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    Colour Me Happy

    August 16, 2011

     

     

    COLOUR ME HAPPY!

     

    But how…

     

    One top priority topic for most clients is the choice of room colours – our clients, most of whom are involved in a larger scale project like building or renovating, often raise this issue way ahead of time. Most of the time it is the female member of a client-couple who is popping the

    C-question, which could either mean that amidst the flurry of technical considerations and the often overwhelming task of decision-making about the nuts and bolts of their reno they simply want to start dreaming about the feel and look of their new home environment, or it could also be that females are more emotionally affected by the effects of colour ( or at least they are more conscientious about those effects on their psyche).

    Guys usually get more of a kick out of the before mentioned technical considerations, and gladly leave the decorative stuff to the girls – a fact that comes in handy when having to mediate between partners…

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    It never seizes to amaze me that there are actually designers out there who feel comfortable to select room colours for a client without being IN the space. Yes, of course it is super easy for someone who is experienced with colours to make a nice paint selection at their desk on a sheet of white paper. No big deal for a professional, really, and easily earned money…

    But I bet a lot of clients go home and find that they don’t like those choices once they are on the walls.

     

    How could that be??

    Guess what – rooms themselves have personalities, and just like you yourself are not comfortable wearing colours which don’t suit your personality, so does your room.

    I am not being mystical about this, I am simply speaking from years of observing this phenomenon – it’s fascinating, but for a professional also humbling. When clients go through my selection method with me they might be at first a bit flustered by the length of time I take to figure out the right choice, but while being there with me they develop an eye and a sensibility for the process themselves, and subsequently feel empowered to make their own choice, as it takes the mystery out of picking colours.

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    It doesn’t matter if a client is looking for a rather monochromatic look or really enjoys a colourful look – my approach to selecting the right colour, shade and hue will always be the same.

     

    Lets look at the make-up of a colour first:

     colours 1

    It all starts with the pigment, or HUE – yellow, blue and red. Those are the so-called primary colours, out of which all other colours can be mixed. I am sure you have heard of the colour wheel (as conceived by Sir Isaac Newton), that shows how they are arranged, with the colours that result from mixing one with each other in between – yellow – orange – red- red/blue (purple) – blue – green. The more sophisticated the colour wheel, the more shades you have in between.

     

    Opposing colours on this colour wheel create a so-called complementary contrast – the most well-known one might be red/green, blue/orange is another one for example.

     colorwheel

    At university we were shown an experiment: if you use 2 dia slides, each one being tinted in each others complementary contrasting colour, and you would overlay them on a white wall, they would result in white again, and if you mixed those colours together as paint they would (ideally) result in black – however, in real life experiments that never happens – a murky, muddy, rather dead looking brown is all you will get, but you do get the point… (for gardeners – the same thing happens when all those colourful flowers go back to rich, dark brown compost)

     a fruity colour mix for a kids bath

    A simple homespun test to find the complementary colour is to concentrate your gaze on one particular colour for a few minutes, then look away onto a white surface – your eyes will show its complementary colour to help the nerves in your eye achieve balance again.

     oliver-928

    Those opposing colours can bring the best and also the worst out in each other, so it’s important to know about this phenomenon and make good use of it.

    More about this a bit later…

     Hanl019

    SATURATION is the next defining factor – how much of that pigment is actually being used to achieve the colour – think pastel shades versus jewel tones…

     

    And then there is the actual shade or LIGHTNESS – how much white or black pigment has been used to lighten or darken the pigment?

     

    In university we did a whole lot of interesting hands-on colour experiments, based on colour theories by Bauhaus members like Johannes Itten and Josef Albers, who again developed Johann Wolfgang von Goethes colours theories from 1810 further. It was fascinating training, and helps to develop colour sensitivity, but you don’t have to worry – you really don’t have to go that far to find YOUR very own colours!

     

     

    Josef Albers - Hommage to the SquareIt is indeed much easier than you might think…

     

    I would suggest the following: with all those wonderful paint stores out there, be it at your local building supply center, or at one of the independent paint dealers, you have a huge selection of colour swatches (those sample cards with several colours printed on them) available to you.

    Without putting yourself under pressure, take some time, poke around, and simply grab all the different swatches that appeal to you. Have fun with this, take a friend if you like! Don’t limit yourself from the start by fretting about the question if that colour works with your ……(fill in whatever comes to mind).

    You might have one particular colour in mind – in that case I would recommend that you grab a whole variety of that colour in a variety of shades and saturations.

    If you don’t have one particular hue in mind I would very much suggest that you go with the before mentioned approach and take home whatever seems to make your soul sing. Even better – sign out the fan deck and take it home. As mentioned before – rooms have their own sense of colour, and they will help you make a choice if you opt to listen.

    No laughing matter – I have a lot of clients who can vouch for this.

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    When I am working on a colour selection in a clients house I bring my own colour fan decks from different manufacturers with thousands of options with me. We spread them out in the room, and start what I call ‘editing’.

    Of course it depends very much what else is going to be in that room – flooring, tiles, cabinetry, countertops, furniture. Those items will sure have their own say in the colour selection, which could make the whole process either easier of more difficult…

     Overview of the millwork with the custom blend mosaic backsplashClose up o the blend, which combines all the different shades of blue and green which we used throughout the home. The bronze and pewter etal finishes paraphrase the metal finishes we used, as well as the warm and cool grey colours we used to keep all that vibrant colour in check.

    But for the novice paint-selector it will be a great experience to see how easy it is to do that first step of colour editing – a lot of the colours on the fan deck will just do nothing for you and the space, and you will be able to put them aside very quickly.

    The reason why I am able to say that the room will decide for itself has to do with the intrinsic quality of natural light in a space. Coming from a medieval small town in Germany, where the local building code only allows for slightly dull, powdery pastels on the exterior of the old houses I can relate to how much culture influences your aesthetic choices – but also how freeing it is to break out of that mold, and be influenced by different cultures and colour ways

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    It is so inspiring to recognize how much the quality of light influences colour choices – just think of the typical bright white and intense Lapislazuli blue of Greece, or the soft ochres, blues and yellows of the Provence. Think of the jewel tones of India, and the brisk fresh colours of Scandinavia. If you try to transport those exact colours into your particular environment it will most likely go horribly wrong – you have to adjust that colour to work with the particular light quality, and make visual corrections depending on the landscape. Evergreens, rocks and water in the landscape will have huge impact on what is going on inside.

     The glass/stone mosaic tile on this fireplace reflects the natural hues of the cliff upon the house is built

    Colour is energy, and stimulates the senses, and you want to use this tool well to make you feel good!

     

    Going back to Operation Fan Deck.

    Once you wiggled it down to the shades that seem – for whatever reason- ‘work’ in your room, you make personal choices – which of those remaining swatches do the most for YOU? Away with the rest…

     

    And when you are done with that process – which of the remaining colours work well with your furniture, your area rug, the other finishes?

    Is there a particular piece of art that is going to live in this room? Which hue works really well with the painting? Just hold the swatches up behind the frame, and you will see for yourself…

     

    A deep eggplant creates an elegant and striking backdrop for a vibrant piece of art. Notice the effect of the dark red wall in the media room in the back, and how your eye travels from the painting to that room and back

    Make sure to do this process with another person, as you will/might need a set of hands to hold swatches up in order for you to be able to step back and get a good look.

     

    By that time you might be down to 2 or 3 different colours – now it’s the time to put some double sided tape on the back of those cards and put them up on a wall. On a swatch card with a graduation of shades it will allow you to determine the intensity of the hue.

    As always, make sure to look at the colours from a distance.

     

    After that it would be the time for some hands-on home work: you could go and get small sample pots of the final 2 or 3 colours. Grab sheets of poster board and paint them up nicely. Put those larger samples on ALL the walls in your space, and look at how they change depending on their exposure to light. Give yourself 1 or 2 days at least to go through this process. You would want to experience not only the difference between day and night, but also between a sunny and an overcast day.

     

    Be advised that the window wall is always the darkest of the walls, and the colour will also be influenced by the rather blue reflection on this wall. I had an extreme case where we wanted to paint the space a powdery rose colour – beautiful calm hue, but what a surprise when it turned bright pink on the window wall. We had to put a lot of tan pigment in it to achieve the desired calm effect…

     theneutral wallcolour and the typical wood floor could be a boring combination, would not the glossy light green glass tiles on the 1950's inspired bar add an uebercool contrast

    If you find that your choices seem to be too loud, or in your face – then it’s time to utilize what you learned before about saturation of a colour, and select something that is dulled down a bit, or simply softer in shade.

     

    And one tidbit of advice – colours are best looked at on a neutral white background. If you have already a colour on the wall that’s to be painted, then this underlying colour will have an impact on the appearance of your new choice! So make sure to keep this in mind, and if you think it’s necessary put a larger sheet of something white underneath!

     

    See – that wasn’t too hard, was it? Just takes time, and deliberation – and it would take time for a designer to do that, too. There is no real magic in this process – not yet, that is, and not for a single room.

     A beautiful yellow adds some mediterranean warmth to this elegant kitchen

    The magic will be necessary when you are dealing with homes that are supposed to get a lot of colour – 16-20 is actually quite often the case with my clients and I love those kinds of challenges!

    By no means is the house supposed to look like a child’s crayon box – and that is where the artistic part of colour coordination comes into play.

    More of that later – lets just finish your room!

     

    So – what other surfaces will need colour in your space – of course the ceiling, then most likely trim (the wooden pieces around windows and doors), there could be potentially decorative paneling or wainscoting, crown molding, and of course the doors.

     

    Martha Stewart colours

    I had some of swatches of the new Martha Stewart Living colour collection in my hands yesterday – very interesting concept. I found that the line would not be working all that well here in my local digs, however, we selected quite a few of those colours for a job about 500 km from here in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. On the back of the paint chips they cleverly show you strips of complementing colours – one for the ceiling, one for the woodwork. Although the colour selection is beautifully executed, as are all of Martha Stewart’s professional endeavours, not all of them were sitting right with me. Some of the ceiling options would have been way to dark in an 8′ high room. However, I do invite you to consider using something else but white on the ceiling.

    But that could be a bit tricky – as mentioned, you need to keep the room height in mind, and how the shade of a colour can affect proportion.

     

     

    Crisp white millwork and the soft green and blue shades of the ceiling were inspired by traditional Scandinavian colour schemes

    Oftentimes a ceiling should be like a sky on a day that is not particularly sunny, but also not overcast – just neutral, not asking for any attention at all.

    You can get ceiling colours straight from the can, which is an option if you really don’t want to bother to much with the selection of off-whites.

    Or you look for well-loved off-whites, which are part of any paint manufacturers collection. The staff at your paint store will be able to advise you on this.

    One of the most favourite off-whites ever must be Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White – it is softer than a regular white, and blends beautifully with many colours…

     Off white and cream coloured millwork form the neutral base for a cheerful wall and ceiling treatment

    If I am selecting colours for a whole house I select ALL my wall colours first before selecting a suitable white – reason being that I would prefer to work with the same white throughout the house to keep things a bit more simple.

     

    But I would encourage you to consider different hues for a ceiling as well. I made really good experiences with very soft blues and blue-greens, which creates a Swedish freshness in a space.

    I have also done very bold tones for confined areas in the entrance, and in dining rooms – small spaces can take strong colour, as can rooms that are mainly used at night.

    A mysterious powder room with shimmering mushroom coloured walls and ceiling

     

    A few of my powder rooms end up without natural light – in this case I make a point out of their mysterious ambiance, and a white ceiling would absolutely not work with this. I used a dark charcoal in one instance – it was a 42”x80” room, but with 9′ ceiling, and I needed to bring the ceiling visually down, and in another case I simply used the wall colour on the ceiling as well.

     

     

    A powder room without a natural light source has been painted out in a dark teal tone. All walls as well as the ceiling were treated to this dark shade, to make the 'fake' window glow mysteriously

    For another job with stunning all white glass tiles on the wall I considered painting the ceiling a hot orange or lime green – the verdict on that one is still open…

     

    As for the colour for baseboards and casing – the easiest and most used approach must be an off-white. The advantage is that you don’t run into issues of transitioning from one room to the next.

    Sometimes those pieces are wood anyways, so you just have to make sure that the wall colour complements the wood.

    If you are asking if or if not to paint the wood – that’s a tricky question. Some houses seem to do better with wood than others.

     An intense red display cabinet holds its own against the dark stained alder cabinetry and the wood floors

     

    But it’s not always about easy and most used…

    A current job found me recommending black for the interior trim colour – picking my clues from the finishes on the floor tile, the cabinetry, countertops and the wall tile in the kitchen. This colour scheme, albeit very neutral, was so strong that we had to continue it into other areas of the house.

     

    If you are looking to paint paneled walls then of course your options are wide open – you don’t have to stick with off white, or wood. Essentially you have to treat it the same way you select a wall colour, just in this case there is a second wall colour that needs to work with it.

    2 nuances darker or lighter than the chosen wall colour might be an easy option. A complementary contrast colour could also be considered. A neutral other than white – lets say in the warm or cold grey spectrum – could also make a great colour partner.

    This is where snippets from magazines, or the brochures from paint manufacturers come in handy.

     

    OR – something that I would warmly recommend – you could go on your own quest to create something unique, and look someplace totally different for inspiration.

    How about looking at a photo book on tropical sea life, or butterflies. Shells and flowers, fruit, bark, rocks and pebbles all make for great examples of perfect colour coordination. Nature provides you with great ideas both intense and subdued, but never ever boring.

    Butterfly/Flutterby...seashellsTropical Fish

     

     

    Man-made products like graphics, fabric and fiber art, and area rugs are another good source. You might want to check out the works of Master painters and mosaic artists, too.

     

    My personal colour journey took me from the rather grey pastels from my childhood town and the proverbial yet politically incorrect statement that ‘green and blue is only the shoemakers wife’ (Gruen und Blau ist dem Schuster sein’ Frau – which, I assume now, meant, she got beaten up by her husband on a regular basis – poor woman…anyhow, the essence of this proverb was that one just did NOT combine green and blue), to the paint colours of the Blaue Reiter movement, Kandinsky, Miro, Chagall, through wild brights and stark black and white patterns of a 1980′s design movement called Memphis, the then-outrageous colour combination of red and purple by fashion Grand Seigneur Yves Saint Laurent, to psychedelic candy colours and lots of black.

     

    Although this is only a set for teddybaers ( which, by the way, Klaus and I created ourselves for a store), it reflects very clearly the muted colours of my medieval hometown, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

     

    Throughout university I learned to appreciate the calming effects of natural hues, greens and blues, the subtle elegance of neutral and wood tones mixed with bold use of colours so noticeable in Japanese design, the colour blends of India, Russia, Sweden, Bali, and then of course the intricate colour schemes of the architectural beauties of the Victorian era in North America – the Painted Ladies…

     

    Intense crisp white and royal blue are the epitomy of Greece - at least to me...

     

    Growing up in the 60′s, in a then-fashionable, but rather depressing beige household, the effects of colour on my psyche still amaze me. Upon coming to Canada, learning that wood can actually be painted – a sacrilege where I am from, as wood is to be left, or stained, brown -was a very liberating experience!

     Sitting against a dark blue background makes everything in the childrens book store pop

    I would always encourage you to explore the effects of colour on your own life and psyche.

    the exuberant colour of India

     

    I firmly believe that a lot of mental illnesses could be remedied by simply un-cluttering the living environment and selecting healing colours! Even in the work environment, and for sure in hospitals and other health-related environments the mindful use of colour should be mandatory.

    Design for a kids' playroom - who wouldn't want to chill out in this space, no matter what the age is? 

    Choosing multiple colours for a home

    When you apply the above mentioned process room by room you will end up with a whole range of those colour swatches. Lay them out on a flat surface, again on white substrate, and look at them together. They should come together like the colours of a painting, which will result in a visual flow when you travel from room to room. I am positive that you will notice if there is an odd colour out, or if there is something jarring. Having one colour standing out might be the little bit of spice that is not only acceptable, but even required to result in a, uplifting environment. Just make sure that that particular shade is used in a small amount, for example in a powder room, or on a colour-blocked accent wall, not on all the walls of the largest room in the house.

    Again, look at flowers, for example – often they sport the tiniest amount of a very bright colour accent in their center – that’s the effect you try to achieve.

     

    Cultural influences

    The other day I had a colour consultation with a client, who just returned to North America from living in Indonesia for almost 2 decades.

    Of course I had to attune to the fact that her colour sensitivity was strongly influenced by her long stay in this very different environment.

    Because my clients usually like to take charge of their choices we decided for her family to go out to the paint stores and to bring back colour swatches that appealed to them.

    We then took the 5 different shades of green they had picked for the dining room, and pasted them on the wall, so that the same values were all on the same level.

    It was very obvious, that one particular value was the right approach for the room.

    From then on we took at the hue – the bluest one was edited out, as it made the room temperature too cool.

    The second one was too intense, thus removed from the options.

     

    Next step was to bring a large painting into the room, that is going to live on one of the main walls. We tucked the 3 remaining swatches behind the frame, and edited out the third one.

     

    The difference between the 2 remaining colours was the intensity. Obviously the client opted automatically for the brighter of the two – a very understandable reaction given their previous exposure to a different culture.

    We discussed what would happen would she use this shade for her room – first of all her guests would more or less audible gasp upon entering the room, as their colour sensitivity would be more toned down. Secondly I would expect, that the family, after living in our city for a few month, will also adjust more to the local quality of light and colour, and therefore might also experience this colour as being too intense.

    We agreed that the second option would be the right one – it was still a bright colour, brighter than I might have selected for a client without her personal history, but the colour will be in tune with the Asian influenced artwork and furniture, as much as with the Arts and Crafts style of the home.

     

    As an exciting alternative we ended up choosing a blue colour for the ceiling! We started out looking at the typical off-whites, going to tan and wheat colours, even different shades of green, but nothing seemed to work with the wall colour, or just ‘do it’ for us.

    I always look for colour combinations that ‘sing’ – try that out for yourself! Once you find them, you will know what I mean…

    This happened with the blue – I was simply holding up a swatch against the green, and we instantly knew that was it.

    Coincidence that the very same colour combination was evident in the ladies’ dresses on the painting? Nooo…

     

    Because we were in the groove and I had some time left we looked at colours for the living room as well as the entrance. We ended up with a stunning chartreuse tone for the entrance (a slightly fine-tuned version of the rather loud yellow-green swatch they had in their wish-list pile of selected paint), and a dark red-blue (not quite purple) for the living room.

    After piling all of our choices up on the floor we looked over to the painting – guess what: all those shades were right in there. The colours combined beautifully, and are indeed asking for the introduction of some more shades in the red/orange spectrum – but we left it at that for that day, and the family has now the homework of looking at possible choices for the kitchen and the small office…

    Can you imagine how great an effect it will be when the huge double doors between living room and dining room are open, and your eye wanders from the painting over to the living room, and detects the same purple shades in there?

     

    The reason why these rather intense colours will work is the neutralizing effect of dark wood and strong textures of all the Asian artifacts.

     

    Colour Blocking

     

    On another project, where we ended up with a total of 16 colours throughout the house, the reason for success lies in the balancing effect of the addition of a lot of off-white and grey-brown surfaces to the mix, which makes for a modern, vibrant living space, just right for a family with 3 school aged children.

     

    While I selected very soft off white laminates for the built-in cabinetry, accented with a greyish-brown wood veneer and quartz counter, the client made it very clear that she loved colours, and she wanted to see some on her walls.

    It started actually when she rather jokingly mentioned that she ‘had threatened’ her husband she wanted to have an orange wall in the dining room.

    Oh – I can do that!

     

    great room colours

    Thing is – ‘orange’ can be a lot – rust-brown, intense orange like the fruit, or a soft mango-sherbet hue. For her personality it was more a kind of fruit punch that I wanted to achieve. While the main colour for the open plan living-dining-kitchen-home office are is an off-white that matches the cabinetry, the architecture allowed to pull out small defined wall areas, that were great for colour blocking.

    The mango colour will adorn an area of about 10′x5′ above a built-in buffet, and there will be 2 wall sconces mounted on it, plus a painting, so the actual amount of visible colour will be rather small.

    Same goes for the lipstick pink we selected after the client – again jokingly – mentioning, that her husband will be happy that we didn’t select a hot pink for the headboard wall in the master bedroom ( we chose a relaxing ocean-blue hue, and its lighter sibling for the en suite).

    Ha – I had a blast with that one… “Well” I said, “ we COULD do pink at the end wall of the hallway!” I hadn’t thought of it before – that’s why I love clients input!- but this was a perfect space for a strong accent colour. It is only 3.5′x8′, so relatively small, and it will have a piece of art on it, which in itself will tone down the impact of the colour…

    To round things off we added a beautiful lime green for the wall going down towards the garage and basement, and a, greenish blueberry shade for the built-out fireplace wall.

    Doesn’t that just sound yummy – and it actually looks like you would want to eat it up as well!

     

    To balance this colour scheme off we picked a sand tone for the guest bedroom (you don’t want to aggravate your guests, I would hope), and the overall finishing scheme for the guest bath is on the manly side – olive, charcoal, blue and taupe. It’s a family, after all, and although guys often pretend they don’t care about colour – believe me, it is not true. There needs to be balance, and throwing in some masculine elements will be good for all family members involved…

    bedroom and ensuite colours 001 

    The kids were encouraged to pick their own favourites. Young humans tend to choose brighter, more saturated colours than adults, and although I take the kids’ selection seriously, I will pick a slightly softer hue of their choice. Usually they don’t find out about this – don’t forget, colours applied on a large scale will look different than on a small swatch. If a colour is too intense I would be concerned that they will get to agitated in their room. As it is often the same space in which they play, learn and sleep, the energy level in the room should accommodate all those activities, and not overpower their young brains.

     the kids' colours

    I have been known to use 8 different colours in one children’s room alone – think soft easter egg colours, nothing loud. Indeed, the inspiration for that colour scheme was a decorative easter egg, that happened to be lying around in the kids’ room.

    This colour approach works great, as long as you tone down the hues to be proportionate with the size of the space. In a case like this no single colour stands out alone – they are all the same value, thus blending together as one.

     

    Other ideas for colour blocking are not so much walls, but small items like accent pieces of furniture, or the insides of cabinets and closets.

     

    Intense aqua colour gives energy to this office-in-a-closet

    Imagine the jolt of energy you would get when you open your coat closet, or spice cabinet, and a brilliant red or orange or blue smiles at you!

     

    A bloodred art niche creates a stunning focal point for a sculpture in this contemporary environment

    Display cabinets also benefit from a colour treatment – look at the items you want to display, and chose a colour that brings out the best in your favourite pieces. White china for example will show way better when displayed in front of something other than white – and if you prefer it to be monochromatic, then at least consider an off-white to play off the crispness of the porcelain.

     The soft green back on the open display niches assist cherished knick knacks to show off their best side...

    White on white, and other neutral insights…

     

    You might not believe it, but the most difficult colour choice in my career was picking a single white colour for a penthouse overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

    The client had a large contemporary art collection, and was looking for an art gallery type of environment, with the colourful paintings hanging on white walls.

    It took me a full day to select 2 shades of white – one for the public areas like Great room, kitchen and offices, and the second shade for the private suites. The space had huge windows facing in all directions, and the reflection of the ocean as well as the red brick pavers on the exterior deck changed the whites to all sorts of other hues like pink, yellow and blue, which means I had to find a hue that neutralized all those influences.

    On top of that I had to consider the cream and golden tones of the future furniture, which had been picked by a decorator down in Texas, the client’s main home.

    When I sent my swatches to Texas for approval, the client was so unhappy with my choices that she flew the decorator in to make the right choice

    The two of us spent the day at the condo together with a painter who rolled strips of paint on the walls for us in a variety of shades of white.

    Guess what happened…We came back to the exact shade of white I had picked in the first place!

     

    Never have I felt so ashamed and insecure about my ‘obvious’ inability to pick a white to a client’s satisfaction – the vindication sure felt very very sweet afterwards!

     

    What you should take from that story you might ask?

    As I said at the very beginning – never ever pick a colour with out being in the actual space. The light in Texas couldn’t be more different from our lush green and blue Wet Coast landscape, the brilliant sun, yet the often grey sky in the winter.

     grey blue carrara marble and white porcelain walltiles, which took on a very light pinkish hue made selecting a wallcolour a very difficult task

    Let’s continue with the white on white look.

    If you know that white on white works with your life, then by all means pursue it. If done well you can create a beautiful calm space which will be very restorative to both spirit and eye. But you want to avoid a stark hospital look under all circumstances.

    Be aware that off-whites are created by adding a tiny amount of coloured pigment into white. When your eye gets finely atuned to off-whites, it will be able to read those shades, and you have to make sure that the different hues work together just like any other colour intensity.

    The strongest difference in my opinion are between pinkish and yellowish whites – they just don’t look right in each others presence. Staying within one spectrum will be the better option.

     

    Another difficult colour choice I had to make on a project was for a bathroom that sported a combination of Carrara marble for the floor and the counter top and a white glazed subway tile. Carrara marble is a greyish white stone, with a blue undertone, and the porcelain tile turned pink when installed on a larger scale. This was not visible from the sample tile we had picked, so the soft colour nuance came as a surprise when the tiles were being installed.

    The client had requested a white-on-white bathroom, so figuring out the wall colour ended up taking me 5 hours…Did I mention that selecting white is the most difficult task of all??

    What happened was, that whatever off-white worked well with the porcelain tile made the marble look very dirty or overly blue, and when we picked a white that brought out the best in the marble the wall tile turned awfully pink.

    There is nothing else to do than to take the time and look at fan decks from different paint manufacturers until you find the right shade. With all those hundreds of choices out there, there will be eventually the right one in there for your particular scenario. In our case it was a white with a minute amount of grey-green in it.

     

    The other secret to successful white on white it the layering of textures and patterns. This, and a combination of shiny and matte surfaces, will give your eye and mind food for thought, and your senses the comforting tactile experiences we humans seem to crave to feel balanced.

    A layering of textures and a mix of glossy and matte surfaces brings tactile sensuality to an otherwise stark design approach 

    If you want to use white simply as a canvas for other colour effects, you might have to choose which way you want to go.

    A black and white colour scheme can work very successfully, and it allows you to add a few strong punches of accent colour, which will result in a contemporary, perhaps even stark look. This won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but the effect will be stunning!

     A graphic black and white backsplash pattern pulls the black stained island and the white perimeter cabinetry together

    By combining natural textures and shapes with white you create a calm, Zen-like environment. This is a good approach for a quietly uplifting space, and will appeal to many different personalities.

     

    Successful layering of textures and patterns actually will be a topic in itself at a later point, so make sure to check back in!

     

     

    Working with Neutrals

     

    Aside from the typical while safe ‘Builder’s beige’ there is in fact a whole range of fantastic neutral colours out there, which will make a statement without overpowering a space. There is nothing worse than being un-deliberate. If you want to go neutral, do it well.

    Going through spec homes often makes me wonder if those houses wouldn’t sell much faster if someone would show some guts and paint them an uplifting colour inside out…

    If you are looking for an off white, choose one with a suitable pigment in it, that will make the colour appear in slightly different hues depending on where you are in the house.

    Or try out the shade that is 2 tones darker than what you initially thought.

     

    The more masculine effect of the slate texture and the strong neutral colour add a very personal edge to the traditional style cabinetry

     An 11' long island in a soft cool grey with a black countertop compliments the warm grey walls

    Have a look outside the window and understand, that a window in itself can take the place of a painting, which means you want to give your view an adequate grounding by choosing a wall colour that frames your vista well. Warm greys ( essentially browns that have a lot of black pigment added to it to dull it down), and mossy and grey greens (yes, I count the soft greens as neutrals, at least around here) for example work wonders here on the West Coast, as they pick up on the colours of the landscape, which consists of rocks, evergreens and Arbutus trees.

     A well proportioned window frames a serene rockscape embellished with lichens and mosses

    Dark chocolates are a sensual feast for the eye and will make you feel wrapped up in a really yummy brownie. Again, keep proportion and room energy in mind – it might be more adequate for a space that is used more in the evening, like a dining room, where you can add some sparkle with chandeliers and metal accents, or for a manly bathroom, or a media room.

     While the subway tile wainscoting and the marble mosaic floor speak a traditional language, the medium chocolate wall introduces a contemporary element

    I would like to vent about something that bothered me in university – the professor who was teaching colour theory had his own ideas about colours, and one peculiar aspect was his strong aversion to the combination of brown with pink. I remember some really derogatory comments of his about this colour combination. Poor fool. Can you think of something more sumptuous and pleasing to the eye than a Black Forest Cake, with its layers of juicy cherries between dark rich chocolate, topped by whipped cream? How can that colour combination be wrong???

    But then again, he was not a sensual personality at the best times, so I guess Black Forest Trifle just didn’t do it for him…

     

    Dark chocolate wall colour, framed in whip-cream like off white, grounds the colourful ceiling treatment

    Or think about cherry blossoms on an old tree – that brown bark sure looks awful with those blooms, doesn’t it??? Hope you can feel my sarcasm here! Nature is the single most important teacher about colour, nothing could be more artistic than her.

     

    If you made it to here – thank you!

    I hope I was able to get my point across – there is nothing to fear about colour. After all, it’s just paint, and you can always paint over it again. And choosing colour as a way of self expression is cheaper than paying a therapist.

     

    Enjoy!

     

    Musings of a client – Thoughts about a designer’s work

    July 17, 2011

    Today I have the great pleasure to be lazy - a wonderful client wrote a blog for me! How  fantastic is that….

    Actually, Karen wrote the letter as a feedback to my very current previous entry about our work philosophy, and she graciously gave me permission to use it on the website.

    So without further a-do, here it is:

     I checked out your latest blog entries this evening & really enjoyed reading your thoughts.  There is a sensitivity for client “needs and wants” that comes through the writing and that is one of the many things I appreciate about both you & Kimberly.

     I can’t speak for other clients (and I ’m sure we are all entertainingly unique!) but from my perspective… I consider myself well experienced, educated and an expert in my professional field.  When I started the process of wanting to reconfigure a previously owned home to make it our home, it was very intimidating and sometimes I felt like I was back at my first day of Kindergarten, it was all so new and I had so much to learn!  In short, I felt dumb and uncomfortable.  The hundreds of books & magazines I had read did not prepare me for the reality of all the decisions involved in the process.  However, over the weeks my perspective slowly transformed and I appreciated the opportunity to exercise the creative side of my brain which is often overridden by the logical accounting side in my work world.  For example, this week I am selecting drapery for the master bedroom and I am excited rather than intimidated, keeping in mind that even small progress on the house (like curtains) is part of the realization of a personal dream.

     Even in the midst of my dumbness and hesitant decision-making, Kimberly went above and beyond and did a lot of handholding during our renovation and I will always be deeply grateful for the care and time you both gave on our project.  I think that the most important things I learned from you and Kimberly are as follows:

    1.       When you think you are losing it, be sure to hold onto your sense of humour and your professionalism.

    2.       Work with trades people who treat your home as if it were their own and anything less than excellent is not acceptable.

    3.       No matter how much you plan and prepare, renovations can be a Pandora’s box with many layers of wrapping around the box…stay calm and adjust your course as needed.

    4.       A creative designer is imperative to realize any vision you have for your home.  Most of us have the desire but the reality is that we do not have the creativity or skills.  I would encourage any of my friends to work a designer into their big or small redesign budgets.

     I sincerely appreciate not just your design skills but also your warm personalities, tactful and direct, technical and artistic, sensitive and strong, professional and patient…

     In your blog you mentioned a test as to what a client thinks “The Sky Is The Limit” means.  My initial interpretation from viewing your web site many months ago was that Ines must be very passionate as well as confident in her design work since she is offering her clients the sky.  And I think your on-line portfolio reflects your business name beautifully. 

    Sincerely,

    Karen

     P.S. – I really loved the “Royal View” floral design fireplace – it is gorgeous.

     

    I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful feedback, Karen!

     Both on Kim’s and my behalf, yours truly was a one-of-a-kind project, and we are very grateful that you entrusted us with helping you with your home.

    Karen’s long distance  project was a very unique challenge for us on various levels, and I am sure I have plenty of material to write about at a later point, when we also have some visuals for explanation…

    It’s also great feedback because it finally gives me a  spot to send my trusted and cherished collegue Kimberly Lewis Manning a huge and long overdue THANK YOU for all her hard and dedicated work, her great warm personality, her sense of humour, her patience, and her ability to keep me sane …

    We sure have a great team dynamic, and I am glad and honoured to have her in my life!

    NKBA Profiles Magazine February 2010

    February 14, 2010

    We received the current edition of the NKBA Profiles Magazine, which features one of our kitchen renovation projects. More photos to be seen in our portfolio under Rockland 1 !
    Article on small space solutions

    Article on small space solutions

    Good design – what could it be…

    January 31, 2010

    Why good design is so much more…

     A detour through a downtown mall today spurred a conversation between Ines and myself about the intrinsic value of objects.

    Ines mused about the fact that most of the items on display, although at first glance interest evoking, are upon further investigation simply flashy and fake, without substance, and only an extremely minute amount of other items, often priced at a comparable monetary value, seem to carry in them an innate value that transcedes the mere cash factor.

    The shopper 

    As an artist good design for me is so much more than combining colours, shapes, textures and objects in a pleasing or -worse- merely fashionable manner.

    Good design must be embedded into a cultural and historical context to have meaning.

    Good design must speak about, and address, true universal values, wishes, desires, fears and objections.

    Good design expresses in three dimensional space nothing less than ageless philosophical concepts, it speaks of what is thoroughly valuable, and connects you to your greater and better self. 

    In my opinion things that are ‘cheap’ were created simply to make a quick buck, and most of the time the actual price of those items is being paid by the exploitation of natural resources and human labour.

    Think of those infamous ‘happy meals’, of the nowadays so quickly thrown- together condos, of jewelry (and not necessarily only the costume ones) and clothing…

    For me this mindset is best expressed by this awful slogan “We won’t be undersold”.

    Good things have their price – if you think you are getting a deal on something, you are most definitely wrong.

    In the same way ‘cheap’ fast food weakens your body and affects your health in a detrimental way, the owner of ‘cheap’ things surrounds him/herself with stuff that doesn’t speak to the soul.

    Be it design, food or tangible objects – truly good products and services draw upon a wealth of value, history, skill, knowledge, empathy, wonder and inspiration, and embody what is beautiful about life.

    Good design, like a good life, is NEVER fun and easy – it is a constant struggle for excellence.

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN is a national and international award winning, full service architectural and interior design firm. We service Vancouver, Kelowna and the BC Mainland, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Seattle and the Gulf Islands as well as international clients. Principal Ines Hanl and her team specialize in the creation of artful, bespoke interiors in any style for their discerning clientele.

     

     

    Contemporary kitchen design – Landsend Project

    January 30, 2010

    As I just received photos of a contemporary home we recently completed on Vancouver Island, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about the kitchen and some of the rational behind the design and the choice of materials.

     

    Infinity Island

    Infinity Island

    Inspired by the outstanding architectural design approach of Dan Boot of Studio DB3 in Sidney, BC, the kitchen’s layout consists of an L-shaped perimeter, a focal point island that I call the ‘Infinity Island’ and a sculptural eating bar.

     This highly artistic house frames incredible views of the Ocean and Piers Island, and the somewhat unusual materials chosen for the kitchen cabinetry have been pulled from the architectural language of the structure – concrete, glass, raw and stainless steel, copper and ‘wetwood’.

    The perimeter cabinetry has been made from slabs of century old Birch, which has been reclaimed from the Great Lakes. On one end a tall appliance tower holds a stainless steel band of appliances – the Miele Speed oven, the wall oven and the coffeemaker, and on the other end is the Subzero fridge positioned.

    Kitchen from Dining room

    Both tall units are being flanked by very special glass door cabinets – make sure to have a look at the frameless glass corner detail on them! This detail is an element I picked up from Dan’s architectural design as well, and the doors were certainly not easy to create.

    Thanks to the committment of the builder Wilf Gorter, site foreman Walter Vanderkamp, very dedicated metal fabricators and the ingenious cabinet maker John Lavoie the crew managed to make my idea work, including floating glass shelves.

     The perimeter cabinets are topped with black Cambria Quartz, which beautifully reflects the oustanding landscape images flooding in through the huge windows.

     

    Appliance tower with frameless glass corner endcabinet

    Appliance tower with frameless glass corner endcabinet

    The islands ‘theme’ has been inspired by the Infinity Pool outside, and the design of the stainless steel hood replies to the shape of a steel canopy which Dan designed for the barbecue area on the pool deck.

    From this hood fan canopy the Thinkglass Pebblo Aqua glass runs down the wall, transforms into a 1 1/2” countertop and drops down to become a custom stainless steel prepsink at the end of the island.

    The island carcass sits on a 8” high concrete base, and sports a row of wood drawers, with anther row of etched mirror drawers above it. The combination of those 2 materials allows me to emphasize the horizontal delineation of this island.

     

     

     

     

    Concrete bar, copper cabinet door, steel I-Beam and Birch Counter

    Concrete bar, copper cabinet door, steel I-Beam and Birch Counter

     

     

    The sculptural bar is inspired by Dan’s design for the wood fireplace in the living room.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I chose to use concrete as the actual carcass of a bar cabinet (thanks for bearing with me, Wilf and Walt!), and behind the copper doors it holds liquor and bar paraphernalia. One corner of that concrete block has been spared out, and has been filled with illuminated stacked glass.

    A solid slab of Birch was used for the bar counter, and it is supported by a piece of leftover I-beam from the barrel roof construction.

     As said before, my choice of design and materials was strongly influenced by Dan’s architecture, his strong sense of proportion, assymmetrie and balance.

     

     

     

    View of Pier Island

    View of Pier Island

     

     

    I also wanted to invite the outside in, which is the reason behind the choice of glass counter – it looks just like a frozen piece of ocean, and with its flowing character, it’s watery texture and green hues wonderfully balances the concrete and the wood. The small amount of copper on the bar pays reference to the homes entrance door, and warms up the concrete base.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     You can find this particular project in our portfolio section under ‘Landsend’ in the Residential, Kitchen and Bathroom files.

     

     

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN is a national and international award winning, full service architectural and interior design firm. We service Vancouver, Kelowna and the BC Mainland, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Seattle and the Gulf Islands as well as international clients. Principal Ines Hanl and her team specialize in the creation of artful, bespoke interiors in any style for their discerning clientele.

     

    Fortuna – The Painting

    January 18, 2010

    Klaus’ Blogs will delft into the philosophical and historical background of his artistic work.

    His oeuvre is incredibly varied, and spans everything from elegant fine art painting to Folk Art, from socio-political illustrations to designs for Amusement parks and Dark Rides, from theme store design, animated displays for trade shows and store windows to beautiful works of sculpture.

    You will find that his mind is able to make visible the very best, and the very worst, in human nature.

     

     

     

    FORTUNA

    FortunaWhen Ines, after much self doubt and soul searching, decided to launch THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN I was inspired to create a painting for her new showroom.

     

    I wanted the image to purvey the concept of accepting the unknown with grace, dignity and courage.

    That concept for me is symbolized best by the figure of FORTUNA.

    This Greco-Roman Goddess of Fate and Fortune (‘Tyche’ in the Greek mythology) approaches individuals with the Gift of Opportunity. Should the person blessed with such an offer reject it nevertheless, punishment results – in general terms – in living in obscurity and perpetually having to deal with the question ‘What if…’.

     

    My particular interpretation of this classical theme shows FORTUNA in a contemporary version of an ‘Ikona’, those works of art so typical for Eastern Orthodox Christianity. An Icon brings the viewer face to face with a symbol, which represents something of greater significance, and I have admired the graphic purity and unpretentiousness of this style of art for as long as I can remember.

     

    FORTUNA is shown in 18th century attire, which symbolizes the rise of a new kind of sophisticated, energetic and powerful woman, who is ready and able to take charge of her own destiny (like Ines).

    The bird represents the Gift of Choice itself – it comes at its own will, and if not acted upon quickly it will fly away, never to return again.

    He holds in his beak the key to possible success, and brings with him a medallion, in which HIERONYMUS FISH is engraved, the mascot of THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN (see also the ‘About us’ section for a brief story on Hieronymus).

    The tiles, light and dark, stand for the possibility of failure and success – life can always go either way, and FORTUNA’s sentiment is written as a poetic note to the reader on one of them.

     

    My special Thanks and Acknowledgment belong to the late English novelist Mary Renault, who speaks to me through her wonderful and impressive books, as well as to the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, whose books I only recently discovered, but who already had a huge intellectual influence on me.

     

     

    Fortuna, 2007

    Latex, spray painted on wood

    42”x 80”

     

     

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN is a national and international award winning, full service architectural and interior design firm. We service Vancouver, Kelowna and the BC Mainland, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Seattle and the Gulf Islands as well as international clients. Principal Ines Hanl and her team specialize in the creation of artful, bespoke interiors in any style for their discerning clientele.

    Martin Zemp Artist-Cabinetmaker

    January 18, 2010

    Martin Zemp, Artist Cabinetmaker

     Martin in action

    I came in contact with Martin Zemp from Zee Design in Comox, BC in 2001, when I started working for a small Kitchen and Bath Showroom in Victoria.

    Martin is originally from the village of Sissach in Switzerland, and came to Canada in 1990 to study English. Back in Switzerland he had grown up in his Father’s cabinetmaking workshop, and -if there is such a thing- was born with a cabinet making gene.

     

    After officially immigrating to Canada in 1992 he worked for various cabinet and countertop producing companies, before going out on his own and launching Zee Design.

    (Little sidenote here: my personal impression is that essentially none of Martin’s employers were up to his work standards, so he had no other choice than to take that step!)

    For the first year my contacts with him were solely over the phone – he was an acquaintance of my then-boss, and every once in a while he would build the odd small custom cabinet or accessory for us.

    I remember quite vividly my first phone conversation with him – I was supposed to tell him from my boss that we needed several lengths of a particular custom crown for a project, and Martin questioned the way we intended to attach that crown to the cabinet.

    Of course, what he really wanted to tell me in his typical ‘Martin way’ was that none of us down in that fancy showroom in the big city of Victoria had given any thought to what we were asking from him, and that it was actually a rather stupid request…Oh course he already had a solution in mind, but I was quite intimidated by this first encounter!

    Hutch in Faceframe construction, Comox residence

     

    Needless to say – this was also the early beginning of my life here in Canada, I had to speak English with him (although the German version of Swiss, and German itself look pretty much the same on paper, once the sounds come out of a Swiss throat I can hardly understand them…), I was still challenged with my English speaking abilities , and here I was trying to discuss intricate cabinetmaking details with him over the phone…

     Island for THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN Showroom

    As you might guess we overcame that stage eventually (this phase took about 2 years, though…), but what I want to point out is that I consider Martin my most influential teacher in regards to all things cabinetry and millwork production.

    He is certainly the main reason why I feel very competent when designing custom cabinetry nowadays, and when he gets me to design his newest kitchen project I know that I can take out all the design stops, as he will be able (sometimes muttering a lot of curses under his breath, though) to make them come to life.

    The two of us have a bit of a weird long distance work relationship – up to this day most of our collaboration happens over the phone, resulting in hour-long conversations about cabinetry details, but because of his incredible sensibility, his sharp eye and attention to detail this way of working together has proven to be very successful.

     3 colour island with rounded door and decorative posts

    I deeply respect his incredible skill, his willingness to endeavour into new one-of-a-kind designs, his sharp eye, his imaginative solutions, his acute sense of proportion, his elegant style, and the attention to detail and love for his trade!

    Without him I would certainly not be the accomplished custom cabinet designer that I think I am today…

    Thank you, Martin, for your most positive influence on my life!

    Working with you is always exciting and a huge pleasure and privilege for me!

    Zee Design – The Workshop

     The shop, with goat

    I am a big fan of any sort of workshop and manufacturing plant.

    Part of my university education was a mandatory 3 months stint in a cabinet makers workshop. It was a bit boring for me, though – of course those professional tradesmen were afraid that I (a woman…bless their hearts, but gender equality takes hold rather slowly in those parts of life, especially in a small Bavarian town) could sever some part of my body during that time, so I wasn’t really allowed to touch anything really important, especially not the huge machines.

    I helped sanding, assisted in the spray booth, and was sometimes allowed to help with cabinet assembly and lamination.

    When Klaus and I started creating phantasy store settings things got a bit more interesting – we did a lot of the work ourselves, and worked hand in hand with cabinet makers to create our merchandisers and display props, and I became a very good acquaintance of the large beltsander…

    So going into any cabinetmakers shop is quite a wonderful experience for me, and I always try to encourage my coworkers and especially my clients to go and have a look themselves. The amount of machinery and the intricacy of tools will astound you, and there is an inherent beauty in a well run shop.

    Martin’s shop is especially picturesque – in true Canadian West Coast style it’s located somewhere in the woods of Comox,BC on Vancouver Island.

    To get into his shop you have to make your way through a group of Highland Cows, you are being chased by geese and dogs, and his goats will search your purse for edibles (when they are not busy jumping onto his worktable, or your car, that is).

    The shop is very beautiful (in a workshop kind-of way), spacious, organized (of course), with the newest project propped up somewhere, plans mounted to the walls, equipped with exquisite (often German and old Swiss) machinery.

    My only problem with Martin is that he is always superbusy creating something, so in case you are interested in working with him you have to make sure that you get in line well ahead of time.

     the shop, without goat

    You should realize that good things take their due time, and are worth waiting for!

    And it helps to have a slightly unusual project – I think Martin really enjoys a good challenge…

    Update August 31, 2015

    It is with an immense sad heart that I have to say my premature final good-bye to this very special specimen of a human being. I would like to share a letter to Martin from a client and friend, which sums up my own experiences with this generous and dedicated artist.

    As per email from Jackie Wilson, Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii:

    Letter to Martin

          I can still hear your big laughter, and your even bigger snoring. The part of you that will stay with me the most is your caring heart. I never told you that some
    days when I came home from work it wasn’t the newest and beautiful handiwork that impressed me as much as the way you treated my pets. Watching you walk around
    cuddling the dogs or letting the cat claim you on the couch really meant more than the stuff.
    Your friends were important to you, you were fiercely loyal to them.
    You went out of your way to try and make my dream become a reality. To the point of sleeping on
    the floor during the first ferry trip to try and save me money. Seriously, I don’t know anyone else who would do that but you.
    A few other things that only you would do……. asking me to remeasure (3 times no less) and it had to be with your tape measure that you sent up because mine apparently
    wasn’t good enough.  Only to find that you had mis-measured when you initially did it.
    Sending me the Richelieu catalog to highlight what I wanted installed inside the kitchen cabinets – only to have a good percentage shot down because “you didn’t like it”
    You referred to me as “the boss” but I’m pretty sure we all know who the real boss was on this job.
    I find it oddly comforting to see your name plastered all over the shipping labels on the Island Top crate still in my driveway. I wish I had texted you more the day it arrived.
    That was the last time I heard from you.
    My wish for you is to some way, some how, be able to see in yourself all the good things we see in you.
    My wish for the people that know you is to find a way to get beyond the intense sadness and remember a truly remarkable person with a lot less pain.
    When the time is right, I want to continue on with what you started. I think you would expect that. My hope is that you are able to check in on us now and again to see how we are doing.
    Just promise that you won’t haunt us when we mess up because that would just be weird.
    You made a very big impression on me Mr. Zemp and I am not the type of person who impresses easily. Saying that I am going to miss you is a ridiculous understatement.
    Lots of love,
    Jackie

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN is a national and international award winning, full service architectural and interior design firm. We service Vancouver, Kelowna and the BC Mainland, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Seattle and the Gulf Islands as well as international clients. Principal Ines Hanl and her team specialize in the creation of artful, bespoke interiors in any style for their discerning clientele.

    Appliances and Kitchen Planning

    January 4, 2010

    I wrote the following article in 2007 for the website of the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association).

    Its content is important to designers who are fairly new to the process of cabinetry planning, Viking rangetop with island stye hoodbut it is also helpful information for the home owner who wants to embark on a kitchen renovation.

    No matter if you work as a designer for a bigger cabinetry supplier or design custom cabinetry, technical knowledge is essential for a successful, long lasting career in the cabinetry field.

    Nowadays I work about 99% of the time with custom cabinet makers, which allows me the full flexibility of a customized design, and- contrary to popular notion- custom cabinetry is not necessarily much more expensive than working with a large supplier.

    On a personal level I also prefer to support the small businesses in my community, I appreciate the individual level of craftmanship and attention to detail executed by the cabinet makers, and I enjoy nurturing the relationship between client and cabinetmaker. Not only do we bring clients to previous jobsites, so that they can get a feel for the work of a particular cabinet maker, they are also always invited to go and see the cabinet makers workshop to experience the skill, effort, machinery and knowledge that is required to create the pieces which are going to be an integral part of the client’s life.

    I plan on writing more about different appliance brands, my experiences with them, and customer feedback over time, so make sure to check back in!
    I will also introduce the cabinetmakers and their shops to you in the near future…

    (more…)

    Heritage Style Home Renovation

    January 4, 2010

    Welcome to our first blog!

    The general idea for the blogs of THE SKY IS THE LIMIT will be to showcase current projects that are in the making, Before and After’s, discussions about new products on the market, and we might also look into technical issues of renovations in general, lighting, appliances, effects of colour and space on the human psyche…

    We are open to suggestions, so feel free to write us a note about a subject of interest!

    For today’s introduction I will present a renovation which lately has earned us several prestigious Renovation and Design Awards, and which is being featured in a number of magazines in 2010.

    It’s a single family home, built most likely in the 1920′s, 3 houses away from the ocean, in a very nice residential neighbourhood.

    This was the view from the main entrance – to the left was a space for dining, then the kitchen, and at the end of the long hall was a small home office hogging the nicest view of the garden.

    To your right would be the living room, stairs, a small hallway towards the guest bath and guest bedroom, and a closet to the right of the back door.

    (more…)

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