A neighbor and friend in Takoma Park, MD was planning to paint the interior of her home. It’s a wonderful craftsman – small but with lots of nice details. I had always thought the house was a bit washed out with a light, monochromatic color palette. I asked if she was open to something new. Here’s the result and her own words about the change:
“My house is a tiny Craftsman bungalow with small rooms. It’s filled with an eclectic collection of art, antiques, and other stuff I’ve inherited, collected, or made myself. There’s no theme, period, or color scheme. With this much variety in little spaces, I thought I needed a uniform, neutral background like khaki and white.
“The house feels bigger now. The darker walls recede. When I walk through the house, there are subtle changes in the wall colors and light, so it feels like a journey in several stages. That captures my senses and makes the walk seem longer.
“I’ve always loved the beam and board ceiling in the living room, but it never really showed up like it should. Now it reflects light, shadow, and paint colors as the light changes. I find myself slouching in my easy chair, looking up, and enjoying the show.
“I especially enjoy the contrast between the tiny kitchen and the largest room, the living room. The kitchen ceiling, painted dark gray green, feels lower than it really is, and makes it seem cozy. Then when I walk into the living room, the white beam and board ceiling seems much higher and bigger than it actually is. Welcome to Versailles!
“My collection of art and things looks good against the gray green walls. I wasn’t surprised that the reds really sing, but I was delighted at how good the greens and blues look. “
I follow certain rules when I develop a palette for a home. The transition areas (foyer and hallways) are the deepest most intense color within the palette. The wall color gets lighter as you move through the home toward the rooms with the most daylight. All wood trim is painted the same color for continuity – usually an off-white that coordinates with the paint. In this case, with a palette of greyed-greens, the white has hint of yellow for a soft crème to contrast with the walls and the wood blinds. I prefer quite complex colors – ones where it’s hard to say what’s in it. These colors provide the greatest variability on the wall reflecting different hues depending on the light source and value. Shadows and highlights are shown to great effect. I also prefer matte finish because imperfections in the wall surface are less visible and they absorb the most light and therefore reflect the best color.