Tag Archives: scheme

Inspired colour

I’ve been working on a little (or not so little actually) mid-century inspired project. And it got me all excited about the colour chaos of the period.

Back in my design student days, my favourite project of the entire four years was entitled “Zeitgeist”, which means “spirit of the time”. The assignment was to create ads for a chosen product in three different design decades. I did shoes in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Here is a little excerpt from the accompanying essay on Fifties Binge culture:

“The friction between the two vastly different cultures (*Casual American pop and NZ’s staunch God Save the Queen ideals) caused an explosion in the fifties of what is now known as binge.

This over-the-top culture embraced the new middle class affluence, caused by a booming economy, and introduced it to mass consumerism.

Relative to the period, the fifties brought huge technological advances. New, completely synthetic materials were developed, and alongside them, the ability to dye the material in a whole range of ‘new’ colours.”

This binge culture was the beginning of what is generally termed “mid-century modern”.

I love it.

In a world of such extravagant use of colour it can be a little hard to pick out a few that might work in a contemporary mid-century inspired interior. I had some fun giving it a go.

First up: Decadent Design. Starting with a cool hue of baby blue, add in rich layers of navy and dark magenta, and the obligatory wood tone in uber dark.


Number two: Coastal Charm. Natural timber is a big deal, with lots of white and light, accented by a moody sea blue and some zesty lime green. 0611_MidCenturyColour2

Third on the list: Nearly Neutral. Grey, and a bit more grey, then some rich wood and golden brown to liven things up. 0611_MidCenturyColour3

Last but far from least: Pretty Pastel. Starting with a base of grey keeps this one from getting a little crazy, but as long as you get the balance right, you can add as many colours as you like. I’ll do flamingo pink, duck egg blue (of course) and lemon. Mmm mmm!0611_MidCenturyColour4

I think the last one is my favourite (I love a bit of colour) but I’d just as happily grab any of these and run with them, depending on the location and furnishings I was working with.

Interiors images via Pinterest.

Warning: I may not stop at one post on this. I had too much fun!

Apricot or apricots?

I love apricots, there’s nothing lovelier than sweet apricots in season.

Apricot though, I don’t love in most of its forms. Especially on our house.

It almost looks acceptable in this photo, but it must be a trick of the light.

All I can think is that the previous owners got a good deal on this particular shade of apricot – the outside is painted head to toe gutters to baseboards in it, and some of the windows are even painted shut with it. Nasty stuff!

We had planned to paint the house one day, but with all that has been going on inside, it wasn’t much more than a passing thought until we decided the other day to get it done by a pro. We had a guy come and take a look on Saturday so hope to hear from him soon…

Back in – What?! A whole year ago?! (I just checked the date on the photos) – April last year I got all enthused and tried out some paint samples.

A whole year ago… I obviously thought our house would be painted by now. Even though life teaches us over and over that everything (especially renovation) takes longer than you expect we still remain optimistic!

Here are the boards (dragged back out of the pile destined for the rubbish after the great garage clear out) leaning up against our apricot house:

As you can see we’re not being adventurous… at all! This house has had enough of adventurous, going by the glimpses of teal green under the apricot, and is ready for something a little more true to its nature.

In case you’re wondering about the way I’ve painted up the sample boards, let me explain. Each board has two different strengths of a main (walls) colour, which is the bigger patches. Then, each trim colour is shown next to each other, and next to the wall colour. Which is why there are three stripes of one trim colour and two of the other. Every colour appears next to every other colour in order to check contrast and depth without other distracting colours between. Note this is for a three colour scheme.

I whipped out the test pots again and got my painting t-shirt and leggings on (this photo is actually to show I’m not just the photographer, sometimes I actually do some real work):

This little area is right by our back door, and can’t be seen from the street, and with a window there it was a good place to test out our “3 colour” scheme.

Here’s a before shot (we don’t style our shots around here… artfully placed jumble of shoes and boots that is not) of the apricot-y-ness of our back “porch”:

And we painted a wee patch with the colours we liked from the sample boards. Resene Half Concrete for the walls, White for the windows and Eight Friar Grey for the windowsill.

What we noticed straight away (and you might have too?) is how much lighter the colours appear when they’re up on the wall, and the contrast between them seems minimal. Take a look at the sample boards sitting on the step. Somehow the colours look much stronger on that small, defined area. So we may well pick different colours, but now we have a starting point.

Here’s a closeup of our test patch without any distracting mess of boots, firewood and test pots, or the aforementioned apricotness:

Aaah, much better than this:

I also had a go in Photoshop to get an idea of how it would look in a more complete view:

Andre looked over my shoulder and muttered about how it’s not the greatest view of our house to be trying out paint schemes on. I had to agree, so I got this shot of the front of the house to hone my skills on (I used to do photoshopping for a job so if you have any members of the family who need removing from otherwise favourite photos, just let me know). First up we have a rendition of our initial paint colours, with a bright lemon door:

Not super keen on the door, especially not since Andre commented that it looks like “ASB house”. They are our bank but we’re not that close.

Then I tried a blue door:

Which was fun, but not really what I’m trying to decide on right now, so back to the main house colours… here I’ve reversed the wall and window colours:

Andre quite likes this, but I prefer the white framed windows because they highlight the windows, which are “the eyes of the house” and very much the attractive feature on our house. Especially while the garden looks as sad as it does. (I’ve mentioned that “side garden wall” before… it’s getting there folks – Project Anzac Day tomorrow, let’s see how far we get with it…) Believe me, it’s much worse than it even appears in this photo – Andre’s Grandad even commented the other day after a visit to see his newest great grandchild and check up on our reno progress, “Andre doesn’t really like gardening does he?”. We actually can’t wait to get stuck into the garden and prettying up the outside but it just hasn’t been a priority, even maintaining the weeds is way down low on the list!

This one has the windowsills, guttering and baseboards a shade darker to add some contrast:

How about darker walls?

No? What about even lighter?

I know which is my favourite. Which is yours?

I’ll be sure to let you know what we decide and when this is all going to happen – hopefully before April next year!