Recently, I did a color consultation for a client who said, “We are not afraid of color”. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this. Interiors of homes in the UAE are usually painted in light neutrals for two distinct reasons. One, geographically, light colors beat the heat and gel with desert hues. Two, psychologically, white, off-whites, cream, beige are low-key and sober.
I toured the villa they were currently staying in and observed their color choice and sense of design. The couple’s personal style was muted, yet the living room wall had a classic rich shade of mauve with a tone of gray to emphasize the tall ceiling and large space. They made good use of beige as well to go with some of the oriental dark wood furniture.
We then walked through the new villa they were going to move to after their summer holiday. It is a beautiful courtyard house close to the beach and the mud exterior with wind towers took me back to the old days. The two-storied house had five bedrooms, living and dining, kitchen, open TV space and a terrace on top.
I was waiting for this moment - to experience my client’s love for color. The icing on the cake was how the couple, like me, would have only Benjamin Moore color in their home. I was joyous and all set to pick my color palette.
In natural daylight, I put up one or two color samples on the walls and trim of each room. I made suggestions that were mindful of their color dislikes.
My client made quick choices. She agreed on the hallway and woodwork colors and that only the bathroom doors would be painted.
The final palette was warm. Pink that was calming, mid-tone lavender with gray that made one feel grounded, shades of beige that were quiet, yellow to brighten, and cheer and blue to bring cool and calm.
The “connecting” color was Sugar Cookie, a creamy off-white with the toasty warmth of freshly baked sugar cookies. It looks a pale, slightly yellow shade that reminds you of soft, smooth butter. It was used for all the ceilings, woodwork and metal window frames.
The exception was the playroom. The walls were cool yet vibrant blue, the trim was white and a less vibrant blue shade was used on the ceiling. One wall was finished with Chalkboard paint in the same color.
Their daughter who has blue eyes, loves the color blue, so her bedroom was also another shade of blue.
The color scheme in three out of the five bedrooms was the same. The ceilings in the office, guest room and child’s bedroom was painted Sugar Cookie, while the trim color was a shade lighter than the shade of the wall color.
The walls in the hallway were San Pedro Morning, a timeless, elegant yellow; ceilings and staircase sidewalls were painted Sugar Cookie to go with the black wrought iron railings.
The living and dining room walls were Bar Harbor Beige. An elegant color again. We used it to cover the tray ceiling and give height to the room. A small egg shaped ceiling and trim embedded in the tray ceiling were painted Sugar Cookie.
The ceilings in the open The TV space and the Master bedroom were treated like the living and dining area.
The kitchen had tiled walls and floor with a yellow undertone. We painted Sugar cookie on the ochre brown wood cabinets to match the tile color.
Overall, the entire palette offset the cream tiled flooring and molding through the house.
The painters plodded for three weeks. During this time, I saw the truest of colors in some of the rooms while other rooms felt warmer depending on their exposure to daylight. At night, the rooms felt less warm.
What mattered most was that the house was now a home; a home that reflected the tranquility and sense of permanence of it surroundings; a home that the family enjoyed living in.