Decorator Showcase 2015


Philip Reno of Philip’s Perfect Colors and I have been invited to present at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase on Friday, May 22. We will discuss how full spectrum paint emulates the natural world and effortlessly complements artwork, furniture, textiles, and finishes. Please attend, see the Showcase, and contribute to a worthy cause!

San Francisco Chronicle


I was recently interviewed about a home I designed in Piedmont, which is on the market.

I am in the November/December issue discussing the wonderful world of painting ceilings.

Check it out!

I was recently interviewed by Diane Capuano Franklin for Your Decorator Resource website. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my work.

O Canada!

I am back from Ottawa where I gave three lectures at the Caneast Home and Design Expo at lovely Lansdowne Park. I was tasked with discussing how to create mood with color. Since mood is a function of stimulus and the brain’s “alchemy,” I discussed color and human response, and how these responses can be harnessed to create and sustain (if desired) mood in the architectural environment.

Universal Responses

I received some interesting questions, the majority of which had something to do with the notion of trends (I was after all, at a design expo): How often should I paint a room? I heard dark furniture is “out.” I don’t like taupe; do I have to paint my living room taupe to be au courant? What are the trends for 2012? Etc. I am avowedly anti-trend (for architectural color) and I freely admitted so. My issue with trends is that while they are fun, they are both manufactured and ignorant or disinterested in effect. (These are related.) I design color as if the interior or exterior were never again going to be painted. Well chosen color simply transcends trend; if I consider desired effect and am creative in my design, then that color (or colors) will never go out of style.

Right now in San Francisco there is a trend of painting Victorians one color, all black or all white usually. This can look fantastic and I am the first to celebrate that looking beautiful is a legitimate goal in itself, especially in an exterior. Other factors need to be considered, of course. Scale, exposure, context, and effect. For the building below, the owner, who was opening a new bar at street level, wanted an elegant, “European,” and striking statement.  (Almost) all black seemed an appropriate choice here and was practicable because of the Northern exposure. We chose a full spectrum black for the main body,  dusky cream for the top molding, and a beckoning saffron yellow for the entry. The side entry, which goes to two residential units is awash in the cream to stave off a completely nocturnal, club vibe. The southern exposure is in the cream.

European Elegance on Chestnut

 PPC-DT9 Black Bear

C2-347 Benchmark

C2-119 Amontillado

Chestnut Entry

What are the color trends for 2012? Is dark furniture “out”? For me, balance is always key. I participated in the color trends issue of Paint Dealer and Retailer Magazine this year. The upshot of all the designers’ observations and predictions is that both neutrals and strong colors are “in.” As I explained at the expo,  I think this sort of schizophrenia  reflects human beings’ natural requirement for both of these types of color (a balance between desaturation and saturation), a necessity stemming from the way we perceive color in the natural world (See Grey Matter Blog).  My hypothesis is that these many designer-prognosticators are unknowingly/sub-consciously trying to reconcile this natural human need and label it a trend. If you like dark furniture, go for it! But consider balancing the solidity and weight of such material with some graceful lines, for example, because balance is the key to ultimate function and beauty. If you are the type of person who craves and needs change on a regular basis, and has the wherewithal, paint as often as the mood strikes you.

Creating Mood With Color

Peaceful Energy

I am thrilled to announce that I will be giving three color seminars at the Home and Design Show in Ottawa, Ontario, September 30-October 2. I will be discussing human response to color and how this can be used to create mood and atmosphere using architectural color.  I am told I should see the changing of the guard while I am there.  Thanks to both Caneast Shows, Inc and Randall’s Paint.

Real Simple Magazine

Once again, decorating with grey is hip. While I do not favor trends/fashions (except in clothes), I do think that a beautifully formulated, full spectrum grey is a beautiful thing. I am concerned with aesthetics and beauty but also the very real effect and affect of environmental color on human beings. I also recognize that even if paint color trends were to recognize or consider color and human response, which they do not (though a trendy color might coincidentally  do so),  I recognize that most people cannot repaint a room as often as they might be able to buy a new shirt. I am happy to say I am in the October issue of Real Simple Magazine discussing the various effect of different grey combinations. In general, in Western society, grey (desaturated colors) connote wealth and sophistication. It is vitally important to use full spectrum greys to achieve this because these greys retain a liveliness and depth that emulates Nature’s color. Grey and primary colors, depending on intensity and value (light/dark ratio), can be graphic, modern, refined, extravagant, and or very formal, among other things. Grey is also the perfect “presentation board” for other colors because there less an issue of “relative contrast”: that is, the color always looks like itself.

Country Kitchen San Francisco (Before)

Decorating with Grey San Francisco (After)

Yellow + Grey: Modern and Refined

Some favorite Greys:

Philip’s Perfect Colors G2 Silver Dove (pale warm silver)

C2-472 Titanium (midtone reddish grey)

C2-401 Wildwood (dark deep grey-green)

Hot Off The Presses

Our book, Dick Eats Flies: Traditional Parlor Games, Original Parlor Games, and Everything in Between is now available for your game-playing enjoyment. Dick Eats Flies… is both a game and humor book with funny instructions on how to play traditional games, like Charades and Ghost, and original games the authors have made up over the years, including guessing games, word games, drawing games and more. Fun for all ages! Promotes mental agility! No plug-ins required! We are very proud. Please get your copy now from


Cool Earthy Tiles Beckon the Outdoors

Last Fall I designed a kitchen color for a lovely couple in Bernal Heights, San Francisco. It was a delicate job, since the kitchen had several roles to play, including kitchen, dining room, and thoroughfare.  We wanted a subtle yet dynamic color and selected C2-367 Parchment. Later, they asked me to consult on tile for the kitchen.They wanted to add tile to one wall  because it felt unfinished. Julie and James have excellent taste. They presented me with about six colors of Heath tiles, similar in shape and finish to the ones they had chosen in their oasis of a bathroom. Although we all agreed the orange tile was out of this world, there was already strong color in the floor. From a visual ergonomic standpoint, orange on the wall would  create too much visual “jumping” between the ground and wall planes; it was very important that the tiles complement without dominating the space. I suggested  again, to choose subtlety in this case, to support the saturated colors found elsewhere  and to maintain the delicate balance we had created.

A Delicate Balance

David Bromstadt Visits G & R Paint

I do not have a television. I watch “Glee” on Hulu and “Breaking Bad” on DVD, so I did not know who was David Bromstadt or what was “Color Splash” on HDTV. All I knew about him was that he is the spokesman for Mythic Paint, a 0 v.o.c. paint, which he uses on his show, and that a friend of mine thinks he is the perfect man.

What a doll. David is lively, generous, and wickedly funny. Through his example, he reminded me to be ever attentive of clients’ needs, especially when they diverge, as in the case of a newly unioned couple with conflicting couches. His advice was to get rid of both, of course, and start fresh: marry their design styles in a new couch, with perhaps throw pillows that floridly satisfy the frillier of the couple.


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