Tag Archives: Color Seasons Paint

How Does Paint Color Matching Work?

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Our go-to shop for paint has always been Dick’s Color Center in Portland.  They have an amazing staff of expert color mixers and have worked with us on countless designer color creations.  I recently had a conversation with our main contact, Kevin M Garvey, to get his expert point-of-view on how color matching really works in a boutique store like Dick’s versus a big box store.  What I found out was that the amount of time and knowledge it requires to create an accurate color match is almost always out of the range of abilities of larger stores.  Not that they are incapable of creating a match, but with the sheer volume of customers they receive, they are simply unable to dedicate the time it takes to do this intricate work.
Below is a statement from Kevin about color matching:
Nearly every paint store has a spectrophotometer. It works by beaming light from an internal lamp onto a sample. Some of the light will be absorbed by the sample, and the rest will pass completely through and strike a detector behind the sample. The detector senses the light being transmitted through the sample and converts this information into a digital display. For paint stores, that means a color formula is produced.
Accuracy depends first on the quality of the filters and sensors within the spectrophotomer and on the software that converts the data into an actual color formula. Secondly, the condition of the sample can interfere with color accuracy. Any texture or sheen on the sample can throw off how much light is absorbed or transmitted. Other environmental factors like ambient light and even temperature can affect results. While it may seem obvious that different spectrophotometers will produce different color formulations, people might be surprised to know that even the same machine will often yield different formulas on different readings. Experienced color matchers will take several readings and average them before using the data. Typically, spectrophotometers are 90% accurate. That is hard to visually describe, but essentially some toner in the color is going to be missing or perhaps too present. The resulting color is too red, or too green, or too dark, etc.
A color match on a spectrophotometer can be performed quickly, but with some degree of unknown error. Therefore, for the most accurate color match possible, any reputable paint store will match the color by human eye. This generally requires several hours of work. The reading from the spectrophotometer is likely considered one of several references used to produce the final color formula. But ultimately a trained eye determines exactly what combination of pigments match the color sample best. This process gives much more satisfactory results than the spectrophotometer alone. But there is no such thing as absolute perfection when it comes to color matching.
Keep in mind that most national paint manufacturers create their own pigments, have different resins and materials in their bases, and that there is no standard for sheen in residential paints. It is impossible for one company to exactly reproduce a competitor’s color when the starting base is different and the pigments to tint the paint are different. The only way to get an exact color, as the manufacture or designer intended, is to avoid the match in the first place and use the exact base paint and exact color formula.
Kevin M Garvey
Portland, OR

Russell St BBQ Remodel

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          The owners of Portland’s down-home-cookin’ joint Russell Street BBQ, Sharon and Diane, approached us when looking for someone to freshen up their charming restaurant.  Housed in a cavernous 1909 building, this well-regarded and authentic barbecue spot was in need of some updating.  The goal: match the interior decor of the restaurant to the heightened caliber of the food. The style of the food is approachable, well-crafted, and something your mother would’ve served if you grew up in the south and she happened to be an inventive and skilled chef.  Drawing inspiration from traditional sauces tasted in the Carolina’s, Kentucky, and everywhere along the way to Portland, Oregon, Sharon and Diane have managed to take the best of Americana flavor and find that sweet spot between nostalgia and gourmet.
          One of the most unique things about this restaurant is their dedication to providing entrees that are both comforting and healthy.  On my last visit I ordered a fresh, green salad and was delighted that I got to add any one of their barbecued meats to it.  It was the perfect way to get a taste of smoky beef brisket without needing a nap afterward. That freshness is reflected in our design choices: clean, bright yellow and red for the walls, seasonal flowers in mason jars for every table, a rustic, rich brown stain for the wainscoting and wood details, and whimsical chalk messages on cast iron skillets sprinkled throughout the space.
          It was important to make the space feel more like home: welcoming, approachable, clean, and fun.  The owners’ personality shines through accent pieces they already had: aged whiskey barrels as bar tables, an adorable bucking pig logo, and corrugated metal accents in the entry.  We brought these accents together with new paint,  new mason jar and tin bucket lighting, and a new feature wall with a logo that stretches all the way up to the 15 foot high ceilings.  Painting Oregon really came through and knocked this massive project out of the park.

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We have just recently completed Phase 1 of this remodel, head on over to 325 NE Russell Street and check it out!

For more photos of the space, check out the Portfolio Gallery.

Phase 1-1




Fall Soft Paint Palette

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In a previous post we took you through the Five Steps to Your Personal Palette.  If you scored mostly D‘s in our quiz and love the warm colors of Fall…

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You set high standards and value experience.  You appreciate quality and time-honored customs.  This warm palette sets the proper mood with soothing wheat tones and spicy accents.  Add richness with a plaid or geometric print fabric and lush velour solids.

Colors from autumn fit so beautifully into these western-themed vacation homes outside of Beijing.  Inspired by Jackson Hole, WY, this home features wood and wrought iron accents, rustic wood furniture, and varying shades of honey and wheat.  For accents, we chose Americana-style quilts and throw pillows.  Check out the rest of the photos over here, or click the photo below.


Love Your Colors? Shop for Fall Soft Paint Formulas

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Take me back to the other colors:

Winter          Spring          Summer          Fall

Fall Subtle Paint Palette

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In a previous post we took you through the Five Steps to Your Personal Palette.  If you scored mostly D‘s in our quiz and love the warm colors of Fall…

subtle color palette color seasons quiz results for interior design portland

soft color palette from color seasons paint quiz results for interior design portlandWarm, welcoming and down-to-earth comfortable, that’s your style.  This quiet, restful palette brings color and coziness into perfect harmony.  Tonal variations of tan-to-gold offer a look you can keep neutral or punch up here and there with colorful, chunky fabrics.

This palette speaks of warm, natural woods and stone.  When designing vacation homes for an Old West themed resort town outside of Beijing, we needed colors that were natural enough to look like they came right out of an authentic log cabin.   We used golden clutch(AS14F) for the walls, and a rich honey stain for the wood accents.  This project was so much fun to put together; bringing Americana to the Chinese countryside was a very unique experience.  Click the photo below for more from this project.

Love Your Palate? Shop for Fall Subtle Paint Formulas

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Take me back to the other colors:

Winter          Spring          Summer          Fall

Fall Bold Paint Palette

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In a previous post we took you through the Five Steps to Your Personal Palette.  If you scored mostly D‘s in our quiz and love the warm colors of Fall…

color seasons quiz results fall bold interior design


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You’re in control, know what you like, and treat yourself right.  The take-charge colors of this autumn palette play up your strengths beautifully, with bold greens, warm yellow, and burnished rust accents.  Choose a variety of fabric textures for rich contrast.  Leather and linen look especially pretty with this palette.

This rustic palette blended seamlessly into our remodel of a 1970’s vacation home in Sunriver.  Soft gold, rusty brown, and a dark olive green accentuated our Cowboy Chic decor.  Vacation homes are especially fun to decorate because you really get to go wild with accessories and color.  We opted for reclaimed wood, antique metal finishes, and farm-themed art. Click the photo below for more from this project.

Love Your Colors? Shop for Fall Bold Paint Formulas

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Take me back to the other colors:

Winter          Spring          Summer          Fall

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