17 March 2012

Flow Blue

A break in the rain, and a color lesson from my garden.  Cymbidium blossoms in a flow blue sugar bowl.

11 March 2012

Sans, Souci.

Sanssouci palace in the winter sun
One year ago I was visiting friends in Berlin and we went out to Potsdam, to see the famous Frederician Rococo palace of Sanssouci (written on its façade as Sans, Souci. I have no idea why.) It was an exceptionally clear and sunny day and the yellow lime-washed stucco was particularly vibrant.  "This is the color of joy" I told my friends. I always associate that bright yellow with a happiness beyond reason.

Today I am working on a color scheme for a building with curséd white vinyl windows,  and have been  looking for examples of white-windowed buildings as reference, and so I am studying at this image I shot in Potsdam: warm grey limestone, pure yellow ochre pigment, black soot, verdigris copper.

One year ago today I heard the news that Japan had been stuck by a terrible earthquake and an even more devastating tsunami.   So today also I am also thinking of my friends in Japan and wishing them no worries.

photo by Lynne Rutter:  Potsdam, Germany,  March 2011
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06 March 2012

Exterior Color: Waking up the Neighborhood

Apartment building with color design by Lynne Rutter
Here is a color project from last year, a large building in San Francisco with condominiums and an office on the ground floor. Inside are lovely flats, all quite spacious and nicely finished.  The owners called me wanting the exterior of their building to look more like a nice residence, full of stylish people, like it is on the inside.
Before: Apartment block D
Before: the front door of despair.

Now look at the "before" picture. It looked more like a correctional facility than a nice place to live. Grey stucco and white vinyl windows and no personality whatsoever.  Could  you imagine coming home to this every day? 
The entrances were particularly  sad. You could not  see the addresses, the garage doors were unfinished metal and starting to rust. It was so indifferent as to be downright depressing.  
Because of the scale of the work to be done, the budget was of course an issue, so a lot of things I might suggest to embellish or personalize this facade we could not do here.   So, it all came down to color.  Talk about personal--- color can be so subjective, and people react emotionally to it.  Can you please everyone?  Of course not.  But if you go out of your way to avoid color you can end up with a desolate, if inoffensive, look.  When faced with a choice between "not for everyone"  and "not for anyone"   I choose color!   Can just color make this building look more like home?  Yes!

Entrance to posh homes

White vinyl windows are a curse for a colorist like me.  I think they really cheapen the look of a building and make it really hard to use deep or committed colors. They seem to be a standard in a lot of new construction so I have learned to deal with them.  In this case, with white as a mandatory part of the palette, I countered it by including some black, used on anything made of metal- railings, beams, etc. 
There is no question in my mind that the Homeowners Association putting work into the exterior of the building would not only improve the lives of the residents but improve the value of the building and the potential sale price of every condo inside it.

I was delighted to work with the HOA of this building because  everyone was so willing to try what looked like such a daring color. This took commitment, trust, and teamwork to accomplish.   After seeing the palette sampled on the building, one homeowner remarked "well this ought to wake up the neighborhood!"    The deep curry gold really glows in the sun and is full of life at night.  Accents of green/grey, sage, and mahogany brown call out the entrances which now have a welcoming quality to them. 

Color Consulting by Lynne Rutter 415-282-8820
Paint colors by Sherwin-Williams
Painting by Winning Colors

all photos in this post by Lynne Rutter
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