Painting ideas

Painting ideas for a Californian modernist residence


Bright light “The light in California is very warm, so cool colors work particularly well,” recalls the designer. “In Los Angeles, I often favor blues and greens, where in the east I can use warmer tones. We also have so much clear light here so a little bit of color is very bright and you can get by using less pigment. In a city like New York, we need richer hues to have the same impact.

Photo: Jonn Coolidge

Forget the neutrals “Albert Hadley said lime green was the only color that went with everything, and Tony Duquette used malachite as a neutral. Beige was considered shocking when Jean Michel Frank launched his version of Modernism in 1920s Paris, now beige is considered boring. Syria’s all-white Maugham living room was avant-garde for 1930s London. Anything can be neutral (or not) in the right context.

Photo: Jonn Coolidge

Quick change “Paint your walls, it’s really transformative. My partner and I live with a lot of color at home and we are constantly changing things up. Painters come to us every quarter to touch up a ceiling or repaint the walls of one room or another; for us, it keeps things fresh and interesting. I think of our house as my personal color lab.

Photo: Jonn Coolidge

Color correction “I like a white room, but the white shows everything! White is kind of like standing naked in front of an audience – some of us can do it and look flawless, but the rest of us need Spanx. A little color goes a long way in hiding flaws and imperfections.

Photo: Jonn Coolidge

Made by nature “Historical pieces are for me an excellent reference in terms of colors and combinations. There were some pretty wild color combinations in the 1940s as well as the 1840s. Nature always introduces inspiring shades and hues. I love to watch flowers, fruits, birds, butterflies, sunsets – they all amaze me with bold and extraordinarily beautiful colors.


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