This week Benjamin Moore revealed their new 2019 Color of the Year….drum roll, please…AF-690 Metropolitan from their Affinity Collection…which is a………medium gray. Oh, meh. Even Benjamin Moore calls it “effortless” in their official release:
“Comforting, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Metropolitan AF-690 exudes beauty and balance,” said Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore Director of Strategic Design Intelligence. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design. Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground.”
Here’s a look at AF-690 in a room setting in an image provided by Benjamin Moore. Please note that the walls look a bit lighter in this photo than I expected, but it is a beautiful photo of a room with umph and architecture………like the use of a neutral gray paint demands.
Now that the 2019 Color of the Year (COTY) has been revealed, everyone is discussing it in their design blogs this week (do a Google search on it), and you will see some beautiful room photos. I don’t have any myself, as I have never specified this color before, and it does seem a bit curious to me that Benjamin Moore selected a fairly obscure gray that no one has been using or talking about as its flagship color for the year. But it is similar to Coventry Gray HC-169, which is a popular color, so don’t think that Metropolitan is too far out there.
In the press release, Benjamin Moore calls Metropolitan “effortless” and “not arresting or aggressive.” What do we think about those adjectives?
In designing for my clients, the last thing I want my clients to conclude about our color selection is “effortless” or “not impactful.” But, having had two days to process the revelation of AF-690, and put it in context with the other color happenings and trends in the world of interior design, I guess it’s not that surprising a selection for this year. Especially since the 2018 Benjamin Moore COTY selection of Caliente, (a bold red) was interesting, but in reality, it probably prompted very few to head back into red territory for their décor. On the other hand, aren’t we already full-throttle about 5 years into the “Gray Era?” Color trends usually last about 8 years.
My own take on Metropolitan is that it’s a neutral color with a cool undertone (bluish in north-facing rooms, a tad greenish in other exposures), a nice backdrop for either stunning architecture or to use with fresher and clearer happy hues like watermelon, lemon, periwinkle, or aqua.
The Light Reflectance Value (LRV), which is a percentage that describes the quantity of light reflected from a surface compared to black (0%) and white (100%), for AF-690 Metropolitan is 50.5%. That is why I call it a medium gray, instead of a light gray. You might look at photographs on the internet of rooms in Metropolitan and be convinced it’s a light gray. But the LRV parameter will ALWAYS give you an objective measurement of how dark it is, and the LRV on every color is published right there in the fan deck in the index at the back or on the back of a swatch…check it out.
Benjamin Moore describes its Color Trends 2019 as “a corresponding palette of 15 harmonious hues that further amplify the cultured grace of Metropolitan AF-690.” The Color Trends 2019 palette ranges “from ethereal neutrals to frothy pinks to rich blues and greens.” These are their words. It is interesting to me how the whole palette is fairly cool.
As for AF-690 Metropolitan, I can see this medium gray, with its LRV of 50.5%, pairing really well in a coastal setting with a clear and crisp cool palette, like those in the fabrics and paints of the Maine Cottage line: http://www.mainecottage.com/
But this coastal connection is probably the opposite of what the Benjamin Moore folks had in mind about Metropolitan, as evidenced by their urban-inspired video for AF-690:
So How Do You Use Light or Medium Gray in Your Décor
The main thing to understand about neutral grays like Metropolitan is that they are indeed “supporting players” which absolutely require something else in the room to be the STAR, like:
So, that’s a wrap on the Benjamin Moore Color of the Year for 2019: AF-690 Metropolitan. If you are totally confused at this point, you can always hire me to perform a color consultation to explain the LRV, value, hue, and other Color-speak words. Or, you can hire me to choose a gorgeous color palette and new paint color(s) for your home. You have to look at any paint color in the context of the room you are decorating with its own light and surroundings, and all the recommendations from the internet and paint companies will not guarantee a success - so we can work together to personalize the process for wonderful, unique YOU.
You may have noticed that my April 2018 posts have been slim…but all for a very good reason you will certainly hear about in future blog posts! We just returned from a 16-day vacation to Japan, and in one word, it was amazing. I can’t wait to sort through the 1,000+ photographs and bring you design highlights in my upcoming blogs!
But on to this week’s post which covers an event I attended yesterday at Gillette Stadium - the 2018 New England Paint Expo, sponsored by Sherwin-Williams; a show that introduced some cool new products that got my “Designer” brain working again.
So what were the Paint Expo highlights? As you can see, it was a gorgeous day at Gillette Stadium where the show was held in the indoor concourse area next to the VIP seating. Wow, Sherwin-Williams put on a first-class show at a really cool venue! Here’s some information on the products that I found the most interesting:
Ideapaint Magnetized Dry Erase Walls: Ever wonder how the tech companies acquire whole walls of dryerase board…and custom-color and magnetized to boot? In the photo below, Julia Romano of Ideapaint shows how her Boston-based company delivers that capability. This got me thinking that for my clients’ homes, a dry erase wall would be perfect for kitchens, mudrooms, playrooms, home offices, and over a planned “charging-station” area. Endless applications, and you can have it the same color as the rest of your walls, or perhaps a different color for a feature wall. I have seen lots of paint options in recent years for chalkboard walls, but chalkboard is so old school and messy…this Ideapaint concept is terrific.
The magnetized dry erase wall starts with a layer of thick wallpaper with a magnetic medium that is applied over drywall - they call this the “pull.” Then a layer of paint (whatever color you want) and then a dry-erase sealer topcoat. Julia showed me how the rare earth magnets really stick to this wall, with enough holding power for school schedules, kids’ artwork, and all the other paper that transits through our homes and offices. There is also an option for a magnetized paint as the first layer, but the holding power isn’t as great as with the wallpaper layer. Their products won’t interfere with wi-fi reception either, which is an important factor in our wireless world. See more details at the Ideapaint website: http://www.ideapaint.com/
Sherwin-Williams 2018 Paints: Sherwin-Williams showcased all their paint formulations with new products for super quick-dry (Snapdry Door and Trim Paint), Loxon Self-Cleaning Acrylic Coating, Extreme Block Stain Blocking Primer/Sealer, Duration Home with Moisture Resistance Technology, and many others.
Heather Bourgeois of Sherwin-Williams gave a superb talk on the Healthy Home Movement and recent advancements in paint products that work to actively work to reduce and neutralize harmful chemicals in our interior environments. We’re not just talking about minimizing the chemical footprint when applying the paint…we talking about paints that interact with formaldehydes, odors, mold, mildew and microbials to render them harmless. Wow, paint sure has come a long way in the past couple of years! I was grateful for the education on these new technologies and paint offerings to better advise my clients who are understandably concerned about improving their indoor air quality. I’m also intrigued by the Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel (shown at extreme left in the photo below) which represents a water-based hard-shell solution for trim.
Sherwin-Williams also presented all their new 2018 colors and whole new fan-deck. I have all these new color tools in place and am excited by the new more vibrant color offerings. Can you tell the color palettes have changed from a few years ago? You can find more details on the Sherwin-Williams website at https://www.sherwin-williams.com
Thanks Sherwin-Williams for inviting me to the show at Gillette Stadium!
Call me to see all the new paint offerings and discuss the ins and outs of color AND paint technology that will brighten up your dream project.
With the return of sunny longer days and color to our very brown and gray New England landscape, I’m ready for the refreshing feeling of Spring! Many of my clients are too since they are following suit in their interiors this Spring with plans for major remodels and redecorating refresh.
So what am I recommending when a client asks for a palette that is on-trend but will stand the test of time? Navy and other blue hues. First, you must know I am a fan of blue, and I still adore the color that we painted our master bedroom 17 years ago (Benjamin Moore 2128-60 Beacon Gray). Crisp blue and white linens and darker blue draperies and upholstered chairs, can’t beat that. I am both soothed and energized by the color every day.
Like in this photo from Cindy Rinfret, you can really see how Navy Blue brings interest to the room.
As a designer, it’s my job to tell you the “why” something works in your décor, not just the “what.” So here are 5 reasons why the color Navy might be the perfect color in your family room, bedroom, mudroom, bathroom, or kids’ rooms.
But Navy is also a major color in Asian-inspired decor, with beautiful blue and white porcelains (so popular now) and Japanese prints like the ones below from Georgica Pond Interiors and featured this Spring at Williams Sonoma Home.
To give you a feel for the span of blues out there here are a few of my favorite Benjamin Moore Navy paint colors:
I know lots of designers like HC-154 Hale Navy, but I rarely select it for my clients because it is so very dark. But if you have a really sunny space, it might work for you. If you want to see all 371 of the blue paints that Benjamin Moore has go here: https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/search?q=blue&category=color
That’s all for our review today of Navy and ode to blue! When you’re out shopping in coming weeks, pick up some things you love in blue and white. And call me if you want to refresh a room with blue and need a paint consultation…we’ll choose just the right blue for you!
2018!! My goodness, can we possibly be ready to flip the calendar again? Let’s just say the color trend folks are always timely, so the announcement by Benjamin Moore of AF 290 "Caliente" as their 2018 Color of the Year comes right on-time. Well, at least right on time for High Point Market which started on 11 October, as discussed in last week’s blog post.
Caliente!! What a beautiful red it is. Here’s Benjamin Moore’s announcement:
"Caliente is the signature color of a modern architectural masterpiece; a lush carpet rolled out for a grand arrival; the assured backdrop for a book-lined library; a powerful first impression on a glossy front door. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality.”
—Ellen O'Neill, Benjamin Moore & Co.
You just have to watch Benjamin Moore’s video, it will get your whole body and soul in tune with RED:
“Color of the Year 2018 | Benjamin Moore”
If you want to see how it all fits together, here is Benjamin Moore’s entire Color Palette for 2018:
For those of you that follow the color trends, you will note that Caliente is very different than previous years, where soft and muted colors were all the rage. For comparison, here are the “Color of the Year” selections by Benjamin Moore and Pantone from the past 5 years.
So, how should you use "Caliente" and other vibrant reds in today’s interiors? Well, this is probably a good place to cover a topic that I’ve been meaning to discuss for a while. Since many of my clients have gorgeous red and blue Persian and Oriental carpets in their houses - 2018 could be the year to show off, celebrate and embrace the vibrant hues in these woven treasures.
For example, here is a photo from a home office project I recently completed with a client where the carpet was the main inspiration for the colors in the room:
If you are a lover of Persian/Oriental rugs, you are undoubtedly familiar with the variety of motifs, scale, and colors used in these rugs. Blues and reds are commonly seen together, and decorating rooms with these hued rugs demands careful and deliberate attention.
To help get it right I love to refer to a wonderful book by Arthur T. Gregorian entitled “Oriental Rugs and the Stories They Tell,” first published in 1967, and updated in 1978. If you recognize the name Gregorian from the Gregorian Oriental Rug Company in Lower Newton Falls, MA, it’s the same family. This book is a treasure, and excellent reference guide to explain the designs, weaving practices, and tell-tale motifs to discern between a Sarouk, Kazak, Herati, Heriz, Kerman, Keshan, Turkoman, and other types of rugs. According to the author, to really understand the styles and weaves, one has to have an accurate knowledge of the geography of the countries involved (Iran [formerly called Persia], Afghanistan, Turkey, Caucasus, Turmekistan, Armenia, and a handful of other locations whose names have shifted with the political winds in the past 50 years). Arthur Gregorian is right-on with his statement: “You who live with Oriental rugs never think of them as something foreign to you, for they are native to your Western culture, and make a strong, rich, colorful contribution to your home, your everyday living, and your happiness in life.” My clients with Oriental rugs really do consider them treasures, and often, they form our starting point on color schemes and room arrangement.
For more information on designing with Oriental Rugs, you should check out a recent article from the Boston Design Guide, Jan 27, 2017 by Carly Stewart, who also references the expertise and beautiful rugs from Gregorian Rug. In her article Carly cites the following six main reasons for owning Oriental Rugs:
1. Lasting Appeal
So, bravo to Benjamin Moore for going BOLD this year with Caliente, AF 290.
I always enjoy designing with red, and hope the selection of Caliente will entice the world’s fabric houses to design more fabrics with red this year.
With fall on our doorstep, and the kids already back-to-school here in Sudbury, our thoughts are shifting to preparing for the colder days ahead, and to getting our kids in a good frame of mind for some serious learning at school. And what’s essential to a good learning environment and happy days for everyone - a good night’s sleep!
For good sleep, many people want their bedroom as close to blackout as they can get it, and room-darkening cellular shade with cordless control are one of my favorite solutions for the privacy layer in these bedrooms. Especially for kids! Comfortex Window Fashions makes one of my favorite cellular shade offerings in their NY plant - the Linen Weave cordless shade with ColorLux custom color, in both room-darkening and light-filtering fabrics.
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about my tour of the Comfortex Window Fashions plant (“Comfortex Shade Production Facility Tour” - 8/23/2017) in Watervliet, NY. In an odd twist of fate, while I was at their plant discussing their products Comfortex interviewed me (and some of the other designers) about their ColorLux program. Here’s their short video: “Color Lux: ThinkColor. ThinkGreen”.
Since I find their product so good at controlling light I recently suggested a Comfortex Linen Weave shade in a room-darkening configuration for a client’s son’s room. As you can see in the picture, the shade fits nicely inside the window frame, and we put a crisp striped faux roman cornice on top for impact. The shade is perfect for a good nap or night’s rest for this most adorable and fun toddler, and the parents can rest comfortably knowing the cordless control is child-safe.
If you want to learn more about the shades and the colors it comes in, here’s a link to the ColorLux program which offers cellular and roller shades in over 800 colors. Wow, talk about custom!
ColorLux Designer Cellular & Roller Shades
I hope you’re ready for a wonderful crisp Fall, my favorite time of year!
As I detailed in my last blog post on the “Top Ten Color Mistakes”, since colors are so vital to decorating I want to share my latest find—a digital tool for accurately “reading” colors: the Color Muse.
Basically, the small Color Muse device has its own light source (charged by an internal battery that can be recharged with the included micro USB power cord), and you operate it through an app on your phone. The Color Muse works with an iPhone, iPad or Android phone.
To demonstrate the Color Muse, in the photos below I have used the app to tell me the corresponding Benjamin Moore paint color for the teal canister in a kitchen. After a couple of seconds the Color Muse app chooses “Rendezvous Bay 726” as the closest paint color match. I concur!
If you are interested in finding out more about the Color Muse, here is a link to more information on this fantastic product:
Color Muse Website
If you need help matching colors in your home, I would love to demonstrate the Color Muse tool for you in your next interior home project! I just used it yesterday with a client who purchased a lakefront home in New Hampshire, and she is in search of the existing wall paint color to do some small touch-ups. In two minutes we identified the color…how cool is this techie product???
Today I’ll relate the top ten mistakes I see clients make when choosing paint and color schemes for their homes, either when they don’t have a practiced interior color sense, or a designer who can help them with this critical area.
Don’t make these same mistakes, as repainting can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive!
TOP TEN COLOR MISTAKES YOU WILL NOT MAKE:
1. When choosing a wall color, using the exact color taken from a rug, art piece, or fabric without regard to intensity of that color.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.