I’m in Atlanta at the Withit conference this week. My first guest post in the True Colour Expert™ series is from Sheri Bruneau!
October 2014 was a total game-changer for me. That was when I was fortunate enough to attend Maria’s Specify Colour with Confidence™ course in Vancouver.
Before attending the course, I worked with real estate agents, organizing and staging properties to get them ready to sell. Seeing the transformation, some of my clients wanted me to ‘stage’ their new homes to live in. I loved it! I was ready to expand my business to include making homes beautiful for people to live in, but I needed more education in this field. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I wanted to learn all I could.
I had been a fan of Maria’s blog for years, and I knew that I was definitely learning from the best. Who knew that taking her course would not only make me confident in all my colour decisions, but also lead me down a completely new career path with home renovation clients?
What’s your favourite colour? Why?
My favourite colour has always been yellow. For me, yellow portrays happiness and warmth.
Born and raised in the prairie province of Alberta, and living in Calgary since I was nine months old, I still happen to be a beach girl at heart. I have no idea where that came from, but there is nothing better than feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin (and dipping my toes in the ocean).
Every time I see yellow, it not only warms me on the outside, it also warms me on the inside. Living in Alberta, our winters can sometimes be long and drawn out. While I am fortunate to live in an environment where the sun shines a lot during the winter, it’s still freezing cold outside.
Adding a touch of yellow in décor can often bring in warmth while it may be freezing outside.
What was your biggest colour/design mistake?
My biggest mistake involved a basement renovation … specifically, the laundry room. My client and I had chosen a specific counter sample, but when it wasn’t readily available, my general contractor chose a laminate that was “close.” (Red alert! Red alert!)
I gave him the go ahead after looking at the image quickly on my iPhone. That was the worst thing I could’ve done! When the counter was installed and I saw it, I knew it had to be ripped out. The white was totally wrong, and I knew I couldn’t ignore it. With everything else that was going on in the space (wall colour, flooring, etc.), I had to fix it. In the end, we went with a simple white counter.
While my client was disappointed that Rock of Ages was not readily available, she said she could live with the wrong white. Even though it was not my home, I could not live with the counter being wrong. Once the white counter was installed my client was very happy that I insisted on the change.
What is the most important colour lesson you’ve learned?
Compare, compare, and compare! Only when we compare colours can we be truly confident in knowing we have made the absolute best decision for our clients. This holds true not only for paint colour, but also for fabric, counters, cabinets, flooring, and everything else.
Just recently, I was helping clients choose a cream colour for their dated wood panelling. While my client thought we had the right colour, I knew it wasn’t the best colour. After comparing some more samples we did land on a different colour that worked a thousand times better for their space. I think of it like being a little bit like Goldilocks. Too soft, too hard, just right. The same holds true for colours: too dirty, too clean….just right!
When it comes to colour, what’s hot? Which colour do you think is timeless, and which colour trend would you love to see disappear?
Where I live, gray is becoming hotter and hotter. There is more gray in furniture and accessories. In addition to gray, I am also seeing a lot of coral, and the two make a really nice colour combination.
I think white is timeless. Whether we’re talking true white, off white, or cream, white is never dated. It’s such a flexible colour when it comes to decorating.
The colour I would love to see disappear? Chocolate brown. Although I love a great piece of chocolate to eat, using the dark colour is not appealing for me when it comes to decorating. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nicely decorated dark room and I’m in love with this look below. I just think the chocolate brown has been overdone.
What is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with colour?
Many homeowners find something online and don’t realize it won’t work in their homes. Just because a colour looks great on Pinterest does NOT mean it will look great in your space. There is so much more to choosing colour. Working with your space and your fixed elements is so important in choosing the best colour for you.
Here’s an example of Benjamin Moore’s Warm Springs. The first picture is stunning and works well with the décor. The second picture? Well, just see for yourself how the same paint colour does not work well with the fixed elements (flooring, cabinets and counters).
What’s the biggest reason why this colour doesn’t work in this kitchen? Post your thoughts in the comments below:
What do you think are some big mistakes homeowners make when renovating?
I have three! But first, a disclaimer: I love home improvement shows. I think they provide great insight about renovation and design, and they can give us all kinds of great ideas. But they can also lead to some pretty big misconceptions:
- Your renovation will happen precisely NOTHING like it does on TV. No renovation will ever be complete in 30–60 minutes.
- TV renovation budgets are completely unrealistic where I live. There is not a whole lot you can do for $20,000. Don’t get me wrong. A lot can be done on a tight budget and I have worked with tight budgets. You just won’t be able to get the granite or quartz counters for that price plus new cabinets and flooring!
- Most renovation shows have designers working behind the scenes. Scott McGillivray from Income Property, for example, has designers who create design plans for his projects. If you head over to his Facebook page, you will see the comments from people and how shocked they are to find out he has a team of designers. While I love working with a variety of general contractors, they are not designers! They do not necessarily have the training to know what works and what doesn’t, and homeowners should not rely on them for this completely separate specialty.
Which part of participating in Specify Colour with Confidence™ created the biggest breakthrough for your business, and how did it help you move forward?
The biggest breakthrough I had was becoming educated in undertones. Before my training, I always went with my gut feeling, but now I see undertones objectively. I look at colour in a totally different light.
Learning about undertones and seeing them clearly has made me super confident in every decision I make for my clients. In addition, I educate my clients when I work with them. I discuss with them why a specific colour will not work in their space, and I provide them with a better choice that works with their fixed elements.
As a result, my business has taken off in a direction that I truly love. Not only am I working with clients who trust me, but they also continually refer me to their family and friends. A referral is the biggest compliment I could ever get.
There is something to be said about the magic of colour. Specifying fixed elements for a renovation or new build allows us to see a concept blossom into reality right before our eyes. When flooring, cabinets, counters, and backsplash get installed, and walls are painted, we get to see the magic of having a beautifully designed space come together. There is nothing better than that feeling of, “YES!” I am honoured to create that feeling over and over for my clients.
Thanks so much Sheri for your thoughtful advice! And don’t forget to post your opinion on the green kitchen in the comments! See more of Sheri’s work here.
If you’d like to become the next True Colour Expert™ in your area register here.