San Francisco Treatment

Posted 22 January 2011 at 4:53 PM | Comments (6)

Erin and Andrew just nabbed a spacious, vintage apartment in the Bay Area and asked me for some suggestions on color schemes. Their new place is awesome, but they don’t get much direct sunlight in their living room.

I looked through hundreds of photographs that might inspire them, and then pulled color palettes from the images that gave me that young-and-fun-couple-in-a-Bay-Area-apartment kind of vibe. Considering their lack of direct sunlight—with a north-facing bay window and west-facing windows covered by an oak tree—I tried to find images that use colors with red and yellow undertones, to warm up that cool-blue northern light.

Here are my four favorites.

This set, from Benjamin Moore (a great resource for decorating ideas, by the way), is bold, bright, and fearless. The colors make me think of peacock feathers. Wisely, they’re combined with a lot of white, black, and gray.

(I’m aware this one isn’t exactly the “warm” color palette I said I’d stick to, but I couldn’t exactly eliminate these, could I??! I mean, LOOK!)

Living Room Painted in Peacock Blue, Benjamin Moore's "Lucerne"

Kitchen Painted in Lime, Benjamin Moore's "Grape Green"

Bedroom Painted in Fuchsia, Benjamin Moore's "Royal Flush"

I admit I love the connection between this urban-hippie style and San Francisco’s bohemian subculture, but the décor isn’t as important here as is the color palette, taken from Pittsburgh Paint’s color trend guide for 2011.

Pittsburgh Paints 2011 Color Trends "New Bohemia" Collection

Pittsburgh Paints 2011 Color Trends "New Bohemia" Collection

I’m in love with this living room from Benjamin Moore. It reminds me of a cool professor—think bright red shirt under a brown tweed jacket. A wall color this bright warrants neutrality in furniture and accessories, which explains why these images are actually palatable.

Living Room Painted in Bright Red, Benjamin Moore's "Claret Rose"

Living Room Painted in Bright Red, Benjamin Moore's "Claret Rose"

A white-walled room doesn’t have to be boring, as you can see in these images from Crate&Barrel and Room&Board. But since north-facing windows will cast a blue-gray light in the room, some furniture and accessories should have a warm undertone.

Crate&Barrel Living Room with the Shelter Sofa

Room&Board Living Room with the Dean Sectional

And here are the color palettes all in a row. Good luck, kids!

"Spirited" Collection Paint Swatches from Benjamin Moore's Envision Color 2011

"New Bohemia" Collection Paint Swatches from Pittsburgh Paint's Color Trends 2011

"Alternative View" Collection Paint Swatches from Benjamin Moore's Envision Color 2010

Neutral Color Palette with Warm Undertones

6 Responses to San Francisco Treatment

  1. Andrea Goto says:

    My dream scheme is the neutral color palette, which is weird since there isn’t much in my house that’s neutral. In reality, my look is surprisingly from the “alternative” collection here. Hmmmm, I guess I’m still a little Nirvana from ’95.

    Your friends’ place sounds incredible. What fun to begin from scratch. Overwhelming, but ultimately fun.

  2. Andrew says:

    Mojan, you are AMAZING!! Erin and I were incredibly excited upon seeing this post. It’s fun to move into a new place, of course, but even better to have such a talented friend lend her expertise and talent towards the interior design process.

    We’re digging the first two color schemes, but leaning towards the second. Our last place was painted with really bold, striking colors, and we’re considering a slightly calmer palette this go-around. Coincidentally, we’d already talked about a robin’s egg blue in the bedroom and a soft, warm yellow in the living room that look like they could’ve been lifted straight from the second palette you’ve posted here. But having the full range of colors in the palette? Really, really helpful when considering a cohesive scheme to tie the whole apartment together, walls, furniture, decor, etc.

    We’re excited to get to work! Thanks so much, Mojan!!

  3. Mojan says:

    Andrew, GOOD CHOICE! That’s my favorite option for your apartment. Just remember to keep the colors — even the blues — yellow-based, at least in your north-facing rooms. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see it!

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks! We’ll send you some photos once we paint. A little before/after action, perhaps! 😀

  5. ADORE the MOD one… sigh… I think I might have to hire you to decorate my future home. I’m better at 2 dimensions and you are AMAZING at 3 dimensions…

  6. Mojan says:

    Heather, don’t be so sure about your lack of abilities! In many ways, graphic design effectively translates to interiors. You already understand composition, proportion, color, balance — you just need to learn a few basic rules and you’ll be golden. Also, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it — that’s certainly what’s happening to me.

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