Full Spectrum Paints - Northampton - part 1

In the Spring of 2011, I was called in to assist with color for a whole-house remodel here in town.  My client has spent time writing and teaching in the South of France.  She said she wanted to recreate the feeling of that part of the world and that she was a "sun junkie."  I took one look at her fair skin and blond hair and challenged her assertion.  I asked if maybe she was a "light junkie" instead and she agreed that was perhaps a better way of talking about her relationship to color and light.  

We did use bright, sunny colors, but most importantly, we used Ellen Kennon's Full Spectrum colors to maximize the reflection of light in my client's home.  Here is a quote from Ellen's website which perfectly explains Full Spectrum Paints:

Our paints are blended from the 7 colors of natural sunlight and closely mimic nature's elements such as sky, water and stone, with infinite color and variation.  Standard paint colors are usually a blend of two or three pigments that includes black, which absorbs light. Ellen's paints omit black and have a broader range of pigments that reflect a broader range of light and coordinate more easily with the colors and furnishings around them. They are chameleon-like in their ability to pick up colors from adjacent materials and to change character as the light changes.  Also, because of the absence of black and the perfect balance of a full spectrum of pigments, they don't tend to turn muddy or lose their character in low light conditions. 

I have been working with Ellen's colors since 2005 and I can tell you there is nothing quite like them.  The paints have a mirage-like quality in certain lighting.  Regular paint looks flat on a wall....Full Spectrum paints almost shimmer.  There is no better solution for low-light situations than paint that reflects back the maximum amount of light possible.  Without further ado....

As an IACC-NA member one of my codes of conduct includes not holding opinions about what colors a client should use.  It is my job to observe the environment and help the client to fully understand what's in play -- natural and artificial light, existing colors, desired mood of the space, etc.  I knew we were going to use a bright yellow in the kitchen and a deeper yellow in the adjacent living room.  I felt strongly that a rich navy in the foyer would be a fabulous counterpoint to the yellows and it would set off all the white details of the stairway, french door and millwork.  

The foyer is also naturally the darkest room in this house.  Contrary to what one might think, using a lighter color in a dark room will not brighten up the space.  Pale colors tend to get shadowy and sad in a dark room.  Though my client was somewhat hesitant to use a dark color in the entry, I felt compelled to give her a little nudge.  She has come to love the color and says it is "the most talked about" color in her home.    (Foyer color EK custom color)

Though my camera and the lighting did not do this photo justice, here is a picture of my client's pride and joy in the kitchen, a Blue Star range in cobalt!  The kitchen walls are EK Sunshine.  All cabinetry, trim and ceilings are Benjamin Moore Mascarpone.

The dining room is painted in EK Rust.  The living room beyond is EK Citrine.

Looking beyond the dining room, there is a small sitting room with an exterior door.  As in many of the rooms, my client had built-in bookcases installed.  because the room was small and the bookcases provided plenty of visual interest, we decided to use Ellen's Classic Cream.  The color was also used in a small hallway leading from the sitting room to the kitchen, as well as the small adjacent powder room.

When I come back, I'll take you upstairs to see some exciting before and after shots.  Stay tuned...