Color Consultation - Lesson One: Repeat Small Habits

My clients have prompted me to write about my adventures in color consulting for some time now. While I've been thinking about how this could happen, this tool - the blog - has finally sunken into my psyche. My intension is to put it to good use in the form of sharing and in doing so, create a forum for educating others about all things related to the following:

choosing the best colors for your project

the psychology of color and how it works in our environment

decorating & all things interior design

removal of clutter & streamlining your space

finding various "elements" for your home improvement project

working with contractors and skilled artisans and tradespeople

the art of communicating needs with clients and contractors

helping children choose the right colors: gender & age observations

and more....

I thought I'd begin by sharing a recent experience in the hopes that you could learn from it. Maybe it will prompt you to share stories related to your own home improvement project (s):

I was flown to Portland, Oregon on very short notice to help a client choose colors for the new family home. There had been a delay with my flight out of the Oakland Airport that caused us to have to be as judicious & expedient as possible in this process together. As we went from room-to-room in the new home, we selected colors and I would physically place each large-sized color sample sheet on the floor of each area. When we were all done after four hours, three floors and about 15 colors later, I advised my client to go back to each room & write the name of the area on the back of every color sample. Then, she could keep the sample sheets all in a group to direct her painting contractor as to the specs we'd chosen.

Without going into detail with regards to the airport drama that unfolded over the next 14 hours (!), I arrived home safely and received an email from my client thanking me and letting me know that she had taken all the color sample sheets back to the "old" house where all the furnishings were located and that she was very please with all the colors we picked.
(NOTE: I had taken the lead from this environment for my color selections for the new home....)

"Great", I thought. "The proof will be in the pudding", as they say and in this case I mean when the painters arrive and actually apply the finishes & colors we chose. That's when it all plays out....the furnishings in place, the area carpeting, the window treatments, the lighting (most important), etc.

A few days later however, I received an email from my client with the word "HELP!" in the subject line. As I read the content of her panicked email I felt sick to my stomach. Basically, she had misplaced all but three of the color samples and could not find them anywhere! Could I help her?

Ummmm...let's see....Since I had left that consult in Portland days before, I'd seen 7 clients for color consultations and had pulled several sample color sheets from my books and replaced them as quickly as possible. So, the simple answer was "No", I wouldn't be able to help her short of going back up there to Portland. I'd not made out a separate sheet listing our color selections as we went along because we had to move so quickly that there hadn't been the time.

This was a rare consultation because of the time crunch in travelling but I regret not having done what I normally do with a large project such as this: taking pen-to-paper and creating a simple list. A small but important habit to repeat each and every time I do a consult. Yikes!

Ah but for hindsight. Monday morning quarterbacking. Simple logic had gone out the window in this case.

Oh well....I had to write her and tell her that I'd wracked my brain- and I really had! I spent two hours going through each and every color sample sheet I had and closed my eyes and even meditated on it. But alas, to no avail. If I am to be able to recreate our hours of work from that day- oh the beautiful progress we'd made, too! - I'd have to be flown up to Portland again with my color tools in hand. That simple & THAT complicated all at once. Such it is with this work that is part science, part art and part intuition.

My gut tells me that I'll be on a plane again in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Share any stories that you may have that this little story might have stimlulated.

with brushes blazing,

alicia "joey" brite