I was struck with fantastic colour inspiration while walking with friends this winter. Grabbing a coffee and walking the dogs turned into a great conversation about colour trends in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria and Edmonton (we generalized it as BC, the Island and Alberta). While we each have different personal preferences, we could agree on great colour schemes. In a 2 block stroll we could visualize the plethora of colourful exterior paint motifs in various areas of each of our hometowns. I’d like to look at how we can use a casual zero stress activity to choose paint colours as either professionals or as consumers.
Paint colour is more permanent than the colour of coat we wear; it sticks with us for at least a few years while we change coats daily or seasonally and this level of commitment some find stressful. Combining everyday activities such as grabbing a tea/coffee, a walk and the casual observance of house colours in the neighbourhood keeps things loose and fluid. Our walk had us in an old neighbourhood with original homes, modern infills and an are of new development so many, many styles and colours to see. I often walk Nanaimo streets just to see how people are using colour in their areas. Not all areas have colour combinations that work for me but there’s usually one or two that really stand out.
There is a working assumption in this article, namely that we are not sure what colour or colours we want to use for our house or project. Touring various places to feel out a spectrum of potential is what we are after. There’s a tremendous difference between a monochromatic monolith and a home with 3 body colours and a rainbow of 60 cm (24 inch) butterflies pinned to the body trim board (real house in Nanaimo). I really like the paint schemes on Heritage homes of Vancouver’s Commercial Drive and City Hall areas but they weren’t really what we were after for our old stucco house in Nanaimo. Getting a feel for trends and what’s going on in other areas can help hone your own style.
Picturing your space is key; it’s yours and will be so until the next paint time (or move). Is the space integrated into the landscape requiring almost a camouflage/blending of colours? Do we want the place to pop? Do we need to paint as a backdrop to a great tree or point of architectural interest? Knowing your intentions is key to a harmonious paint choice. I think colour is fun in all its complexity and vastness of possibility.
Turning paint selection into a social event with the coffee-walk at least gets you outside and in the company of friends and great drinks. At best the paint tour eliminates stressful selection pressure. By gathering real world data/evidence/photos and comparing these to the ideas already held, we easily narrow down the choices. Once we have a few combinations selected we can see how these would really work in our space with test patches and/or computer renderings. If all else fails one of PWP’s professional colour consultants can get you there!
Nanaimo Pro Works Painting