March 25, 2011

Which white is the right white?

So many choices.  One is too creamy, one is too yellow, one is too stark, another too pink....  How can there possibily be so many different options when it comes to a colour that isn't even a colour?  In Colour Theory class, white was defined as being "achromatic", meaning no colour.  Essentially, you strip all the "colour" from a "colour", just bleach it away and you get white.  So once again, I ask why are there so many different white paints to choose from?

My friends purchased their first home and are now in the process of doing some minor renovations to replace the '80's decor and refresh their new place.  In doing so, they are re-painting all the kitchen cabinets, adding new countertops and a backsplash.  Not a super cheap project and one you'd like to get right the first time, so you can move in and just feel instantly at home.  We come back to white again and trying to decide what colour to paint the cabinets.  The final choice, with some advice from the painter, was to go with Marscapone AF-20 by Benjamin Moore.  It's a nice off-white that's not too yellow but has some depth and richness which will allow the cabinets to pop but not overwhelm the space (which is a kitchen/eat-in/family room combo).  Some of the choices that were nixed were either too starkly white, too much gray undertone that it looked flat and cold or an undertone of red that started to read  pink when against the selected granite (dark brown with hints of white and pink quartz).

So, how do you pick the right white?  I find that you need to see the swatch or even paint a sample on the wall and see how it looks throughout the day - when the sun is coming up (or at least around when you would eat breakfast), in the afternoon, in the evening and with the lights on/dimmed/off.  Look to see if the colour changes and if it continues to interact well with the other colour combinations in the room- wall paint, furniture, tile, flooring, art work, fabric, etc.  Once a colour changes into something you don't love (too cold, too purple, to bland), remove it from the pile and focus on what's left.  After a couple of days, you'll end up with the white that is just right.

Some all-time fave whites:
  • Swiss Coffee - Behr 1812
  • Cottage White - Behr 1813
  • Ultra Pure White - Behr 1850
  • White Dove - Benjamin Moore OC-17
  • Cloud White - Benjamin Moore OC-40
  • Oxford White - Benjamin Moore OC-30

March 18, 2011

The New Industrialists

After my visit to the Brickworks, I've really had my eye on all the great raw, rough and industrial furniture pieces that are available right now.  The mixture of metal and wood to create a dining room table is anything but what you'd call a traditional table.  The rubbed metal desks and chandeliers of exposed wires and oversized light bulbs add so much interest to a space.  They all seem so perfectly suited for the classic loft with concrete ceilings and floors, exposed pipes and celestial ceilings.  I find though that this new look can easily be transitioned into a more contemporary space to add some edge and contrast to a room that would otherwise become forgettable.  Granted you can't just throw an industrial piece into any space - it definitely takes a certain sensibility and an existing eclectic mix of furniture and accessories to really coexist harmoniously.

I'm currently on the hunt for a new dining room table but am far too concerned about the staying power of my love affair with a table that is >$3,000 with welded metal legs to fully commit to this trend (the table I am smitten with has the most gorgeous, silky and dark wood top though - so torn!).  Instead I purchased a great gunmetal stool that is low enough to be a small sidetable but is also fully functional as a step and extra seating.  I also have my eye on a fabulous brushed steel lamp that will add some masculinity to my guestroom but I'm just hoping the price comes down slightly before I pull out my credit card.

Here are a few inspiration photos of this trend:

via desire to inspire
via Remodelista
via Remodelista

via Remodelista

via Remodelista

A few stores in TO to consider:

March 06, 2011

Busy Saturday

Saturday was a busy day that began with my first visit to the Brick Works for their Farmer's Market.  It is such an amazing space and the city (really a huge group of movers and shakers) have done a wonderful job of melding the old and the new.  It's incredible to see the kilns still there with art installations on the wall along with graffiti from when the site was abandoned.  The market is great and I'm hoping to enjoy either the fresh-made crepes or JK's fries on my next visit.

The next stop was The Artist Project.  200 vendors displaying amazing pieces for sale.  The mediums varied and included photography, sculpture, oils, glass, etc.  I picked up a lovely piece by Jerre Davidson.  She takes layers of glass and creates what appears to be a painting.  Of course, I gravitated towards one of the fall scenes and it looks incredible when the natural light is reflected through it. 

I ended the day with dinner at Pastis.  It was an absolutely incredible meal.  A perfect end to a wonderful day in TO.