Color My World

The Right ColoI just received Eve Ashcraft’s book, The Right Color, in the mail … and I am loving it. For those of you who don’t know Eve’s work, she is essentially the foremost paint color consultant out there. She has worked with everyone from Gil Schaefer to Martha Stewart. She is the brains behind all of Martha Stewart’s paint lines, and she also has her own line of paints through Fine Paints of Europe. Needless to say, I am a really big fan. She was trained as an artist, having been through art school, but Eve found herself helping friends pick paint colors for their apartments. The next thing she knew, she had found her calling.

Eve 1Some might think that a paint color consultant seems like a made up job, but think how much the color of our spaces influences the way that the spaces look, and the way that we feel when we’re in those spaces. Certain colors can make a small room feel bigger, and cold rooms seem warmer. I have always enjoyed picking paint colors, and helping friends pick paint colors, and I am constantly inspired by Eve’s work.

Eve 2Sometimes people don’t recognize the subtlety in paint colors. These people think, “I want a blue room” and they go to Lowe’s or Home Depot or wherever and buy a gallon of blue paint without even sampling it in the space. Paint can not only look different in different homes or different rooms, it can also look different within a single room. At different times of day, with overhead light, with table lamps, on a sunny day, on a rainy day, in the summer, or in the winter. Paint can even look different in a single room at the same exact time. A corner may read differently than a flat wall, and the space directly across from a window might look different than a wall that is not directly exposed to the sunlight.

Eve 3To say nothing of the fact that a single paint color can read completely differently when paired with other paint colors. What was once simply blue, can read more green when paired with a particular wood floor. The color of the baseboard, which one might have labeled as white, now looks yellow or slightly grey when paired with your gallon of blue paint. What Eve does is nothing short of miraculous. She sees your space, and when you say that you are looking for blue that reminds you of the ocean on your honeymoon in Mustique, she will provide you with a color for that room that makes you feel as though you are floating on a caribbean sea every time you step into the space.

Eve 4This photo, and the proceeding two are from a house on Legare Street here in Charleston which was featured in Gil Schaefer’s latest book, The Great American House. If you don’t have a copy of that book either, I suggest you go pick one up. Schaefer and Eve are frequent collaborators, as well as friends, and Eve did wonders with this 19th century restoration project. Taking into account the age of the home and what colors might be historically accurate, Eve crafted a palate that made this magnificent home truly shine.

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Eve 8This photo, and its predecessor, are both from Gil Schaefer’s own country home in Upstate New York. In the first photo, you can see the beautiful transition between the pale yellow on the walls of the living room, into the blue/green stripe in the stair hall. That is another thing to remember: one cannot simply paint the rooms in one’s house whatever they want. If the rooms are adjacent to one another, they have to transition well.

All this talk about paint, and we haven’t even discussed finishes yet! Another day, another topic. If you are working on paint colors in your home, I would highly recommend purchasing Eve Ashcraft’s book, The Right Color. In addition, these two books below can be very helpful in paint color combination and selection. Happy painting!

RPS1249 Living with Colour Jkt Front



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  • Love the examples you have! Especially the peach stairwell! Is that what that is?

    1. I would have to check, but I’m assuming it’s either Farrow & Ball or Fine Paints of Europe … or even especially mixed for this project. I’ll get back to you!