Residential Color and Style from a Certified True Color Expert.

kitchen tips

At Home on a Squirrel’s Tail


This little guy has chosen his home right outside my kitchen window. Always tippy top of the squirrel’s tail, that is his favorite perch. He is there almost every day, many times a day. It is fun to have something to look at outside, a nice focal point. This is my own secret focal point, because you can’t even see this from the street. You would have to walk up the drive and look behind the hemlock tree.  Mister has been enjoying the dozen or so shelled, raw peanuts I set out for him every few days. What should I name him?

Summer Entertaining with a complementary color scheme

Source: via Ellen

I use my love of color and color combinations when I entertain. Blue/

Orange are complementary (opposite) colors on an artist’s color wheel.

Here is a sampling of a classic casual look which captures those late-

summer colors. Below, a simple but delicious lobster dinner was

served for a family birthday.

Notice the play of the colors in the “Nantucket Red” placemats and

the bright saffron embroidered-lobster napkins, with the complement

of the blue accessories and the blue and cream stripes on the chairs.

ImageImage ©Color Calling

Image ©Color Calling

When using the color scheme of blue and orange in decorating, these

complementary colors actually intensify one another visually.

I find true blue/true orange combinations too jolting or too juvenile for

home decór, when you live with them on a daily basis. (The muted versions

of the two colors can be very pleasing, however.)

Most complementary color combos work well in a table setting, though,

because table decór is all about stimulating the senses.

Choosing the perfect ceiling color

Benjamin Moore Vanilla Ice Cream Image ©Color Calling

This can be a wonderful look: paint your ceilings the same color as your trim. Here is the formula. Use semi-gloss oil-based paint on the trim. Oil-based semi-gloss is also what I like to specify for painted kitchen cabinetry. Then, use flat latex in the same color for the ceiling. Here, I specified Benjamin Moore Vanilla Ice Cream. This creamy white is a perfect match for the subtle stripe in the wallpaper. And, how did I find this perfect match?  With my large samples, of course!

One more tip: make sure that your painter paints the air conditioning vents and speaker covers. Yes, you can safely paint your vents and ceiling speakers (by hand with a brush, please and thank you). Don’t be afraid to venture out from the dreaded “Ceiling White.” A good color consultant can help you find your perfect color match!

Does your kitchen have clean lines?


Do you have enough outlets, where you need them and are actually using them? There are too many cords floating around in this kitchen, above. Consider an appliance garage or have your electrician install plug strips under your upper cabinetry. Plug strips are a great decorator’s secret to keep your backsplash area free of unsightly outlets.


Lighting is important. Make sure your lighting is enhancing your kitchen. Below, someone got carried away with a cute light fixture and decided that if two are good, four will be twice as good. The result is a clutter of visual competition. The wrought iron breakfast room fixture really looks out of place as well. Notice how the metals don’t work well together, and how the height of hanging distracts your eye? However, kudos for the upper cabinet connecting with the ceiling! Visually much more pleasing than dead air between.

I don’t understand the purpose of having dead space between the upper cabinetry and the ceiling. It creates a much cleaner line to join the two visually. This happens in the nicest of homes, so be sure to discuss this with your cabinet maker as well as your architect so that there is no mistake. Can you visualize how much better the above kitchen would look with the left and right “X” cabinetry extending in a clean line to the ceiling?

It is the small details that can really make your kitchen visually pleasing. Clear your kitchen of distracting cords dangling at eye level, and of too many light fixtures hanging down from the ceiling above. Join your cabinetry to the ceiling if possible.

Make sure your design professional understands the importance of clean lines.