#ColorForAll Project Valspar - Living With Color DesignsOh my, this touches my heart to share this with you today.  You might want to grab a hankie.  Before I begin I want you to imagine; not being able to see the brilliant array of color streaked across a morning sunrise or evening sunset, not having the ability to detect the distinct blue, green, or brown shade of your child’s eyes, not feeling the full impact of a bright and beautiful green spring or the fiery brilliance of the orange, yellow, and red fall foliage I enjoy so much in the North Carolina mountains.  My mind and eye have always been so intertwined with color that I could not imagine what my life would have been like without this constant companion.  Watch the video below to see how the #ColorForAll Project is helping the colorblind experience color for the first time.  You can also check this out at ValsparColorForAll.com.

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Radiant Orchid color of the year

Just in case you haven’t heard.  Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s 2014 color of the year. Who is Pantone you ask? They are the world-renowned authority on color.  They help forecast color trends and help communicate color from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.  Which means, you are going to be seeing Radiant Orchid on everything from walls to purses to electronics.

This is an intense color that some of you would love to paint from here to the ends of the earth with and others, cautious color consumers, will only be able to take a more measured amount of it in a wallpaper, table lamp, or pillow.  I see lots of success in fashion accessories ahead for this color.

I thought I would share this color with you in a little less conventional way.  I’m sure the nice weather has greatly influenced that decision.  I’m just going to take my little chip and pair it up with a few colors from nature and items in the yard.  I mean it does look like a lovely summer flower.  Nature is a great provider of clues for color parings.  If you prefer to see some beautiful studio shots of the color do not fret.  I will provide you with plenty of links to check it out.

Radiant Orchid with tans

Radiant Orchid with shades of grey

Radiant Orchid with mossy green

Radiant Orchid with hardwoods
Radiant Orchid with white and grey

Radiant Orchid with foliage green

Radiant Orchid with aqua

Radiant Orchid with zebra

Radiant Orchid with pastel green

Radiant Orchid with beauty berries

Click on any of the images to make them larger.  You knew my winterberries would show up.  Look how beautiful this color is with red.

Radiant Orchid with red

Radiant Orchid with stone grey

Radiant Orchid with verde green and brick

I got all excited at Lowe’s when I found out that Valspar was manufacturing the Pantone paint.  You can check out the Valspar Pantone Universe here.  While you are there use the Valspar Virtual Painter to try all the color combinations on a wall.  You can upload a picture from your computer or you can us one of their interior or exterior pictures.  Want to know how the color of the year is chosen?  Click here to watch a video.  To check out mood boards of all kinds of products in Radiant Orchid click here.

If you clicked on all of those links I know you are feeling like a color expert.

Enjoy the year of Radiant Orchid.   –  Marianne

All photographs and content are property of Living With Color Designs

 I never knew the emotional connection I had to all the familiar things I see from year to year or day to day until I took a few pictures in my yard and displayed these pictures in my home.  Spring is a great time to capture pictures of beautiful blooms right in your very own yard.  I know it is early spring and there may not be much to take pictures of yet, but I want you to ready your cameras and keep an eye out for new blooms and also wait and watch for flowers to reach full bloom.  I am always taking pictures in my yard.  I just can’t help myself.  I will even stand there and think “you know you took pictures last year” and then go ahead and snap some more.  After you have taken some great shots blow them up, print them out, frame them up and  put them in your home.  You will be amazed at the connection you make to these pictures and the enjoyment you will get from looking at them.

These are some beautiful big peonies that we planted.  I remember when, where and from whom we bought them.  The local garden club sponsored the sale and it was held at the beautiful farm/estate of a neighbors.  One of the ladies in the garden club had dug them up out of her yard.  I can’t remember what I paid but it was a deal. Early Bird Gets the Worm kind of thing. We were early birds.   Every time I look at this picture I am reminded of that fun day.

I was so excited when I found these frames.  They are so unique.  I like the casualness of just clipping the photo a little askew in the shadow box type frame.  The clips on these frames make it easy to change pictures whenever you want.  I haven’t changed them though.  I’m surprised how attached I get to photo’s.  There is a delightful “ah ha” moment when a friend or family member realizes that they are looking at a picture of something they have seen in our yard. 

The statue you see is my favorite birdbath.  Surrounded by beautiful plantings chosen by my husband, the resident gardener.  I also am reminded of whom we got this from and all the places we have used it.  When taking pictures be sure to include items that you love like a tried and true container or urn that you use from year to year.  This item will tie  the location where the picture was taken in with the beautiful plants.  

Of course here in the South we love our hydrangeas.  They come in many varieties and I love them all.  I have taken tons of pictures of them and am so glad to put some of  those pictures to good use.  This picture is actually of a chinese snowball bush (viburnum) which has a similar bloom to a hydrangea.

One of the most beautiful things in my yard is this peach tree.  The bright pink blooms just put a song in my heart.  Bringing this beauty into my bedroom year round was a wonderful idea.    Just a few days after I took these photos the blooms began to turn brown so be watchful.  Timing is everything with these blooms.  Thankfully newer digital cameras make it easy now to take quality photos. 

I chose these beautiful silver leaf frames to honor my peach blossoms.  They compliment the  silver leaf mirror that hangs over my Henrendon dresser which has silver drawer pulls.  The wall is painted with Valspar Paint. The color is 5006-8A Swim.  A beautiful color that I think I will never tire of.  Combined with this wall color the pink blossoms just pop out of the frames.

I hope you will try this little DIY home enhancement activity.   It is an inexpensive and personal way to add art to your home.  Truthfully I had never been a big fan of adding photographic art to my personal surroundings until I took these pictures of things in my own yard and framed them.  And now you can tell I am a really big fan.  I have also added some professional photographic art to my home.

Now it’s your turn.  Go ahead and get out in your yard.  Just don’t forget your camera!  –  Marianne

Footnote: If you read this earlier and notice some changes you can thank my resident gardener.  He gently reminded me that the tree in the backyard was a peach and not a cherry.  We even had tiny fruit last year.  How could I forget that?  He also let me know the picture with the big white blooms was of our Chinese snowball bush not our hydrangea.  This is why he plants them and I just take pictures and enjoy them.

Lutron Storm fabric Fabric “Lutron Storm”

The colors for most redo’s are drawn from a particular item that you plan to include in the redo.  It may be a picture, a pillow, a bedspread, or a fabric.  In most cases I begin with the fabric.  This is probably because unless you have endless access to a wide variety of fabrics and an unlimited budget you may end up in trouble if you pick the paint first and then try to find a fabric to match.  For example I knew exactly what color I wanted in my bedroom but I had to search high and low to find a spread the same color.

Lutron Storm Fabric

Meet the fabric “Lutron Storm”.  It was love at first sight.  Just the inspiration I needed to change up my kitchen after 10 years.  I already had the vision in my head that I wanted a sort of greyish blue paint color and this fabric had the right blues. I have also fallen in love with the color combination of browns and blues so this was perfect.  I got a swatch and went home to measure my windows and determine yardage.  On my next trip back to my favorite fabric store, 1502 Fabrics, they were completely out of the fabric.  Another designer had bought every yard of it.  I guess you can imagine my panic when love at first site was gone but I was able to order it.  I just had to wait a while to get it.

I bought a beautiful neutral linen for the chair seats and table round and ordered the print fabric for the backs of chairs and the window curtains. Then I went home to tackle the paint.  Now as the confessed “Queen of Color” I do have to admit that I am a little obsessed about colors matching.  Perfectly.  I know, it can be a curse and in this case it was.  After a million paint chips there was just not one the was perfect, with the right amount of grey and blue.  Besides matching the fabric I wanted to complement the grey in the granite counter tops and pull out the delicate blue trim on the hand painted chest in my kitchen.  The fabric came in well before I had chosen a paint color.

Ingenuity to the rescue or maybe I should call it fate, good luck, or chance happening.  I opened the chest in my kitchen one day and a Restoration Hardware shopping bag fell out. (I also have a shopping bag obsession but we won’t go into that.)  I picked it up and put it by my fabric.  It matched perfectly and I thought if I could only find a paint swatch this color I could paint my kitchen. Then it sunk in.  The match was perfect. 

Restoration Hardware shopping bag

The bag I color matched.

I realized this offered a wonderful opportunity for me to try a Valspar Paint custom paint match at Lowes Hardware.  I knew the technology was out there to do a match but I had never recommended it to a client because I was not sure if it would work.  Now my kitchen would be the testing ground.  My kitchen originally was Bavarian Torte by Valspar ,  a wonderful neutral that had just enough hint of pink to flatter the granite we had chosen.  Now it would become a custom match Restoration Hardware bag blue.  The technology really works!  It was identical and I love the color.  Originally I had planned to paint the cabinets but decided not to after the paint went up because they looked so good together.  Below are the results.

Red fabric with bunnies


window treatments


dinette area

Design 001



The color turned out truly perfect.  It really made the cabinets pop.  It draws the blue detailing out on the chest and works with the counter tops.  It really has a calming effect which is what I was going for.

 Before                                                                                                        After


I think these before and after pictures really show how color can change a room.  I hope they will convince those of you who have been hesitant to use color to give it a try.  I believe that there are real life benefits to creating spaces in our home that comfort and nurture us.  Color can play a big part in influencing how we feel.  Now you know that if you can’t find the perfect paint chip just find the color that you love in another object and have a custom color paint match. 



Recovering the chairs was what I call a DIY- WHFAF.  Do-It-Yourself-With-Help-From-A-Friend.  Thanks to Ronnie and Stephanie Hurley for their help and expertise in putting the fabric on.  I just hot glued the matching braid around the fabric on the chair backs.

Custom Color Paint

Next I had a fun time adding a few new accessories.  On the kitchen desk I placed  this picture which is hand painted and these old seltzer bottles.  The picture has beautiful colors and was a great find at a great price.  Both were purchased at the Collectors Antique Mall here in downtown Asheboro.  It is a great place to browse and to pick up interesting things. 

Custom Color Paint

Antique seltzer bottles

I like making little displays on this chest or on a corner of my kitchen island.  I change it up depending on the season and my mood.  I had a little fabric left over so I used it for this little display.  Doing this also helps scatter the fabric colors and pattern throughout the room.

bird houses


Not long ago my sweet Mom brought me this piece of slate with this wonderful message of encouragement.  So nice.  I just love it.  Don’t be afraid to try your own custom color paint matches.   – Marianne

All pictures property of Living With Color Designs

Happy Friday!  I am just loving interior installations that feature Black.

Sound scary? Check out these web sites to see how it may not be scary after all: Elle DecorHOUZZ, and Apartment Therapy.
There are many benefits of black. Accent colors pop on black. Shinny things just sparkle more against black.  Art work grouped together on it results in a gallery effect. Recommended paint choice: Valspar-black tie.
The combination of white and black is guaranteed to make a statement. The best way to soften a black room is to be sure to include a variety of textures and materials in the space.  Items that reflect light, like the chair above, are great additions to a black room. The nubby fabric above, would be great for window treatments, the bold geometric for a pair of club chairs, and the modern houndstooth for a sofa with pillows out of the white diamond patterned woven fabric. Round up lamps and accessories and you have an instant room.