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


  1. Those names....those shades......what a source of inspiration! This will be good.

  2. Much crisper and punchier...funny the did get the balance very very right on!

  3. Once again- beautiful colors. You should definitely be sure you are marketing your color skills!

    I am dying to take the Historic Painted Furniture class- want to work with the milk paint. We will be visiting Italy right before that, so I have to figure out how I can swing another trip. I'd also like to see your studio and SF.


  4. P.S. I think the Jasperware trials pic would make a fabulous piece of art to hang in our studios!

  5. Oh yes, and Lynne I adore your works of art!

    I have a Giveaway by the French Basketeer that I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  6. I love red front doors too. I think all doors to a house should be red. Red is a beautiful color for a front door.


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