What you need to know to make educated choices for exterior color selection of your timber or log home. How to avoid making mistakes and conquer intimidation !
For any exterior home development you need a solid foundation of cohesive colors and materials to establish the character and atmosphere of your property. But with a timberhome, the process can be a bit more daunting than a non-timber property.
This is because with a timber or log home, the timber/log elements appear on both the exterior and interior of the property, so the relationship and color flow of exterior and interior materials is that much tighter.
It is not a stretch to have between eight to ten different exterior materials on a timber home, so its important to invest the time to assemble a cohesive color and materials palette, that is thoughtfully considered.
Start by considering the context of your home; how your home relates to its surroundings and how that should influence your concept. Is it a lakeside home, mountain home, or city home? What are the usual natural lighting conditions in that place? And how will that affect colors?
rThe next priority is to select the color of the timbers or logs, building your palette around that. Find out from your timber/log provider if there are restrictions on the color selection they offer and ensure you know what stain brands they use. Will they allow you to select custom colors, or can they only be from manufacturers standard lines? This is important to know, because it can affect your construction budget for the timber component, and sometimes significantly.
We recommend establishing two or three preliminary options for your timber colour, and at that point you can then focus on the other materials and colors you want to include in the exterior finishes, gradually refining the palette as you go, eventually arriving at a desirable solution. This is a process that you should not rush - allow yourself enough time to consider various options and engage your spouse or significant other in the decision.
We highly recommend doing a color rendering on the architectural elevation drawings of your home before you instruct your timber builder or contractor to order the materials; This is important because it will more clearly show the relationship between one material to another, helping you better analyse your choices.
Try to render the colors as closely as possible to the actual materials, keeping in mind it will not be possible to make it exactly accurate. If done properly, it will be adequate to convey the mood.
We also recommend having physical samples of all materials made up and taken to the jobsite location so that you can see in reality how they look in relation to what is around them, and to see them in the lighting conditions at the jobsite.
If you still feel daunted or need a second opinion, it will be money well invested to get the help of a professional with experience in timber or log homes who can help you make informed choices.
From timber beam to window trims Kevin Gray Interiors can help give your timber or log home a unique and memorable character.
Call us today for a complimentary discussion. #403 453 6860
The great fashion designer Coco Chanel once said that "The Best Color in the World is the One That Looks Good on You". OK. So why is that the hook on this blog post about interior decoration?
There is actually a very close correlation between Chanel's quotation and where you should start when selecting color for your own home. But we DON'T necessarily mean that you should be using color in your home because it looks good when you wear it.
We are simply suggesting that in the same way you know what colors look good on you, you should also develop an awareness for what colors you prefer in architecture and interiors. I have found that most of my clients struggle when it comes to identifying their personal preferences for color in home interiors.
Indulge me for a moment - visualize or actually sit in a room in your home. Now, ask yourself the question "What is the most important thing in this room"? Now, you could tell me that its the view, the colors, or the closeness of the furniture grouping, or the heirloom piece of furniture, or perhaps its the artwork, or the wonderful quality of light filtered through the trees outside.
Any of the above could well be true, but the single most important thing in the room is YOU.
OK we hope you don't mind being called a 'thing'. But you see, what I find many of my clients forget when they are designing their space - and including choosing colors for that space - is that before they start anything or look anywhere else for design/color inspiration you need to start with who the room is being designed for, and have a fairly good idea of the color's which are most appreciated by that person(s).
While there are other factors that must come into consideration when selecting color schemes, such as the orientation of the room, the architectural style of the home and the context in which it is situated (inner city, suburbs or country acreage), the starting point should always be to identify personal preferences and let the other factors be considered secondary to that.
If its your home and your room, then start by assessing your own personal likes and dislikes when it comes to style or color. You can go to websites, social media, magazines or other sources for inspiration but if you don't have a system to 'filter' what you are seeing and clearly identify the specific elements that you are drawn to in the images, it could make you more confused than when you started.
So how do you develop a filtering system? Here are some things that will help you be focused while doing this. While looking at an image, answer the following questions. It is NOT important at this stage what the style of the room is that you are looking at; For example, you may see an image of a very sleek contemporary interior which you like even although you would not be that contemporary in your own home. Likewise you might gravitate to an image of a particularly charming traditionally styled interior. For this exercise the style of the interior is of secondary importance.
1. When looking at the image, try to define in one or two words how it makes you FEEL. We are emotional creatures and how we feel when we look at an image of an appealing interior resonates throughout our entire physiology. The space you are looking at must inspire you to WANT to be there, and in order for it to accomplish this effect, it had to first create a feeling in you. What is that feeling?
2. Now, attempt to isolate and identify the colors in the space. This is more than just the paint color. Start by identifying the predominant colors on walls, floors, ceilings, then identify colors on furnishings, window coverings, and accessories.
3. Note how the blend of colors has been balanced. Specifically identify the predominant color and the secondary colors and accent colors.
4. If you have a paint fan to hand, find some colors that are approximately similar to the ones you have identified in #2. You are not using the paint fan at this point to select paint colors, you are simply using it as a tool to look at all the colors identified in #2 and isolate them so that the colors no longer are identified with the image.
5. Do the paint colors you just isolated match the feeling you identified in #1? If they do match that feeling, and if those colors do indeed appeal to you (in isolation from the style of the room you saw in the magazine/internet image) then you can be fairly certain that this palette of color represents at least some of your own personal preferences.
Repeat the excercise for a number of images and then compare the color palettes you isolated. Is there a similar theme running through them all, or is there a variety of themes? Most of us will identify a variety of different themes, with a majority of them being similar and a lesser amount of them being quite different. This could be referred to as your primary and secondary color palette preferences.
Be assured that its perfectly fine to like colors and/or styles which are quite different from one another. However it can be tricky to know how to take all of this new-found information and make it useful.
The trick is in knowing how to filter it down to the next level so that you can begin to narrow down to make color choices which would be most appropriate for the space you are planning to decorate.
That's where the secondary 'filters' come into play; the architectural style of your home, the orientation of the room(s) in question, the function of that room, and the geographical location (context) of the home. But we're not going into that in this blog post because that would take too long. Sorry!! ; ) See our previous postings on selection of color based on room orientations. We'll get to a blog about colors based on architectural styles and geographical context soon!
This 'filtering process' is kind of like a funnel where the top is wider, and then it narrows towards the bottom. At the top of the filtering funnel are your personal preferences, then come all of the secondary filters until eventually you have narrowed down all of your color selections so that what pops out the bottom is a beautiful color scheme perfectly suited to you and your home.
If you want more assistance in defining your personal preferences I suggest you try this website which has a fun color assessment exercise you can do. This excercise helps you identify your dominant and secondary preferences and gives you a written description which helps you understand the concept, mood and feeling which your specific color preference is derived from. My clients find it to be fairly accurate. Please try it and let me know your feedback on closely you feel it reflects your personal preferences. http://www.voiceofcolor.com/en/colorsensegame/index.asp
Since most North Facing rooms do not receive direct sunlight, the quality of light is more blue influenced and this has a cooling effect on the colours you have in that space. For example, a grey or a pale blue or even an off-white is going to appear to have a blue-ish cast and you may find yourself commenting that the room feels cold and uninviting. The upside to North Facing rooms mean that the light has less glare and shadows and is more evenly balanced. This means north facing rooms are great spaces in which to do activities such as office work, computer work, and artistic pursuits such as painting, sewing, crafting. North facing light is also very calming in a bedroom.
If your goal is to liven up your North facing space and take away the coolness, then consider using colours which are very saturated. Saturated just means that it has more colour pigment in it. Types of saturated colours that work well include deep blues, ochre yellows, intense oranges, pinks and warm reds. You can also try an intense green/yellow in combination with accents of intense raspberry.
In the North Facing bedroom below Kevin Gray Interiors used a deep blue with accents of ochre yellow and brass to give warmth. We also used mirrors flanking the bed to reflect both the natural light coming from the windows on the opposite side of the room and to reflect the light from the bedside lamps.
If painting your entire room a saturated colour is too much for you or innappropriate for the architecture, consider painting the walls a warm mid-toned cream or mid-toned warm neutral as illustrated by Farrow and Ball's 'House White' on the wall in the bottom most photograph below.
The quality of light in a South Facing Room is always warmer and more yellow on the light spectrum. That means that in a South facing room if you use a yellow paint, it will appear even more yellow. It also means that you can use cooler tones without making the room feel cold. For example, if you use a very pale blue/off white on the ceiling, a soft pale grey for the trim or walls, and put accents of blue throughout, the effect of these colours on the light entering the room is that it will be more toned down yet still appealing and attractive. With this as the envelope for the room, liven it up with crisp white linen drapes and/or upholsteries, with white accents in the furnishings, along with a small hit of bright colours such as a yellows, oranges or greens and watch your South Facing Room come alive! Photograph and Interior Design by Martha O Hare Interiors.
WEST FACING ROOMS:
The quality of natural lighting West Facing rooms varies in the opposite way to East Rooms in that it is cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon and evening. Since they generally get more light throughout the day, you they respond well to white or light coloured walls. I suggest white/light colours if you want to create a feeling of airiness and spaciousness, and especially if you use your West room in the afternoon because the warmer natural light at that time of day will reflect wonderfully off a lighter colour of wall.
However if you want to add a little more colour then consider colours that fall in the red spectrum; anything from pale pink/neutrals to mid toned terra cotta's to deeper shades of burgundy.
Again, take into consideration the purpose for which your West room is used, and consider your personality and the overall feeling you wish to create which is appropriate to you and/or the preferences of those with whom you share the space.
If your home is more open-plan and you have a room or rooms which are open to one another from the West to the East of your home, you may need to ensure that the colour chosen for one space also works in the other. However if your West/East room or area has a logical point at which differing paint colours can be started/stopped then you may want to consider painting different/complimentary colours in the West/East spaces. A good example of this is shown in the photograph below. The 'clay' colour could be on the west side of the space and the 'leaf' colour could be on the East side of the space. In this example the green tone in the east end of the space has enough warm undertones in it which help it to blend nicely with the warmer red/orange of the clay colour on the West. Image provided courtesy of Yolo Colorhouse. www.yolocolorhouse.com
The light coming from the East is similar in quality to north light in that it is generally slightly cooler, although it varies throughout the day; In the morning the natural light is warmer, and as the sun moves Westwards light quality becomes cooler in tone.
There are two schools of thought on which colours work best; One opinion is to offset the cooler tones by using warmed up neutrals in versions of yellows, creams and golds. The other opinion is to go with the flow and not fight the cooler east light by selecting soft and muted versions of greens or blues. From the purist standpoint all other factors aside, I feel the way to get a more satisfactory result is to follow the second option. But colour is never de-facto and there are variables to consider. For example, I believe your decision making must take into account how the rooms is used and at what time of day, and it all needs to tie into your personality and/or the predominant personality of your family. For example if its a breakfast nook which sees a lot of activity early in the morning and has a great big window with unobstructed sunlight coming in, and you are the type(s) who need to emote energy and start the day with a bang, then DO consider using warmer tones such as yellows, even consider muted versions of orange, either of which could be trimmed with doors/window frames in a soft cream colour. On the flipside if your family are the type who like a quiet start to the day, then perhaps a soft green or duck egg blue would be a more calming influence. Also, don't be afraid of taking a greenish blue in a more intense colour value and trim it with clean crisp whites. It can be stunning depending again on how the room is used. Images courtesy of Farrow and Ball. www.us.farrow-ball.com
Kevin Gray is a residential interiors specialist, who has more than 20 years experience in the interior and architectural design industry.