Color Geography – the anatomy of a long-distance consult project

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How does geographic location affect color choices?
Even for long-distance color design projects, considering the lighting and the actual location is a “must.” Imagination is part of it, but also local-area images are important, along with the essential client-provided information.

This is also where a digital image process can be so helpful. It’s a way to virtually see the building as-if it’s already painted with the new colors, using images the client provides. And it’s those images that offer a way to see what the house or other building looks like in it’s own environment.

One example, a family’s house in Pennsylvania, a 130-year old Queen Anne Victorian. Being in the Boston area at the time, it was not convenient for me to travel to the client’s location, even though this is always an option for the right circumstances. We started with descriptions, my questionnaire about location, site, and lifestyle, and photos provided by the client.

Existing colors in Pennsylvania

“Before” colors: Two views, front and side.

Mical_BEFORE-sideview - Copy

The project was a bit complex, since there were a number of structures involved: the house itself, a semi-attached garage and carport, other outbuilding, and a tree house. Many siding a trim styles and materials were also involved. Among them were stone, clapboard, shingles; window and door casings; porch floors, ceilings, and railings; trim details. Also some structural items were part of the picture, like gables and bump-outs.

Because of the structure, the details and materials, we wanted to create a sense of cohesion in a natural style color palette that was fairly simple throughout. The treehouse was the location to incorporate some bright, more whimsical colors.

View to carport

View to carport – Before

Garage view - before

Garage view – Before

Working closely, albeit long-distance, there were many communications and visuals back and forth. Color schemes illustrated with the digital image views were offered and responded to by the clients, and it was very much a collaborative process. We worked our way through a few options, any of which could have worked very well.

Ultimately, the final palette evolved. Paint plan details and final color images presented and affirmed. The clients reported it was also helpful for their painter, who used the color images as a reference, part of their direction for work.

New colors in Pennsylvania

After a few variations…New colors are subtle but make a big difference !

Side view

New colors – Side view

New colors tree house.

Tree house – back side.

Colorful Tree House! The kids love it!

Colorful Tree House! The kids love it!

The clients expressed their experience in this way:
Engaging your services was priceless and the digital renderings are absolutely worth the investment.  We loved seeing what the house would look like before it was even painted.  Our painter has used the image as his own blueprint for painting the house.  It truly is a must-have, and the end product looks practically just like the digital image.  It certainly put a complete end to the debate over colors that we have had as a couple! (Read more from them, and others, here…) Thanks to the clients for providing photos.

I’ve enjoyed developing this service and the processes involved. Communication has always been an important element in my life, and this mode is just a development of that aspect. So now that I’m based in California, it’s something I can continue to enjoy offering and doing.

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