper gig? How can we best leverage our experience and make this thing even we have together even more fun?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow Day in Seattle

Yes, it snowed again last night.

For the majority of the country, if it snows, it snows - and it's just business as usual. Here in Seattle, everything gets mucked up. We probably have less than an inch of snow, but the schools were canceled today.

The main concern is the safety of the students who are being bussed. Perhaps there are parts of the city that were hit harder - in any case, it's not the snow itself that causes the trouble, it's the slick of ice the develops when the sun sets and the temperature drops.

So, I am being "Mom" today. It's fun! We just got back from the neighbors who fed us hot chocolate and cookies. What's to complain about? Life is good.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cranky Columnist

Okay, really. I mean, really.

Christian and I had a column run on Saturday, and it invited people to fill out a form (online or snail mail) identifying their favorite things. For example:
Favorite Stores

Favorite Vendors
... and so forth

Personal Encounters
... you get the picture

It's been fun to read the responses from readers. They actually take the time to create lists of fav's - HOWEVER - there is a business that has been stuffing the ballot box, and it's getting very annoying! There are multiple emails listing this business, and it's rather obvious; I mean, "hello!" do they think we we would be too stupid to not notice?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Evolution, Not Revolution

I am in-between conference calls at the moment.

Today, the C2 Marketing Team (myself, Harry and Jeff) are doing final interviews with a number of different firms. Conference call city! I dug out the old set of headphones, so my ear wouldn't hurt!

It's interesting... there are many directions we could take the brand, and all have their place. Nothing like the nightmare (or night-Meara) of a few years ago. Our challenge is to determine the best direction going forward for the next 3 years. It's exciting, but we don't want to be swayed by the excitement, we want to make the right choice for the long-haul.

More later, I gotta grab a cup of tea and call in to my next conference.....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Brand Identity

I'm reading an interesting article about brand identity and the adventure/risk of rebranding in Inc. magazine.

It's very relevant to what I am working on right now with both the Daly's Wood Finishes labels and C2 Paint. I have only read part of the article, I can't wait to finish it and see if there is anything I can learn from Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce company's experience...

If anything, our adventures with redesign are exciting, nerve-wracking, and can leave one a bit tired and jaded. Why jaded? There is the snake-oil aspect of branding that one needs to be cautious of buying into. Most important to me is trying to communicate a genuineness behind the gloss.