Tag Archives: DIY Design

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.
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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

Milk Glass Christmas

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It’s that pretty little dish at Grandma’s house near the davenport that holds those hard candies that have magically all fused into one.  It’s those petite white vases that were made to display a single red rose.  Sometimes it lives in the china cabinet–too delicate for regular use.  We’ve all seen it, but few have really paid it the attention it deserves.

This Christmas, I’m bringing it back to showcase it’s opalescent glory.  It’s Milk Glass, and it accents the most beautiful holiday tablescapes.

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Because of an American resurgence in the 1930’s and ’40’s, it may seem like this dinner-table staple dates back less than a century. However, the origins are much more interesting than that.

It turns out that milk glass–a term that wasn’t coined until the 19th century–has been around since the 1500’s and originated in Venice.  While opaque white is the most recognizable form of milk glass today, it came in a variety of “milky” colors, including black, brown, pink and blue.  Popularity surged in France as the decadent style of well-coiffed aristocrats was replaced with a more approachable, natural aesthetic reflected in the simplicity of a milk glass motif.

For our purposes, this tableware will create a neutral backdrop for pops of holiday colors and textures.  It provides a clean palette that will fit-in with a variety of styles–most especially a colorful Victorian like mine.  Our Christmas brunch has an intimate feel, with an antique table set for four.  With all of the seasonal sweets and leftovers, a brunch is the perfect way to re-purpose some of that holiday ham.

The best part about decorating with milk glass?  If you’re not a stickler for authenticity, you can very easily pick up a bushel of reproduction pieces at your local flee market on the cheap.  In spite of the thrifty prices, I still recommend taking care when handling your glass.  It doesn’t react well to temperature changes; I would never put it in the dishwasher or microwave, and when hand washing try to use water that is close to room temp.  Would hate to unknowingly damage a piece that was made in 19th Century France(!).

I would love to hear about your milk-glass adventures.  Let us know what you think about this timeless treasure in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

Happy Decorating!

Allison

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 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…

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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

Summer Subtle Paint Palette

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In a previous blog post we showed you the Five Steps to Your Personal Palette. If you scored mostly Cs in our Color Quiz, and you prefer color without noise, a more relaxed awareness of color…

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Your style is quietly classic; you prefer tasteful over trends.  The down-to-earth sand, shell and beach grass tones of this hushed palette give you the timeless look you’re after and make it easy to combine colors with confidence.  Bring in some texture with your fabric choices, velour and chenille will bring a plush look to your room.

Below is a photo from one of our Decorate With What You Own projects.  This charming newer home on the outskirts of Portland needed some color to bring the homeowner’s existing furniture and accessories together.  She wanted a soothing space to relax and this palette’s subtle, sandy tans were just the ticket.  We added some texture with plush throw pillows and blankets.  Take a look at the rest of the house over here.  Or click the photo below.

 

 

 


Love Your Colors? Shop for Summer Subtle Paint Formulas

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Take me back to the other colors:

Winter          Spring          Summer          Fall

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