Not only do they save me time and my customer money, but all the initial awkward pleasantries you had to experience in person are quickly over, getting down to color business in a matter of minutes.
As a serial colorist, this is equivalent to being able to do consultations from heaven! I can sit down in my own space (pajama pants optional), fire up some incense, or if it's late in the day, pour myself a glass of wine. Then I drop in somewhere on Earth, a place we all can agree things are far from perfect, and all you can do is try.
Try, we do!
In the field of interior design, nothing is as trying as picking the right paint colors for your home. Most of the time, the color you choose ends up somewhat disappointing but good enough to live with. Other times they are wrong and become monumental expensive failures, especially if you pay a painter for the crash.
I make a living preventing epic color failures from happening.
It's not my vast knowledge of color that sets my work apart. Although, I have had to pull that card out from time to time to get someone's head straight.
I use an intuitive lens that tells me more about the house than the homeowners even know. Homeowners have a history and a personal relationship to all the stuff they own; therefore, they can't be impartial.
Even if they love everything about the house, like a perfect child, I will tell them something about that child, they never understood, and will make their relationship better. There is a reason doctors can't operate on their own family members, so don't take it personally.
My patient is my client's home.
There are keen observations that have to be addressed before we can choose colors and prevent future epic failures. For some reason, I find that me being on a screen far away somewhere else makes it easier for them to process these truths alone in their environment while I am in heaven having a glass of wine.
Giving practical exterior color advice over the phone is even better. My clients and I get to look at houses in their neighborhood together and discuss their do's and don'ts, which is where a lot of people get their exterior color ideas from.
They drive around neighborhoods and look at other similar houses with colors they might like then try to paint theirs the same.
This is an example of a couple of homeowners who did just that. They told me they wanted to paint their house white to make it feel more modern, and I had to tell them their house didn't want to be white. Nothing about the house in its current state of mind said, "paint me white." The architecture wasn't light and airy. It didn't have sharp angles or contrasting features.
So what caused them to think white would be a good idea?
People get stung by wannabes all the time.
There was a similar house in their neighborhood that had been painted white. Through my intuitive lens, I explained why this had been a colossal mistake. It was a wannabe white house, that was neither a fresh nor a modern take on a ranch. Anyone who drove by that house instinctively knew that they couldn't afford to remodel, and therefore they painted instead.
The picture became clear as day.
The real reason my client's house didn't want to be white is that, like an older woman being asked to dress way younger than her years, white was an inappropriate color for their house. Their home had a brown cedar-shake roof massive and prevailing. It was evenly spread along the sidewalk, deeply rooted for decades on a striking, beautiful corner lot accented by a proper luxurious green lawn and perfectly manicured rounded shrubs.
White is a dominant neutral that sticks out like sore thumbs, whites shoes, and ultra-bright teeth if you don't use it properly. For my client's house to be painted in a modern white, I told them, they would have to tear down the landscape, bring in lighter shrubs and desert looking plants, and change the roof color to black, grey, or terracotta red.
My clients who had bought their house because they loved everything about it agreed that their exterior colors needed to be rich, sumptuous, and stately; the opposite of what they were thinking. Seeing the interior of their home confirmed our new color direction.
Within an hour, we had a plan and a clear picture of how to make the home authentically relevant and modern. Of course they went with wood accents and garage doors that made the home look as if it had been extensively and expensively remodeled. But the right colors led us there.
You do not want to get in a car with me and drive around so I can tell you what I think of people's exterior colors. On the other hand, maybe, it's not such a bad idea. I'll leave that up to you. All I know is that I can now hop in anyone's car virtually without first making sure their not a serial killer looking to paint their house.
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Gretchen Schauffler’s entrepreneurial journey started when she created, developed and marketed her first brand, Devine Color, from idea to cult status. Her new brand Design Is Personal Online DIY Style And Easy Products are available at Wayfair, Homedepot, Walmart, and Target.