When white isn’t really white

I got a call from one of my subs… “It looks green”, he said, with not a small measure of panic in his voice. Calls like that are always unnerving, but over the years, I have learned to trust my gut instinct. Yes, it was green, but in this particular instance, green is what was needed to make it appear white.

Color really is all about light. It doesn’t matter what it looks like in different illumination, or how it appears on that little color swatch – it is how it looks IN PLACE that matters. This is why I never, ever, ever wholeheartedly recommend a color selection without having seen it in the right location. Absentee color consultations would ALWAYS be accompanied with a big, fat disclaimer – because again – it is all about light, and the surrounding surfaces bouncing all that light around.

Sure enough. Once the cabinet was installed, it looked just that way I wanted it to look – a warm, white hue amidst all the terracotta orange tiles. The new cabinet was part of a renovation of a laundry room, which in turn was part of a larger renovation. The client wanted to keep the existing floor tiles so, by virtue of their chromatic intensity, those dictated the rest of the finishes in that room. But then, something wonderful happened! During one of our meetings, the clients suddenly remembered a box of old tiles they had picked up while on a family vacation to Mexico, about 30 years prior. They dug the old tiles up, and – lo and behold! The color of the pattern on the Mexican tiles perfectly matched the laundry room floor tiles! How’s that for serendipity? In all, 27 of the tiles were still in one piece, and we decided right there to build some cherished memories into those walls!

The background color of the Mexican tile was a light lemony yellow with a slight greenish tint.

The background color of the Mexican tile was a light lemony yellow with a slight greenish tint. This is the color I wanted the cabinets to be.

I found the perfect light yellow subway tile to set the souvenir tiles into.

I found the perfectly colored subway tile to set the souvenir tiles into.

The only natural light in the room came from a north facing window, so the interior would never receive any direct sunlight. The yellow tiles, and the warm terracotta of the walls tempered the appearance of the floor tiles. And, the reds in the floor and walls neutralized the green of the cabinet, thus warranting the writing of this post.

If you wonder why the cabinet is so short, it is because the ladder leading to the attic folds down into the middle of the room. We needed to leave room for that.

If you wonder why the cabinet was built so short, it is because the ladder leading to the attic folds down into the middle of the room. We needed to leave enough room to accommodate that.

There were some other nifty solutions that made this laundry room function much better than before. We exchanged the washer and dryer for a stackable unit...

There were some other nifty solutions that made this laundry room function much better than before. We exchanged the washer and dryer for a stackable unit…

... and built them into what was previously a narrow closet.

… and built them into what was previously a narrow closet. This freed up a lot more space for the repurposed armoire, which is used as a linen closet. Contrasted with the appliance white of the washer/dryer, you can clearly see that the “white” of the cabinets isn’t really white.

All in all, I loved being able to incorporate the family's memories into this design. Helping people incorporate their personality into their surroundings is one of my favorite aspects of what I do. :)

All in all, I love being able to incorporate the family memories into designs. Helping people manifest their personality into their surroundings is definitely a favorite aspect of what I do. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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6 Responses to When white isn’t really white

  1. linda says:

    Beautiful job, Anna ! Our living room, which only gets morning sun is painted terra-cotta, I tried painting it white once…it looked green !

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    You’re so talented and you work magic with color!

  3. Nell Jean says:

    Not all whites are equal and not everybody can ‘see’ what you see. Not everybody can realize the solution that you find, either.

    Thank you for visiting my seedscatterer blog on Bloom Day.

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