Hi, everyone! I’m Patsy Overton, a True Colour Expert™ in Atlanta, Georgia.
My business began as a home staging company in 2007. Several years into it, I was frustrated that the work wasn’t more consistent so I searched out services to add which would fill in the gaps. (Never mind that the housing market had just crashed and was the worst since the Great Depression, right?)
I saw a conversation online about being trained in color, signed up for the course, picked up a certification, and began calling on paint stores to let them know I was available for hire. Guess what? The phone began ringing immediately! Who knew there were so many people out there needing help with color? Today, I am working full time as an interior and exterior color consultant with a few decorating and staging jobs along the way.
Color me employed.
How did you become aware of Maria Killam and her Specify Colour with Confidence™ training?
Back in January 2011, only a few months after my initial color training mentioned above, a fellow designer told me about Maria and what an absolute genius she was when it comes to color. I was anxious to learn more and hone my skills, so I looked her up online. I was surprised and delighted to see that she was holding enrollment for her True Colour Expert training to take place in just a couple of weeks, practically in my backyard! I signed up, didn’t even have to pack a bag, and drove 20 minutes to the training facility — a local Benjamin Moore store. Here I am with Maria at the course:
Patsy & Maria
Color me trained.
What’s your favorite colour? Why?
Hands down, my favorite color these days is Sea Salt SW 6204 (Sherwin-Williams).
Several years ago, I happened upon an article in a home décor magazine by a fancy schmancy New York designer touting Comfort Gray SW 6205 as “the perfect color.”
Because, according to him, it is the perfect blend of gray, blue, and green and is constantly changing. That sounded interesting, so I rushed out to the paint store, purchased a can of paint, and painted my then-home office Comfort Gray. He was right! I loved the color and began specifying it for my Atlanta clients. Here it is in a bedroom:
So what does that have to do with Sea Salt? Thanks for asking. Sea Salt is on the same color chart as Comfort Gray, only one shade lighter. From time to time, I felt the Comfort Gray was a bit heavy for certain spaces, so I began specifying Sea Salt and found that EVERYONE loved, loved, loved that color! It was a hit.
Last year, my husband and I moved from our 23-year-old two-story traditional home to a condo. Guess what color I used as my background neutral throughout the house? Yep, Sea Salt. It makes me smile every day.
Color me Sea Salt.
What is the most important colour lesson you’ve learned?
When working with neutrals, you cannot tell what you are dealing with unless you are constantly comparing them one to another. (Thank you, Maria!) No neutral stands alone. Sometimes, when you are trying to pull together several different fixed neutrals in a home with varying undertones, the best choice is to jump to a color.
Color me informed.
When it comes to colour, what’s hot? Which color do you think is timeless, and which colour trend would you love to see disappear?
Down here in the south, varying shades of turquoise are hot — for front doors, kitchen cabinets, and accents.
In my opinion, the only timeless color is white. (Have you read any of Maria’s posts on white subway tiles? Thought so.) It just doesn’t get any more classic than white. And if I NEVER see another red dining room, I’ll die happy.
What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with interior colour?
That’s easy: jumping color palettes. I was initially trained in color on the Sherwin-Williams fan deck, and I learned that the deck is subdivided into five color palettes. Each palette encompasses all the colors of the color wheel, but they are in varying degrees of saturation. For instance, palette #1 is the most gray-scaled, palette #2 is a little less gray-scaled, etc. Once you reach palette #5, you are dealing with fully saturated color. In order to get the best look for your home, you should stay within the same color palette (saturation) for all your paint color choices.
Color me palatalized.
What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with exterior colour?
I could write a book. Five to six years ago, when I first began working as a color consultant, I was very surprised to get requests for exterior color consultations. For some reason, it had never occurred to me that there was a need for help outside, and I had no idea how to proceed. This was before I was aware there was a Maria Killam to call for help, so I had to learn on the fly.
As a color consultant, you are always looking for a starting point. Inside, it could be tile, granite, artwork, a rug, fabric, etc., but what about outside? The same principle applies there, but most homeowners don’t know this. (I am thankful they don’t, or I would be out of a job.)
There are three main elements to take into consideration when choosing exterior color:
- What is the look and feel of the subdivision? You don’t want your home to stick out like a sore thumb, no matter how beautiful it may look on its own.
- What is the architectural style of the home? Your colors should follow suit.
- What are the unchanging elements of the home? Okay, this is where you can really screw things up. The starting point for finding the right color palette for the exterior is to take note of the roof color, brick, mortar, stone, and anything else on the home that is unchanging.
I worked with a homeowner just last week who had found a color she loved and wanted to use it for her siding. She said, “Let’s go out back and take a look.” I told her I was very sorry, but that’s not how we go about selecting the right palette. We MUST start in the FRONT so that we can see how the color she has chosen relates to the fixed elements of the home. Needless to say, when we checked, we found that her color had no relation whatsoever to the brick, mortar, and roof color. I explained the right way to find the best color family, and we ended up with something that worked beautifully. Please don’t make the mistake of ignoring the unchanging elements on the exterior of your home. You will end up with a hot mess.
Shown below is the “before” of an Atlanta home I consulted on this summer. While the existing colors work fine with the unchanging elements, the homeowner’s goal was to update with a body color “less tan”, and to lighten and brighten the overall look.
The homeowner wanted a natural look, very much in keeping with the woodsy surroundings, yet brighter than what she had. She and I took note of the roof color and tones in the front stone steps. We then glanced at the homes to her right, left, and directly across the street to ensure we were not copying their looks. Here is the palette we decided on:Trim: Panda White, SW 6147 Body: Relaxed Khaki, SW6149 Shutters: Superior Bronze, SW 6152
And the result?
What a difference it made to paint the front posts and handrails the trim color! Also, the lighter, cooler body color gave the house an immediate update. The homeowner is ecstatic with the results, and so am I.
Color me experienced.
Which part of participating in Specify Colour with Confidence™ created the biggest breakthrough/aha moment/insight for your business, and how did it help you move forward?
In that course, Maria taught me everything I know about undertones.
When I took her class, I had already been working as a color consultant for a couple of years and had a fair amount of experience under my belt, but during the sessions, Maria began to explain undertones and how to detect them.
That is when I realized how little I knew about the subtleties of color. Her course gave me great confidence moving forward, as I could specify neutrals from a place of knowledge and understanding, rather than educated guess work.
But I had another “aha” moment I’d like to share with you.
After being trained by Maria in person, I came back home and began devouring her blog posts. It was there that I read, “If you are working with a color consultant who is not using large color samples, RUN!!!”
That got my attention. I immediately ordered a HUGE supply and began using them right away. Just recently a client said, “I’ve told a number of people since our color consultation that, with all the designers and decorators I’ve worked with over the years, none of them have ever used the large color samples like you did. What a difference that made!”
Color me armed.
And one final tidbit I picked up along the way from Maria is this: when using large color samples to assist in making color selections, always sample the color against a white background to get a true read.
This is soooooo important. When you put the color sample against the existing wall color, it “throws” what you are trying to get a read on, but if the color sample is surrounded by a white border, the color reads true. (My clients are always impressed when I share this bit of knowledge. It’s always the little things that make a huge difference.)
Maria, thank you for making me a much better color consultant than I was before taking your course. The knowledge you share has put money in my pocket. I will forever admire you for your honesty, transparency, and sunny demeanor.
Color me happy! 🙂
Patsy Overton – True Color Expert— Thanks, Patsy, for such a fun and thoughtful post! See more of Patsy’s work here. If you’d like to become the next True Colour Expert™ in your area register here. Related posts: