color, color tone, phantone, paint, architecture, interior, mood board, finishes, wall, wood,

Monday, 21 December 2009

Choose contrasting color schemes for a more powerful effect

By Rose Bennett Gilbert - Creators Syndicate Comments Comment on this article0

Published: December 19, 2009

Q: My husband and I both like the color gray, so I was glad to see that a number of the designers in a show house used gray on the walls. But they also used beige furniture and a beige-and-gray plaid rug.

Gray, graphic and anything but gloomy, a dining room almost vibrates with high-contrast, high-energy patterns. Photo courtesy of Joe Schmelzer, Filipacchi Publishing. - Creators


It was very pretty, but a little too dull for us. What else would you suggest with gray?

A: Think contrast instead of coordinates. The latter must have been what the designer had in mind for the show house room you're referencing. Beige and gray fall almost together on the color intensity scale. Used together, they add up to a room that's practically monochromatic — even in pitch, harmonious and maybe sophisticated.

But frankly, this color scheme is a little dull to the eyes of those who like more energetic environments.

Contrasting color schemes, on the other hand, include high notes, sharp and clear, even clarion colors that sparkle against a quieter background. The pictured dining room is a lively case in point.

Both the walls and the ceiling are painted gray, presenting a stylish background against the designer's virtual medley of crisply contrasting black-and-white patterns. Curtains, the rug and the upholstery on the stool are related but not matching. Even the black-painted frames on the French doors help increase the energy of the room.

"And white urns and statuary inject wit," writes Jean Nayar, author of the new book from which we've borrowed this photo ("Staged to Sell -- Or Keep," Filipacchi Publishing). In the book, Nayar runs this dining room under the heading of "Glamorous," and indeed, the room lives up to the adjective.

It takes a deft hand (and a modicum of courage) to work with several different patterns, especially extroverts, in the same room. The secret? Colors should be alike, while the scale of the patterns should be different and high in contrast.

Q: Do I have to match the wood tone of my new kitchen cabinets to the oak floors in the nearby dining room? The kitchen opens through an arch and you can see the cabinets from the dining room.

A: In a word, no. The word today is "blend," not match. Top interior and kitchen designers eschew what they call "matchy-matchy," decorating in favor of colors — including wood tones — that blend or contrast.

Need more proof? Click on Then go to "Write and Request" for a free booklet that tells you how the professionals feel about matching things up. In a word, they say, "Don't!"

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web site at


Friday, 20 November 2009

Cheerful color scheme sets tone for Denver's stunning Brass Ring luncheon and show

Catching up with the social scene
Joanne Davidson
The Denver Post

Winter's closing in, so, sure, many of the runway selections were outfits well-suited for snowstorms and evenings spent in front of a cozy fire.

But this is Colorado, where dark and dreary days are few and far between, so a cheerful yellow, black and white color scheme was the perfect choice for a bridging-the-seasons event like the Brass Ring Luncheon & Fashion Show.

"Wow!" was the word heard over and over as 820 guests filed into the Marriott City Center's main ballroom for the lunch and Saks Fifth Avenue style show that could raise as much as $225,000 for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

Chairwoman Jamie Angelich spent a full eight months refining the design, color and detail that would bring the reaction it did. Eight months that also included the death of her mother and surgery on her back.
"It was a tough year for me personally, and there was a point when I felt it might be better to step down," Angelich acknowledged. "But then I realized that this was the outlet I needed to escape the reality of life. Planning Brass Ring turned out to be the silver — or yellow — lining for me."

She assembled a team of pros — including Cheryl Lebsock of Inviting by Design, Jesse Ketter and David Squires from DesignWorks and Mark Anderson of Rollins Professional Event Productions — to help execute a vision that tied together every element from save-the-date cards and the event logo to patron favors and table settings.

The favors — patent leather, yellow and black checkered coin purses that Marc Roth and James Pfister helped Angelich find at the Denver Merchandise Mart — were paid for by Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons, Diana Docktor and Marty Jensen. Docktor also coordinated the silent auction with Judy Korstad and will chair Brass Ring in 2010.

Hotel banquet chef Roger King did his part for the color scheme by suggesting a menu that began with roasted corn soup and ended with lemon cheesecake.
"The women who attend Brass Ring love to sit down to a beautiful table and have the service and the details and the little touches — and the hundreds of e-mails I've received since that day proves that."

Guests included Roxanne Vierra, who with husband Fred was a benefactor-level sponsor; Sharon Kamen, president-elect of the Guild of the Children's Diabetes Foundation; Frances Owens; Julia Peay; Loretta Kelce; Edie Marks; Kelly Storrs; Kimi Porterfield Brown; Lisa Williams; Doug- las Kerbs; Margot Gilbert Frank; Gretchen Pope; Arlene Mohler Johnson; Eunice Romano; Diane Sweat; Sharon Whiton Gelt; Dianne Eddolls; Kalleen Malone; Linda Bowen Scott; Ginny Messina; Freda Gold; Lisa Corley; Kit Leventhal; Trisha Hood; Dr. Bonita Carson; Ann Carroll; Sharon Rawls; Carol Roger; Victoria Frank; Helen Hanks; Patty Jenkins; and CBS4 meterologist Ed Greene, who emceed.

Coming right up.

Beaujolais & Beyond, a fundraiser for the French-American Chamber of Commerce, begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mile High Station. The $55 admission (call 303-695-7818) includes wine samples and food prepared by 20 chefs. ... Same night: Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee St., is the setting for a get-together hosted by Darby Donohue and the Denver Art Museum's young professional support group, CultureHaus. Guests will enjoy

Cole Finegan, Mark Falcone and Michael Van Gilder.
food from Gourmet Fine Catering while viewing works by John McEnroe and Jessica Stockholder; it's from 6 to 8 p.m. and admission is free, but co-chairs Michelle Losasso and Anna Mills-Robertson say that an RSVP to would be appreciated.
Joanne Davidson: 303-809-1314 or; also, and GetItWrite on Twitter

Brass Ring full of color and sass
Winter's closing in, but this is Colorado, where dark and dreary days are few and far between. So the annual Brass Ring Luncheon & Fashion Show had elements of sunshine and sass as 820 guests viewed Saks Fifth Avenue clothing fit for snowy days and evenings spent by a crackling fire. Read more in Joanne Davidson's Inside Line, above.
Speeding toward fun
Speed racers of every stripe were in their element when the Riverfront Park Community Foundation hosted "Velocity," a dinner and auction benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver. Joanne Davidson has more about the fast-paced gala chaired by Tim Gill, Scott Miller, Lu Law and Dr. Chris Law in her Seen First blog:

Monday, 16 November 2009

Black Friday will start early for local retailers

No matter how you color it, the Friday after Thanksgiving has taken on a recession-tinted hue this year that's elevated it to be-all-and-end-all status for anxious retailers.
Pre-dawn openings, once marveled for their moxie, seem late now.

At the Legends at Sparks Marina, Black Friday will start the night before with entertainment and giveaways priming shoppers for two hours before a collective midnight opening of the 47-store complex.

Other retailers already have begun advertising "Black Friday Now!" and "Doorbusters" sales in an early grab for consumers leading up to the day the industry hopes will put them in the black -- hence the name.

For now, officials are optimistic, pointing to the tradition that has become Black Friday with shoppers waiting in lines overnight at some locales for doors to open.

"These are the diehards, they plan for this all year, to come on that day to shop," said Sally Nordgaard, director of marketing and business development at Meadowood Mall. "Will they be looking for bargains? Yes, but I think the stores have plans for that."

Whether it all works amid a 21/2-years-long slump in taxable sales in Washoe County is another matter.

"Retailers will take extraordinary promotional measures, and that may generate higher volume of sales, but does it mean the good times are here again? I doubt it," said Tom Cargill, economist at the University of Nevada, Reno.

"All it may do is shift purchases that would have been made a month later," he said. "There's a malaise, a lack of confidence, in this country that doesn't translate into a very good environment for retailers. It's getting mean and lean out there."

As the area's newest retail destination, the Legends at Sparks Marina brings with it a first -- billed "Midnight Madness" with promotional giveaways and store discounts -- as its Black Friday foothold.

"It isn't a secret that people are still tightening their purse strings and evaluating budgets," said Lisa Bates, Legends marketing consultant.

Others who have been through the Black Friday drill before are banking on successful schemes from previous holiday seasons in their bids for shoppers.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

High Point highlights

The recently ended High Point Furniture Market offers a glimpse of what consumers will be seeing in local showrooms and retail stores in the next four months or so.

Last update: November 10, 2009 - 12:15 PM

The economic downturn hasn't snuffed out the desire for glamour and glitz. The High Point furniture market revealed a smoky palette of grays, from pale, barely there to almost white, to deep charcoal tones brightened with accents of shimmer, sheen and diamond-like details. Marge Carson, known for large-scale upholstery, showed that jewelry isn't just for wearing. Pavé buttons and crystal embellishments adorned everything from sofas and chairs to pillows and throws. Likewise, many furniture makers are adding sparkle to their wood pieces by using similar details on hardware.

• Color trends seem to have come from opposite ends of the spectrum. Hot orange prevailed in several showrooms; Global Views grabbed attention with its orange leather chairs and stunning display of objects, including large glass vases filled with mini-carrots against a bright, squash-colored wall.

• Pale blue-greens paired with white or cream dominated many showrooms, sometimes used with brown. Silver metallic finishes were abundant; some were slightly warmer, moving toward gold.

• Pillows from Ann Gish carried sophisticated shades of amethyst to soft purple with pleats, crystals and lots of detail.

Driftwood lamps, fossilized wood tables and eco-friendly fabrics were on display. Fashion leader Hickory Chair showed onyx table tops. Aviva Stanoff, a New York designer, displayed beautiful pillows with natural objects embossed into the fabric, but they looked more formal and silky than earthy.

The Phillips Collection's "ice cube" bench is lit internally. Also shown: Tables that look like rocks but were clearly manmade.

Every few years a new motif pops up. While roosters and wine labels have been around for years, they've been joined this year by the octopus, represented in fabrics and art. Patterns, when used, are either boldly graphic or subtle tone-on-tone looks, with appearances by very few florals.