{friday finds: black and orange}

I thought I would continue with the black and orange theme of the last post. I have been anxious to share my black and orange images, because of this spectacular porch photo. I love this photo. What do you think about the house? Do all black and orange combinations remind you of Halloween?  Maybe black and orange should not share a space. You decide.

What did you decide? Accent colors or a whole room painted black or orange? I like how the sofa, side chair, and rug neutralize the space/black in this last photo. Ken’s living room is still one of my favorites.

It’s hard not thinking of Halloween with paint color names like Golden Harvest, Pumpkin Blush, and Jack O’Lantern. Orange you glad…our staff will assist in selecting a lovely shade of orange for your home, so that it doesn’t scream, “Halloween.”

Credits: First two photos Peter Pennoyer Architects, Candice Olson Wallcovering, Martha Stewart, Lonny, Better Homes and Gardens, The Kitchn, Lonny, Lonny, William Waldron, Design Grenade

{origin of black and orange}

When you think of Halloween, what do you think of? Yes, lots and lots of candy, but second to that I am guessing the colors orange and black popped into your head.

These colors have been a long-standing Halloween tradition, tracing back 2,000 years to the Celts, who occupied what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.

As life in that time revolved around food and the harvest, the Celts considered the end of the harvest season to be the end of the year. So each year on the date which in today’s Gregorian calendar system is October 31st, the Celts celebrated New Year’s Eve with a festival called “Samhain,” also known as the Festival of the Dead.

Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”. It was traditionally celebrated over the course of several days. History tells us that the unbleached beeswax candles used in the various ceremonies of the festival were orange, while the ceremonial caskets were covered in black cloths.

The Celts believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain; because some animals and plants were dying, it thus allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living.

People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.

The Celtic custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to copy the spirits or placate them. Samhnag — turnips which were hollowed-out and carved with faces to make lanterns — were also used to ward off harmful spirits.

The colors black and orange are an obvious choice to celebrate this holiday, not only because of the traditions they are rooted in, but also because they are reflected in nature during this time of year. The orange colors of the changing leaves and the harvest, and the black of night as daylight hours become shorter and shorter.

Have a Happy Halloween and enjoy all of the traditions that come along with it!

{history of gothic design}

As we approach Halloween, seemingly innocent places and things can get downright spooky. Gateways can creak, shadows are cast from peaked roofs and dry leaves rustling can startle you.

Homes with Gothic design are often featured in scary movies. The archways, columns and buttresses invite the imagination to run wild with stories of what may have happened inside. And just think about those gargoyles!

Eras of Elegance

Gothic architecture actually has its roots in the religious buildings in Europe. In addition to churches, we often see Gothic design in universities, castles and homes.

Kylemore Gothic Church from J. Brian Kelly

Lyndhurst from Eras of Elegance

Gothic architecture is known for its pointed arches on windows and doorways, ribbed vaulting and buttresses.

Flying Buttresses from NPR

Gargoyle Gothica

You’re also likely to see gorgeous, decorative glass windows in a gothic building. Architects in medieval times took advantage of new building techniques that allowed for more slender walls to support those glass details.

Gothic design became more common for homes in the 18th and 19th centuries in what’s known as the Gothic Revival movement.  As in medieval times, new equipment helped spur the movement. New machinery and affordable lumber made it easier for builders to create the detailed trim and carvings that are essential to a Gothic home.

Gothic Revival architecture has many of these features:

  • Pointed windows with decorative tracery
  • Grouped chimneys
  • Pinnacles
  • Battlements and shaped parapets
  • Leaded glass
  • Quatrefoil and clover-shaped windows
  • Oriel windows
  • Asymmetrical floor plan

When you’re translating Gothic Revival architecture on the inside of a home, you need to consider finishes and textures and remember that this is not a design that shies away from drama. Floors are often a hard surface like stone or tile. If you have wood floors, dark stain is the most traditional. Floors are often covered in rich, deep-hued rugs or carpet.

Fun on the Floor

Those rich colors are continued in wall colors. Look for dramatic colors like red, deep eggplant, black or a rich hunter green. Gothic design is a great style for rich, wood paneling and decorative paint treatments to enhance a “castle-like” feel.

The drama can really come out in window treatments and wall coverings. This is the design for sumptuous fabrics and tapestries. Pick velvet as a way to really punch up the drama. Look for large tassels and thick ropes to use as tiebacks.

Top Decorations

In your furniture – the idea is heavy, solid and substantial. Look for turned legs and carved details to accent rich, plush upholstery.  In your accessories, bring in mirrors with ornate frames, wrought iron and statue pieces.


Remember, you’re going for a castle-like feel of opulence and richness.

What are your favorite elements of gothic design? Leave us a comment and let us know!

{excellent service}

The knowledgeable experts at Hirshfield’s are here to make sure your next painting, staining or design project is a success. We are always happy to help any way we can, as demonstrated in this letter we received from a customer in Edina. We are just happy to help!

I want to commend your store employee in Baxter, MN. On October 7, 2010 I called in an order for some paint that was not available in Edina, to be picked up by my father-in-law Bruce.  Bruce would then drop it off with me in  Edina so I could paint outdoors this weekend.

When I placed the order your employee, whose name I unfortunately didn’t get, was very pleasant and efficient.  He had the order ready for Bruce the same day and Bruce remarked how he was greeted by name, and your man carried the paint to his car, and he was on his way in about two minutes.
It is a pleasure to do business with such nice people.

Edina, MN

{gender neutral nurseries}

Right now my husband and I are expecting our first child. As soon-to-be parents we’re inundated with information about what to expect, what to do (or more specifically what not to do), and what to buy. And this is all before our little one arrives!

One of the biggest projects expectant parents tackle is getting the nursery ready. Some people take a minimalist approach to baby’s first room…


…while others really go all out in creating a fantasy room fit for a little prince or princess.

Project Nursery

Benjamin Moore

We’re waiting to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl – so we have the added challenge of making sure the nursery is “gender neutral.” Don’t mistake gender neutral for boring.  You can use the rainbow of colors available to paint your walls, or maybe use a more subtle all-over hue and then make it pop with stripes, an accent wall or mural!

Photos from: The Design File, HGTV & BabyCenter

Green is actually the most popular color for nurseries. It’s a great canvas for any theme you choose – from animals to characters to simple shapes.

The Design File

We chose to stick with the soft yellow that was already in the room we’re using as the nursery – it was once our office and exercise space.

Benjamin Moore Mellow Yellow

It’s similar to Benjamin Moore Mellow Yellow and is a great backdrop for almost any accent we decided on. The room will soon be filled with black furniture, colorful artwork and black and white accents. I’ll share the finished product in a future post.

When you’re designing a space for a little boy or girl, it’s great to have the room be able to grow with them. One way to do that is to look at what you put on the walls. Murals and wall decals are a great way to add personality without a long-term commitment.

RoomMates Wall Decals

You can order WallPops and RoomMates at Hirshfield’s. The best part? They can be changed out as your child grows and his or her interests form.

One tip to remember if you’re putting together a nursery without knowing your baby’s gender: leave a space or two open to personalize the room when your little one arrives. This can be as simple as his or her name in letters or monogram above the crib.


{friday finds: busy painting}


the evidence of my last two weekends

This Friday’s find(s) is/are yet to be found. My time goeth before this Fall’s first rain in the Twin Cities. And The Shed my husband is working on this morning requires the finishing touches of my paint brush before tomorrow’s precipitation. (DECORATOR’S NOTE: We pre-finished all the plywood and trim pieces before construction with Hirshfield’s Platinum Exterior paint in the color Fenland.) Now I must find all those nail heads and give my shed the final coat. The afternoon will give the paint adequate time to build up enough protection prior to the rain on Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll also have time to slap a coat of paint on my already primed front door.

And speaking of Saturday rain, I must find my umbrella for the walk across the University of Minnesota campus to the Field House where the POTUS will appear for the 12:30 rally. Too bad for the rain and me. I know where Northrup is — but now I’ll have to find the Field House. After the umbrella and after the nails.

{design inspiration}

By the time you see a new color on a paint chip or a new pattern in a gorgeous textile, an incredible amount of time and thought has gone into them. Trend experts and designers are thinking far into the future for that next big thing, best color and top trend. Doty Horn, director of color and design for Benjamin Moore, visited the Hirshfield’s Design Resource to present Color Pulse 2012.

The presentation covered themes and trends for designers to get inspiration from. In this video, Doty discusses the themes of preservation and protection and how designers use the information to create amazing spaces in your home.

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