Choosing a paint color-Coastal Haven

With my 17 plus years of designing homes for clients, I can honestly say, paint color selection is one of the biggest areas in the design process that can bring a client to a state of complete panic.

I have seen everything from tears to family arguments all over paint colors. It is at this point that finally a homeowner will call in a pro. Why is this an area that is so difficult for people. I have the answer to this…. it is because like many of the steps in the design process, people over simplify the process.”How hard can it be? We are intelligent people, we should be able to choose the perfect paint color.” Homeowners really don’t know, what they do not know about color selection, and this element make make or break an entire design.

First: color is a very emotional subject and certain colors trigger different responses for each individual what is right for some, may not be right for others.

Second: color is a strong tool and will do things to help or hurt the proportion and feeling of the particular space. You should know what a tool does before you use it.

Third: color reacts differently depending on where it is placed, this means if you see a color on your friends wall, most likely it will not look the same on your wall. Adding to the varying factors that will effect the color are type of interior lighting source, bulbs, natural lighting, shadowing, and other fabrics and elements in the room.

Choosing a paint color is one area that having experience always produces the best results. Knowing how to consider and weigh out the numerous factors and distinguish the varying undertones of a color can only come from years and years of professional experience.

In choosing my wall color for the Coastal Haven Show House my goal was to seamlessly blend a multitude of blues to complement the various fabrics being used in the space and to open up the room to that beautiful view. Not an easy task, but I am very pleased with my color selection, the perfect blue wall for my room will make everything come together.

Choosing Fabrics- Coastal Haven Show House

#SummerCountdown-2My first step in the creation of my living room design for Coastal Haven, was the selection of fabrics. I knew that I wanted a mix of beautiful blue hues for the space so I focused my search in that general direction. Because this is a designer show house, I wanted to use a fabric that really made a bold statement. For a design show house there is no client, so this is a great opportunity for a designer to use the unexpected. I found the perfect fabric in a navy and oatmeal colored leopard print, then I mixed in some complementary fabrics varying in scale, but all in a similar color scheme,a geometric, a stripe, a textured contrasting solid. These bold fabrics paired with the contrasting solids of my furnishings, will create visual interest and warmth without overpowering the room. I can’t wait for you to see what I have done with these beautiful fabrics!

Gia’s Room -Coastal Haven Show House- Choosing a color scheme

1st visit -Coastal Haven

1st visit -Coastal Haven

When choosing a color scheme for any space the paint colors are always chosen last. This would be after all other items are chosen, including furnishings, fabrics, flooring, cabinetry, tile/stone or any other material that is being used in a space. Paint comes in thousands of colors, I even create my own color mix on some projects. This is a hard concept for most people to grasp, since the wall paint actually comes first in the process of putting a room together. My design process always starts with an overall feel for the room, or an inspiration, before starting the creation of a color scheme and design plan. When I first visited the Coastal Haven property, it was in fact, the dead of winter, but as I looked through the windows of that cold, dreary living room, which was cluttered with construction supplies and dust, I saw a beautiful coastal view, with a magnificent mix of blue tones. A huge contrast with the snow covered roads on which I traveled that early morning, and with the light of the early morning sun, these colors were particularly rich in depth. I knew I had to treat this fantastic view like a fine piece of artwork and create a design that blended the interior seamlessly with the exterior, without competing. So here in this very raw phone photo you might find a glimpse of what colors you will see in my design show house living room space.


Coastal Haven Show House- Before


As we begin our work on the living room at the Newburyport Designer Show House, I thought you might like to see a few before photos of the space. In the photos you will see what the living room looked like the first time I laid eyes on the room. I chose this room for my design submission for several reasons.

First, look at that beautiful fireplace! This room, being one of the original rooms in the house, boasts some beautiful original woodwork including the fireplace and built in cabinetry. It also has a beautiful original wood floor. Another deciding factor for me was that this room, which is located in the front of the house, has a waterfront view from all four windows. A room with original architectural elements, in a home of this age, usually presents some considerable design challenges. First, this room has two very narrow doorways entering from two very narrow angled hallways. This means that only the most precisely measured and planned furniture pieces will be able to enter this space at all.



The next challenge, the two doors that open into the room and cover wall space and need clearance space.The windows present a few additional challenges. The window casings are all sized and cut into the top crown molding at different measured increments. This will make our window hardware selection and placement a bit tricky. These windows are also very unevenly spaced on the walls and will require some design techniques that will minimize the uneven window placement. All of these things considered, I knew that this was the perfect room for me to tackle, with my many years of designing and renovating beautiful old colonial homes, I felt drawn to this space and it’s potential. I have enjoyed preparing the design presentation for this space, and now we can begin the transformation of this room into a beautiful cozy retreat.

I hope you will enjoy seeing the progress of this beautiful show house as I continue to update you these next few weeks.


Designing Custom Artwork!

I recently had to pleasure to meet with artist Lee Rowan of Elizabeth Rowan Fine Art. Lee is a well known artist throughout the northeast and she will be working to create an original piece of artwork for my designer show house room. After discussing my design and ideas for the space,looking at fabric swatches and my color selections, I know Lee will use her artistic skills to create just the right piece of artwork for this room. I am thrilled to be working with her and I can’t wait to see the final product!

When choosing artwork for any space, consider visiting some of your local art shows where you can find many beautiful pieces of artwork by some talented local artists.



Such original pieces can add so much personality to a room, even when combined with stock artwork. What ever you select for artwork in your home, just be sure it is something that you love and will enjoy seeing ever day!



Show House Work Begins!

Coastal Haven

I am on site today in Newburyport MA, where my crew and I begin work on the living room of the Newburyport Designer Show House, Coastal Haven. Construction of the massive addition on the back of this coastal property has been going on for several months, and now this home will continue to be transformed as several designers have been chosen to design each room.

This house will be open to the public to tour starting with an opening gala on July 1st and will be open for touring through July 29th. Tickets can be purchased through the Museum of Old Newbury.