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  • 25/11/2019 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    The unbelievable impact of painting over dated wood panels!

    ​​When Darlene approached me regarding making some changes to her house, I knew this might be a tough one to sell! She and John have lived there for many years and they were used to looking at dark walls and dark furniture. And guess what… their major complaint was that the house felt dark and dated.

    As you may very well know, I try and work with what is n my client’s house. Not everyone has a full blown budget for a total make-over and quite often, people just want to refresh and update, they do not want to get rid of everything and start all over again!

    The lack of sufficient lighting was a major concern and although I absolutely love wood, I knew that the real answer to this dilemma, was to have the wood panels on the walls either removed or painted.

    Yeah right, they said! No painting over the wood, he said… And I knew, WHITE it would be! 

    Needless to say, since they were both in their 60’s, the old-school believe was that painting over wood is not an option! Also, they were not up for the white and pale and gray trend, which was not even an option in my mind anyway.

    This is what I started with.

    May I just add, this is Miss JJ’s playground as well. Their gorgeous little kitty! That’s where all the paper and toys came from Miss JJ!

     So here is what I changed by looking at the view from this angle.

    The fan was replaced with an updated version that has clear glass shades
    More recess lights were added to the ceiling
    I also had scones added on both sides of the TV, which you can’t see in this pic.
    The rug was moved to the bedroom and replaced with a smaller one. I found one that was not super expensive, had the same orange colors in it that you can see in the sofa, so that was my starting point for Color Inspiration. And as per Darlene’s request, I also kept the rug in the dining room, which had deep orange tones
    Wood panels were painted. Yep! I won that battle, woohoo! (As Darlene would say!  )
    Ceilings and the rest of the walls throughout the house was painted with Manchester Tan to work with the slate floors as well as the fire place stone and furniture.
    New faux Roman blind to pull the orange and turquoise in.
    New mantel piece made from gorgeous Texas Mesquite
    New pillows, some of the accessories and artwork. I hung the large mirror behind the sofa in the dining room and hung a smaller one that I found somewhere in the house, behind the sofa.
    Since this picture was taken, I had the oak side table also replaced
    The recliner and lamp had to stay!
     Quite the difference, right! But still using all of their furniture!

    I also had the antique chair reupholstered and anyone that knows Darlene, knows how much she loves her animal print!

    To pull the new colors through, I had custom curtains made in bright cheery fabric that definitely added a pop of color and mimics Darlene’s vibrant personality!  See the large mirror I mentioned earlier on? We kept the exsisting light fixture, but replaced the glass shades with clear ones that were about $8 a piece from Home Depot. Same dining room table and chairs, new console table and lamps though.

    And as a well-trained Color Consultant and Decorator should know, tying in all the colors from the moment you walk into the front door has a major impact in how the rest of the house would feel!

    Notice how each room has a different percentage of the use of the same colors, and it all flows.

    Here is a picture of the fireplace before

    After the new Texas Mesquite mantel piece was installed.

    Here’s an after pic from the dining room

    And for those of you who does not know Darlene…. Do yourself a favor and check her out! What a personality!

    Notice the arms! It’s the little things. You will see it when you visit her website!

    Photos by Greg Daily

    John and Darlene Templeton

    Let me know what you think!

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  • 17/07/2018 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    When trusting your Contractors’ word is not good enough.

    As an Interior Decorator and Architectural Color Consultant, I am often involved in helping my clients choose fixed elements such as tiles, flooring, brick, stone, new light fixtures etc.  I do not sub-contract, but I do collaborate with the Contractor regarding the project.

    Having someone invade your private space can be tolerable when you know or expect the outcome to be good.  Which, as we all know, is not always the case.

    The purpose of this post is to educate and protect YOU, the consumer! Before you hire a Contractor, this is what you need to do!

    1) Research the Company or the Contractor

    • Ask for referrals.
    • Read reviews online. Yelp, Google and Facebook are great resources! Talk to the people in your community. Everyone likes to brag about how good they are, so ask for photos and proof.
    • Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to make sure contractors don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

    http://www.bbb.org/council/consumer-education/

    If you can’t find anyone that can confirm that this person is as good as he says he is. MOVE ON! Hire someone else! Do not hire them because you feel it’s a good networking decision or because you like him.

    2) Arrange an interview.

    • One serious word of advice: RECORD every single word during the discussion of the project, especially when making verbal agreements, which I would not recommend anyway.
    • If recording is not an option, write it down! Everything! And have it signed/ initialed before the actual contract is signed.

    3) Ask questions such as:

    • Will there be a team or are you working alone? During both my encounters, I was promised a team and a two week project turned into a 10 week disruption of our lives.
    • Estimated time it will take to finish project? Be reasonable and give them an extra week for unforeseen circumstances. Discuss what the consequences will be if project is not completed in a reasonable time.
    • How many other jobs are they working on at the moment? Big issue!! The "teams" are always busy at another house.
    • What if they damage your property? Or worse, even the neighbor’s property? Make sure it’s in the contract! Ask for proof of insurance.
    • Respecting privacy and safety of people as well as animals. The first contractor we hired, left the yard wide open on two occasions and we almost lost our dogs.
    • Leaving the construction zone safe and clean every day after work and after the completion of the project.
    • Make 100% sure that whatever got deconstructed in order for the job to get done, will be repaired afterwards.

    4) Set a payment schedule

    • I quote this from "This old house"

    Payment schedules can also speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.

    5) Contract

    • There’s a lot of advice out there when it comes to contracts, with all the necessary legal jargon, but from a practical home owner’s point of view, make sure all the above mentioned questions and concerns are addressed in the contract and that you understand every single line item. Absolutely insist on a clear contract to avoid any issues during or after the project.

    I would highly suggest paying a little extra and just hire someone that belongs to an Organization such as NARI Here is the link to the organization here in Austin, Texas http://austinnari.org/

    Have you had a bad experience with a contractor before? Please share so we can all learn from this!

    If you haven’t already, please go ahead and LIKE us on Facebook

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  • 11/07/2018 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    A major exterior transformation with two paint colors only!

    Ashley Stucki has been named one of Austin’s top Realtors for 5 years in a row! Besides being beautiful, she is super focused on detail. Her market expertise, fresh ideas, and tireless work ethic have made Ashley a trusted resource to buyers and sellers seeking an agent who prioritizes their needs at every step of the way.

    So when Ashhey contacted me again for a Color Consultation on one of her million dollar plus properties, I was nervously excited. This time it was for an Exterior on a $1.9 million property.

    Look, if there is one thing that keeps me humble, it is COLOR! Especially Paint Colors. I know my undertones, I know what to watch out for, most of the time I can predict the outcome of a certain color in certain light, but still. I am in no ways perfect or a know-it-all!

    When I pulled up to the house, it was easy to understand the concern. It is a gorgeous house, but seriously needed a fresh make-over!

    The basic color of the body of the house was dull. Dated. Uninspiring. The green trim around the doors and windows surprised me. When was that the trend again?

    The corbels was ….. wait what! Which corbels?  

    Here is a closer look of the doors. I love the Travertine columns, the detailed trim and the large travertine tiles created a beautiful frame to the front entrance of the house, It was clean and timeless. But the door and window trim had to change. Same with the light fixtures!

    Besides just giving them a paint color for the walls, I made a few other suggestions. As an Architectural Color Consultant, I don’t focus on wall colors only! And Color Placement is crucial! Especially since I gave them only 2 colors!

    Yes, only 2! Brown and cream. And nooooo gray’s. This is a Spanish Style home. Gray would not have been a good choice.

    The light fixtures, had to be removed and spray painted. No need to buy new ones. This project was going to be expensive enough as it is! I also suggested sanding and staining the garage doors as well as the front door, in order to eliminate the orange color.

    See picture below. The color of those light fixtures just doesn’t do anything for this house, right!

    It took about 4 days for the crew to complete the project and fortunately for us, the weather was great! I was super impressed with the paint crew!

    Here is a close-up again of the corbels and the balcony rails. Yip, you missed those on the first picture, I know!

    And here is the After! See the beautiful corbels now? It’s all in the details!

    The front door is a deep dark brown, the green trim around the doors are gone and even the gutters are painted!

    Here’s the Before again

    And the Grand Finale! Good and Clean and Fresh!

    What do you think? Would you have done something differently? Let me know in the comment box below, please.

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  • 19/06/2018 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    Lighting Best Practices & Trends from Savoy House

    I received this video via email from HOUZZ.com and thought it was great info that I wanted to share with Y’all!. Grab a pen and paper and make sure you get "The numbers!"  How high should  the ceiling fan be? How big should it be? How high should chandelier hang from the surface and so forth.

    Award-winning lighting designer, Thomas Wright of Savoy House, shares best practices for selecting lights and discusses popular styles and industry trends.

    Let me know BELOW in the COMMENT BOX what was your biggest AHA nugget that you got from this video! 

    If you want to learn more about LED light Bulbs, make sure to read this Post as well!

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  • 29/05/2018 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    Synesthesia – The art of hearing Color

    Not everybody can SEE Color. Most of us are familiar with the term of being "Color Blind". But did you know that some people can HEAR or TASTE Color?

    Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more senses are attached. People with synesthesia have a relationship between their senses. The excitement of one sense stimulates the experiencing of another. It is estimated that 4% of the population has synesthesia!

    During my research on the topic of Synesthesia, I was amazed to see how many famous people admitted to having this harmless condition. Pharrel Williams, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Geoffrey Rush, Tori Amos, Kanye West, Van Halen, to name a few. Also well-known artists such as Van Gogh ( and they labeled him mentally ill for this!? ) Franz List. Vassilly Kadinsky

    Kadinsky was credited with making the world’s first truly abstract paintings. His artwork is seriously intricate and he literally created symphonies of color! Hearing what he painted! Fascinating! 

    By State Hermitage Museum, Public Domain, Link

    Several books has been written on Synetshesia but I was intrigued by this one in particular. Especially since Bullying is such a huge problem in the schools today!  I have not read the book myself yet, but as Psycology Today summed it up: " Young Jillian is teased and bullied by her classmates when she accidentally reveals her cross-sensory impressions. She suffers until a special visitor to her school—a musician—teaches all the children that having synesthesia is an amazing and positive gift"  You can read more about it here. 

    Photo used with written permission from Author, Marie Harris

    Instead of describing more in words, I thought I’ll share this video with you of Neil Harbisson, the Human Cyborg,  who has been born with Achromatopsia  – Total Color Blindness! How blessed are most of us to be able to see COLORS! 

    Grab yourself a cup of tea and listen to him talking about this fascinating condition. Let me know if you know someone that has Synesthesia by leaving a reply. Have you even heard of it before? 

         

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  • 27/05/2018 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    Color Vision Deterioration in the Elderly

    Many people lose their ability to clearly distinguish certain colors as they age, with losses typically starting around age 70 and getting worse over time. The loss of visual acuity as you age, is experienced as an actual physical impairment and should be treated accordingly.
    The reason why the vison of color is affected is not 100% clear. The photoreceptor cells in the Retina, called Rods and Cones, which are responsible for normal color vision, decline in sensitivity as we age, causing colors to become less bright and the contrast between different colors to be less noticeable.

    Below you will see an illustration to demonstrate the Rods ( light)  and Cones ( colors) , situated in the Retina of the eye.

    Rod cells are photoreceptor cells in the Retina of the eye that can function in less intense LIGHT than the other type of visual photoreceptor, cone cells. Rods have little role in Color Vision which is one of the main reasons why colors are much less apparent in darkness.
    Cone cells, or cones, are one of three types of photoreceptor cells in the Retina. They are responsible for COLOR VISION and function best in relatively bright light as opposed to rod cells, which work better in dim light.
    And of course, general age-related vison problems such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Floaters cannot be excluded. As we age, muscles that control our pupil size and reaction to light, lose some strength. This causes the pupil to shrink and become less responsive to changes in ambient lighting.
    According to many resources, the elderly sees everything in a more yellow tone as opposed to it’s true colors. Blue colors may appear faded and less prominent, so in effect, the Blue-Yellow Spectrum is compromised.

    So keep in mind when designing a space for the elderly:

    • Avoid dull and muted colors.
    • When decorating a space for Seniors, choose brighter colors and ensure higher contrast between surfaces such as steps and general flooring, seating and countertops, which can help with acuity loss. With that being said, make sure your client doesn’t perceive a dark area on the floor as a "Hole in the ground".
    • It has been said that placing a dark rug in front of a door, would keep a confused elderly person from opening the door, as they see it as a hole in the ground. Which of course is an effective method to avoid them from "getting lost" or running away
    • Because of pupil changes and loss of eye muscle strength, people in their 60’s need three times more ambient light for comfortable reading than those in their early adult years. Avoid dazzling, brightly lit rooms and window exposures, but make sure to address the need for sufficient light resources, so that the wavelengths of the stronger lit colors, bounces back to the eye and would make areas and objects easier identifiable.
    • When decorating, use familiar colors such as seen in nature and warm tones of peach, tans ( comforting)  and stronger blues and purples, ince everything they see, seems yellower. 
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  • 16/04/2018 - maxruthvenllc 1 Comment
    What the heck is OMBRE??

    This is the question I received a while ago from a friend of mine.

     Ombre simply means having colors or tones that shade into each other from dark to light. I bet you are familiar with the "Ombre look" without even realizing it!

    Think about a beautiful sunset you’ve witnessed at your favorite vacation spot! See! Ombre!

    Catching " The big one!" against an Ombre sky

    The Ombre technique can be applied to many surfaces. It’s not only to decorate walls or using it in a painting.  Since I don’t have long and luscious hair, I’m not really up to date with long hair colors, but here’s a very good example of how it looks on hair. How FUN!

    Photo supplied by  Shaune Haas – Salon Bang 

    As some of you might have expereinced. the winter of 2013/2014 has really been harsh so far (I am soooo not familiar with a Polar Vortex and I really couldn’t care for it!) Not being a winter person AT ALL, this gloomy, drab look we have experienced about 80% of the winter season so far here in Austin TX, drove me totally insane! So I decided to redo my office and make it colorful, bright and lively and in the process of looking for colorful items, I found this cool keyboard on Etsy. I absolutely loved it! And what a surprise! It’s an Ombre keyboard done in Turquoise! I found some purple, pink and grey ones on Pinterest as well, But I’m thinking Turquoise would do the trick, since I painted the walls Bird’s Egg blue from Benjamin Moore.

    Photo used with permission from advertiser on Etsy

     When using the Ombre Technique in Interior Decorating, beautiful serene looking rooms could be created as you can see in the picture below. Did you know that Radiant Orchid was named as Pantone’s Color of The Year? So if you’re dying to paint a room purple, but you’re a little nervous since it’s been so long since we’ve seen Purple as a trendy color, why not consider having it done the Ombre style. The look will most definitely turn out to be soothing and relaxed, no matter what color you use. 

    I found this post on Ombre as well, but they used Spray Paint instead of regular paint and the results are beautiful! http://wildinkpress.com/blog/2012/05/16/an-ombre-booth/

    How to Implement the Ombré Property Painting Technique: http://www.decoradvisor.net/interior-design-2/how-to-implement-the-ombre-property-painting-technique/

    If you don’t have the guts (or the energy) to paint a whole room in Ombre, why not create your own art piece? Very effective and relatively simple to do, I’d say!

    My friend Christi Duffel Seguin, owner of Cakes Rock! is the best Cake Artist here in Austin and this is her version of an Ombre cake! Yum!

    So now you too know what Ombre means!

    I’d love for you to share your pics of any Ombre articles in your home. You’ll be surprised by what you might find once you start looking for it.

    If you haven’t yet, please LIKE Lets’ Talk Color on Facebook for tips and info on Color and please post your pics of Ombre so we can all share!

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  • 24/03/2017 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    A sneak preview: The beauty of fresh paint colors and professional drapes!

    I was SUPER EXCITED when I got started on this house! It is a single story, which is fairly uncommon in the typical Austin neighborhood and this house has been built in the 70’s! So lots and lots of wood paneling, slate tiles and dark rooms. It needed light and fresh paint colors desperately! The owners of the house agreed to have the wood panels painted. Yes, I was nervous! More for them as for me, because it would be a LOT OF WHITE to look at,after being surrounded with orange-brown dated wood look for years and years!

    We are almost done, but as you may very well know,remodeling takes time! Not everything always works out as it should. And after remodeling, the decorating process starts! Have you been in the situation where you thought it would be quick to find a beautiful piece of artwork to hang or find that perfect accessory for the coffee table and then you just can’t seem to find what you want! Uugghh! And I can be sooo picky! Anyway, I wanted to share just a little bit with you today. I just cannot keep it to myself! I do mostly ReDESIGNS,meaning, I usually work with what a client already has and I am always respectful of their budgets, but on certain things I am just not as flexible! Good quality fabric and professionally made drapes are just not negotiable.If you want The Designer Look, you have to be prepared to spend a little more in certain areas. Knowing my client and knowing that her style is more traditional and very colorful, we chose this fabric for the drapes. Her dining room rug had similar colors in it. 

    Main Accent Color

    As I said, this is just a sneak peak  Not a professional photo. Yet…! 

    Changes in Progress

    This is what it looked like before! 

    Before

    Did you notice that we changed out the light bulb covers to clear ones? It was quite the challenge to find ones that would fit, since they really didn’t want to change the chandelier. The older ones darkened the room even more and had a orangey glow to it. I changed out the light bulbs as well. You can find some tips on the color of light bulbs here. We also added a dimmer to the light switch, so that the bulbs would not be overly bright and in your face. Everything looks much more updated, while still staying true to their style! I still need to find a pretty runner for the table, but I’m thinking I should just have one custom made with a complimentary fabric such as this one. And then the blue bowl on the dining room table might have to be replaced right? What do you think? 

    Complimentary Accent Fabric

    So far I’m ecstatic about the changes. Don’t ever under estimate the power of the correct paint colors and beautiful fabrics!! Your local Certified Color Consultant would most definitely be able to help you with this daunting task! It is such an easy fix! The paint color looks a little yellow in this picture, but it is just a beautiful, fresh,warm, creamy color. 

    Close-up of Single Panel with 2 pinch pleats

    There are much more to come, I’ll keep you posted! Let me know what you think of this sneak preview

    Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for more Color Inspiration!  

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  • 21/02/2017 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    Full Spectrum Paint Colors

    For some reason I thought that everyone in the world of Decorating and Design, knew what Full Spectrum Colors were. But I learned real quick that it was not true.

    And I also thought that everyone that works in a paint store, knew exactly what that was. To my surprise I got the weirdest answer today when I went into a store and just asked if they have any Full Spectrum Colors (although I was fully aware of the fact that this specific store does not sell Full Spectrum Colors)

    So what does "Full Spectrum" mean?

    Usually a paint color is made up of about 2-4 colors including BLACK. Full Spectrum Colors consist of 7-12 different color pigments and it NEVER EVER has BLACK in it! Its truly considered as complex colors. It plays very well with the surrounding colors and is often referred to as chameleon colors. The cool thing about these colors are that they will never look muddy, since it has no black pigments in it. In fact, they are so gorgeous, once youve used these colors, you will probably never go back to a less complex paint color. The scary part about FSC though, is that you dont really know exactly what to expect. Exciting, right! Several different factors can play a role in the way the final result will display. Whatever colors are in the surroundings, will most definitely influence the look. Light, aka Metamerism can play a huge role in the final result of the color. And the intial look can be quite unexpected! As you will see below.

    I chose to  have the island painted with Tweed Coat CSP-85. It is a rick complex gray color. Besides the fact that this was only the first coat, it has not had time to cure, This picture of the kitchen island below, was taken at night, with a cell phone and most probably with a flash and instead of looking Green Gray as you can see in the example above, it turned out to be a khaki color! My client called it "Gumbo soup!"

    Not what I was aiming for!

    We were aiming to tone down the extremely yellows floors, thats for sure. The countertops had a green undertone to it, hence the decision to paint Tweed Coat. It sometimes is really difficult to choose colors in a home, when the undertones of the fixed elements doesnt match. I had a very yellow floor to work with, travertine backsplash, that shows up band-aid pink under certain lights and then a greenish countertop with lots of black and brown in it. So I chose to work with the color of the countertops.

    When visiting the house the next day, I was a little surprised to see that the color looked completely different than what the client portrayed in his picture. Now, granted that a photo doesnt always relay the colors accurately, I still was puzzled by the extreme difference. The picture below was taken in daylight with no lights on. This was just one coat of paint, but I could already see it was going to be the color that I was aiming for. If anything, I wouldve wanted it deeper, more intense, especially when daylight washed over everything, but the client really did not want it any darker than it was. Their tolerance level for strong or saturated colors were very low and as a Color Consultant, I have to respect that.

    I could've chosen a color with a yellow undertone as well, but we've had enough of all the oranges and yellows in the house! I had the painters paint a second coat, remove all the floor coverings, changed out some of the light bulbs in the kitchen and the final result was exactly what I had in mind! A gorgeous rich color, that worked very well with the countertop. As usual,  pictures doesn't show reflect the actual outcome of the true results, but you'll get the idea. It really looks gorgeous when seeing it in person.

    This was the final result. It is a bit darker when you actually see it

    So what have we learned about Full Spectrum Colors?

    • It is Complex. It is Rich. It is Unique and it is Dynamic! And it works extremely well with surrounding elements.
    • It has NO Black in it, which means it will never look muddy. This enhances it’s natural ability to reflect light, creating truly luminous colors.
    • Not all companies have them. Benjamin Moore and PPG are the 2 companies in austin, Texas, that carries Full Spectrum paints. Look for the Paint Colors in the Color Stories Collection. They will only mix it in the AURA paint. The Full Spectrum paints, mixed in the Aura product CAN NOT BE USED for EXTERIOR surfaces.
    • C2 paint is also known for their Full Spectrum Colors and have an alliance with PPG for easier distribution of their 496 extraordinary colors! Their paint product CAN be applied onto EXTERIOR surfaces
    • Due to the complexity of the ratio of pigments used to create a color, you wont be able to purchase a small sample, it has to be a quart.
    • It can absolutely NOT be Color Matched. Do not even attempt!

    Here is a short video from C2 paints, explaining a bit more about the pigments they use to create their Full Color Spectrum paints.

    Now you know! Once you have the guts to try out Full Spectrum Paints, you would probably never settle for a 4 color pigment paint color again. Just my two cents…. 

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  • 04/02/2017 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    My biggest struggle! Choosing art for someone else!

    The hardest part of decorating for me is when a client asks me to find them Art! To me Art is a very personal choice and I struggle to use something that might be found in a Staged house or that can be bought at our local decor retail shops. Not that I think there is anything wrong with any of that. There are some great prints out there! I myself even have a few with a story behind it of course! It’s just a personal thing!

    I recently redecorated my guest bedroom. I had to be careful not to make the room look too feminine or too serene, since most of our visitors are men or couples. With lots of luggage! Either a cousin, who works at IBM and travels extensively, will stay over for a few days, friends from South Africa or Namibia or out of town business colleagues will stay a night or two while in Austin for business. In my quest to update and refresh the room on a fairly limited budget, I bought 2 beautiful abstracts at a very well-know nretailstore who sells gorgeous art and decor! I was determined to make them work! To my own disappointment I just couldn’tt get excited when I hung the two pieces on the wall. To me, it looked like someone else’s house, there was no story to it. And I wanted to burst out in tears! Why, oh why, oh why can I not just accept it???? Plan B! A few months ago I bought two original abstracts – canvas wrapped – at a Designer Store that was closing down. The actual paint was damaged, (they were stuck together! Genius, right! :-/ ) so I was able to get them at a discounted price. I even had a hard time putting those up on my walls! But the room needed to be finished! The colors are not a perfect match for the duvet, but I decided, bugger that! I am just going to fix them as best I could and hang them. Everything doesn’t have to be a perfect match, right? ( Says the Color Gal:-) )

    I also hung a small collage of what I call my memory art. I painted one myself, I bought the other one in South Africa from a local artist, Portchie whose signature style is to paint BLUE TREES! Here is how they describe him: "Portchie is an unusual, if not unique phenomenon in South African art". Love that! 

    And the smaller one I bought from a water paint artist in Prague. And for obvious reasons, I was much happier. It might not be Houzz-worthy, but it made me happy <3

    So where do I buy my Art?

    We love travelling and would usually buy art instead of a fridge magnet.Justin and I watched the artist paint this rainy street scene while visiting Prague, so it will be a special memory forever! 

    I also like visiting a local Art Markets or Art Fairs, such as the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar here in Austin or the Pecan StreetFestival and support our local artists. Below is one of my Kathy Womackprints I bought at the Armadillo Bazaar and I just LOVE the vibrant colors and happy image!  I never pass by a small town Art Gallery and yes, I will most definitely see if I can find something special in our local Designer stores. It also helps to have a brother who is an excellent painter! Pity he is not close by 

    So here is my question to you

    Where do you like to source Art from, what’s your favorite online store for Print and Paintings and what Type of Art "speaks" to you? I really have to figure out HOW to buy art for my clients. I need all the help I can get! Please share your tips and advice in the Comment Section. Thanks you!

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  • 24/10/2016 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    How to choose LED light bulbs

     LED lights have been the buzzword for quite a while now, so you might as well get used to them. Unless you have stocked up on traditional incandescent light bulbs and have stacks of them piled up in your garage, you will have to eventually give in and switch over to LED bulbs! 

    What does LED stand for?" Light Emitting Diode

    But don’t worry about that. Everybody just calls it LED! When choosing a light bulb, there are a few things you should consider before you purchase them. I am not going to go into too much technical jargon, you could find that on Google, but since this is a blog about Color, I would like to make sure that you are focused on how the color of light can influence your mood. Let me first explain a bit about BLUE light vs YELLOW light. Both these light colors have a tremendous influence on our Circadian Rhythm Bulbs that emits BLUE light waves, stimulates the excretion of Serotonin, which is the hormone that produces energy, alertness, keeps you focused and also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Same as Sunlight or Daylight! So it makes sense that you would want to use a blue (or a white) light bulb in working spaces such as kitchens, offices, showers, sewing rooms, hobby rooms or any surface that requires task lighting. Of course that will influence how your paint colors look under those bulbs as well, but I will tell you more about Metamerism elsewhere.

    When it comes to YELLOW light, we have learned that the correct color of light plays a crucial role in producing the right amount of Melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for making us relaxed, drowsy or sleepy. With that being said, it is obvious that Yellow Bulbs are more suitable for areas like a bedroom, dining room or a living room. And LED Dimmable lights are available now, which was not always the case and is perfect for a creating a soft, cozy feeling in a Dining Room for example.  

    When buying a LED Light bulb, look at what information is displayed on the packaging. It will always have the amount of LUMENS and KELVINS on it. The number of KELVINS in a light determines the COLOR it gives off. Red, orange, yellow hues are considered warm and will come from a bulb with a rating of 2,700K. 6000K will result in a cold blue light, which haven’t been very popular since the CFL light bulbs have been introduced.  

     When it comes to the intensity of the light,note what it says about LUMENS on the package. Lumens simply describes the BRIGHTNESS of the bulb. Incandescent lights were described as Watt’s, (which actually referred to the amount of energy used, not the brightness) but when it comes do LED bulbs, we talk about Lumens. The HIGHER the Lumens, the BRIGHTER, the light.

    This package says it all!

    What I also LOVE about the new Energy Efficient Light Bulbs, is the fact that it says: "Shows COLORS, True and Natural! " My kinda light bulb! No more guessing!

    But WAIT! There’s more! (Okay, I couldn’t resist, I just had to say it ;-))

    The newer versions of LED light bulbs does not take forever and a day to brighten up! Don’t you just hate those lights! And it looks cold, eerie, sterile. I haven’t met anybody that even remotely likes those pigtail bulbs!

    Make sure you read your packages before you buy it. And if you are not sure, ASK! Now you know what to ask for!

    I found this cool table that compares the efficiency of the different light bulbs and it’s very obvious that LED lights will save you at least up to 80% in cost! Now that’s what I’m talking about!

    The other advantage of the LED Bulbs, is that it is available in all shapes and sizes! No more excuses!

    Have you switched over to LED’s yet?

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  • 28/06/2016 - Max Ruthven 0 Comments
    Would THIS color really drive your baby to tears??

    If I mention words such as "Happy, Energetic, Optimistic, Sunshine, Creativity, be Alert, Sponge Bob, Smiley Face, what Color comes to mind first? Yellow of course! No doubt about it! So would yellow really make your baby cry??

    Yellow is often considered a happy, vibrant color. And for the most part, it is! But there’s a very fine line between a good yellow and a bad yellow. There is a dark side to yellow that we need to be aware of. According to a study, suicidal patients used more yellow in their paintings, as did Van Gogh. It was said that "Wheatfield of Crows"was his last painting just before he committed suicide.

    And because Yellow is the most visible color to the eye, most caution signs, emergency vehicles, some firetrucks, yellow taxi, yellow school busses, traffic light poles and so forth, are painted in a heavy saturated yellow. And that is the point I would like to make.

    Yellow, per se, is NOT what will make babies cry.

    Do a search on Yellow Nurseries and you will find that the internet is flooded with yellow baby rooms. Yes, the color yellow can be anxiety producing and can cause one to feel agitated, but it all depends on the saturation of the color. Excessive use of bright yellow will irritate the eyes and therefore, cause a stressful emotion, which will even make adults cry. As one mother said when I showed her a room, painted in bright, deeply saturated McDonald’s type of yellow, her answer, very accurately, was:"This is like a Disney yellow" –  meant to make kids bounce off of the walls! Imagine painting a bright yellow, like this one below, on all four walls! Luckily the designer of this room probably knew it would be a dangerous move and just used it as an accent wall.

     

    It is quite evident that the difference between these two rooms has everything to do with what type of yellow is used and how saturated the color is. The one below is much more soothing and softer on the eyes.

     

    Bottomline is, yellow will NOT make your baby burst into tears and cry hysterically. Like with any other color, it really just depends on how vivid and intense the color is.

    How many times have you heard that Yellow makes babies cry? Still think it’s true? I would love to hear from all the Mom’s out there!
     
     
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  • 08/06/2016 - maxruthvenllc 0 Comments
    Should your Wardrobe Colors define the choice of your Paint Colors?

    We have this routine in the morning. I usually wake up first, take my dogs out to do their business, while the coffee is brewing. My husband is up by the time I get back in the house. We talk about the day, what our goals and plans are, we watch the news and scan through our tablets to catch up with "other people’s lives". Meaning Facebook (our families are in a different time zone) and I go through my emails. This morning I clicked on a link that directed me to an article in Houzz. For those of you who are not familiar with Houzz.com….it can be inspirational, overwhelming and addicting! But you really shouldn’t believe every single thing that you see or read in there. This specific article was talking about how you should choose PAINT COLORS for your home. Here is what the designer said: "I tell clients, No. 1, to look in their closet and see what colors they wear often. Obviously, what better way to look great in the interior than if you paint what you look great in?" If you wear it, that means you love it! Right? Sure enough. But do you really want to choose your wall colors according to the color of your clothes? What if you favor bright or saturated colors most of the time? I actually do have a friend that loves wearing lovely, bright colors, especially when she’s happy! But would you want to be surrounded by it constantly? Think in terms of relaxation, spa-feeling, serenity… 

    And what if  you love wearing browns, khaki, olive green or navy, but want to update your space to a fresh Parisian Gray look?  What if you have not been able to update your closet completely ( we all have busy lives! ) and you are still stuck with a few of your GrandMa’s beautiful vintage clothing with not-so-trendy colors?

    Picture used with written permission from owner

    Now I’m not saying it is totally wrong , I’m just saying that you should be very careful when considering looking at your wardrobe as the No. 1 color inspiration!

    I recently took a course from  Arden Reece and it was quite surprising to see how my personal color palette developed. I highly suggest you subscribe to her newsletter if you need help figuring out what colors are best for you! Here, find out what your Color Type is, while you’re at it! I,  for instance like wearing black and white, especially when I work, but it really doesn’t do much for me, unless I add a lot of bling or a colorful scarf. I also don’t look good in Red, but Tangerine is a color that goes well with my complexion and compliments the color of my eyes. In case you don’t know what Tangerine looks like, here is a picture of a blouse and jersey that I often wear together. 

    Now can you imagine painting a saturated color like this on all four walls?? Talk about eye fatigue! Honestly, by looking at these colors in my closet, I wouldn’t even know which one is the most dominant, let alone paint  any of these colors on my walls.  I like all of it! But I’d rather apply it in terms of accessories, such as pillows and artwork! Now that would make me happy  

    So as I said before, it’s not totally wrong to refer to your wardrobe for some color choices. You could easily find great color inspiration by choosing something specific, like your favorite scarf. But my advice would be to focus on accessories and art work when planning your color design, as opposed to painting strong colors on your walls. With that being said, of course there will be times that you want to make those walls pop. Color Blocking is a great example where strong colors could be quite effective! 

    Translate the colors above into decorating a room and this is what you could end up with! Now tell me this isn’t spot on! 

     

    What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you agree with me? Have you ever used your wardrobe colors to inspire your wall colors? I would love to know how that worked out for you!

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  • 26/05/2016 - maxruthvenllc 0 Comments
    Wabi-Sabi: Embracing imperfection

    Not too long ago I read a blogpost of one of my fellow Color Enthusiasts and amazing Interior Designer, Eugi Triandos and I was intrigued by the term Wabi Sabi. For some reason I haven’t heard of this before! I immediately recognized it for what it was and I knew that I have always loved imperfect objects and got many Color and Décor Inspirations from it, without giving it a name. I always take pictures of rust or peeling paint or tree bark, ruins etc. For example, the picture below was taken in Budapest, while visiting the city, to use it for future color inspiration.

    The term Wabi Sabi is of Japanese descent. The Japanese believe that if something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. WABI refers to rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. SABI is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina wear, or in any visible repairs. 

    Since I’m not a matchy-match person, my own house was actually full of Wabi- Sabi objects. They each have a story to tell. My secret passion is vintage Teddy Bears, but that’s another story for another day.  This is my Santos Doll with her quiet, undeclared beauty and although I am not Catholic, I believe she keeps a watchful eye on us.

    Below is a double decker bus that my husband’s grandfather made for his dad when he was just a boy. It has had better days, yes, but it has a story to tell of many hours of joyful play. Justin has kept it through all these years and we decided to leave it untouched instead of trying to renovate it and we display it as an object of love, sentiment and family history. Yes, it’s part of my accessories. I bet you also have some sentimental accessories somewhere in your house, right?

    Wabi Sabi is about accepting and acknolwdeging the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. The typical color palette of wasabi is drawn from browns, blacks, grays, earthy greens, and rusts, but of course there are no rules when it comes to art. In my search for more Wabi-Sabi examples, I came upon a Wabi-Sabi Artist – Serena Barton. Looking through all the art her students created, it’s quite evident that the use of many colors are acceptable and it doesn’t have to stay within the earthy color range. Art created by using 3D objects, wax, layers of textures, unexpected objects…How inspiring!

    Picture used with permission from artist

    I couldn’t resist taking this picture of an old rusty pipe that I saw in the streets of Budapest, that has been part of history for centuries! I thought it was beautiful in all it’s imperfections!  Great for vibrant Color inspiration! Warm oranges, browns , corals, several shades of  green gray and a touch of white to balance it all!

    Wabi-Sabi is everywhere, it’s a part of our life, our stories and our history. Next time you sit down on that weathered bench, daydreaming while sipping on your coffee, take a minute to appreciate the incredible beauty of imperfection that surrounds us. Nothing about nature is linear or symmetrical or impervious to decay.  Embrace the beauty.

    Do you have Wabi-Sabi objects in your home? Please share with us. There is always a story to tell!

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  • 25/05/2016 - maxruthvenllc 0 Comments
    Why I chose Color to be my Obsession!

    For those of you that have followed my Color info posts before, thank you for coming back. I decided to redo the blog for several reasons, which I won’t bore you with right now.  I will be reposting some of the info that I have shared with you before, but it might be under a new headline.

    While the blog was "Under Reconstruction", I furthered my education in Color in different areas. There is so much to learn about this fascinating topic and I can tell you right now, that I will share more than just Architectural Color articles with you. If you have a passion for Color like I do, you will be bored by just focusing on one area, right! Everything we eat, we see, choices we make in everyday life, like buying a car, choosing a handbag or even a dish for your kitchen, is influenced by the Color.  The more I got involved in this topic, the more I realized I how intricate and intense the decision making is when a product is created, when a brand is designed, when a home is being decorated. I can go on and on about this!

    Not too long ago, my title was a Professional Home Stager and Redesigner.  Actually, it still is, but I became so obsessed with the wrong colors that I saw in so many homes and business offices, I needed to get to the bottom of this issue and help people make the correct choices from the start! I have done several training courses in Color since I started this journey. Of course now, the challenge will be to put all that knowledge together and apply it in a way that I am comfortable with and that will be acceptable in the areas I work in the most.  

    Not everyone agrees on certain aspects of decorating or choosing colors, and my initial reaction when choosing a color will probably also be emotional, just like we all react most of the time, but I am going to stick with the scientific facts as much as I can and I will probably not be very popular in certain Color or Decorating circles because of that.  But I have come far enough now, to be confident in my knowledge and decision making. It’s okay to disagree with me on this blog as long as you do it in a positive way and not attack anyone else in the process. So my aim is to assist home owners, builders, painters, architects, etc. to choose the correct colors from the start, avoid expensive mistakes and creating disastrous spaces!

    With that being said, Let’s Talk Color!

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