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This is the Home Dreams Are Made Of: A Private Tour

By 08/28/2015January 12th, 202433 Comments

This guest post is from Ruth Chancellor, a decorator, home stager, and True Colour Expert™ in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Welcome, Ruth!

Tell us about these dream home photos!

Every year, the Homebuilders Association of Metropolitan Portland partners with NW Natural Gas host a luxury show of homes during the month of August. The tour showcases prestigious real estate in a thoughtfully designed community that highlights quality, innovative design, and the finest homes available in the Portland area.

Portland Street of Dreams

As the interior decorator for one of the properties in the tour, I was tasked with showing off the architecture of the house and creating a dream-worthy home.

My design inspiration was the beautiful doors used throughout the house. I’ve been using a lot of blue in my design work the last year, so I was excited to decorate a home with navy blue interior doors.

I selected all the furnishings, including furniture, art, rugs, accessories, and window coverings to fill the house with luxury. I enjoy doing tour homes and this one was truly a dream project.

SOD_Great roomGreat Room

What’s your favourite colour? Why?

I could never pick a favorite. That’s like asking which of your children do you like best. Color is so relative. It depends on what the color is being used for and what the surroundings are.

What was your biggest colour/design mistake?

I cringe to think about it. I specified what I thought was a lovely, neutral beige for a client’s two-story entry. I was surprised and mortified when I got the call asking why the space was pink. The little chip in my fan deck looked so innocent. Back then I had no concept of undertones. I followed up this mistake with a yellow entry (different client).

My world would be a different place if I hadn’t taken Maria’s True Color Expert training.

ruthdiningCasings and Columns Snowbound SW7004


What is the most important colour lesson you’ve learned?

Maria has taught me two big (and I mean game-changing sort of big) lessons: understand the undertones, and know the difference between clean and muddied colors. Becoming a True Color Expert revolutionized how I approach color.

 Perimeter & Nook – Wind Fresh White SW7628; Island & Hood – Embassy Blue SW1245


ruthdiningchairsWalls throughout – Cubist Gray SW1022

When it comes to colour, what’s hot? Which colour do you think is timeless, and which colour trends would you love to see disappear?

Currently, I have a big crush on navy with various accent colors. Navy and mint makes me swoon, navy and orang makes me giggle. Navy is a classic color that can either take the staring role or be part of a great supporting cast.

SOD_BoyBoy’s Room

SOD_GirlGirl’s Room


SOD_GuestGuest Room

Portland Street of DreamsMaster Bedroom

What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with colour?

Of the top 10 biggest color mistakes, one of the worst is trying to select wall color without considering an overall design scheme. The scenario goes something like this:

Client: Please help me pick fun and interesting colors. There’s no room for white or boring walls in my home.

Me: OK! What are your thoughts on the furnishings and décor?

Client: I haven’t thought about that yet. Let’s get back to the paint.

A good wall color is critical to a well-designed space. On rare occasions, the wall color makes a statement (like the navy blue wall in my office).

Usually, though, I treat walls as a backdrop, chosen to enhance the overall design. A well-designed space needs more than a beautiful wall color.

On the other hand, a space will never look well designed with the wrong wall color. It’s a package deal.


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? 

The training I received in the Specify Color with Confidence class was invaluable.  When I say invaluable, I mean the true definition of the word: valuable beyond measure.

Before taking the class I could inherently see some colors don’t play well together, but I didn’t understand why. Once I learned about undertones and mixing clean and dirty colors, the lightbulb went off!

Armed with this knowledge, I was much more equipped to specify colors, creating happy clients and a lot of job satisfaction, which is a great combination. I have my fingers crossed the class will be taught in Portland some time, and I’ll audit/assist. I can dream…

For more from Ruth, and for a look at her decorating and home staging services, check out her website.

Which room is your favourite?

If you’d like to become the next True Colour Expert™ in your area register here.

Related posts:

How NOT to Choose Paint Colours: But Everybody Does It

How to Choose Paint Colours that Work with Your Lighting

Indigo & Turquoise Summer House in the Fraser Valley: Before & After

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