Framing a Modern Masterpiece - The St. Louis Arch

What do you think of when you think of St. Louis?  If you don’t say the Cardinals, you probably say the Arch.  Us St. Louis folk take a lot of pride in the Arch.  I myself walk by it everyday.  I can see it from my window at work.  I love the Arch and the social context it gives to St. Louis.  I have been down there for multiple music concerts, air shows, fireworks, and other special events.  Coming in from out of town?  You can bet that I am taking you there, it’s a must see.

St. Louis is a major metropolitan area that, while I love it, many don’t feel the same way.  We have had a rise in violent crime, our public inner city schools are problematic, and we have decaying neighborhoods.  Oh yeah, we also have unbearably humid summer days too (but that is what the pool is for!).  Our city needs a bit of a lift right now.  Luckily for us, there is a design competition in the works as I writing called “Framing a Modern Masterpiece.”  Check out the website for it by clicking here.

The arch is coming up on its 50th birthday and to “invigorate the Arch grounds” the City of St. Louis and the National Park Service called for architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and other design fields to create a new frame for this icon.

Last night I had the opportunity to go see the event called “Meet the Designers” hosted by Joe Buck.  Listening to Mr. Buck, I had never felt so proud to be a St. Louisan!  The competition drew in famous design teams from around the world. 

The team that won the 9-11 New York Memorial was there, the team that did the Holocaust Museum in DC was there, plus 3 more talented professionals.  Yet, instead of hosting this event in a way that centered on the rightfully earned egos of these companies, Buck kept it about St. Louis and the people who live here.  He talked about how great this city is and how much it means to the people.  He spoke to the special character of the city and how kind people who live here are.  He has been everywhere around this country with the NFL and whatnot, yet his testament of how great a city is was amazing.  He stole the show for me.

To get a great run down of the actual evening and not just my thoughts, check out this blog, St. Louis Energized.

So why am I talking about this on my color blog?  For one, it’s my blog and since I am so enticed by this project I hope you might find it interesting too (if not, oh well).  Two, color is a vehicle for emotion and philosophy, not just about paint color.  It has similarities to iconic structures and how people feel or relate to them.

The St. Louis Arch stands as a welcoming Gateway to the west.  It does not come out and literally say “welcome,” but it symbolizes that feeling.  Colors also have a way of symbolizing different meanings and feelings.  Just as these 5 world renowned design teams have to deal with symbols and context of it all, you have to deal with the underlying symbolism and context of your color choices. 

Is there a color you want to know more about?  I will follow up this blog post with a series of color meanings that can help you uncover these symbols.  I have been doing research to get you reliable information that I hope you will find helpful.  Stay tuned for that and updates on the Framing an Icon Design Competition.


My Bathroom Reveal, Part One

The only room left in my house to paint was my bathroom.  It wasn't the worst paint color before, but I needed something with a punch.  Plus, the ceiling was peeling off thanks to the "wonderful" paint job the last owners son did before putting the house on the market.

As you can see, the space is pretty tiny, but typical style of bathroom for a 70 year-old house.  The tile is original and is yellow and mint green.  Thank goodness I was able to find towels, a shower curtain, and a bath mat in the same mint green color when I moved in.

I got my idea for the color at Arte Styling's Blog.  She did a piece on how citrus colors were coming back.  I thought a citrus orange would complete a great triadic color scheme in the bathroom.  I talked my boyfriend Tom into it, and was excited to get started!

Before the color was on, we had to prep the space first which entailed chipping off all of the peeling paint and spackled the patches back up.  What a task!!  

It ended up taking 8 hours with two of us working on it!  Simon helped a little too :)

Finally, it was done and it was time to tape and recover the room in a drop cloth.


See, Tom was so excited! Tehehe.

After Simon gave it the go ahead, it was time to reveal the paint color!

Oh no!  We forgot to get a paint stick!  Being resourceful we used an old yard stick :)

At last color was on the wall!

Now the first coat was on.  I was getting a tad bit worried about the color, but I kept a happy face because Tom seemed happy and I liked the fact that it had LOTS of color.  I said I liked it and moved on to the second coat.

Here is what it looks like tonight!

What do you think??

Ok, here is where I am going to say that I broke the golden rule.  I didn't do a big paint swatch or even test it out for a day or two.  Shame on me!  I got overly confident, I admit it!  I thought it was going to be great and go perfectly because the 2x3 paint chip I had looked like the right shade to complete the color scheme.  I was wrong folks.  

I'm not happy with it and I am going to paint it again.  Tom was a little upset to hear this, but I think he agrees too.  It is just too orange.  As it dried the hue was twice as saturated, not twice as bright as I had thought it would be.  But I was talking to an interior designer today and she said she did her bedroom 3 times before she got it right.  That made me feel better that someone else who does this for a living messes up their own house as well :)

On the upside, I can be truthful with my readers and say I mess up.  I hope that only shows that color consultants are human too and we at least can fess up to mistakes in the search for the perfect color!  I promise not to break the golden rule again!!!  Silly me, I knew better!

I will hopefully get to paint again soon.   I will post the new paint job soon after it is done.  Till then, can someone out there tell me what kind of flowers these are?  I love them!! 


Photo + Color = Inspiration #2

It's Sunday!  And that means that it is time for another round of Photo + Color = Inspiration!  

Today's photo comes for Eye*of*the*Beholder on Flickr!

I love the depth and tone range of this photo!  Tone means how much white or black is in the color.  What I mean by tone range is that the image shows a wide range of tones by having highlights, mid-tones, and shadows.  The tan part of the flower has the most contrast with it's highlights and shadows.  That part of the image jumps from the page when it is put on top of the mid-tones of the background.  

The color cominations and schemes that one could draw from this photo are also stunning.  It is a good way to show how "cool" colors (purples, blues, and greens - in this case blue and grey), can take on the "warmer" feeling of the tans.  The blue is my favorite part of this whole image.  It looks aged but is still holding on or ready to be re-purposed.  And it is such a unique blue that it was almost hard to find a paint color to match!  In fact, I picked blues that went with it rather that trying to claim to find an exact match.  Here are the colors I pulled for this image.

If you didn't want to combine all of the colors in one space, it would be great for a color plan for the house or groups of rooms.  Here are how I would combine some of them.  I love groups of threes, but you could do one, two, or four, or whatever you heart felt was right!

What would you do with these colors?  What do you think of the image?  It is one of my favorite photographs.  I think it's the haunting feeling that the colors leave that strikes me, what is it for you?


Color Gone Bad in Promo

By night I run Verve, but by day I work as a Designer in the Healthcare group at an architectural firm.  We frequently get e-mails that promote different seminars on new ideas on how to design better areas within a hospital.  Today we got one that went terribly wrong when selecting colors for their photographed setting.  What is worse, is that this seminar is put on by a company called Color Art.  I would hope that someone with "color" in the COMPANY NAME would know how to use color.  I give people too much credit.

Does it jump out what is wrong??  They are promoting a seminar on how to design spaces that better serve the hospital patients and staff, that should be a great presentation to go to, but they picked these colors to showcase a better environment???  It looks sickly to me!  I wouldn't go there!

I get it, a lot of people love earth tones.  I do too, in the right places.  This poor lady has cancer and she obviously is not feeling well if she is going through Chemo.  Why on earth would you put this patient in colors that look sickly, blah, and greenish-yellow?  I know if someone's skin tone is that color I should be asking them if they are feeling ok and if they need to sit down to rest.  The stylist for this photo shoot even made sure the tissue box matched.  Wouldn't you want to be surrounded by fresh, clean, and vibrate colors going through something so horrible and depressing?  Or if not vibrate and cheery, then maybe colors that leaving a feeling of calmness, that are reassuring and soothing like a spa?

If you are in marketing and color isn't your strong point, run it by a color consultant.  Work your strong points in your career and then hire out the not so strong points out so you get the best piece of marketing you can.  Otherwise bloggers like me will call you out on it :)

Please Note:  I am sure this seminar has great content and plan on attending.  This "review" does not reflect the merit of the actual presentation of the seminar.  I'm strictly talking color in this photograph here.


Artan Hill Color Part 1

My soon to be Mother-In-Law, Julia, is moving her office and home into this old church rectory.  She will be calling it Artan Hill and is planning on moving June 1st.

Isn't this a neat building?  One thing it does not lack is character. Built at the turn of the 20th century, all of the woodwork is original and in excellent shape.  Nuns lived in it until 2 years ago, so you know there aren't a lot of modern updates to ruin the historical feel of the building.  As it stands now, the building needs a little TLC, but Julia isn't scared off by a little renovation!  Eager to create a comfortable environment for her clients (she owns and operates a Counseling Service), employees, and her family she is gearing up for a little labor of love.  

As you can see there are some great features to the building.  The entry way, what I'll call the great room with the fireplace, and the dinning room all have the wonderful woodwork on the walls and ceiling.

The kitchen is going to need the most help, but our visit was not long enough to tackle it all at once.

What we did get to tackle was the paint color that will be used throughout the building as the neutral color and I wanted to walk you through the process.  Picking out color can be tricky.  You have to be patient and talk it out because color is a pretty personal thing.  I ask a lot of questions and I love to take all of the answers I get to determine the right colors.

What we did first was talk about what feeling Julia wanted for the rooms.  She wanted warm and inviting, but nothing that was loud or in your face.  I agreed completely, in this type of building the color of the walls should fade away and let the woodwork do the talking.

Next up, we started going through the paint fan of colors and held them up to the woodwork.  It was easy to narrow it to the family of shades we thought went well.  It typically is.  It is when you get to the "detail" of the color and finding the right shade in the family that gets a little tricky. I think even more so in this case because the rooms will be dominated by the woodwork that has a red hue.  If the warm and inviting color turns out to have too much green, blue, or gray in it, the whole room could feel dirty and off.  

After we found the colors in the fan deck, we picked out larger ones to put against the wall.  From there we got a pretty good idea of where to go.  BUT before I make any final color choices, I repeat, BEFORE a final color is picked, I encourage Julia to order the bigger sheets and wait to see what she feels like with those up against the wall.  

At the moment, we are in favor of Compatible Cream by Sherwin Williams.  The sublet yellow tones warms up the walls without competing with it.  Can you pick it out in the picture??

Yup, it's the second from the left.

Stay tuned for the kitchen redo and the grand reveal of the space!

What do you think of our choice?  What do you think of the process?  How do you pick out paint color?

If you are coming up on a project and would like help, please contact me.  I would love to aid you in your color adventures!  My e-mail is jessica@vervecolor.com.

Have a colorful day!


Photo + Color = Inspiration

Happy Sunday to you!  I am happy to announce a new feature in in blog, Photo + Color = Inspiration.  

With digital cameras and sites like Flickr.com, there is an endless supply of photos to take paint color inspiration from.  My hopes is to find great photos and then pick out a Sherwin Williams paint color palette that comes from from the photograph.  

I am love flowers, so be forewarned that most of these photos will be flowers, but I'll try to change it up every know and again to keep you on your toes!

Spring 2008 Flower, originally uploaded by beckerpecker.

Tonight I am blogging about this picture that was taken from Flickr user beckenpecker, entitled Spring Flower 2008.  Aren't the subtle tones enchanting?  I love the pink edging and the green veins.  The photographer wasn't sure what the color was and neither am I, but I like it!  

The colors I chose to go with this photo are the following:

SW 6422 Shagreen, SW 6393 Convivial Yellow, and SW 6569 Childlike

These colors feel very fresh and springy to me.  What do they make you feel like?  Color is emotion, so there is no wrong answer, feel free to share!

I hope you all have a colorful day!


Happy Dance Friday!

Verve had a great week this week!  An art expo accepted my art into a show, a new partnership was formed that has lots of promise, accepted as a guest blogger, and a contact is going to help me get my color seminar up and running.  These pictures come close to showing how I am feeling right now!

I hope you have a great weekend and I hope you are thriving in all that you do!  We all deserve to be happy :)


Verve Update!

Hi to all my Verve Readers :)

I feel like the Verve blog is headed some place special, and I am so thankful to all those who are coming to see it on a regular basis!  I know you are out there! 

Tonight I updated my blog a little to and wanted to give you a run down.  

First, I added a gadget to make it easier to follow my blog.  It is a great way to be more interactive with the blog.  Your picture will show up and you will be automatically set up to receive notifications when I add a post.  If you like it here, please follow me here!  This is a great addition to following me on Twitter and Facebook.  If you ever have any questions on the blog and how to use it, feel free to e-mail me at jessica@vervecolor.com so I can help you out!

I will have a special prize for my 50th follower and a little something to the person that refers them!  So please tell you friends about Verve!

I am also adding Labels to all my posts, so you will be able to find a subject you like and read all the blogs here that pertain to it.  Let me know how you like this feature and if you find it useful.

I added My Favorite Blogs also to my page tonight.  I have been following all of these blogs for awhile and I hope you choose to click on them and support them the way you have supported me!  Let me know what you think of them also! 

Look for a few more changes coming up as I fine tune Verve's purpose in my life and in the Web 2.0.  I have some big plans and good things are happening!  I can't wait to share this all with you!  


For Your Happy Days, Happy Roses!

Some days I am just plain happy.  It could be that something great happened and the universe feels like it is finally aligning, or it is just that I woke up on the right side of the bed.  Today, I'm having a little bit of both :)  

I came across an idea that captures exactly how I am feeling right now with color and flowers, my two favorite things!   Ok, nothing tops my cat as my favorite thing - oh I mean, nothing tops my husband-to-be as my favorite.  ANYWAYS... a company called Happy Roses crosses colors of the rainbow with flowers!  They have a patented a special formula to put in the water to turn the petals the different colors!  

I don't think they are in the US, but if you know how to get some, I love them!  Don't they just make you smile?!

Be sure to check out their website to see their different idea on arrangements and some great pictures!  Enjoy! 


Color Meaning through Poetry

I wanted to write an insightful blog on color theory today.  There are a lot of ways to talk about color, and I liked this authors way of doing.  She covers a lot of ground in a little paragraph of each.  I found these poems at happinesspages.com.  These poems are taken directly from her page.  I promise next week my blogs will be more of "me" I just have to get over the flu a little bit more!  I hope you enjoy these!


Be recharged and uplifted, gain clarity of thought,
For intellectual development and wisdom you have sought
The colour YELLOW makes us happy, in its many shades and hues
Yellow flowers mean friendship, joy and happiness, now that's good news!
Use Amber crystal healing to revitalize, Citrine crystal to purify
Lemon Quartz's claim to fame - optimism and creativity by and by.
Sense the sunshine warm your body, contentment in your mind,
Honour and loyalty, the colour yellow, in Heraldry you will find.


Passion, excitement, vitality and action
Raises blood pressure, confidence and satisfaction
Shades of RED, Scarlet, Cardinal, Crimson and Coral,
Display love, beauty and affection - dark red floral,
Healing colour red brings warmth and burns out disease
Ruby, Jasper, Garnet, precious stones sure to please
Red, the colour of courage, blood, passion and desire,
Coursing through your veins, Red for danger and for fire.


Said to stimulate the appetite, the colour ORANGE, how aptly named
For good cheer, happiness, excitement and energy it is famed
In your aura the colour orange signifies creativity and thoughtfulness
A beautful orange flower means fascination, warmth and happiness
When lonely, depressed or bored, as an emotional stimulant its the best
Carnelian has mental grounding power, put Sunstone's inspiration to the test
Joy comes from orange energy, wisdom from yellow and love from red
It strengthens confidence and independence, and nervous stomachs it is said.


Healing BLUE is calm and cooling, a sky tranquil and serene,
Dependable and constant, Dark, Royal, Navy, Aquamarine
Blue thought relaxes nervous system, bringing balance of mind
An appetite suppressant, and bue foods are hard to find.
Of truth, spirituality, youth and peace, is known the colour blue
Trustworthy, stability and tranquil, BLUE flowers are for you
Turquoise, a crystal healing master stone, of spirituality and sky source
Communication and self expression, Dark Blue Sapphire a grounding force


The colour of mother nature GREEN is balance, freshness and outdoors
Beneficial in all healing situations, is exactly where green scores
Aural Green thoughts are of a restful state and healing
For harmony, gratitude and appreciation, then green plants are appealing
Lime, avocado, forest, mint and olive, shades of the restful green
If you have ability as a healer, then in your aura can be seen
To release fear and anxiety, minimize stress,- Aventurine, the prosperity stone
For unconditional love and compassion, heart stone Emerald is best known


Purple spiritual and creativity - red excitement, blue tranquility combined
A colour of Royals, of nobility and higher spirituality you will find
A purple flower means devotion, enchantment, unique and noble
Tis the colour of magic, royalty and mystery, its reverence is global
Amethyst, the Bishop's stone, the dream stone, works on the mental plane
Bringing order to mental chaos - Genius stone Fluorite keeps you sane
Purple, never strong in th aura but appears as 'clouds' and 'flame'
Denoting truly spiritual thoughts. The noblest of colours, purple is her name.



Event Designer David Stark

I love event design because it goes big.  It maximizes design impact in a short amount of time by taking the ordinary to extraordinary.  An event designer who does this exceptionally well is David Stark.  I chose to show you his work today because he was involved in the Liberty of London Line at Target (see this blog!), he has some creative twists on paint samples which are close to my heart, and I am fond of his bridal bouquets as a bride-to-be.  Oh yeah, and his website is awesome.  I have never seen one like it before!  Check it out here.

The universe really wants me to keep blogging about the Liberty of London at Target.  I'm sorry Verve Readers, I just can't help it!  Look what he created for the launch event.

David Stark Liberty of London Event
It is almost Alice in Wonderland like, but it is the quintessential way to do event design.  It leaves a lasting memory of the event and what it was about.  He controls every detail about the space.

Let's look at a few of my favorite ones that are showing him using the paint cans and samples entirely throughout.  Talk about making the ordinary extraordinary! 

 David Stark Paint Samples Centerpiece
David Stark Paint Sample Room
David Stark Glowing Paint Cans

Here are some other great images I found of his for your inspiration...

David Stark Event Design
David Stark Event Design
David Stark Event Design

You can see how his designs all go big or go home.  No detail is left out and everything is worked over.  I think what really fascinates me about him is the materials that he uses to bring the color schemes to life.  Even in these next two images it shows how the details really pull it all together.

David Stark Event Design detail
David Stark Event Design detail
I hope those pictures inspire you to think big in your next designs!  

I could stop the blog here, but I wanted to show you some of David's bridal bouquets because it shows how his design style flows into other mediums that just centerpieces and lighting effects.  I think this side of him made him the right choice for the Liberty of London Event.  Also, I'm in wedding planning mode this year and really love them!  Enjoy!

David Stark Flowers
David Stark FlowersDavid Stark Flowers
David Stark Flowers