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A Maslow-Inspired Thanksgiving Color Palette

What are the colors of Thanksgiving?
So much more than paint, decorating, or  “trend palettes.”
I wanted to offer some color-reflections for the holiday season, and beyond.

Maslow's Hierarchy - reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

What’s important?
Please share your own inspirations and color-reflections!


Color Creates Light: Studies with Hans Hoffman

Color Creates Light: Studies with Hans Hofmann brings together the man, the schools, the painting, the ideas, and the teaching. Jed Perl of The New Republic calls this book "enormously important... nothing less than the missing chapter in the history of the period," for Hofmann's decade of painting in Paris prior to World War I, combined with his observations of the masters of all cultures, enabled him to explain Cubism to the avant-garde and catalyzed the later Abstract Expressionism.

In the ateliers of German emigrant Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in Munich, New York and Provincetown, talented students later to become some of the most significant artists and educators of the time rubbed shoulders with critics, collectors, and curators, who in turn transmitted and transmuted Hofmann s ideas across Europe, America, Canada, and beyond. From how Hofmann taught to what he taught, artists talk shop about the inner workings of the visual language, required reading for those engaged in creative composition, whether visual, verbal, musical, architectural, cinematic, or choreographic.

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“In nature, light creates the color; in the picture, color creates light.”
–Hans Hoffman

Hans Hoffman

More than ‘color inspiration,’ looking to fine art is a dynamic way to experience color. Hans Hoffman exemplifies the word “colorist.” This book offers an in-depth exploration of his theories of color as well as gain as sense of the man—his life, teaching, and art work—in a biography. Also included are many illustrations of work by other artists, some of whom were his students.

Floors are colors, Too!

For the most part, paint color consultants are concerned primarily with specifying color for ceilings, walls, trim, and other architectural details. Even so, (we) paint color consultants also consider the colors and textures of floors, since those surfaces are a big factor in how we all perceive any space in its entirety. In fact the colors and textures of floors will always affect the wall and ceiling colors we select.

I was recently inspired by seeing some particularly beautiful floor coverings and flooring materials, and wanted to share them with you. So, here’s a quick overview of a few that inspired me personally.

Hard Surface Materials
Wood, stone, tile, concrete, natural linoleum? Consider the various materials, colors and  texture, and how they are all related.

Wood is always a beautiful choice and the new, high quality engineered products are a good choice.

A floor only stains and finishes as well as the type of wood you start with.

A beautiful example, from Finland, in a gorgeous gray.

Silverwood flooring

Silverwood: Impresario - Color: Stonewashed Volcanic Ash

Silverwood site - COllins - smoked ash ancient white

Silverwood - Smoked Ash Ancient White


Silverwood site_Junkers - black oak smoked- Variation-2-strip -oil finish

More gorgeous "smoked finish" woods from Silverwood

Made in Finland, Karelia floors from Silverwood Flooring feature a thick 4mm veneer over a Quarter Sawn Nordic Spruce core for ultimate stability. Karelia is offered in a multi-strip, 5.4” or 7.” wide format. This series is available in multiple finishes including lacquer and a 100% vegetable oil. Perfectly milled square edge product suitable for floating (click) or glue down installation including over radiant heat. (description from

Full Plank wood from Carlisle is great way to achieve a unique look, with a US-sourced product.
Carlisle describes Hickory like this: “…Hickory is tough and handsome, with a tensile strength that rivals steel and a surface appearance long admired by woodworking purists and cabinetmakers.”

Carlisle hickory Floor

Hickory, from Carlisle - lots of personality!

Wood patterns in Parquet, which Carlisle can make in a variety of patterns.


The artistry involved in making parquet flooring first emerged during the Baroque era of the early 1600’s.

Light floors can add light to a room, even if you don’t have a wall of windows.

ash floor

Floors and sky are the feature in this spacious open, contemporary room

Concrete, a truly decorative and durable floor product. From funky to glamorous; old-world to contemporary and smooth to patterned or textured, it’s a multi-use material that invites your creativity.
A few examples, from Scofield Decorative Concrete.

fire station floor

Pretty "hip" for a fire station kitchen!

what is it? concrete or leather?

Is this concrete or leather and pebbles?

stained concrete floor

Five colors were used in this stained concrete floor.

Natural and Biostatic: Marmoleum Linoleum
Made from natural raw materials, including linseed oil, pine rosins, and wood flour, Marmoleum is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It’s antimicrobial properties make it the perfect health care flooring. Of course it’s also great for a home!

There are so many ways you can be creative with this product. A few examples here are from Forbo – Marmoleum

Forbo Marmoleum

Forbo: Marmoleum - Rusting Leaves

VIbrating copper

Forbo: Marmoleum - Vibrating Copper.

Forbo Marmoleum

For more drama you can always get really creative with this product.


Forbo Marmoeum

Floor color speaks volumes -- and in this case, surfaces.

Forbo Maromoleum

Forbo: Marmoleum "Click"

Other interesting flooring (and paneling) materials worth considering
Durapalm: Palmwood -another great reason to love coconut water!


What they say: "Palmwood flooring makes coconut water worthwhile".

Durapalm flooring

I have some cooking utensils like this, but never before thought of it for the floor!

Cork: beautiful colors and textures in sound-absorbing, comfortable surfacing.

cork flooring

Cork is well known as a versatile floor material that comes in a variety of colors and natural patterns.

Check out DuroDesign for great ideas texture and color, in cork and bamboo.

Duro Design drama
Drama with cork from Duro Design
DuroDesign-Edipo Bleach White

Cork comes in many patterns, also. This is DuroDesign-Edipo Bleach White


I love the deep mossy color of DuroDesign: Cleopatra Negra Steel Green

Carpet Tiles
Looking for a softer solution to floor surfaces? Durable, beautiful, varied, with seemingly infinte options whether you do it yourself or get professional help. You can even explore designing your own patterns on their web site.

Flor pattern

From the Patterns group of FLOR carpet tiles

FLOR graphic

FLOR: Graphic Pattern

FLOR squares

More from FLOR

If you’re into painted floors…
You can either yourself, or hire a decorative artist to do the creative and installation processes. You’ll have a universe of creative options at your disposal.


painted wood floor

Large "marble squares" painted on wood kitchen floor. Wood floor and wall finishes by Barbara Jacobs. Photo by Barbara Jacobs

painted floor by Bj

This kitchen floor in an antique home received a decorative floor finish painted by Barbara Jacobs. Photo by Barbara Jacobs

detail floor from back entry to house

Detail view of painted floor, from the back entrance to the kitchen.

One example of balancing floor and wall colors
In this project, the color of the tile floor dominated the space and made the clients uncomfortable. It could not be changed so we modified the effect with wall color.

floor tile and wall color

Dominant floor tile color is balanced with a rich, earthy wall color.

Future: Natural stone, tile, and soft surface flooring
A future post will address more inspirational options, from the various types of machine-made carpeting in a variety of materials to hand knotted area rugs.

Are you FLOORED yet?
Please let me—and other readers—know your favorites, and your thoughts about using purposeful color on floors.
Your comments are always welcome!

Color,Light,Texture, and Action! with the Quintessential Master of Glass

A recent visit to the MFA in Boston became an extraordinary experience for me—as the work of Dale Chihuly has been for thousands of others, worldwide.

I’ve never seen so many people at an exhibit who were trying to capture their own personal experience with cameras of all types, from cell phones to professional style equipment.  Even though I tried to resist the shutterbug impulse, it did not take long for me to join the crowd. I wanted to share a few my own impressions, and provide you with a link to a fascinating video of this master’s creative process and studio activity.

chiluly primary colors

Color and shape get "Primal," in primary colors

Chiluly- green organic texture

Just one piece of the endlessly fascinating experience in color, form and texture

The work of Dale Chihuly is internationally renowned, but we’re fortunate here in Boston to have a tremendous installation of his work, offering a first-hand experience of being in the midst of his world of color, light, texture…and so much more.

Closeup of green glass - Chihuly


Chiuly- mounts glass reeds in to birch logs

Like dreaming in violet - glass reeds mounted into actual birch logs!

Trying to imagine his creative process needs a lot of help. So, to spare the words…enjoy this experience of being in the Chihuly studio!

Carlo Scarpa

Lavishly illustrated volume.
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Check out the ColorViews Blog post for more about this subject.

Do you love Architecture and Color? Meet Carlo Scarpa

If so, check out this book about Carlo Scarpa.

I was first introduced to the work of Carlo Scarpa by the renowned Boston-area architect Paul Lukez. In a conversation with Paul about color in architecture, he immediately went to his bookshelf and brought forth his copy of this book.

Carlo Scarpa - book cover image

Even now, looking through my own paperback copy, I get the same thrill seeing the forms, textures, and colors that Scarpa used in the variety of his work. It’s really an extraordinary example of color + form working together to create a higher-level space.

GavinaShowroomBologna 1963-bookpage 116

Image of Gavina Showroom, Bologna, Italy: 1963 (from page 116 in the book)

A Taschen publication, even the paperback is high quality. The interesting essay by Sergio Los, illustrated by the beautiful photographs of Klays Frahm, will bring you back time and time again to enjoy the spaces. For me: “wish I could see this in person!”

Do you have a favorite book (more than 1 is ok!) on design, architecture, color, and related topics, that you would like to recommend? Let me know!

Color of the Week #2 – Loving Versatile Red

The focus in on Red!

Energizing, passionate; communicating intensity and warmth; advancing, into the space… and on the other hand sometimes overly heavy, drab, imposing, oppressive…just a few of the characteristics of this color that can make reds hard to use.

Red, as a paint color
This week I’m featuring the rich, warm, essence of a very livable Full Spectrum red paint color: EcoHues—Venezia Rose. Most red paint colors include black in their formulas. The true beauty of any color red comes through in Full Spectrum formulas. The rich, atmospheric quality of true full spectrum paints also makes them easy to decorate with since so many other colors are included in each paint color mixed this way.

EcoHues - Venezia Rose

“Red” is a color that has enjoyed a great popularity in homes, in particular when used in a dining room or often in a bedroom. Red is often applied as what we who do decorative painting refer to as “straight paint…” meaning, out of the can, not as a glaze or other special treatment.

Red, Faux Sure
Red is also a great color to develop in layers, for “faux finishes” or Venetian Plaster or other special translucent or textured effects. Red can be used in many different settings, however: commercial spaces, home kitchens, and other areas.  I often have recommend that clients consider a layered finish when they want to see red in the best possible way.

Layering colors allows the decorative artist a way to bring light into the surface, literally. A light-infused finish helps avoid the feeling of heaviness that can accompany a red wall color.

A few different examples follow, of finishes I’ve developed to take advantage of the drama of red in a variety of spaces.

This waxed, pigmented plaster finish has depth and richness that play well in any time of day or night.

Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Powder room walls, private residence, Boston area. Can you guess the colors used?

Multi-layered glaze radiates warmth and mystery

This multi-layered, multi-color red glaze finish glows with warmth and mystery.

Rusty-Red kitchen walls have interest without pattern.

Kitchen walls, a rusty red

Kitchen walls, a soft, rusty red glaze without pattern. Kitchen design including custom cabinet design, by Carolyn Anderson /Anusara Home.

Tasty Reds


Delicious Summer Strawberries at Powisset Farm CSA!

Perfect complementary colors in red apples

Apples offer a perfect study in complementary colors

Red Underfoot
Three new colorways in Red from Silk Road Weaves: LOOPY/Gems, hand knotted Tibetan rugs.
I developed these new custom rug colorways at a client’s request for specific colors. Combining 3 different reds with aubergine in various ways, using wool and silk, here they are together, and separately.

Three Reds Together, from Silk Road Weaves

Three new red colorways in LOOPY GEMS, from Silk Road Weaves

Red Aubergine

LOOPY Gems: Red wool background, aubergine silk design lines

LOOPY GEMS: Aubergine-Red Tibetan rug

LOOPY Gems: Aubergine wool background, red silk design lines.

Silk Road Weaves - LOOPY GEMS: Wool and silk Tibetan rug

LOOPY Gems: 2 colors of red in the wool + silk background, with red silk design lines

As with any color, but most noticeably with a red, yellow, or other strong colors, the brightness of the color and the effect of the actual space and lighting has a tremendous effect on the appearance of the color.

Please share your own favorite reds, with a note about how you’ve used them!





Go with the Flow: Whole House, Whole Color

Creating a cohesive feeling throughout an entire home is what I and other color consultants are often called upon to do. Typically, the goal is to create what’s referred to as “flow.”  It’s an overused expression that is not really specific, and often results in “boring.”  But in my view, even with subtle colors it’s far from monochromatic, and certainly not monotonous. In fact, creating “flow,” means to introduce harmonious colors—often in adjacent rooms and sometimes even in the same room—that are not in the same color family at all.

An Example
The beautiful home that’s the subject of this post is a Victorian house in the Boston area. The owners, an energetic young couple, had done most of the groundwork for renovating by themselves, and it was time to select the interior paint colors. The emphasized their desire for a warm and restful palette that would emphasize and complement the lovely architecture of their historic home, without dominating the spaces.

The Story: A Whole-House, Full Spectrum Palette
The owners were excited to use colors from EcoHues and Ellen Kennon throughout the house. They loved the idea of “No Black,” and complex color formulas, even in colors that are what we’d typically call “neutral.”

As we selected the colors, I provided them with actual 8″x10″  painted color cards. I particularly enjoyed hearing their exclamations of enjoyment in seeing how the colors complemented each other.

The resulting palette is soft, harmonious, yet interesting. Because full spectrum paint colors by definition are so complex and mutable, it was possible to keep the actual number of colors to a minimum—with maximum benefit—considering the size of the house and number of rooms throughout.

Ceilings throughout were done with Ellen Kennon’s “White Opal.” The walls in the master bedroom are Ellen Kennon’s “Gustavian Gray;” the master bathroom is Ellen Kennon “Pumice,” and the nursery is Ellen’s “Dusk.”

The foyer, kitchen, stairwell, sunroom and 3rd floor walls are EcoHues “Dune.”  Ceiling in the foyer and in the mudroom is EcoHues “Spring Showers.” Living room walls are EcoHues “Fieldstone,” and the dining room is EcoHues “Blue Grotto.”  First floor powder room walls and ceiling–along with 2nd floor bathroom walls–are EcoHues “Pacific Mist.” The 2nd floor office walls are EcoHues “Perfect Taupe.” On the 3rd floor, the walls and ceiling of the small bathroom are EcoHues “Spring Showers.”

Start the Tour!

Foyer: EcoHues DUNE up the stairs

EcoHues "DUNE" - Foyer, kitchen, up the stairs into 2nd floor sunroom/hall area

EcoHues “Dune” is a versatile color for many areas!
Standing in the entry, you look up the stairs, and also see into the dining room straight ahead. At left is the kitchen, with the living room to the right of the foyer.

Kitchen wall curved, EcoHues Dune

View 1 into kitchen. EcoHues "Dune" on walls, Ellen Kennon "White Opal" for ceilings throughout the house. Foyer is at left.

Kitchen view, EcoHues DUNE

View 2 into kitchen. EcoHues "Dune" on walls, Ellen Kennon "White Opal" for ceilings throughout the house.

Dining room
I suggested using EcoHues “Blue Grotto” for a rich, sophisticated wall color that would create a bit of drama in the dining room while creating a cool focus for the more earth-toned adjacent rooms. Visible from the dining room, through the entry to the pantry, is the same granite counter top material as used in the kitchen–a beautiful, very deep blue-green with iridescent flecks.

View from dining room "Blue Grotto" into foyer, "Dune"

View from dining room, EcoHues "Blue Grotto," into foyer, EcoHues "Dune."

“Blue Grotto” wall color is the perfect choice to highlight this unique oil painting.

Dining Room - EcoHues "Blue Grotto"

On the other side of the dining room, this oil painting is framed by EcoHues "BLUE GROTTO."

Living room
“Fieldstone” creates a warm, earthy feeling for the living room. It’s a lovely complement to the white and gray  marble fireplace on the other side of the room (not shown here).

Living room: EcoHues Fieldstone

View into living room from foyer. Ecohues "Fieldstone" on walls. Ellen Kennon "White Opal" on ceilings.

Upstairs: 2nd Floor
Going up the stairs we enter the 2nd floor sunroom. Off the sunroom are the master bedroom, the nursery, an office, and a bathroom. The sunroom, painted in EcoHues “Dune ” as are the first floor foyer, kitchen, and stairway walls, is a warm hub for the adjacent spaces.

View from 2nd floor sunroom into bathroom

Sunroom, EcoHues "DUNE," view into bathroom, EcoHues "PACIFIC MIST"

The tiles were an inspiration for using “Pacific Mist” on the walls, a perfect fit.

View 2 closeup Pacific Mist

Closeup view: EcoHues "PACIFIC MIST"

Being right above one end of the kitchen, the large, airy nursery has the same wonderful, historic curved windows (see the kitchen closeup view). On the other side, the nursery opens into the sunroom.

Nursery - Ellen Kennon "Dusk" view into sunroom, EcoHues "Dune"

Nursery: Ellen Kennon "DUSK" walls, view into sunroom, EcoHues "DUNE"

What could be better than a perfect taupe wall color for this home office? We used EcoHues “Perfect Taupe,” with Ellen Kennon’s “White Opal” on the ceiling.

Office: EcoHues "PERFECT TAUPE"

Office: EcoHues "PERFECT TAUPE"

Turn around, and look into the sunroom…
Through the opposite door is the master bedroom with Ellen’s “Gustavian Gray” on the walls.

Office view into sunroom

View: Office, into Sunroom, where walls are EcoHues "DUNE" abd ceiling is also Ellen Kennon's "White Opal."

3rd Floor
“Dune” continues up to the 3rd floor, where there is one still-unpainted, very large room and a small bathroom. This small bath has a very luminous feeling, where  EcoHues “Spring Showers” was used on the walls and the ceiling, too. This very pale gray with lavender tones creates an airy space and is a lovely complement to the marble mosaic floor and warm wood cabinet.

Soft Spring Showers in bathroom

Wall and ceiling are EcoHues "SPRING SHOWERS"

The Client’s Story
“My husband and I had spent the last 3 years renovating our Victorian house and were finally nearing the end.

Deciding on what colors to paint the walls felt overwhelming.  Barbara arrived with beautiful paint samples (with incredible names) and together we quickly made selections for most of the house.  From Gustavian Gray in our master bedroom to Dusk for the nursery to Spring Showers for the ceiling in the foyer, it all came together perfectly.

The paint colors are perfect for each room and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  Barbara also helped with selecting the exterior trim color to complement our new shingles as well as the incredible blueish-purple color for the ceiling of the front and back porch.

Working with  you was a great experience. Thank you Barbara!”

Color of the Week!

Why wait for “color of the year?”
Introducing “Color of the Week,” something to keep you going throughout the year!

Just as colors do not exist in isolation, nor do they function in isolation. So, this feature will sometimes include colors in combination, not just single colors. As a color consultant I have wonderful opportunities to help create beautiful environments, both interior and exterior, using a variety of materials. Not just paint!

I look forward to offering many enjoyable and inspired pairings of colors—as paint colors with each other; paint colors and “faux finish” colors; and, paint with tiles, rugs, and other materials.

Because where I live it “almost” feels like Spring, I wanted to start this feature with the color of warmth, sun, and new energy.

Viburnum flowers

Viburnum flowers offer a welcoming, golden yellow.

A friend’s garden offered the inspiration for a number of the colors of my new EcoHues full spectrum paint palette. As with all the EcoHues Full Spectrum paints, there is no black or gray in the mix and they are NoVOC, No Odor as well. The Viburnum flowers translated into the paint color “Viburnum,” a richly saturated yellow but one  that will be very enjoyable to live with.

Viburnum: Full Spectrum paint color from EcoHues

Viburnum: digital images are always approximate, so see it in person, get a sample.

Coming up: Colors in combination, and paint colors paired with other materials!

Got Color? No More Neutrals…Get Gaudi!

A long winter..”neutrals” got you down? Fret no longer, Get energized with Gaudi.

Antonio Gaudi

No, it's not a dragon—it's a building. From: Complete works: Gaudi / by Aurora Cuito, Cristina Montes. This image from the book is by Pere Planells

Exquisite photography and detailed descriptions of sites provide a compelling entree into the Gaudi world. As an architectural color consultant I particularly enjoy Gaudi’s bold, personal style of color in architecture. I’m happy to have the English edition so I can actually read the text!

Next stop…Barcelona!

Antonio Gaudi: Complete Works (Paperback)

By (author): Aurora Cuito

Book by Cuito, Aurora
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