{trade secrets: invest in your home}

Painting is more than simply splashing colors on your wall – it’s an investment in your home.  Here are some tips from Mark Masica, manager of Hirshfield’s Edina location, on how to make your investment last:

  • Invest in high-quality paint and equipment: As with most things, you get what you pay for.  Splurge on paint and supplies — higher quality materials go on easier, splatter less and have less odor and will save you time and money in the long run.  Use cloth dropcloths instead of plastic, which can slip around on the floor and cause you to slip, and use professional quality rollers, which last longer and hold more paint than synthetic rollers.
  • Plan for the future and save samples of paint colors: Your beautifully painted walls will suffer some wear and tear over time, making it important to have samples and a solid organizational system in place when they do.  “You don’t want to have to rummage through each half-used can of paint trying to find the right color to repair the scratch,” says Mark.  “You should mark the color on the side and top of the can, so that even if the lids get mixed up, you still know what shade of paint the can contains.”

paint lids-1

  • Select eco-friendly paint to keep your home environmentally conscious: When choosing paint, look for one with low amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  These paints are easier on your family and the environment, because they emit little to no harmful gasses.

{hirshfield’s hosts benjamin moore color expert doty horn}

Last week, we hosted Doty Horn, Benajmin Moore’s director of color and design, for two nights at Hirshfield’s Design Studio. Doty, a renowned color trends expert, offered insight into Benjamin Moore’s predictions for color trends in 2011. She believes that the overall theme is balance, saying, “the emerging color palette reads more organic than ever before.” Here are her predictions on the influences for 2011:

  • The Farm: Doty predicts a shift back to basics – think textures and patterns such as gingham checks, plaids, hopsack and burlap. The color palette is likely to include hues reminiscent of milk, hay and earthy tones, such as Benjamin Moore’s Oat Straw and Grassy Fields.

  • Order: The chaos of the past decade has created a desire for structure and balance, which will present itself in the form of geometric shapes, stripes and definitive outlines and borders on design pieces. The black, white and gray scales, including Black Tar, will balance bold primary hues, like Utah Sky. Read the rest of this entry »

{red: hot or haute? }

Red: Hot or Haute?

When thinking of colors in terms of their color temperature, red is at the top of the scale for being a really warm hue. It is commonly referred to as the color of fire and flame and it sizzles in terms of sensuality.

Red is a romantic valentine or a sweet smelling rose on one level — and a feared rash or sunburn on another level. There is nothing wishy-washy about red. It makes a statement no matter how it is used. Red says “stop” one minute and can indicate “come hither” the next.

This color has risen in the ranks of popular colors rather quickly in the last few years. There was a time when a paint dealer sold a quart of red a month and now they sell it by the gallon on a daily basis. Why is this? What happened to make this hue move to the top like the mercury in a thermometer?

One factor in its move to the top is the preponderance of do-it-yourself television shows using red as a makeover color. The one thing a makeover show wants to provoke is a reaction from their participants and their audience.  Whether it is a good or bad response, it needs to be controversial to be memorable. Red enjoys this love/hate reputation that no one can deny is dramatic and thought provoking. Because red was highlighted so often in these shows it gave confidence to consumers that they could achieve dramatic results in the easiest, least expensive method:  a gallon of red paint.

Our connection to certain colors is based on our memories of past experiences or recollections of objects featured in that color. We may have had loved a color because it is the hue of a favorite flower.  You may hate it because it was a color overused by a not-so-favorite neighbor. Looking for the most common, pleasant memories is significant in the selection of colors for products. Because of this packaging often uses red to boost the sales of certain products.  Red can’t and won’t be ignored and will remain in the limelight for years to come.

Used judiciously, incorporating red into your home decorating can be an inviting showstopper.

Here are our favorite picks.


by Pat Verlodt, CMG, Color Guild International for Hirshfield’s

{next year’s design inspiration? think neutral}

Though the new year is still several months away – at this point, you might be more focused on getting through the holidays – experts are already forecasting 2010’s most popular trends in design and décor.  I spoke with Kathy Basil of Hirshfield’s Design Studio last week about what we can expect – and what kind of trends we can implement in our own homes.  She predicts that where 2009 was full of bright, vibrant colors, 2010 will see a shift towards safer neutral tones, and believes this transition may be related to the economic situation.

“Neutrals seem safe in uncertain times,” said Kathy.  “People may not feel comfortable changing their whole room, and neutrals provide a great backdrop to pull in other colors.  If you nail the perfect neutral in your main living space, you can use more adventurous colors in other areas of your home.”

While neutrals – such as Benjamin Moore’s Ashwood – will dominate the main areas of many homes, plums like Autumn Purple, peacock blues and leafy shades such as Terrapin Green will be popular as accent pieces.  Metallics will remain popular, but be more subtle – pearlescent tints rather than pieces reminiscent of mylar or foil.

Neutrals - like Ashwood - are a good base for any room.

Neutrals - like Ashwood - are a good base for any room.

Plum shades like Autumn Purple make great accent colors.

Plum shades like Autumn Purple make great accent colors.

Adding in an accent piece in a bright shade of peacock blue can really spice up a room.

Adding in an accent piece in a bright shade of peacock blue can really spice up a room.

Try a natural, grassy green as an complement to your neutral base.

Try a natural, grassy green as an complement to your neutral base.

Kathy predicts that a desire for safety may influence all realms of design, including furniture and accent pieces, where handmade and reclaimed items – think quilts and heirlooms – will remain popular.  Carpets and rugs also will make a comeback, providing another avenue to make homes cozier.

For walls, wallpaper is the trend to follow.  “Not only does wallpaper look great, especially on accent walls, but it’s extremely user-friendly,” said Kathy.  “You can get removable wallpaper so you can change it out easily and as often as you like.”

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