21 August 2010

Indescribable Colors

Diamond St.  Victorian, color design by Lynne Rutter
The commisison to design a color scheme for this Victorian cottage in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood,  started with a request for something that looked elegant, and "not so cute."   I am hearing this request with some frequency  these days.
before: a faded dusty-rose dollhouse
The Victorian Cottage is kind of like the Polly Anna of architecture. So upright and optimistic, so many opportunities for color - can they help but look a bit like doll houses?  Especially when they are painted dusty rose?  The previous paint job wasn't a bad color scheme at all, but it no longer suited the owners' feeling about their home.

My clients also directed me to a house they like in the area, that had recently been painted charcoal.   And they requested a red door.
I love red for front doors!  It's good feng shui.  Plus, you know right away where the door is.  
I started by looking for the perfect charcoal for this location. In full afternoon sun, I wanted it to look like charcoal grey flannel, and not  shift too blue or brown in the bright light.  How apropos that the C2 color I found to use as our base is called "Savile Row."
Wedgwood Jasperware color trials

I was working on this color scheme about the same time as I was studying up on Wedgwood Jasperware, which had provided an inspiring solution to another facade I was designing.   
I also found this set of  Jasperware glaze trials fascinating. Wedgwood had also struggled with achieving just the right tan, just the right mauve...

Somehow I find myself wanting to use those indescribable colors more and more,   like mauve,   puce, asphaltum, taupe, feldgrau, basalt.

Will these color be getting popular again, or is it just me?

Expert painting by San Francisco Local Color.
All of the paints used on this house are by C2 Color.   
Color Consulting by Lynne Rutter 415.282.8820

06 August 2010

A House Inspired by a Jasperware Teapot

Portland Blue and Cane  Jasperware Tea Set, by Wedgwood
Recently I had a request to do the colors for a Queen Anne townhouse in San Francisco where my good friends the Von Petrins had just bought the upper flat. Having worked with them on the interior I already knew they prefer a more minimal/contemporary/unusual treatment, and they had even suggested the house be painted entirely black, a growing trend in San Francisco.
The partner owners loved the Victorian style, but also wanted a deep color and directed me to houses painted dark blue with white trim. 

Raised in the 1920s to add a garage, the house is rather high off the sidewalk making the garage door a bit more obvious than the entry. So we discussed using a bright color on the doors to make them more visible.   The upper flat has white vinyl window units and I decided to just ignore them since they may be replaced soon.   The house had previously been painted pale gray and white,  in a way that de-emphasized the  ornament and flatted out the facade.    In fact it is patchwork quilt of different applied ornament, some original, some not.   I admit it, this one was a brain-teaser for me.    
How to make a daring, contemporary splash and still celebrate the Victorian ornament and have it all look cohesive?  The answer came to me while admiring a deep blue and ivory Wedgwood Jasperware teapot:  a lovely object that had 6 distinct  ornaments that look wonderful together, on a highly contrasting surface. Seemed to me a perfect solution! Rather than call out the details in different colors, ALL of the ornament can be the same color. 
So--- here is the result:
The Jasper house
Naturally we added a bit of gold leaf here and there, and we have a few details still  to do. But I am completely thrilled with it.  It's a traffic-stopping house and reflects well the personalities of its owners.

Paint by Sherwin-Williams

Are you a fan of Wedgwood too?  Read on----

You may call Lynne Rutter for color consulting:  415.282.8820

Lynne Rutter Studio