A FRESH LOOK AT COLOR AND TONE

A FRESH LOOK AT COLOR AND TONE

Tonal Values B/W

Tonal Values B/W

“Horrors.” Scarlet said as she turned to her friend with her hand covering her mouth. “Why did Jack and Jill choose those colors?”
“Truth tell, they loved purple and white with yellow accents,” said Sandy.
“But, everything—the walls, ceiling and floor are that deep, dark eggplant, which is too much of a gorgeous color. There’s only white and yellow pillows on the dark purple sofa, why didn’t they ask someone to help?”asked Scarlet.

“Dang, it’s so dark in here, they must be planning a Halloween party. Don’t you think?” asked Sandy.

It happens. You love a color but have no idea how to distribute what you love in your environment.

So . . . Here’s the scoop.

Five Tonal Values

Five Tonal Values

There are basic color schemes that you can pick from. Complementary Scheme, Monochromatic Scheme, Monotone Scheme, Neutral and One-Color Scheme and Analogous Schemes.

There are considerations in choosing. Understand the light in the spaces throughout your home and how the room will be used. What’s your home’s exposure? What is your natural light? You know, the light from outside. Eastern exposure gets the cool morning sun. Western exposure gets the warm afternoon sun. Southern exposure gets the hot sun all day long, even in the winter it’s uncomfortable to have sun beating into your space from sun up to sundown. Northern exposure gets no sun. For example, I built an art studio with three huge windows where the northern light spills into the space. It’s cool and restful, and gives me true interpretation of color for my paintings. It also gives me great light to photograph my work, also great to portrait paint with a live model and set up my own lights.

Light

Light

Of course the amount of natural light in a space depends on the position, number, and size of the windows. Natural light is white. Sunny rooms will be warmer than northern exposure offers. Then of course the windows treatment also affects the light penetration, as well as adjoining buildings, foliage. If natural light is minimal, and you want a cheerful effect, then the principal colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal values (usually an 8 or 9 value if possible). See the black and white charts for tonal values. Upholstery materials and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter. Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less) are possible to use if the character of the room calls for them, but finish in semi-gloss for light reflections that maintain luminosity. If the room lacks natural light, brighter colors will tend to neutralize, toning the colors down. Also be aware that natural light reduces the size of your retina, which darkens and neutralizes the colors.

Chart black to white

Chart white to black (same tonal values apply to color)

Fundamental distribution of tonal values; light ceiling, medium walls, and dark floors. What we enjoy in our exterior environment, sky, foliage and earth. Of course there are variations and exceptions. A popular concept in contemporary spaces are dark walls and light floors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightness

Color Tone-all colors

Color Tone-all colors

colour-wheel-tonal-values“They should call an interior designer to help them,” said Scarlet.
“I agree, but maybe they are happy. Who is going to tell them?”
“Uh oh, not me.”
“Me either.”
“I have an idea,” said Scarlet.
“Let’s have them over for tea and ask if they are happy with their decorating colors. We can say the colors are nice, but don’t you find it too dark?”
“Nice is a poorly chosen adjective.”

Avant Garde - One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau

Avant Garde – One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau. Notice the luminosity and tonal distributions.

Are you inspired?

To be continued . . .

BEHIND CLOSED WALLS

BEHIND CLOSED WALLS

Extraordinary bedroom of Louis XIV in the palace at Versailles

Did you ever figure out how to make hidden spaces behind closed walls?  This is more than storage.  Hidden spaces are where you save stuff out of sight.  My daughter-in-law Joanne reminded me how they have pretty kool storage ideas—turning unused wall space into a computer closet, housing an attic behind a bathroom mirror.   Great storage in a 1/2 bath  in the Woodcliff Lake house behind mirrors.  And those areas are good for the large things.  Small things can be tucked behind outlet/switch cover plates, behind bricks, in door panels,

inside drapery linings, behind decor and more.  The movie “The Man in the Iron Mask” was on AMC (American Movie Channel) on Sunday past.  The wooden panels tickled me to see them open allowing King Louis XIV to leave his mistress’ bed chamber undetected. Getting any ideas?

The most interesting hiding places are behind moving walls of a library or walls that open between rooms.

The Queen’s bedchamber.

Queen's bed chamber in the Versailles

There is a barely discernible ‘hidden door’ in the corner near the jewel cabinet by Schwerdfeger (1787) through which Marie Antoinette escaped the night of 5/6 October 1789 when the Paris mob stormed Versailles.

 

Secret room/hidden door

Hidden rooms and secret passageways are the stuff of legend. Only found in ancient castles and fantasy books, nobody actually has a hidden door in their house, right?  Wrong. There is now an entire industry devoted to providing the slickest, most beautiful and subtle hideaways for adults who still have the dreams, and now the cash, to make fantasy a reality.

Would you like a secret store to stash your stuff?  How creative can you be? A moving wall, bookcase, panel might work.

The Last of Victoriana

The Last of Victoriana

Victoriana was stylized as modern in the 19th century. The latest and newest interiors were influenced by the manufacture of ample materials used in profusion without any aesthetic considerations. Ornament was almost entirely produced by the turning-lathe. Balusters, spindles, wooden grilles, and dwarf columns were used in profusion without any consideration given to order. Layered mixed designs were used on all vertical and horizontal surfaces. Wall composition and orderly furniture arrangement were disregarded.

Excessive use of unrelated patterned surfaces on walls, floors, and upholstery were common. Walls were covered with wallpaper of poor design, painted stencil patterns, or real or paper-mâché imitation Spanish leather. Windows were dressed with heavy draperies, swags, valances, and jabots, enriched with heavy fringes. The machine, manufacturing furniture, accessories, wallpaper and accessories, all highly profitable products dominated the industry.

profusion of designs

Drawing room in Robert Edis London house circa 1870

According to Peter Thornton’s book 1984 “Authentic Decor” this image depicts the profusion common in Victoriana. The ceiling had stenciled decoration. The deep frieze at the top of the wall was painted by an artist. Gas-piping beneath the frieze was used as a picture-rail. Walls were papered with William Morris’ designs in a pomegranate pattern. The cabinet was ebonized (stained in a black finish) and had painted heads representing the season. Curtains covering the shelves were common.  Floors were covered with patterned rugs. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

These images show layers and layers and layers in design profusion of confusion. Even the most elegant interiors were smothered in mixtures of patterns, designs and color. Every corner, every window, every door had some kind of finish, not necessarily designed to work together.

The Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in  Norwalk, Connecticut built circa 1870’s had the same fate as the Robert Edis house. In its elegance the Drawing room walls, ceiling, floor, all surfaces and windows were covered with fabrics, furniture, accessories and mirrors to double your view. Take a real tour. See Victoriana for yourself.

Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Drawing room circa 1870

Victoriana ended when it was realized quality of design had gone lost. New ideas of simplicity became easier to live with. And handmade furnishings became important again as they are today. If not for the history of Victoriana we would not understand the importance of uncluttered, organized, well-designed spaces.

Steampunk is designed to be tongue-in-cheek Victoriana.

Victoriana house remodeled to stylize Steampunk

You can have some fun, see Steampunk and roam through this house at www.modvic.com.

Enjoy. If you want to get some Steampunk, call the vendor. The contact information is below.

Don’t forget to leave your comments, questions and challenges. My question to you, what have you always wanted to know in interior design and didn’t have anyone to ask?

Bruce Rosenbaum
President
ModVic, LLC
SteamPuffin
36 Pleasant Street
Sharon, MA 02067
781-784-0250
bruce@modvic.com
www.modvic.com

 

 

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