Posts Tagged ‘AkzoNobel’


Chartreuse, Spice and All Things Nice!

May 29, 2012

I’m thrilled to report that Interior Designer Barry Johnson (of “Barry’s Babylon” color fame) was quoted in the June House Beautiful Magazine, naming our “Chartreuse” as his favorite healing color in the article where designers shared their favorite “life-changing colors” (color #5). Here’s Barry’s quote in HB:

“This color is about birth, growth and nature. It’s the color of new leaves. Chartreuse can be very acid but this is more of a soft yellow-green, Easy to work with. I see it in a Master Bedroom with creamy linens and a touch of coral. It would bring in some life.”

I created my full spectrum version of Akzo Nobel’s “Color of the Year” for 2007 and named it “Chartreuse” because it is the perfect balance between yellow and green. It is actually more traditional than the name suggests and I’ve used it recently on a couple of projects down here to brighten up spaces that had lots of dark wood (floors, beams, etc.).

I recently recommended it to Courtenay Dunk, author of the wildly popular Blog, when she sent me this photo of her office, saying that she was having trouble selecting a new wall color because all the samples she tried tended to have a greenish cast. In addition to her divine red & white chaise longue and rug, the only other major color in the space was her turquoise desk chair.


Courtney’s “before” photo of her office.

As soon as she said “turquoise”, Chartreuse immediately came to mind. I also figured if the light in the room tended towards green, why not enhance it and go with a green.


All photos are courtesy of Courtenay Dunk,

The turquoise in the recesses of her bookshelves needed some special attention since the shadows affected how the colors we tried (Turquoise, Tiffany Turquoise and Eco Hues’ Peacock Blue) looked. We ended up going with 75% of the Peacock Blue formula, which turned out to be a gorgeous color and perfect with the Chartreuse.

When I first heard from Courtenay, I was immediately intrigued by her website,, in her email signature, so I visited it to discover a treasure trove of information about spices, cooking, exotic places and more! Courtenay describes herself as “obsessive cook, style fanatic, avid traveler, reluctant writer, food photographer when the light is right”, and as you can see by her photos, she’s quite the talented photographer!

When we finally talked over the phone, I asked her more about her office. She explained that this is where she writes her spice blog and her grandmother’s chaise longue is where she has tea most afternoons (and sometimes a nap). Books on the shelves are about spices, herbs and cooking. Objects have been collected on her travels.


All photos courtesy of Courtenay Dunk of


On top of the Tibetan chests there are jars of rare Indian peppercorns Courtenay picked up in Paris. “This is ‘le sniffing bar,’ where I try to keep my sense of smell honed by inhaling the scent of different spices everyday. Right now I’m trying to distinguish between varieties of peppercorns grown in different regions without looking at the labels.” 


The Buddhist Lohan is a beneficent figure whose presence bestows good fortune. 

Courtenay’s blog is far more than an interesting read. She also helped a coffee grower she met in Veracruz who was about to go out of business, turn his business around! You can read about it in her post, “The Butterfly Effect“.

Here’s what she says about her new Chartreuse office:

“I love your Chartreuse so much that I haven’t hung a single picture on the walls. It’s soft and lively at the same time.  When I’m working in my office, I feel as if I’m bathed in a gorgeous light that relaxes and recharges the spirit.  The modified Tiffany blue is like a little glimpse of the Caribbean.  It’s a more electric hue which really makes the inside of the bookcases pop.  The two colors are fantastic together, especially with the red in the upholstery and the Moroccan rug.”

If you’d like a hand-painted sample of Chartreuse, email me at with your address and we’ll get one right out to you!


Transforming a Mountain Getaway

May 2, 2012

I just love it when I get emails and “after” photos from clients showing me their newly transformed homes! Mary, who has an art degree and specializes in oil painting, contacted me at the beginning of last year to help her with paint colors for her newly purchased home in the North Carolina mountains. When she and her husband Grady purchased the home, all of the walls were white and the trim was green, and as you can see, they also had lots of that honey-colored wood that can be so difficult to work with when selecting paint colors:In addition to the colors that were already in the palette, they had a very hard time choosing colors for this house because the elevation is above 4,000 ft. and the light in the mountains plays tricks with colors. They tried about 8 non-full spectrum paint color samples on the walls and the colors changed by the minute and most of the changes Mary didn’t like. Although she doesn’t use a designer and really enjoys decorating for herself, this weekend home was giving her fits, so she started searching the internet to see what she might come up with, and found information about full spectrum colors and then my website. She ordered samples, and then with the help of  Grady and her friend Cheryl, she picked out all of the colors, except for one of the guest rooms, because she had already chosen the fabric. After seeing her fabric samples, I suggested Edgewood Green to go with the rest of her chosen palette of Camelhair, Rust and Chestnut, with Wheat on millwork and most ceilings.

“Edgewood Green” is a great compliment to reds and golds and is such a neutral, most any fabric will work well with it.

“Camelhair” was used on the walls and millwork of the main living areas.

Kitchen Area “before”

“Camelhair” was used on everything: Walls, cabinets and trim.

Love the softness of her “Wheat” ceiling and trim with “Chestnut” walls in this Guest Bedroom!

“Edgewood Green” walls with “Wheat” ceiling and trim in this Guest Bedroom where dust ruffle is the red fabric and curtains are in the gold check.

“Camelhair” walls and millwork also used in the Dining Room.

I especially liked getting this feedback from Mary since I recently had to increase my prices again due to manufacturer Akzo Nobel increasing prices:

“I highly recommend your colors and your services. Sure you pay more for the paint, but the colors are fantastic.”

When I started this line of full spectrum paints over ten years ago, it was with the intent that I keep my pricing in line with major paint manufacturers so that it would be affordable for everyone because I truly believe (& get constant feedback) that our paints are healing, bringing joy and balance to everyone who comes into contact with them. Due to the scarcity of one of the most important ingredients in good paint, titanium; all paint manufacturers have increase their prices as many as 4 times a year over the past couple of years. However, even at our increased prices, it all comes down to only 15 cents per square foot for our most popular VOC-free “certified green” Lifemaster product. Considering that paint makes the biggest impact on any space, covering far more surface than anything else, it’s still a bargain! Here’s a link to the pricing information: Pricing and Product Data

However, I am working on creating formulas in their new VOC-free contractor grade paint which is perfect for those on a tight budget and those who like to change the color of their walls often. It will sell for around $50 per gallon.  We’re starting with our most popular colors, so stay tuned!


Climbing Out of the Black Hole of Computer Madness!

January 25, 2012

Don’t get me wrong, I love all this new technology, but I feel like I have been dropped down the rabbit hole this past few weeks, working on one computer problem, that’s led to another, to another. Where did it all start?

I always start my new year off trying to be organized, so I spent the days at the end of last year cleaning out the accumulated clutter in my office and then continued on trying to organize myself so that when I enter a date or a contact into my iPhone, it will automatically appear on my office computer and my iPad (which I use often to hook up to my office computer remotely when I’m away from the office). Although Apple’s new iCloud is a great idea in theory, it still has quite a few kinks and come to find out, doesn’t work with Outlook 2010 or an older version of Windows, so the software upgrades began!

One of the upgrades I’m happy to report on is my new online samples shopping catalog (shown below). It was out of commission from last Thursday until Monday morning, but it all seems to be working fine and is much easier to use than the one before. You will also be able to order our larger 11″ x 17″ hand-painted samples, pint jars and free cuttings, in addition to the 8″ x 11″ hand-painted samples and 2 oz. sample jars. Best of all, you’ll be able to order paint! Here’s a link to it:  which you can also get to from our “Full Spectrum Paints” page by clicking on “Order Samples“.

Our new shopping cart page!

On another note, I also wanted to report that Akzo Nobel has had yet another price increase. However, I do want to point out that this is the norm for all of the paint companies out there because of the scarcity of Titanium Dioxide which is a major ingredient in quality paint. Although we in turn had to  increase our prices by $4 per gallon on our eggshell and semi-gloss Lifemaster VOC-free products (i.e. from $59 to $63 per gallon), we have been able to keep the same price ($56 per gallon) on our most popular Lifemaster Flat product. When I started this paint line ten years ago, it was with the intention that everyone should be able to afford full spectrum color, so I have always tried to keep my prices competitive with the main stream top of the line products and although our prices increased, they are still better than Sherwin Williams’ Duration which is retailing for $68 a gallon and it’s not even full spectrum color!

Speaking of wanting more people to be able to experience the beauty and healing benefits of our full spectrum colors, I look forward to working with Color Cares, the organization I mentioned in my previous newsletter, so that full spectrum color will be available for their Color Cares makeovers! I’ll be talking more about that in my upcoming Living Well Newsletter (Winter 2012) that will be posted in the very near future.


Recap of 2012 Color(s) of the Year

December 9, 2011

In my September 20, 2011 post “2012 Color of the Year and Color Trend Report” I was one of the first to report on the Color Marketing Group and Akzo Nobel’s international Colour Futures Team picks for the 2012 color of the year. CMG chose a deep purple (Boysenberry) and the Colour Futures Team selected a red with orange undertones (Tea Dance) which we made a full spectrum version of back in 2008 and renamed “Mykonos Red”.

Finally, Pantone has come out with their 2012 Color of the Year and it’s making quite the splash! “Tangerine Tango” is popping up everywear on the internet in accessories and clothing. It’s not surprising since orange is such a happy, social color that balances both the mental and physical. It’s a “take each day as it comes” kind of color. Our “Barry’s Babylon”, created for Bay area designer/architect Barry Johnson is the perfect example. As you can see in the photos below, because it’s “full spectrum”, it looks different in every setting:

Barry Johnson's office in his Redwood City showroom, The Brick Monkey

After living with a neutral palette for many years, Yoga Instructor Owen Kemp  liked it so much, she painted her living room with it:

Barry's Babylon in Owen's pre-Civil War cottage in St. Francisville

Artist Hunt Slonem, who is known for his love of colorful walls, used it in one of his parlors at Lakeside Plantation:

Barry's Babylon in the parlor at Lakeside Plantation

Hunt’s new book, The Worlds of Hunt Slonem, is getting rave reviews and was recently voted by Vogue Magazine as one of their top ten books for Christmas. It’s already been featured in numerous publications including Elle Decor  and The Wall Street Journal. This is one of those coffee table books you’ll never tire of. Although it retails for $90, Amazon has it for $56.70. If you happen to be in New York, the Marlborough Gallery at 40 West 57th Street is exhibiting his newest paintings, Louisiana landscapes “Acadian Dreams”, from December 14th through January 7th. The reception on the 14th is from 6-8 pm. For more information: Press Release from the Marlborough Gallery

"Bayou Teche", Albania Plantation, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 in.

If you would like samples of our Barry’s Babylon, email me at and I’ll be happy to send you a hand-painted sample!


2012 Color of the Year and Color Trend Report!

September 20, 2011

I just heard from Kate Smith (Sensational Color) and Barbara Richardson (Director of Color Marketing for Akzo Nobel), two of the country’s top color consultants who are starting to report back on the colors to look for in 2012. Kate Smith, who just returned from the Color Marketing Group summit meeting where they selected their color predictions for 2012, posted some tidbits on her Facebook page. Here’s a sneak peek of the CMG World Palette which I must say, is quite similar to Akzo Nobel’s color palette!

Colors Selected for 2012 by Color Marketing Group

It’s interesting that a red was chosen as the European color of the year by the CMG and a similar red (as it turns out, a dead ringer for our “Mykonos Red“!) was chosen as the color of the year by the Akzo Nobel international color team. A deep purple was chosen by CMG as the North American color for 2012, a deep teal (our “Albania Teal”?) for Latin America.

Latin American Color of the Year for 2012

LOVE the teal, but I have to say, I can’t imagine the Asian choice for 2012 as a wall color:

Asia's Color for 2012

The international team at Akzo Nobel, the manufacturer of our paints and now the world’s largest paint and coatings manufacturer, has selected “possibilities” as the dominant trend for 2012 “that builds upon last year’s “appreciation, but also offers the exhilarating and inspirational idea that new options are waiting to be uncovered inside all those things we have reclaimed and come to appreciate”. Now it’s available and downloadable as a PDF: Colour Futures Book

Colour Futures 2012 Red is the exact color (Tea Dance) we created a full spectrum version of in 2008 and re-named "Mykonos Red"!

"Mykonos Red" accent wall with "Powdered Pebbles" in this Barbara Jacobs' project.

This cheerful red embodies the “take charge optimism” spirit of the entire palette which includes other full bodied hues, tender hushed pastels, chic neutrals and edgy brights. I saw many of our colors in their palette, including “Juliet’s Potion” which was Barbara’s choice for our Designer Palette back in 2008 (she’s always ahead of the game!). Here’s what she said in our Winter 2008 Living Well Newsletter that debuted the color: “a very strong and bright green with a yellow cast… a very incredible, electric green with a twist. I love the accent nature of it… and I love to use it in small areas… like alcoves… I love combining it with charcoal, brown, violet, cool blues and of course white.” One of her favorite combinations is to combine it with ICI’s [now Akzo] “Windsor’s Purple, a deep, rich regal purple.”

There’s so much to report, but I’ll save more for later! In the meantime, be sure to download your own copy of the Colour Futures Book. It’s not only very informative, but great eye candy!