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BlueColour Consultation

The House of Blues

By 08/18/2010January 27th, 201738 Comments

When Robin Dow, CEO of Galahad Metals Inc. called me to help choose colours for his new house in West Vancouver, I immediately tried to talk him out of all the blue grays he showed me. In fact I’m pretty sure I can only take credit for one blue in the whole entire house, he chose the rest of them. I just consulted on where they would look the best and showed him all the options.

Photos by Maria Killam
I have seen way too many battleship gray houses in my time so I automatically steer away from the coldest blue grays in the deck that I suddenly found myself looking at during this consultation. Robin’s house is located very close to the water and this is the view from his living room. That is Stanley Park and you can see the city behind it. In actual fact the view relates really well to the colours we ended up with.
By the way the colour in the bedroom above is BM 1641 Blue Porcelain. I stood in there for 5 minutes when I toured the house afterwards I loved it so much. Robin picked it from the BM colour viewer on-line one evening when he was watching the sunset from his hotel room prior to taking possession of the house.
This is the living room with another sitting area on the other side of the arched opening which is where his home office will be located. He wanted the dark blue to start on the window wall but with so much light coming through I recommended he keep the darker colour on the fireplace wall. Otherwise it creates too much contrast when you are looking towards the windows. And is another reason why dark colours also work really well in darker spaces.
The accent wall is 2129-30 Blue Note and the lighter blue is 2134-50 Gull Wing Gray.

Here’s the view (above) into what will be Robin’s office.
HC-159 Phillipsburg Blue on the left and in the back bedroom and the rest of the hallway is 2134-50 Gull Wing Gray.
This is the kitchen dining area and it’s also 2134-50
The entry and stairwell you can see the darker blue (this view is still from the kitchen). There was a renovation still in process which is why you are seeing only strategically photographed walls.
This basement bedroom is HC-159.
And here’s another photo of the stunning view from the master bedroom!
The lesson of the day? Context is everything. Never judge a blue gray too harshly and don’t let your colour bias kill off an entire palette of colours. Robin said the part of the consult that was valuable to him was the process of walking through all the other possibilities that I presented. It helped him see that the colours he loved would work and this way he wasn’t making the decisions inside a vacuum.
Speaking of gray, Joni from Cote de Texas just dedicated an entire lengthy and always well-researched post to gray. Check it out here. My favourite photo from her post is this one:
Interior design by Gerrie Bremermann
Is gray the new brown or what? Are you in love with gray yet?
If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person decorating and colour.
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  • Teresa Hatfield says:

    Pretty blues and Iove that gray room! Perfect and neutral.
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  • Kelly at Kitchen Sync says:

    Perfect colors for the Pacific Southwest! 😉

    I love the Blue Stone – what a perfect compliment for the Pacific Ocean blue.

    The Gull Wing Gray is also a great color for there, although it's a little too cool for my tastes (esp. during rainy season.) I sure can admire it though!

  • Elecat says:

    Well you know that I'm in love with grey, lol! I wish that we had that view. Breathtaking. 🙂

  • Greet says:

    Dear Maria,
    I really red your post with interest!!! You explained it so well by showing the different views with the specific color!
    I might think that indeed gray is the new brown,certainly here in Belgium. Using shades of gray is "in" since a few time.
    Some 3 years ago when we painted the interior of our house, it was really hard to choose the right gray for the entry hall, the mudroom, the bathroom and the guest bedroom! I have chosen in every room another shade of gray!
    Great post again Maria! I wish I could read all your posts! Some day I will do!

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    I'm so in love with gray that without planning it, it looks like all of the walls in the renovated bedroom and new bathroom area are going to be different shades of gray. I fear I'll be sick of it with so much around but it's what I'm drawn to now.

  • Kelly says:

    Hi Maria,

    Love gray! I love that view your client has too. One of my first posts was about gray. I have always loved the 'warmer' grays best although I am 'warming up' to the cool grays also.
    I always notice that you spell grey, I spell gray. Is it a Canadian spelling or just you? Have a great day!

  • Michelle says:

    Maria, This was very helpful to me. I just got through painting a large portion of my living areas Edgecomb gray, and now I look around and think I need to go darker on certain walls and nooks, like the fireplace wall and breakfast nook. I love seeing how you did this on this house. You did various shades of blue-gray within eyesight of each other.

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    I think I have said this before but I am in love with BM Stonignton Gray, kind of a tanish gray. It is a perfect neutral that I got my neighbor to try and it works well with color pops in the room. Very warm.

  • Space by Eliana Tomas says:

    first of all let me say blue is my very favourite colour. it gives me peace, helps me to 'fly' (high) and i find it extremely creative – therefore gives me that balance i'm always looking for.
    with that view, btw amazing, it is indeed the perfect choice, as if it is the house extension and vice-versa.

    Now, i think your client Robin has a challenge ahead to make sure the interiors are not going to look too flat, meaning lack of movement inside walls. It would be fantastic to see the house fully styled.

    I have to mention again how fantastic is the view – everything's there: country and city, quite and noise, nature and man made! Superb.

  • Houses Gardens People says:

    I love all those grays together! My new favorite combinations are gray walls with saddle and tobacco colored upholstery, and rich woods. Stunning!

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    I love gray – always have (just painted my lower kitchen cabinets in steel gray and love it). I can totally see why he wanted to paint his entire place in various blue-gray shades. They are divine.

  • Angela N says:

    What great views!!!

    I am about to paint our home office SW6246 (North Star) on request of my husband. He really wanted a blue room, but I wanted a gray room. I am hoping that this is a good compromise.

    I just painted my main living area greige (BM Kangaroo) and really want to paint my formal living/dining room a darker gray color. It will be a few years before I get those rooms back- they are currently being used as a playroom for my 2 young kids. I have a beige sleeper that has a hint of gray in the velvet and I think it would coordinate nice with a gray. It will be interesting to see where color goes over the next few years.

    Love the pic from Cote as well. Beautiful!!

  • diane@onlinefabricstore says:

    Gray is OK but my clients sure seem to like it. I am working on a second project involving a gray and gold master bedroom. Fortunately the fabric manufactureres are catching on and there are lots more choices out there.

    Not really a fan of blue for some reason but it seems to work in that house with the incredible view!

  • Mona Thompson says:

    I am in love with gray! Great post.

  • Bridget says:

    i loooooove gray. love it.

  • Jean Molesworth Kee says:

    Nice view from entry up to stairwell. Love using "color planes" like that!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I had not idea gray could be so beautiful. Especially in the last picture you posted.

  • Anonymous says:

    A fan of gray here. North Star, Angela, can be worked with — be sure and test it at different times of day as it changes with the light. I had settled on it but switched to Gray Screen SW. Really am enjoying this color for the master bedroom. Grays are so tricky!

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  • beyondbeige says:

    Hi Maria-
    Love this post but because I live in the desert I feel more comfortable with warm grays. I painted my Prescott home in a beautiful gray from Ralph Lauren ( can't remember the color, sorry!)several years ago and it still looks fantastic. That house had huge vistas with rock formations and high desert with lots of sky and a creek. Gray just worked.

    I think context is everything and how the light affects the color. The house I live in now does not like blue grays at all. How weird is that?

  • says:

    Coming from the field of architecture, I do not have to tell you what architects think of grey. It was instilled in me at the early development of my career and I do have rooms in my home in various shades of grey. This started with new construction, ten years ago, in the kitchen and powder room and further led to the hall and stair adjoining. Grey the new brown or black? I think it has been here in one fashion or another all along. It just keeps making the rounds, like the trend in grey wicker. How long until wicker is just natural wicker again?

  • Mary says:

    It took me a little while to jump on board, but I now LOVE gray! It used to seem dull and depressing, but I have a new found appreciation for it 🙂

  • RLG says:

    Grey is definitely the new brown! I'm fairly certain that I was the LAST one on board that ship. LOL I appreciate your post, but have to say that all of that blue just makes me want to cry. But then I'm over color on the walls. Great post. xoxo

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    I love gray! But I also like the grays that are not so blue. Maybe even more brown. Your clients walls do look great and if he like these colors then he will be happy when it is all done.
    I have had to convince someone to use gray before, and she was very happy when it was on the walls. She got a lot of compliments too! She was trying to get away from using brown (again)and it was hard for her to choose color so we went with gray for to at least be something different. 🙂

  • Elise Lowerison says:

    This is so unique! Not dull, but beautiful in it's similarities. I came across your post this afternoon while browsing interior design blogs and the topic of window treatment selection was very interesting to me. It is true that you must dress your windows appropriately to bring out their true beauty. Thank you for writing and as a special thanks to you and your readers, I would like to offer a 20% off coupon using this code upon checkout: BLG20.

  • Struggler says:

    I love that fireplace wall! What a rich, classy colour…

  • Anonymous says:

    SO tired of 'trends' and a saturated market with them — warm grays, cool grays, browns, beige, yellows, turquoises, white, etc. We need more choice and reasonable prices and more emphasis on creating inspired rooms that radiate who we each are. That's what's hot — designing homes that reflect the inhabitants, not Elle Decor, realliving, etc. That's why I like this blog — Maria teaches by doing and explaining how decor works (how to combine colors, ins and outs of choosing the right gray, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oops, that is more grey not greasy. Two fingers on an iPad.

  • Susie M says:

    I personally love the blues and grays in this home. That the color choices were inspired by the clients beautiful view makes the colors fit him and his personality which is inspiring to me. The gray room in the last photo feels very calm and relaxing to me. I love the relaxed feel of a light gray room.

  • Ideezine says:


    What a great case for blue/gray. I really love the shades of gray and it's monochromatic effects. It's both masculine yet effectively sexy in settings and easy on the eyes daily as sunlight enters and leaves a room.

    I've had blue/gray in my current and past three homes along the coast. Gray can became be casual and formal in the way it's paired with shades of it's own or it's opposites.


  • The-Countrypolitan says:

    Very nice and the colors are beautiful.

    Several years ago I was called in by a client to help her with window treatments. It was a newly built house and she had it done in a dark grey slate floor tile throughout the whole house with walls painted in a gorgeous blue that had been greyed down. It was beautiful and sophisticated, but my first thought when I saw it was "I wonder how long it will be before depression sets in". Not too long after that I heard that she had put the house on the market… I don't think she even realized why she wasn't happy in it… which could have probably been solved by a new color palette or by varying the hues or shades.

    I love blues, but like any color, you have to be aware of the affects it can have on you subconsciously, especially if it is used in large quantities.

  • thetessaroo says:

    I have been leary of gray. i live in the seattle, wa area and outside looks gray A LOT! but i have come to embrace it to a point. graphite gray sofa. saturated pops of color in accents. wall color? totally stumped. i'm stuck. i want a neutral backdrop for all my happy fun pillows, artwork, etc. any ideas, folks? thanks so much!

  • The fireplace wall blue matches the water perfectly. Question: does the water change colors depending on time of year and day? Nature is tricky with color…which is why I thought of stopping by your blog today. I just posted on nature being a master colorist. Stop by, if you have time at: GraciousInteriors.blogspot.
    Back to your client, I loved the upward looking shot of the various blues. They played beautifully against each other, creating movement and visual interest! Can't wait to see this home staged!

  • Karena says:

    Maria great job!
    I love the blue grays. I am a little concerned that there is so much going on with gray that people will tire of it soon. Of course I love punches of bright color!

    Wasn't Joni's post the best!

    Art by Karena

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    Great job, looks great with the view!

  • pve design says:

    loving grays and blues –

  • Donna says:

    These blues are so stunning with the varied architecture of this beautiful home! I would never have thought of the combinations you used but they look great.

    I love how you challenge our pre-conceived notions of what 'good colors'are or aren't.

    Great post!

  • guylaine rondeau says:

    i was just at my friend kim’s last night… and i LOVE the colour palette you helped her pick (kim and i have similar tastes)… the blue in the powder room is amazing… and the light blue of her bedroom is simply orgasmic! and with the green of the rest of the house, it’s simply delicious on the eye! great job! i know kim is very happy with her colour consult investment. her house is doubly stunning.

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