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Gettin Twiggy With It

Yesterday Susie Q of Eye Spy Archive paired the Pantone fall fashion colors forecast with some beautifly styled photos by Studio Toogood.  Her post was nothing short of epic and I strongly encourage you to go check it out.  Inspired by Susie’s post, I found these two images, styled by the ethereal Twig Hutchinson, that mix all of the Pantone Spring colors together:

Right now I’m pretty pumped on fall, but when spring does arrive, it looks like it’s going to be pretty rad.

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Color Combinations: Aubergine & Gold

Recently I can feel a dramatic shift in my design preferences.  Where I used to bookmark white interiors like they were going out of style, well, for me, I think they might be going out of style.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a crisp, clean, white interior but I just flipped through my color combinations folder and saw a lot of this action:

As you can see, my interest in gold hasn’t waned much (has it grown!!!??  good lord) but the surrounding tones have gotten significantly darker

Ok, so admittedly, that light fixture really seals the deal here.  No, not the duck one.

No fancy interiors to see here, but this was smack-dab in the middle of my color file so I figure it must be worth sharing.  Other odd images I found right along it’s side include:

Love the color, love the fur, love the sparkle.  This could totally translate into a room.

And there it is again.   I would like for you to tell me how this color combination is not perfection.  Or, send me more pictures of real interiors in these tones… I want more!

PS, if I took any of today’s pictures from any of your blogs and didn’t note it here it’s because I don’t remember where I got any of these pictures.  Leave a comment if they’re from your site and I’ll happily give you credit.  xoxo

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Ask Sanders: Jason’s Brick Ranch

In remodeling my home I’ve come to realize that you make good friends with the people who help you then, once your project is over, you don’t get to see your redecorating buddies too much anymore.  This is why we invented the ask Sander’s column:  even though most of my house is painted, I still have an excuse to stop on by Benjamin Moore (Hill Country Paint to you South Austinites) any time I want (insert maniacal laugh here).  So, when Jason wrote us with an email lovingly titled “dumb dude needs help” I was more than happy to pay a visit to the King of Paint.

Jason recently purchased this ranch and is experiencing something my husband would never dare to dream of:  his wife has handed him decorating carte blanche.  From what I’ve heard about his plans for the inside, hello Cole & Son wallpaper, he’s doing a bang-up job.  The outside, as you can see, needed serious consultation.  Jason asked Sanders to present him with 2 options:  1. Trim, accent, and door paint leaving the brick as-is, and 2. A palette for painting the whole kitten-kaboodle, brick and all.  We’ll start with the former.

Sander’s first suggestion is to use Benjamin Moore Brandy Cream on for the trim, Dellwood Sand for the accent (the piece of wood that runs below the roof) and a pop of Tarrytown Green for the front door.  I like that this selection updates the home while simultaneously blending with the preexisting brick.  One of the major problems with the house right now is that the trim is just way too dark brown.  Lightening it up and letting the front door provide the contrast will clean up the look lickety-split.  


Another option for Jason that doesn’t involve the laborious task of painting the brick: a nice light trim in Cloud White, an accent in Sag Harbor Gray and a Cromwell Gray Door.  I like that sanders kept the door fairly neutral with this combo, letting the cloud white do the talking.  The white would really pop against the brick, but in a really fantastic way, unlike what the brown is doing now.

If Jason decides to paint the brick, which I 10000% support, here is an option for him:  Body paint in Louisburg Green, trim & accent in Hazy Skies and a door in Duxbury Gray.  Who can go wrong with Gray and Green with a nice, light accent?  I think this palette will modernize the home without conflicting with the ranch style.

I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan of this option:  Body in Tucson Winds, trim and accent in Ashen Tan and Door in good ole Gray.  I love a light house, I think it would really pop in that gigantic yard.  Like the last option, it’s a nice update without trying too hard.

Finally, we have my favorite option.  Ok, I’m a sucker for gray, with the Granite painted brick you could probably make the trim neon green and hot pink and I’d still love it, but I like what Sanders has chosen even more:  Steam trim and accent with Mysterious for the door.  I think this palette is the most sophisticated and I am BEGGING Jason to please please paint his house this color and send us some pictures.

I tried to find homes online painted similarly but wasn’t able to find the right combination, so instead I did a crappy photoshop mock-up of Jason’s house.  Hopefully my elementary rendering won’t scare him out of the project:

Jason, bear in mind that there will be much more depth in reality, it won’t look like a gray play-doh fortress if given the treatment in real life.  Squint your eyes and look at it (god, I’ve never had to say that about a design project) see, isn’t it grand?

Best of luck, dumb dude!  Be sure to send us pictures when you’re done.

For anyone in Austin who is looking for a walking-talking color encyclopedia be sure to visit Sanders at Hill Country Paint: 5501 South Congress / 78745


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White Up My Alley

Down here in Texas, I’ve been craving what you northerners have been taking for granted for months:  some snow days.  Last week, the hubs, Matt, my brother, Davis, his friend, Tom and I finally got our fix:  5 days in snowy Vail Colorado.  I got to walk in honest-to-god snow and see my breath when I dared to step outside, it totally ruled.  My trip also inspired this post of all white goodness.  I’ll bore you with some vacay pics first, then we’ll move along to view the stuff you’re here for:  decor porn

Tom, Davis & me about to make our first run of the day.  Note my big mug of chai, which I am rarely seen without.

Me, Matt, and Davis in our exceptionally fancy goggles

I monitor as Matt and Davis scrape 10 inches of overnight snowfall off my aunt’s car

K-dawg in front of the stable where aunt Darlene’s horse lives.  Please keep in mind that I’m wearing, like, 45 pounds worth of snowboarding gear, which hides my teeny tiny 13 inch (approx) waist line.

Ok, no one likes to look at other people’s pictures so I’ll quit the tomfoolery and move on to the meat of the post.

Several Months ago I posted this Nathan Ables print available from Tiny Showcase.  As fate would have it, Mr. Ables contacted the DC headquarters just days after my trip updating us on his newest work:

Nathan’s almost all white print, Two Roofs, merged seamlessly with my plans for an all white post.  Hooray, we’re all winners.  You may buy the limited edition print here

Clockwise from top left:

Bianco Pelle Quadatissimo (aka awesome ottoman) at myfab.com (It killed me not to post the gold version)

Snow Globe available here

DC fave: The Carlos Night Light, available here

Banana Bowl (also available in gold, hooray!) here

Cloud Umbrella from Joons Design

Design House, Muuto is stealing my heart six ways to Sunday with their plethora of oddly shaped white objects

Because I was feeling extra daring, I allowed myself to cruise over to the house of all things overpriced and unattainable, 1stdibs, just to glimpse at their white selection:

I could give you individual links to these items, but really, which of you readers is ready to shell out 25 large for a pair of hand chairs.  If you’ve got that kinda cash here are the options I am willing to present:  1. call your decorator and tell her to get her ass on the case, or the better choice, 2. contact me directly at hollaback@design-crisis.com, I will gladly take some of that extra green off your, um, hands.

If I were ever honestly willing to pay 1st dibs style prices, the only thing I could imagine shelling out serious dough for would be my favorite light ever from innermost.  There is no price mentioned on the site (surprise!) so I’m guessing it exceeds my $100 / light limit.  Yes, I know, I know, I could make it.  But who has time?  Plus, I don’t want it to end up looking like this.

Until now, my white obsession has mostly revolved around lamps, here are a few choice chairs to even things out:

clockwise from top:

Crochet Chair from whack-a-holic, Marcel Wanders

Chair that I can’t find the name of from Mathieu Lehanneur

Tropicalia Chair from Moroso (it’s really best in it’s multi-colored version)

Bouquet Chair also from Moroso (not sure about that stand, though)

Hechima 4 chair via atelier 29

If you’re looking for something lovely and white that is absolutely amazing but has no function what-so-ever, might I suggest this sculpture:

Kim Simonsson has a plethora of to-die-for pieces in her gallery, most of them make me swoon with their mixture of white and gold, but I wanted to stay on task like a good little blogger.

As I can’t afford a single item in my post today, but love clusters of white oddities, I’ve taken to buying toys from the thrift store and spray painting them white.  Here are 2 pieces from my, very slowly growing, collection.  Total cost: $3.75

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King of Paint: Interview With Sanders P. Gibbs III

I am officially a paint snob, and it’s all Sanders’ fault. When we first started painting our house, I giddily skipped around the corner to Home Depot and completely denuded their paint sample wall. I mean, I took every. single. sample. While I ended up choosing one of their colors for my bathroom (which was a HIDEOUS and GLOSSY macaroni yellow mistake that got painted over not once, but twice), I couldn’t find a color for my kitchen or bedroom to save my life. I must have bought 30 samples (no lie!) and every one of them skewed red or blue or looked muddy or garish — I’m sure many of you have had the same frustrating experience with paint. Dragging my heels in defeat, I drove the extra two whole miles to Benjamin Moore after reading countless blogs’ shining praise of their paint and color selections. That’s where I met Sanders.


Sanders has this crazy encyclopedic knowledge of color that he started accruing way back in 1997 while working for Benjamin Moore, and he’s now the manager of South Austin’s Hill Country Paint. If you tell him a color name, that man can give you the number. He helped me pick several different shades for my house, and remembers every color I’ve even chosen. In short, even though Benjamin Moore’s paint is more expensive than Home Depot’s, Sanders has saved me a lot of money and time. He even talked my cheap behind (and Karly’s) into buying the $50 a gallon Aura paint, and I will never buy another paint again. It covers like a dream, and it even smells delicious (low VOC rocks!). Do I sound like I get my paint for free? I don’t. It’s just good paint.

The power of paint to transform a space is divine, and since I first met Sanders I’ve painted almost every room in this house, so we’ve seen each other relatively frequently. When Karly and I started this blog, we told him about it and Sanders is now one of our oldest readers. He still reads it every night, and can recite all of our adventures in detail (which is slightly unnerving, and reminds me that I need to be more careful about what I write). So I promised Sanders that as soon as we had more than 5 readers, I would make him TOTALLY FAMOUS by interviewing him.

When the day finally comes, I walk in and ask if he’s ready, and he says he’s so nervous he couldn’t sleep last night. I laugh because I’m pretty used to Sanders telling me what’s what in his kingdom, and it’s mildly entertaining to see his swagger a little diminished. But as soon as we sit down to talk paint, he’s all cool, calm and collected business again. I tell him that a lot of interior designers are currently painting spaces black and ask him what he thinks about that. (photo via Living etc.)

black room

He looks a little bemused, pointing at himself in his black shirt, and stutters slightly, “W-w-wellllll….” It’s pretty clear he doesn’t like the idea, but to say so goes against his first priority, which is to give the customer what he or she wants. He goes on to say that he wouldn’t personally paint his home black, and certainly not black black, but maybe a “shade of black. It’s a personal choice.” I ask him if he thinks dark colors make small spaces look smaller, and he says, “Dark colors are fine for small spaces. The right tone of color works for a certain unique space. You don’t have to stick to whites and pastels. Dark colors can lend masculinity and power to a room.” He does say that natural light is helpful for a small, dark space, “because light is your ally,” and also to stick to “small scale, sleek furnishings” so that the room doesn’t feel too heavy and oppressive. I ask him to pick a black color palette, and this is what he chooses.

black color palette

I then ask him about white, since it seems overwhelmingly to be the most popular paint color in all the decor magazines. (photo via Living etc.)


He frowns a little and hesitates. Nope, not white, either — although he is careful not to say that explicitly. He says that if you have great architecture and lots of light, white can be good, but again, not pure white. “Off white is rich and soft.” I ask for his favorite whites, and this is the palette he chooses:


By the way, if you buy the Aura paint and you’re painting a light color over a light color, you can probably get away with only one coat if you’re a good painter. It worked for me in several rooms, it looks good, and I saved a lot of time and paint. But sssshhhhhh, don’t tell Sanders, ok?! His favorite thing to say is “Two coats! two coats!”

Alright, I say, how about gray? His face lights up. A string of happy expletives tumble out. Mothereffing yes! Yes, gray is good! In fact, Sanders knows many of them by heart, including the ones I have chosen for my house (Abalone and Silver Fox, as well as Karly’s Harbor Gray). “Gray is neutral, but not boring. It’s versatile.” (photo courtesy of Jeffrey Bilhuber)

jeffrey bilhuber

If you’ve ever tried to pick a shade of gray paint, you know how hard it is. Nothing is quite pure gray. Sanders points to all the undertones in the different shades, and stresses the importance of choosing a gray that looks good in your personal space. “The biggest mistake people make is not buying samples. Everyone’s light is different and paint changes in the environment it’s in.” I ask him if people often come in complaining about their paint selections and he says, “No. It’s ’cause I make sure they get a sample.” That and Sanders is a color matching wizard, capable of choosing something great to match the rest of your house, or custom mixing the shade of your dreams. Here are his picks for grays:

sanders' gray picks

As we chat, Sanders eats his lunch and we reminisce about how we became friends. For some reason, early on he asked me where I was from and when I told him it was Texarkana (a tiny town at the corner of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana), he said he had lived there for several years, too. We spent the better part of an hour laughing about how craptacular T-town can be, and we’ve been pals ever since. There’s nothing like bonding over harrowing times, to be sure. I ask him about his son, who is now three months old, and his face is downright beatific. “He’s growing and changing and adapting to his new world.” It’s obvious that his son is the apple of his eye, and I ask him what colors he painted the nursery. He tells me that he has light wood floors and this is his household color palette:

sander's house

And I imagine that his house looks something like this, with a shot of lime in the baby’s room:


(photo via The Style Files) Very cozy, right?

Since so many people are pretty clueless about the nuances of color, I ask him how he might help a person who has no idea what they want. “I would ask them about their favorite foods, you know, places where they might go to vacation, what their interests are.” What about the whole psychology of color theory, where red is hungry, blue is soothing, etc? Sanders shakes his head and says, “Different strokes for different folks. People should have unique colors. The Dewey Decimal System of color is not the way to go. It’s an outdated idea.” What about the idea that you choose colors that look good on you, so you always look good in your environment? He shakes his head again. Another string of verrrrrry funny expletives, and I start giggling. A browsing customer looks my way and I try to take it down a notch. “You don’t need to choose colors that look good on you, but clothing choices may reveal fondness for colors. You don’t have to keep the staus quo, though.”

I go on to quiz Sanders on some technical stuff and things, so here is Sanders’ Wisdom, from him to you:

For walls, matte or glossy: MATTE. Definitely.

Even for bathrooms: Yes.

What about for trim: Glossy, and oil will give it that extra kapow ZING. (insert hand motions here)

What kind of paint do you use for concrete floors: For low sheen, use paint grade concrete stain, which is not a true acid stain. For an opaque paint, use latex Porch and Floor paint (also good for wood floors). For a glossy finish, use an oil base paint.

Can you paint tile: Yes, but you MUST use a 100% acrylic primer. Then you can cover with any paint, but the primer is the key.

How about a bathtub: No. You need an epoxy paint for that.

As we finish up, I thank Sanders for his time and expertise, and he gets all nervous again. “Don’t bash me, ok?” Don’t worry, Sanders. There’s nothing to bash!



This write up is running long, so tune in on Thursday to see Sanders’ picks for the hottest new color trends. His palette is so on point, Elle Decor UK is currently running some of the same picks. I promise it will be the super antidote to fall and winter’s dreary, gray days.

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