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S h e r w i n - W i l l i a m s® J o i n t h e C o l o r C o n v e r s a t i o n


s t i r


S p e c i a l Iss u e

THE State of


The Sherwin-Williams Company

STIR Advisory Board

Director, Trade Communications: Tresa Makowski Director of Color Marketing: Jackie Jordan

Glen Boudreaux, ASID, RID, IDEC Glen Boudreaux & Associates Dallas, Texas

Hanley Wood Marketing Executive Editor: Bryan Iwamoto Editorial Director: Dobby Gibson Editor: Kim Palmer Executive Art Director: Sandy Girard Senior Editor: Mara Hess Production Director: Pam Mundstock Production Artist: Karen Wolcenski Project Manager: Courtney Miner Account Director: Dana Brink

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Kathy Davis, CID, IACC/NA Kathy Davis Associates, Inc. Solana Beach, Calif. Michael Scott, IDS, Allied ASID Robb & Stucky Interiors Scottsdale, Ariz.

Become a fan of Sherwin-Williams for Designers & Architects on Facebook, and we’ll give you exclusive updates on color tools, design industry news, inspiring ideas from the STIR team — and an opportunity to join the color conversation.

Zara Stender, CID, IDS, Allied ASID, CMG ZaraDesigns Las Vegas, Nev. Abby Suckle, FAIA, LEED Abby Suckle Architects New York, N.Y.

STIR® magazine (ISSN 1937-2027) is published by Hanley Wood, LLC, on behalf of The Sherwin-Williams Company, for interior designers and architects. Please direct correspondence to: Sherwin-Williams STIR magazine Hanley Wood 430 1st Ave. N., Suite 550 Minneapolis, MN 55401 Phone: (612) 338-8300 E-mail: Website: Printed in the United States, © 2010 Sherwin-Williams

Visit to: • Order color samples • Download color palettes into virtual design tools • Paint room scenes or upload your own photos in Color Visualizer • Download ColorSnap®, a free color-matching app for smartphones • View Sherwin-Williams Robert Allen® Fabric Collections For product or compliance questions, call 800-321-8194 For green solutions, visit



elcome to the SherwinWilliams® STIR® State of Color print annual — a super-sized special issue dedicated to celebrating color in 2010 and beyond. We hope this issue’s focus on color trends, tools and technology will make it a useful reference for your design practice in the months to come. On page 14, you’ll find our colormix™ two-thousand-eleven color forecast. This year’s forecast was created by an international team from SherwinWilliams including, in addition to me, color marketing expert Becky Ralich Spak; Kathy Andersson, a specialist in product finishes; and Carol B. Derov, an expert in international color and design. The team was joined by Christy Almond, a textile expert from Robert Allen. Four of our team members are members of the Color Marketing Group. In conjunction with our forecast, we also surveyed more than 1,000 of you and asked you to share your observations and opinions on color at a local level. Explore the eye-opening results of our first annual State of Color STIRvey on page 20. If you think you know your region’s color palette, you might be surprised by our results! Where do you think color is headed? What factors do you see influencing design? You can share your opinions by reading and responding to my blog at, or by posting on the wall of our new Facebook experience at Join the Color Conversation with Sherwin-Williams! Sincerely,

Jackie Jordan Director of Color Marketing The Sherwin-Williams Company The trademarks and copyrights of Sherwin-Williams appearing in STIR are protected. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.




S H E R W I N - W I L L I A M S®

s t i r


SPECIAL ISSUE: The State of Color





Sherwin-Williams Faux Impressions™ line brings stunning special effects to a room near you.

Sherwin-Williams colormix™ twothousand-eleven paints the spectrum of personalities.





Multicolored insights from HGTV star Antonio Ballatore, branding pro Joe Duffy, top chef Cindy Pawlcyn and green guru Danny Seo.

We asked for your perspective on the past, present and future of color. Here’s what you said.




IN A NEW LIGHT Make more enlightened design choices by understanding changes in lighting technology.


20 Vermont’s historic Paramount Theatre gets a modern makeover in Arts & Crafts hues.




NASHVILLE’S NEW GEM A Tennessee townhouse development combines vintage architecture with eco-friendly values.

28 HOT HAND Superstar designer Larry Laslo comes up aces with this 21st-century poker palace.



CARNAVAL COLORS The meaning of Mardi Gras comes in purple, green and gold.


Stir 1

colorchips Color news and solutions from Sherwin-Williams

Join the Color Conversation Deepen your color knowledge and find inspiring conversation on our new and improved STIR® website and Facebook experience for design professionals.

STIR. If you enjoy this magazine, check out the STIR website ( and free STIR eExtra monthly e-mail, which are also designed to help you explore color and creativity. The STIR website now features bloggers, including Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing

Color Matching Mobile Apps Now Enhanced ColorSnap® for iPhone® has been enhanced — and is now available for your BlackBerry.®

Jackie Jordan, and gives you the ability to post your comments. Sherwin-Williams for Designers &

You can use our ColorSnap app to capture an image with your camera phone and

Architects. Join the more than 1,600

access the closest-matching Sherwin-Williams color with coordinating palettes,

designers who have joined us on

as well as locate the nearest Sherwin-Williams store. We’ve now enhanced the

Facebook. Be among the first to know about new

app — and made it available for your BlackBerry. You can even save colors and

color tools and products. Post your project photos.

share them via Facebook. View our entire palette by color family; explore lighter,

Chat with your fellow design professionals. And

brighter or darker shades; and get RGBs and light reflectance values. It’s free!

best of all, let your voice be heard!

Download at

NEW PRODUCTS PROMAR® 200 AND PROCLASSIC® WATERBASED ACRYLIC-ALKYDS The new Promar 200 and Proclassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyds allow you to create durable, smooth, high-performing finishes with minimal environmental impact. The coatings’ advanced waterbased paint technology delivers alkyd paint performance and a low-VOC level.




Promar 200 and Proclassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyds offer: • The application and finish of an alkyd coating • The non-yellowing properties of an acrylic coating • A low-VOC content Explore finishes at

d e p a r t m e n t Create Big Effects With

New Faux Finishes

Sherwin-Williams Faux Impressions™ makes it easy to create unique specialty effects for your projects. New this year, the Sherwin-Williams Faux Impressions line allows you to deliver stunning effects for your clients, including anything from the classic elegance of Tuscan plastering to the contemporary cool of textured metallic glazing. The Faux Impressions line is organized into four finish categories: Old World Impressions, inspired by plastering methods; Metallic Impressions; Quartz Stone Impressions; and Artisan Impressions, which includes leaf and other natural techniques. Visit the Faux Impressions display at your local Sherwin-Williams store. Get inspired by the color samples and how-to brochures and find all the supplies needed to complete any of the new faux finishing techniques. Explore creative possibilities at, where you’ll find complete information including a step-by-step video.

Faux finish shown: Quartz Stone Striae.

Online Color Visualizer: Upload Your Own! Think of it as your virtual design studio. Featuring 1,500 colors, and room scenes and exteriors that you can paint virtually, Color Visualizer makes it easy to explore color options. Now you can even upload and “paint” your own photo! Inspire your clients by helping them visualize final results. Try it out at


Stir 3

Color conversatioN:Antonio ballatore

In the Driver’s Seat

Unconventional Design Star Antonio Ballatore continues to break the mold — now on his own terms.

Ballatore transforms lackluster spaces into radical-yet-functional creations with The Antonio Treatment, airing Sundays at 11 p.m. EST, starting August 8.

STIR: Tell us about a recent color inspiration. AB: I did a hotel room at the Highland Hollywood. It was the hotel Janis Joplin passed away in — a West Coast version of the Chelsea. They gave me a suite. Me and my crew just went nuts, did all this crazy stuff. It was a take on a ’70s Matchbox car, with a cobra … purple, with a red, white and blue stripe. I get inspired by all kinds of crazy things. Things from my childhood. STIR: How does your background in set design influence your interior designs? AB: As a set designer, you’re always under the gun. You’re doing major rebuilds in two or three days. I’m used to working under that kind of pressure. I’ve had to think outside the box. I’m bringing in a lot of my tricks, along with a lot of my guys. STIR: What’s your process for choosing colors? AB: I kind of go by gut. I’m big on putting samples on walls, and seeing how it looks at night, in the daytime — a lot of trial-and-error. STIR: Are there any colors or combinations that you just can’t stand? AB: Everybody knows I’m not a fan of tan and beige. They’re overdone. Everyone always plays it safe. But color is so easy to change. If you can’t live with it, paint it over.

STIR: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done with color? AB: Define “weird.” We’re always doing something different and weird. STIR: You like to mix custom paint colors. What’s the best one you’ve concocted recently? AB: In my place, I didn’t want anything to compete with the artwork. I came up with a grayish purple. At night, it becomes a little more purple. It’s a cool color. I really dig it. STIR: When you were on Design Star, Candice Olson called you “the bad boy of design.” Do you feel pressure to live up to that? AB: “The Tony Soprano of design.” The whole thing is a trip. I guess I’m just the first guy on HGTV who’s a little different. I don’t feel pressure. I’m not trained to be a designer. I’m just doing what feels right, feels cool. I want people not to feel intimidated by design. STIR: Your signature moment on Design Star was putting hot-pink ducks on a white wall. Where did that come from? AB: The pink ducks happened by accident. I originally wanted to do a pink steer head, but the girls came back with ducks. It was made fun of, but that’s an example of turning a mistake into something good. STIR: What’s the coolest thing you’ve tried with respect to color in the past year? AB: I like to get existing pieces and customize them with color, turn them into something special. I have my airbrush, and I blast it like a car, with metal flake. That’s what’s so fun about this. It’s like working with David LaChappelle [the photographer renowned for his use of outrageous sets]. I’m reliving that all again, but it’s my vision this time. My vision is becoming clearer. n


Join the Color Conversation

The STIR website ( has new designer blogs — and you can post your own comments!




Photography by Jay Silverman ©2010

What happens when you mix the theatrics of set design with the edge of rock ’n’ roll, and throw in some New York attitude? You get The Antonio Treatment, which Design Star winner Antonio Ballatore now delivers on his new HGTV “docu-design” show ( Inspired by cars, tattoos and you-name-it, Ballatore and his crew transform lackluster spaces into custom creations.

I’m just doing what feels right, feels cool. I want people not to feel intimidated by design.


Stir 5

Color conversatioN:cindy pawlcyn


Napa Valley chef and entrepreneur Cindy Pawlcyn dishes on her latest inspirations, fascinations and creations.

Since her culinary debut in her mother’s kitchen, Pawlcyn has made seasonal colors and flavors central to every menu.

STIR: You’re known for great presentation as well as good food. What’s your strategy? CP: Food is also eaten with the eyes, and color makes the plate more interesting. You have to have balance. It’s much easier in summer, when everything is fresh. In winter, there are so many browns, with meats and sauces. I like uneven numbers, and I always try to break it up, the shapes and elements. And, of course, it has to be edible — you don’t want pieces so big you can’t get them on a spoon. STIR: You’ve been promoting heirloom potatoes this year. Why? CP: I love them! Potatoes with different colors on a plate make it more exciting as a diner. ... My dad used to grow Peruvian purple potatoes in North Dakota. Farmers would help him and think they were weird, but now people are used to seeing them. Heirlooms are not always better, but it’s nice to keep the seeds alive. STIR: Is there anything that you grow primarily for what it adds to the color palette? CP: Bronze fennel. It’s beautiful, and we can use it for sauces — and some of the micro lettuces. STIR: You’re a potter who makes a lot of your own dishes. How do you pair plate colors with food colors? CP: I tend to like white plates, although there are some great little appetizers that jump off a dark glazed plate. Cheese also looks really good on dark plates. I like food colors for plates. Purple doesn’t work. Or blue. I don’t like sharp geometric




shapes. Food is soft, and hard-edged plates take away from that. I use brighter-colored plates in summer. The food can stand up to it. … The mood of the room also influences the color of the plate, and whether you’re going for edgy, comforting or hipster. STIR: What are the color palettes in your restaurants? CP: Mustards has a creamy-butter dining room, with dark mahogany. It’s very clubby, very welcoming. Cindy’s is offwhite and black, with a lot of botanicals in the wallpaper and dark-chocolate distressed furniture and dark carpet. Go Fish is mostly blue, white and gold, with chocolate brown. It gives a feeling of seafood, the ocean and water. STIR: You took part in a color-related cooking challenge on Top Chef Masters. Tell us about that. CP: I did yellow — a yellow vegetable curry with cornbread and garnished with a poached egg. It was hard. Yellow is a late-summer color. Green was easiest, because there are so many options. STIR: Is there any color you hate to see on a plate? CP: Gray. You can’t make it look good. It’s almost always a mistake. I made gray mashed potatoes once. Very bad! STIR: Your most recent book, Big Small Plates, focuses on appetizers. What’s one of the most visually striking ones that you feature? CP: Avocado papaya salad. You’ve got the orange papaya, the black seeds, the lime-green avocado and brown toasted hazelnuts on a little black plate that I made. STIR: Colorwise, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or created this year? CP: I did a beautiful red corn and popcorn sundae. We just introduced it this year. It has burgundy red heirloom popcorn kernels; you pop them, and still see little red dots from the husk. Then we grated fresh corn and mixed it into the ice cream, and topped it with popcorn, hot chocolate and caramel. It’s like caramel corn with chocolate, and it’s gorgeous! n

Photography Courtesy of Cindy Pawlcyn

One of the pioneers of California cuisine, Cindy Pawlcyn (, was advocating the “farm-to-table” philosophy long before it became fashionable. Her Napa Valley restaurants — Mustards Grill, Go Fish and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen — all share a focus on fresh, seasonal fare, much of it grown in her kitchen gardens. The author of four cookbooks, she recently added TV personality (Top Chef Masters) to her repertoire.

I use brighter-colored plates in summer. The food can stand up to it.


Stir 7

Color conversatioN:danny seo

Green Guru

Environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo surveys the current landscape, shares his favorite color (it’s not green) and confesses his “eco sins.”

Seo’s eco-friendly empire includes a line of mattresses from Simmons.

STIR: What’s been the best advance in green design in the last year? DS: LED [lighting] technology. It’s been around forever, but it’s finally in light-bulb form. In my hall, I put in LED, individual diodes, and it creates this cool, modern, futuristic look. There’s the energy savings, the bulbs don’t get hot, and they last for 20 years. They do cost $10 a bulb, but it’s nice to know I’ll never have to think about changing bulbs. STIR: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen, with respect to color? DS: Color-blocking is interesting right now. You can do it with modular elements, like carpet, or create a patchwork effect on a wall. People are more willing to take risks with paint. It is reversible. And darker colors are huge, like ebonized wood floors. It really anchors a room. That’s what you see when you go to a boutique hotel, and that’s influencing all design. There’s a misconception that dark is like a dungeon; it’s more rich. STIR: What’s your strategy for choosing colors? DS: Go to your closet and get a solid-color T-shirt you love. Take that T-shirt to the store and color-match instead of looking at paint chips. STIR: What color is that for you? DS: Really, it’s gray. I’m very happy in gray. I have a heather gray T-shirt that I love. It’s the first thing I pack. All the walls in my midcentury modern home are gray.




STIR: What inspired you to go green at such a young age? DS: I was born on Earth Day, and that was a big influence. It’s an unusual holiday because it wasn’t really celebrated — it was more doom and gloom. I started an environmental group, Earth 2000, when I was 12. The roots of sustainability always fascinated me. I liked growing things, refurbishing things. When I got my first apartment, I was able to marry those interests. STIR: Even a green guru must have a few guilty secrets — what are yours? DS: My “eco sins”? Well, I was doing a photo shoot, with a lot of props, so I had to rent a giant SUV. Someone saw me and Twittered: “I just saw Danny Seo in an SUV.” I overnight a lot of stuff, all the time. Using airplanes is the least energy-efficient way — ground shipping is always the most fuel-efficient, but there are so many time-sensitive things I’m working on. STIR: What’s the state of green in 2010? DS: What’s new is the marriage of sustainability and style. Ten years ago, that was an oxymoron. Green people were hippie-granola types, and people with great style didn’t care about the environment. Now people care — and they want gorgeous homes. STIR: Some industry experts say we’ve reached the tipping point in green building and design. What do you think? DS: We’re getting there. The thing that makes people shift is when it benefits them. Nobody wants to shift because it’s the right thing to do. With heating costs what they are, energy-efficiency is a huge motivator. n


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Photography by Jim Judkis

Going green hadn’t even entered the vernacular when Danny Seo ( started exploring eco-friendly living as a youth. Since then, he’s emerged as a leading voice on sustainable lifestyles and built a green empire that includes books (Simply Green Parties, Simply Green Giving and Conscious Style Home); a blog; and a growing line of branded products, including mattresses (Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo) and a new bath and beauty line (Wholearth by Danny Seo).

What’s new is the marriage of sustainability and style. Ten years ago, that was an oxymoron.


Stir 9

Color conversatioN:Joe Duffy

Brand Maestro

What makes consumers try a new product or remain loyal to an old one? Color plays a big part. Branding expert Joe Duffy explains how and why.

STIR: What role does color play in brand identity? JD: It’s huge, if not the biggest player. There are two sides to color. A color like red, for Coca-Cola — when a brand has been around that long, it owns that color in that category. There’s the emotion aspect, the way color makes you feel about a brand. There’s also a productinformation aspect to color. When we did Diet Coke, we knew we had to use red and a combination of silver and white. Those are the categorysignifier colors that tell you it’s “diet.” With color as the uncommon thread, Duffy has built distinctive brands for Starbucks, BMW, Coca-Cola, Sony and many other global heavyweights.

STIR: Tell us the color story of a recent project. JD: We redesigned Herradura tequila, the No. 1 premium tequila in Mexico. There are informational colors in the tequila category: silver for young tequila, amber for reposado or slightly aged, and reds and golds for anejo, the most aged. We stayed true to the category color tradition. But there was a big problem. It’s expensive tequila — in Mexico, they know it’s the best — but here, it looked cheap. We had to tone down the color, make it richer and give it depth. STIR: Have you ever told a client to ditch their color palette? JD: Yes. If they say, “Our brand is just doing terribly in our category,” the formula for success is to really change. If a brand is designed right, the most incongruous color might be perfect — exactly what the brand needs to break through. That’s what we did for New French Bakery. Every bread brand is warm: reds, yellows, beiges and browns. We let the beautiful bread provide those warm colors and wrapped it in blue. The packaging stands apart in a sea of sameness. When you use blue in a warm way, it complements the warmth of really fine bread and makes the real color more important. You need a brave client to go with that path. Most want to go with triedand-true category norms.




STIR: What’s your process for working with color? JD: When we’re starting from scratch, like creating a new identity for the Bahamas, we went down to the Bahamas and traveled. That was the big “aha!” There are 14 different destinations to experience there. The brand is literally a stylized map of the Bahamas, and we tried to capture what you see there, using a palette that is part of the experience: coral seas, tropical fish, brightly colored graphics in signs and people’s dress. STIR: What has had the biggest impact on color palettes in the past year? JD: The best way to approach design is to experience pop culture. Go to Avatar, the next performance at the Guthrie, take a look at Fashion Week. It’s amazing how those things influence how people experience color — their likes and dislikes. We recently chose cardamom as an emerging flavor trend, then looked at its impact on color palettes. We’re always trying to keep an ear to the ground. STIR: What’s the color story for 2010? JD: Green, because of the environment, but it’s being done to death. Now is the time to come up with alternatives. Everyone is trying to say they’re earth-friendly and sustainable. My take on the nature bandwagon is, let’s do it in a way we can own. STIR: You work with brands all over the world. Is color global, at this point, or do different locales interpret colors differently? JD: It’s becoming more universal, primarily because of the Internet. Still, there are some color issues. You don’t use black in some countries, because it designates death or that something is bad for you. For Minute Maid, we had to take 125 different brands around the world and give them a unifying look. They all had different colors and names, and one of the challenges was creating a common look and feel. We used a black mortice with a curved green line above it that suggested a canopy of leaves, like being in an orchard grove. Everybody in the juice category uses a pile of fruit on the label, so we tried to use fruit in a unique way and came up with what we call “the smile.” We stack the fruit with a wedge that creates the smile. You can stack the containers together to get a line of smiles. n

Photography by Paul Markow

Duffy & Partners (, the award-winning Minneapolis design and branding firm, has created logos and packaging for some of the world’s best-known products. Founder and chairman Joe Duffy also wrote the book on global branding, Brand Apart.

If a brand is designed right, the most incongruous color might be exactly what it needs to break through.


S t i r 11

c o l o r

t e c h

In a

new light With incandescent bulbs on their way out, what lighting options are taking their place?




by kimi eisele

designers can’t afford to stay in the dark about changing technology. Fortunately, there are many shows and workshops where designers can learn about new products, says lighting designer Kathy Presciano. She recommends LightFair Inter­national, an annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show. (LightFair 2011 is scheduled for May 17-19, 2011, in Philadelphia. For information, visit Look, too, for local seminars, says Minnesota lighting consult­ant Rob Jackson, who has been offering LED “Lunch and Learns” to design professionals. “We talk about the

Kent State University. Still, designers need to be selective and rely on their expertise when using alternatives, she says. “You can’t go through a house and replace every light with a CFL. There are times when you need a very focused source.” The best option for creating a bright source of light is probably an LED, Presciano says. “Earlier versions of LED color were on the cool side. But now you have the ability to mix and specify color.” (Bulbs are now available in “cool” light, which is good for task lighting, and “warm” light, typically used for accent lighting.) Lighting fixtures can help redirect and soften light through reflection or refraction, says Presciano. With a very bright LED, for example, “you need to be able to shield and manipulate the quality of light so you’re not staring into a big bright light source.” But no fixture can improve a light source’s color rendering, Gordon says. “You can change its distribution, but not its color characteristics.”

limitations of what’s out there

Understanding the numbers

now — and tell them what they

That’s why it’s important to understand those characteristics, which are measured two ways: Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Rendering Index (CRI). The CRI, from 0 to 100, represents the quality of light and its ability to render colors correctly. The higher the CRI, the truer the color. (For good color quality, look for a CRI of at least 80.) The CCT measures the relative color appearance of a white light source, and whether it appears more yellow or blue. “Warm” lamps have a lower CCT (2,650 to 3,000), while “cool” lamps have a higher CCT (more than 4,000). A new initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to bring more affordable and design-friendly LED options to the market, says Rob Jackson, a lighting consultant in St. Paul, Minn. The “Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize” or “L Prize” will reward the first manufacturer to design an LED alternative to the incandescent that meets performance, quality and cost expectations. In the meantime, Presciano urges designers to explore alternatives with an open mind. “Change can challenge a designer’s work, but it can also be the gateway to new creative solutions.” n

can look forward to.”

Quality Control From photography and filmmaking to interior design, the CRI and CCT are the control freak’s formula for perfect color and lighting.



Color Rendering Index


Correlated Color Temperature


The most immediate replacement for the incandescent bulb will be some form of halogen light, Gotti says. “It is a crisper white, and still fully dimmable.” But while halogens offer a desirable design alternative, they are still expensive and not as efficient as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LED (light-emitting diode) options. CFLs use 70 percent to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. But designers often object to how CFLs affect the color of objects and people. “They make furniture and fabric colors look pale gray or green, and people’s skin look sickly,” says Gordon. Fortunately, recent techno­logical advances have improved the quality of CFL color, says Kathy Presciano, an interior and lighting designer and instructor in the School of Architecture and Environmental Design at

The end of incandescent lighting means

over 4,000


Likely replacements

Shedding Light on the Subject



ore than 130 years after Thomas Edison awoke the darkness with his incandescent light bulb, a congressional act will put it to sleep. Starting in 2012, the United States will phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient alternatives. All 100-watt bulbs go first, followed by 60- and 40-watts by 2014. The law follows similar measures passed in Latin America, Canada and the European Union. The switch to more efficient lighting is expected to save consumers $40 billion in energy costs over the next 20 years and cut global-warming emissions by at least 51 million tons of carbon per year, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. While no one argues that energyefficiency is a bad thing, designers face new challenges when it comes to lighting interior spaces. The incandescent bulb has long been favored for its color and quality, says Gary Gordon, a New York lighting designer and author of Interior Lighting. “Everyone likes incandescent light simply because the human brain is used to it,” he says. “It has a very similar color spectrum to the sun.” But designers will have plenty of alternatives, says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the Lighting and Electrical Institute at General Electric. “People are going to have more and better solutions, and more exciting lighting effects.”

2650 3000

Kimi Eisele is a Tucson, Ariz.–based writer and educator.

Sh Sh er ew rw i ni n -W -W i li ll ilai a mm ss

S St ti ir r 132

THE State of We asked — you answered. Discover how your design colleagues perceive color in their region, and in which directions they believe color is moving.

STIRvey by Kim Palmer

Every year the world’s color experts capture and share a color picture of our times. They frequently declare a signature color to represent the year, or identify a handful of hues that they anticipate will influence palettes in the months ahead.




Illustrations by Judy Reed Silver



Regional color

Which region of the country best describes where you design? Pacific Northwest Pacific Northwest Southwest

Midwest Southwest South New England Southeast Southeast New England Midwest


Do you believe that your region has its own distinct color palette? Percentage saying yes

ut as much as the color forecasts guide our evolving notions of color, the view is always slightly different depending on your own personal vantage point. This year STIR wanted to open up the color conversation to our readers, so we recently invited you to report on where color stands right now in your corner of the world — and where you see it heading. This spring we invited subscribers to our STIR eExtra e-newsletter (you can subscribe at to take our “State of Color” STIRvey. Our results represent the opinions of more than 1,000 design professionals nationwide. While your reading of the current color temperature has many shades, some common themes emerged. Color is a barometer of our times, and the economy continues to have a major impact, many of you noted. Another opinion is widely shared: A growing number of your design clients appear to be developing a more sophisticated understanding of what color can do, and they are getting more adventurous in their choices, even as many still cling to tried-and-true “safe” colors. Travel and the Internet are erasing geographic color boundaries, fueling the emergence of a global palette, according to many of you. And the green movement’s influence continues to spread, tinting the color landscape in both predictable and unexpected ways. For more insights, read on:

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Pacific Northwest Designers

Southwest Designers

New England Designers

Southeast Designers

If yes, how would you describe the palette of your region?

Midwest Designers

Southern Designers

Pacific Northwest: Warm, nature-inspired colors Southwest: Natural beach and desert colors New England: Colonial and seaside colors Southeast: Light coastal colors, tropicals, blues Midwest: Earth tones and neutrals South: Warm neutrals


S t i r 21

T a k i n g c o l o r ’ s p u l se

In which direction(s) do you see color moving? (Select all that apply.) 70 60 Percentage


o how do your colleagues believe color is changing? Survey results reveal it’s all about the two Gs: global and green. Is color’s increasingly global direction an inspiration for — or a reaction to — your clients’ increasingly bold and confident color choices? Or is it a little of both? Overwhelmingly, your colleagues are seeing greens, blues and neutrals lead the way, with approximately a third of you seeing reds and purples lose some influence in your palettes. If there’s one color on the spectrum that says it all, it’s definitely green — both literally and figuratively speaking. n

50 40 30 20 10 0 More traditional, classic

Which hues do you believe are gaining the most influence?

More modern/ midcentury modern

More eclectic/ global

It’s not changing very much

What was the biggest color story of the past 12 months? 45 40




30 25 20

35 Percentage

More country (American, English, French)


15 45 10 40 5 35 0 30 25 20

25 20 15 10



5 0
















0 Reds





Purples Neutrals

Which hues do you believe are losing the most influence?


The rise of matte black

35 30 25 20

The influence of metallics Color on ceilings Color on trim


Stenciling and color blocking


Sustainability’s impact on color palettes

5 0 Reds








Purples Neutrals


How do you think color is changing overall?

“More vibrant hues are becoming stronger and more widespread. Influences from new media technology (3-D movies, video animation, etc.) are making more intense colors acceptable to the retail market.” – Monte Lona, Monte Interior Design, Medina, Wash.

“Color is always emotional, so in this economy, we might see color purchases

“As we move into a more frantic time, people seem to feel the need

to nest more,

in bright happy hues to lift

feel calm and need a sanctuary. With urban

our spirits. Neutrals have

dwellers, I see a huge need for grounding, more

a role as well: to calm down jittery nerves. I think we will see both as this

nature-inspired palettes.” – Michael Reper, Michael Reper Interiors, Portland, Ore.

economy drags along.” – Connie Angelo, Angelo Design, Algonquin, Ill.

“I think green

is going to be the new black

not only because it’s

“Designers have always known intuitively that color is powerful! It has the power to change how people feel, how much they perceive pain, and it can influence their choices. Now the rest of the world is catching on. This is changing the use of color, away from safe neutrals to fearless, bold, deep colors.”

become the basic color of the environmental movement but it’s so universally accepted now as a classic color.” – Patricia Shutts Spicuzza, P.A.S. Interiors, LLC, Abita Springs, La.

– Amy Richardson, JRA Architects, Louisville, Ky.


S t i r 23


Effect A historic Vermont theater gets a fresh new look in vibrant Arts & Crafts hues

B y A lyss a F o r d

by Alyssa Ford

When it opened on Jan. 16, 1914, the Paramount Theatre in Rutland, Vt., was a crown jewel of the town, and quickly attracted top-shelf talent, including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and the Great Houdini. Trains carrying performers on their way to MontrĂŠal from New York City would stop in the bustling city to perform, drawing crowds from all over Rutland

Photographs by Carolyn Bates

County and beyond.




The lobby takes its cue from the strong hues of the 1910s and 1920s, most notably a custom-mixed magenta and Black Emerald (SW 2936) trim.


S t i r 25




Artistic inspiration In 2008 Gallo recruited Malgosia Urbanowicz, a designer and principal at Commercial Arts in Burlington, Vt., to create a color palette that would do for the front of the theater what the earlier renovation had done for the performing space. She accepted the project pro bono, and set to work, poring over her own collection of art books, including William Morris Textiles by Linda Parry, and tomes on the great Arts & Crafts textile designer and watercolorist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Taking a cue from the period’s penchant for strong colors, Urbanowicz prescribed a bold magenta for the main lobby walls, custom-mixed in Sherwin-Williams Duration Home® low-VOC (volatile organic compounds), washable paint, applied in multiple coats. With Gallo’s aid, Urbanowicz added a chair rail to create some visual breakpoints to the room, and painted all the trim in Black Emerald (SW 2936), using SuperPaint® semi-gloss. For two adjoining rooms, Urbanowicz started with Sherwin-Williams Red Cent (SW 6341) to custom-mix a powerful terra cotta. The ticket office started with Artichoke (SW 6179), and Urbanowicz added in swirl after swirl of dark gold paint, creating an olive-y gold hue that sings in harmony with the gold-leaf plasterwork overhead. Theater patrons love it. “People recognized that this palette was specifically chosen for this space, and really would never work in a place that wasn’t so elaborate and historical,” says Gallo. And there’s been a side effect that even Gallo didn’t expect: an uptick in liquor sales during intermission. “This area now offers a very warm and exciting transition into the performance venue while bringing patrons back in time,” he says. n Alyssa Ford specializes in architectural and interior design.

Photographs by Carolyn Bates


ut when the passenger trains stopped coming, so did the big performers. Once an entertainment destination in its own right, Rutland settled into its new role as a blue-collar bedroom community for General Electric and other manufacturers. The Paramount Theatre was transformed into a movie house, fell into disrepair, and finally closed its doors in 1981. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story. In the mid-1980s, a sentimental entrepreneur bought the building and put a new roof on it to keep it intact for the time being. Years later, community leaders banded together to rehab the place. With the help of native son, former U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, they landed a $1 million federal grant to restore the theater to its original glory under the guidance of historical architect John Berryhill. Once again, Rutland had a performing-arts center for the community and surrounding towns. In 1997 and 1998, the theater board brought in preservation experts from the University of Vermont to determine the theater’s original paint colors. New seats were purchased. A fleet of artisans arrived to repair the theater’s extravagant plaster relief work of rosettes and angels. Even the acclaimed F. Schumacher wall-covering company in New York City got in on the project, re-creating the luscious “Du Berry” rose-patterned fabric that had originally adorned the theater’s walls. The restored theater opened in March 2000 to communitywide acclaim. But local painting contractor Paul Gallo, owner of Magic Brush Painting in Rutland, was a little bothered by the lobby. All the grant money had been spent restoring the theater’s performing space, so the lobby, box office and intermission rooms were left as they were — walls painted a sad mishmash of sickly leftover yellow paint that obscured the extravagant plasterwork and leaded-glass panels of lacy concentric circles.

When it opened on Jan. 16, 1914, the Paramount Theatre in Rutland, Vt., was a crown jewel of the town, and quickly attracted top-shelf

A custom-mixed magenta,

talent, including Greta

Red Cent (SW 6341), Artichoke

Garbo, Joan Crawford

(SW 2936) trim sing in

and the Great Houdini.

(SW 6179) and Black Emerald

harmony with overhead gold leaf plasterwork.

How to Research and Choose Historic Colors • Dig in. Professional color researchers use a high-powered microscope, called a colorimeter, to examine paint stratigraphies (layers of paint, built up over time). You can do similar work on your own historic space. Carefully excavate a section of the wall, and examine it with a pocket microscope. You won’t get quite as accurate a result, but you should be able to see the different layers and compare them to paint swatches.

• Soak up the period. If you’re trying to tap into history for your inspiration, skip the historical societies, advises Malgosia Urbanowicz. “Black-and-white photography is not going to help you with this mission,” she says. Instead, take trips to museums to view period fabrics and costumes; consider purchasing time-appropriate art books from art-book publishers such as Phaidon.

• Take advantage of expert resources. Rely on color stories developed by quality paint manufacturers. Sherwin-Williams offers historic palettes representing nearly every architectural style, from Colonial to Suburban Modern. Go to

S hSehrew rw i ni-nW- W i l li li a l im a sm sS

tS it ri r 2727

g o i n g

g r e e n


new gem

A luxury townhouse development blends classic architectural styling with eco-friendly values.

by Alyssa Ford


he Acropolis in Nashville has a strangely appealing multiplepersonality disorder. One of its six townhouse units has a whitewashed-brick exterior and stone balustrades, typical of the Greek Revival style. The townhouse next door sings of the Federalist era, with rigid up-and-down geometry, detailed entry and traditional shutters. Another unit is prim and proper, with wrought-iron railings, arched transom and mansard roof, evoking the classic English townhouse. Designed by architect Preston Quirk, principal of Quirk Designs in Nashville, the Acropolis combines five architectural styles in total, from New York brownstone to Georgian-Palladian. Quirk says he was inspired by the famous district of 18th-century townhouses in Savannah, Ga., along Jones Street, where visitors can see nine city blocks of mostly connected townhouses, but never two the same. “I was just out of school when I lived in Savannah,” he says. “What was amazing to me was that each building was so different, yet there was so much harmony with all the different styles together.”




The Acropolis — so named because it sits high on a hill like the original Greek Acropolis — has gained attention not just for its mélange of classic architectural styles; it’s also one of the most energy-efficient, sustainable structures in Nashville. It’s one of the very few buildings in the mid-South that’s attempting to gain a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification — the highest rating in the LEED program — through the Green Building Certification Institute. What that means is that while Quirk was fusing together architectural styles for the exterior, the building firm, JBS Custom Builders in Nashville, was worrying about R-values, dumpster capacity and LEED points.

Saving the leftovers Going “green” for JBS meant far more than adding a few recycled glass tiles, says general partner Brian Glasser. In fact, the Acropolis’ green campaign kicked off before the building site was even cleared: In 2007

d e p a r t m e n t The Acropolis has gained attention not just for its mélange of classic architectural styles; it’s also one of the most energy-efficient, sustainable structures in Nashville. two houses that needed to be demolished were first picked over by Habitat for Humanity; more than 90 percent of the leftover scraps were then taken to recycling centers. About 30 dumpsters of waste were filled during the actual construction of the Acropolis, but “we were able to recycle about 98 percent of that,” says Glasser. To help reduce the number of trees needed to build the Acropolis, the walls were built in a truss factory using advanced framing techniques developed by the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. These techniques improve the strength of buildings while using much less wood. The walls were trucked to the building site, and then filled with spray polyurethane foam insulation, which offers tight coverage without the use of harmful solvents or formaldehyde. Even the mechanics got a green makeover. Instead of specifying a conventional heating and air-conditioning system, the company went with a pricey but high-tech Sanyo ECO-i ductless system that can detect if people are in a room or if a space is getting high, medium or low sun exposure. Instead of a conventional hot-water heater, the builders chose a Rheem instant hot-water heater that brings water up to the desired temperature in less than a second.

Historic hues For such a special project, JBS Custom Builders paid special attention to the coatings and colors used to finish the units for future homeowners. For the exterior of unit three, with its Greek Revival–influenced stone balustrade, JBS chose a cream color from Sherwin-Williams that Nashville designers know as Tennessee Limestone (SW NV5), which was used to cover the exposed brick and give the façade a genteel Southern finish. For the coating product itself, Caroline Harmon, a SherwinWilliams representative, helped JBS select Sherwin-Williams Duration® Exterior in gloss finish. This self-priming choice offers 50 percent more durability and a 70 percent thicker coat than ordinary house paints. The brick exteriors of other units were left their natural color. For the interiors of the three finished units, JBS opted for versatile, interesting neutrals such as Whole Wheat (SW 6121) and Macadamia (SW 6142). Harmon’s assistance with interior coatings also helped to ensure the project met its LEED requirements. She guided JBS toward Builders Solution® Interior Latex flat, a Sherwin-Williams GreenSuredesignated coating. Though the Acropolis has been a slower sell than its investors had hoped, builder Glasser has no regrets. “Did we make as much money? No. Was it the right thing to do? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely.” n

A Tough Sell in a Tough Market Eco-friendly building is relatively new in Nashville, and not as in-demand as in other cities. Here’s how the Acropolis team attempted to sell Nashville natives on the concept: • Traditional styling. No stark modern architecture here. The building sticks with classic architectural motifs such as Greek Revival. • Safe choices. The greenest parts of the Acropolis — mechanicals and the very construction of the walls — are hidden from view. Highly visible choices go back to tried-and-true favorites, such as granite on the kitchen counters. • Smart marketing. Instead of emphasizing green building as a way to save the planet, marketing materials for the Acropolis focus on saving money on energy bills. • Location, location. By placing the develop­ment in a busy part of Nashville, just off Centennial Park, the builder gained a selling point and LEED points.

Alyssa Ford specializes in architectural and interior design.


More on Green Coatings

To learn more about Builders Solution Interior Latex and other green coatings, go to


S t i r 29


Hand Tapped to create a modern poker palace, Larry Laslo rolls the dice and comes up aces. B y C h a r l o tt e S t o u d t


S h e r w i n - W i ll i a m s


James Bond would feel right at home here — and so

Inspired Pairings

would Lady Gaga. With its bold red walls, theatrical

Want to bring vibrant color into a space yet

Philippe Starck chandelier and avant-garde accents,

keep it livable? Here are suggestions from Laslo

Larry Laslo’s Poker Room brings pop-art edge to


Robert Allen.

Esquire House Soho in New York City.

outed as “the ultimate bachelor pad,” the Soho house is the magazine’s seventh signature space created to showcase innovative design, host charity events and attract the fabulous. And Laslo’s sleek game room, sponsored by, has everything for the high-rolling urbanite. This iconic tastemaker knows something about taking risks with design. Early in his career, Laslo was tapped to remake stodgy Bergdorf Goodman into a seductive retail palace; he also created the serene elegance of Takashimaya on Fifth Avenue. But how do you bring instant drama to a small room that Laslo candidly describes as “a box with a decent view of Manhattan”? Go bold with color: specifically, Sherwin Williams Heartthrob (SW 6866). “It’s a very sexy red, without too much orange or blue,” he says. “A real red. Lipstick red. And everyone looks great against that color.” For the coating itself, Laslo chose Duration Home® Interior Acrylic Latex in a satin finish. To match the visual pop of the walls, Laslo used a design approach he calls “menswear on steroids.” The rug is a mad check of black-and-white houndstooth in three different sizes.

Unexpected juxtaposition

Room Photography by zach DeSart

and Christy Almond of

“Larry constantly plays with scale and color,” observes Christy Almond, operating vice president of Design and Merchandising for the Robert Allen Group, whose fabrics were used exclusively in the room. Take the ornate poker-table chairs, designed by Christopher Guy, with fabrics chosen by Laslo: The fronts are covered in gunmetal gray — very Mad Men. But the chair backs feature a paper raffia fabric (Mar A Lago in Noir, part of Laslo’s Destinations collection for the Robert Allen Group). “The raffia is something you’d typically use on a simple piece like an ottoman,” says

Go fresh and natural. The return to pretty

Almond. “To pair it with this curvy, ornate chair is unexpected.” For Laslo, the feminine shape of the chairs is a perfect counterpoint to the room’s masculine elements. He is drawn to Guy’s designs, he says, “because they possess a natural animation.” Any self-respecting metrosexual is both fashion-forward and green — hence the room’s chic and sustainable poker table, designed by Laslo in collaboration with EGM Green, which specializes in green gaming products. “A poker table is a poker table,” says Eric Hansel, EGM’s founder and president. “But what Larry designed is a work of art.” Shaped like two intersecting teardrops, the base of the table was carved out of solid maple by EGM’s master woodworker. The wood came from a managed forest. Then there’s the surprise of the felt layout — bright red to match the walls. “This the first time I ever made a red layout,” admits Hansel. “Usually they’re green or blue. But the red is a regal color. You wouldn’t see this in the main areas of gaming places. It suggests a backroom for elite players.” The top of the table, designed without the usual rail or armrest, is surprisingly ergonomic. “Larry came up with a product that’s so unique, so stylish and so comfortable,” says Hansel. “[Poker star] Eric Buchman played at the table for several hours and loved it.”

Larger than life Buchman’s fascination may have come from the glamorous company he was keeping. Lining the walls is a sequence of colorsaturated 30-by-40-inch photo blowups of icons, from George Clooney to Queen Elizabeth II. “They all have different versions of a poker face,” says Laslo, who created the portrait treatments himself. “You can be stoic like the queen or give a half smile

brings botanical hues into the palette. “People need something positive and optimistic,” says Almond, noting that one of this year’s most successful colors is the fresh green Paradise (SW 6720). “Clean color really adds life to a space.”

It’s all about the mix. “I like strong colors Laslo created an unforgettable game-room experience by taking risks from floor to ceiling. With that poker face, why not?

but elusive ones as well,” muses Laslo. The intense Fireweed (SW 6328) and the subtle Aleutian (SW 6241) work with the modern ikat pattern Country Cabin. “It’s amazing how you can transform a space by using surprising combinations,” says Almond. “Try a minky chocolate and gray. Or a cognac with a citrus green.”

Look up. “I really love colored ceilings,” says Laslo. At his own New York home, “I’ve painted the ceiling so many times, it’s about a foot lower than it started out!”

S h e r w i n - W i ll i a m s

S t i r 31

More on SherwinWilliams and Robert Allen There are more than 120 Sherwin-Williams colors coordinated to match the fabrics found in the Robert Allen collections of Tulip, Hydrangea, Terrain and Leaf. Sets of fabric swatches with coordinating colors can be viewed and ordered online at designstudio or obtained through your Robert Allen representative. Sherwin-Williams Color Libraries are available in

like Angelina Jolie.” Laslo recolored the monochromatic images with sly touches. “Of course, Paul Newman has blue eyes!” This high-end man cave balances strong colors. “The colors of poker are red, white and black,” Laslo points out. “The other colors need to be as intense as the red.” Accordingly, the ottoman and settee are white and lacquer black. The adjoining bathroom is also crisply monochromatic; Laslo chose Robert Allen’s Deco Flair in Domino for the shower curtain, a graphic print upholstery fabric usually used for furniture, but which proved surprisingly fluid. Other unexpected choices address the room’s limited dimensions. To disguise the low ceiling, Laslo used reflective silver

Robert Allen showrooms, and large-size color samples are available in Sherwin-Williams Color Studios in Robert Allen Showrooms in New York, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. For more information, go to robertallen.


S h e r w i n - W i ll i a m s


wallpaper, bordered by custom white molding shaped like poker chips. The window treatment reflects the dense grid of the Manhattan skyline without spoiling the view: Laslo layered a laser-cut circle pattern over a sheer shade with appliquéd strips of leather. “Very 1960s,” he laughs. The Poker Room showcases Laslo’s winning ability to bluff his way through inevitable design anxiety. “Everyone has moments of doubt. Will the red be too intense? Is the chandelier too big? But you have to stay true to yourself and have courage.” n Charlotte Stoudt is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer.

Laptops and Sarah Jessica Parker: the ultimate bachelor pad.

f i n a l

Carnaval Colors The slogan for Mardi Gras is “Let the good times roll.” But the raucous fest’s color palette has a much loftier meaning. Purple (symbolizing justice), green (faith) and gold (power) have been associated with Mardi Gras for more than a century. The hues were chosen in 1872 by the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia, who was visiting New Orleans (reportedly in pursuit of a comely actress) and given the honor of naming official colors. Their meanings were assigned two decades later, when the parade theme was “Symbolism of Colors.” The hues also inspired the school colors for arch rivals Louisiana State University and Tulane University. When LSU was deciding on its colors, stores in New Orleans had stocked up on purple, green and gold fabrics for an upcoming Mardi Gras. LSU chose purple and gold, buying large quantities of the available cloth. Tulane purchased the only remaining color: green. n




t o u c h

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lemon twist

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sw 6909

Paint has to stand up and perform. Our durable, washable coatings like Duration Home速 love playing center stage. Create lasting impressions and your most demanding clients will be calling for an encore.

STIR 2010 Print Annual  

STIR print annual magazine from Sherwin-Williams, 2010.

STIR 2010 Print Annual  

STIR print annual magazine from Sherwin-Williams, 2010.