Lille – From light to dark

We are spending the weekend in northern France where we have family. It’s only an hour and a half away from Brussels and it often gives us the opportunity to stroll through Lille which is a lovely city. The old part of the city, “le vieux Lille” consists of beautiful houses mostly from the 17th and 18th century, some older.

I loved the unexpected aqua color on this magnificent old door, color which I found a couple of streets further away on all the windows of another beautiful building. The exterior aspect of your house is as important as the interior one. You don’t have to have an 18th century mansion to create surprise with a beautiful door color. I love how subtle the addition of color on the windows is. The color is present, adds a lot of charm yet is elegant.

Emerald Green Interiors Door LilleEmerald Green Interiors House Lille

After our little walk we headed to “Le Barbue d’Anvers” a nice restaurant set in one of those houses. You can eat either in the vaulted cellar or in a nice room on the second floor. The floors are connected by an old staircase painted in a dark greenish grey and adorned by crystal chandeliers, antique engravings and other memorabilia. The entire place is lit almost entirely by candles or low intensity lights which gives it a particular and welcoming feeling.

Emerald Green Interiors Barbue D anvers

Emerald Green Interiors Barbue D anvers 2That’s it for today. My post will remain short as it is late already and I need to catch up on sleep. My almost 6 month old son still wakes up twice a night. I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. “See” you tomorrow! I hope you are having a great weekend.

Using Color – Where to Start

You’ve come to terms with the fact that, yes you like color, and yes you definitely want to bring some into your home. But now you wonder where to start because to say it mildly you are kind of clueless about it. Color does look great on the walls of the houses you see in magazines but you wonder if it will look the same in your own home. (No it will not, be prepared for it). And how on earth are you supposed to choose colors for your walls out of the endless possibilities offered by paint manufacturers?

Before you head out to the paint store know what you like and have a general idea of what you are looking for. It may sound obvious but many clients coming into a paint store don’t know what they want. They come in looking for ideas and counseling. Here are a couple of tips to help you find inspiration.

1. Collect images in magazines. The pictures don’t have to be interior related. They could be fashion, art, botanicals or whatever other subject. The colors and color harmony should speak to you.

2. Alternatively use Pinterest and create a virtual pin-board. Start pining images you like. After a while you’ll start to see a trend emerging. Watch closely: this is your style.

3. Look at your closet’s content. Chances are that the colors of your wardrobe elements are colors you feel comfortable around, so why not use them in your home?

4. If you are totally at loss about what you like, start with what you dislike. Talking the reverse approach of eliminating first can get you to the same result and is easier for some of us.

5. Once you have a sense of the direction you wish to take, look at all your fixed elements such as flooring. It is usually an accepted fact that every color can go with different wood tones. This, however is not true for tiles, stone floors, or bathroom and kitchen counter-tops in fancy finishes. So check out the colors of those finishes as they will impact your choices. (See the post I wrote about my sister’s study and the green marble insert that impacted the color we chose).

6. Head to your paint store with an open mind and once you have found the perfect shade, make sure to get a sample to test it in your home. (I’ll write a post dedicated to this). You might not find it right away, but once you do it will bring you much joy.

I hope that those few tips will help you. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer during the 31 Days series, please do not hesitate to comment below. I am away tomorrow, but I’ll try to get a post up. Have to keep up with the challenge….

Pretty useful! Choosing a color for a room could be overwhelming. But if we use some of the tools you listed we won’t fell like we are picking the color as blind :)

Embracing color in your home – Your way

As a color consultant I have come to realize that pretty much everyone loves color. To what extent or manner varies greatly from one person to another. Ask someone about their childhood and you might come up with as many different stories as when asking people about their relationship to color. Yet rare are the ones truly allergic to it and willing to live in an all white decor. So why are so few of us willing to listen to our instinct to create our home’s design? I’ve seen it hundreds of times: people are afraid of color, afraid of using it the way they dream about it and afraid that someone will criticize their choices. As with the fashion industry, the design industry has brainwashed people, overloading them with images of perfectly styled spaces, giving them advices on what to do only to contradict them moments later. Sure, interior design magazines can be inspiring, but they can also be quite confusing for someone who isn’t so sure about its own taste.

Today my post will surprise you. I want you to embrace color in your home, your way! What does this mean? It means that you should stop wondering and start listening to your little inner voice, the one that is telling you that painting a wall in hot pink/ mint green/ insert the color you are thinking about , would be so fierce. You shouldn’t worry about what your aunt, neighbor or even best friend will think about it because you home is your sanctuary, your kingdom and therefore you are it’s king or queen. It doesn’t matter if any or all of the above mentioned people don’t like your home and its colors. They are not the ones living, eating, sleeping, walking up in it. You are! Color is extremely personal and controversial. As an example, I once had a middle aged client explain to me why she couldn’t stand navy blue, since she had spent the twenty first years of her life in boarding school wearing a navy uniform.

But why on earth would someone whose work it is to advise people on colors, and who gets paid to do it, recommend to follow your instinct rather than specific rules? Because my work is not about telling you what to do, it is about guiding you and making you aware of this little inner voice of yours that has been shut down for so long. My joy and pleasure is to share my passion for colors with you, and to help you create YOUR space, the one you’ll feel happy about every morning walking up, and every evening coming back home; the space that will be a reflection and an extension of you and your personality. This is not quite the same as imposing my style which is only relevant to my own home where I can do whatever pleases me.

So before I’ll share more inspiration in the coming days I just wanted you to address this point and to think it through. Color and interior design demand a little bit of self confidence. Your point of view in designing your own space is the single most important one. Don’t forget it and don’t let any designer tell you the opposite.

Have a fabulous time and while you are here browse around some more.

The quote used to illustrate my purpose is by Serena Dugan and was illustrated and shared on Facebook by interior designer Krista Nye Schwartz of Cloth & Kind. If you don’t know Cloth & Kind, check out the beautiful blog of a self-diagnosed textile addict, as well as the carefully curated Pinterest boards.

The Little Greene New Paint Collection: Grey

It’s this time of the year again: the time of interior design trade fairs such as Maison & Objet in Paris or Decorex in London. They serve the purpose of introducing new lines of products to professional buyers and for paint companies also to the general public. The British paint manufacturer The Little Greene just launched a collection consisting of 28 shades of grey, which is not only spot on in terms of naming, but following the current trend we’ve been seeing as grey emerging as the neutral go-to color. The palette showcases four sets of grey families, from light to dark, and from cooler blue grey to warmer chocolate grey.

Although my heart really lies with colors, I mean “real” colors in opposition to neutrals, I can’t deny the fact that grey can be a great backdrop color for colorful elements. Although we will be allowed to paint the walls of our new place in Madrid (Yiiippeeeeee!!!) I might have to restrain myself a little and use those said neutrals since it is a rental. I especially like the contemporary family that ranges from “Loft White” to “Lamp Black” , and the greenish grey family from “Wood Ash” to “Toad”. Green greys work beautifully with many colors and antique furniture for a classic and elegant look.The styling of the pictures is beautiful. I gravitate naturally towards the darker tones, which I rather see as colors and statements than the very light greys, which to me just say “I had no clue which color to use so I put a light grey instead of white”.I love the pop of yellow on the stairs. It really bring life and personality to this space. Sure the two-tone baseboards are interesting, but this alone doesn’t make the room.Be careful when you use reddish greys like the one you see in the styled bookshelves above or in this detail shot below. They look very nice, are indeed warmer than most greys, yet they are the ones that are the most difficult to combine with other colors. When you choose a reddish grey you will be limited in your decoration scheme. Be aware of it.What do you think of the grey trend? Do you prefer them on your walls than “real” colors? Tell me which shot is your favorite and head to the Little Greene’s website to order your swatch card. You can see more pictures of the paint collection on The Little Greene’s Flickr account. Have a lovely day.

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Beautiful pictures, rooms!