Color connoisseur: Doug Meyer for Lace Beauty Labs

Designed by Doug Meyer, Lace Beauty Labs is old-school 1950's Miami glamor with Mediterranean and Moroccan accents. There are two locations: Lace Nail Lab, and Lace Beauty Lab.

image source
In Meyer's own words, "It’s like a jewel box. I would describe it as Miami Beach 1968 meets Dorothy Draper meets Tangier of the 1970s."(source)

Each area has its own color scheme and lighting goal. Everything from blowouts and facials to massage and makeup. They also have a changing room/lounge.

 image source
Lace Nail Lab is  ultra-pink, pink, pink, resplendent with pink, patent-leather stools and chairs surrounding white tables in the manicure area, and elegant white Barcelona chairs for pedicures.

 image source
“People always say it’s like a cyber Barbie Dream House. It’s very slick and very modern, even though it’s girly,” says salon owner Anna Elizabeth.

image source

Lace Beauty Lab, also designed by Meyer, is decidedly much less pink. Noticing the well-groomed men in the neighborhood, Elizabeth says, “I had the feeling that we were going to have a bigger male base here and wanted to make the salon more appealing to them.” Of the Beauty Lab’s clients, 30% are men. Who would have thought so many men were into that? Although there are a couple of walls patterned with pink, there are also blue, green, and silver walls lined with Venetian mirrors.(Source)

A surprising tidbit about Doug Meyer: he doesn't subscribe to following trends. He advises,
"The one thing I stay clear of for interiors is a trend. Reason being that it is so costly and time consuming to create a room that when you base something on a “trend” it becomes so clich√© and out of date before anyone has time to sit down in the space." (source)
I love this quote from the NYT, "[Doug] Meyers's hot tropical style — [his] own version of Miami's flavors — quenches eyes parched from so many years of earnest, Eamesian good taste." Isn't that fabulous?

Meyer generally won't take on a project unless the potential client is familiar with his unique aesthetic and will grant him complete control of the design. Ah, wouldn't that just be wild, to have that kind of freedom of self-expression? Of course, that's completely counter-intuitive to what I do, working with primarily residential clients to enhance their surroundings with color by encouraging their own personal tastes and ideas.

Do you feel completely at ease expressing your most dramatic design ideas within your own home, or for clients?

All Photography by  Mark Roskams

Color in Unexpected Places article on Stir

My latest installment is now online at Stir!

 image source
Color in Unexpected Places 
With the New Year can come the desire for a fresh start. When your client wants to re-energize a space without engaging in an entire overhaul, use these inspiring tips for adding just the right splash of color. More...

Craving more examples of each color treatment? Here are the images that didn't make the article:

image source
Recessed Areas

image source, source, source
Hidden Spaces

 image source, source, source
Color Blocking 

image source, source


image source, source

image source



Where's the most unusual, creative space you've added color to your home?

Skin color and society

"We live in a society which is basically saying to us, we've got all these resources and products, and if there is anything about you we don't like, we can find a way of changing it."
-Pinky Khoabane, columnist for South Africa's Sunday Times (source)

Around the world, skin color matters. Recently, skin lightening potions, pills, shots and laser treatments have become a booming industry in China, Korea, Japan and India.  In China, light skin can signify someone's socioeconomic class, a sign that the person did not have to work under the hot sun. In some parts of India, parents are known to seek lighter skinned spouses for their children so that their grandchildren have lighter skin. In Brazil, light skin is also highly prized.

In this commercial for skin lightening in India,

images source 
a famous Bollywood actor is shown trying to wipe away the darker brown color from another man's face.

In recent years, this fad has made it's way to the United States. Is it due to pressure to conform to one idea of beauty? Or is lighter skin seen as more socially-acceptable? Many celebrities are appearing lighter than usual.

image source
When asked about his lightened skin, baseball slugger Sammy Sosa explained, "It's a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I'm not a racist, I live my life happily." He goes on to defend his face, "combined with the bright TV lights, [the photo] made my face look whiter than it really is. I don't think I look like Michael Jackson."(source)

image source
The quintessential comparison, of course, was Michael Jackson's famed fading face. It's claimed that Jackson was diagnosed with conditions called vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; but both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight. He used powerful skin-lightening medication to blend his naturally brown skin color with his white, de-pigmented patches.The treatments continued to lightened his skin tone, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches, he could appear very pale. (source)

Some hypothesize that the singer's use of the gloves and lipstick was consistent with the patterns of vitiligo, since the spots frequently first appear on the hands and face, including the lips. Hm, interesting!

Other stars are also accused of skin lightening

Singer Rihanna admits that when she began her career her skin was much darker than it is now and claims her paled skin is the result of working hard and no time to get out in the sun.

I'm a red-head in the summer when I'm out hiking and hanging out in the sun, but in the winter, driven inside, my hair darkens and fades to a brown. I guess her argument is possible.

image source

Cosmetics giant L’Oreal fought a huge controversy over whether singer Beyonce’s skin had been made to appear lighter in hair color ads. The company vehemently denies it.

It's a huge issue. “Sociological studies have shown among African-Americans and also Latinos, there’s a clear connection between skin color and socioeconomic status. It’s not some fantasy. There is prejudice against dark-skinned people, especially women in the so-called marriage market.” (source)

Case in point: In a recently-revealed, private conversation held during the 2008 presidential campaign, Senate majority leader  Harry Reid  urged Barack Obama to run for president because the country was ready to accept a “light skinned” African-American.  While he has long-since apologized, it's obvious this topics runs more than skin deep.

The progress (and process) of picking a palette

Who would have thought picking a rug would be so complicated! With so many options out there, I've explored various color palettes as my design idea has evolved. Since you all have been so fabulous about pitching in with suggestions and ideas, I thought you'd get a kick out of the circles I have managed to run around myself in my quest.

My first concept involved tying together the dining area palette with our living room, situated in the same room. With blue, green, and turquoise upholstered seat cushions, it seems natural to bring those hues into the living room through the rug palette.

So, at first I was hunting for the perfect modern, cool, fun blue rug. You readers came up with some really amazing options in your searches.

image source

So even though this appears to be the "hot" scheme of the moment, I began moving in another direction. Trends are great, but you have to select furnishings you can live with indefinitely, not just one season.

Incorporating some yellow from our walls or violet from the couches seemed like the next natural step.
So, I perused more purple carpet ideas. (with some great links from you guys, of course) Heading away from the blues, it seemed appropriate to work with the existing colors in the space- the walls and the couches. But nothing was really clicking for me. I loved our couches, but didn't want the room to scream "I'm a purple palette!"

While I was open to many styles, hubbie wasn't too fond of the more traditional designs, which was a bummer, because that second rug from the left would have been a home run.

At this point, I had moved completely away from the blue/green ideas. We had ordered plush, dark blue throw pillows for the couch, intending on the initial scheme. But with the inclusion of other colored throw pillows and a cherry red throw blanket, I wanted to explore some other approaches. What if I just relegated the blue/greens to the dining room, and was just concentrating on a palette to unify the living room space? Ah ha!

Now, things seemed to jell better. If I started with a red and found something with yellow and purple accents, now that could really be beautiful!

This lovely had a fun folk-art feeling without being frumpy; "inspired by an early 20th century Mexican embroidery from the textiles collection at the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe" I wanted to see how it would look in my space, so I quickly photoshopped it in. (same as third from left in red examples above) Hm, but how was the rug made? Ack, it's tufted.

Jane from AtticMag offered these words of advice,  
"Tufted rugs have a couple of very specific drawbacks.  One is the latex used to adhere the tufts into place.  It can be very smelly.  In fact, downright unbearable.  (Think burning rubber). The other is they can shed..and shed...and shed.  Worse than your dogs.  As with all rugs, there are varying qualities of tufted rugs, so not all will fall into the bad-rug-don't-buy-this category, but a definite buyer beware situation." 
She writes more about this very issue on her blog. Rug-aficionados, would that be a deal-breaker for you if you wanted a rug to last?

Through-out this process, I figured I would find the perfect rug, present it to my husband, and he would automatically love it as much I did. Ah, how quickly we forget the past. My darling husband has a great deal of opinions of his own, and balked at anything remotely "traditional" or too busy-looking.  But it hides dirt and stains, I protested. Nope, he felt most were too busy. So, the quest continues with my new design concept, slightly adapted to assuage hubbie's strong feelings and my new knowledge about rug construction.

Devastation in full color

I was floored by the recent horrific earthquake in Haiti. Even more so by the visuals accompanying the news.
The devastation is so complete, so utterly overwelming, it's hard to think of how anyone can recover. And what with the issues of getting aid in to those who need it.. my head swims with sorrow for the Haitans.

image source

Aid groups estimate that 3 million people have been affected by the quake.

image source

There have been many funds set up to accept donations. I wonder which are the most useful?

5 tips on buying a rug

I've been thinking about my rug dilemma, and it brought up a core concept I really enjoy incorporating into my blog:
The most interesting posts are not those written with absolute certainty, but those topics about which you are uncertain. That leaves room for dialogue, and everyone, writer and readers, on more equal ground, opening up the topic for discussion.
I just love having peer to peer interaction on Hue. More than anything, I've wanted to develop a community of color-fanatics with whom I can share what I know and discover, as well as learn from all my readers. After all, what fun is living in a bubble.

This brings me back to the complications of finding the PERFECT rug to fit my new purple couches. There are just SO many options out there, it's quite overwhelming. Luckily, I have at my fingertips some amazing resources: my readership! 

There is so much more involved in selecting a rug than I ever realized. It's more than just finding the perfect color palette and design. Rug construction is often an after-thought; but it dictates quality, durability, price, and value. I wanted to post a few factors I've learned along the way.

image source
1.) buy the best quality you can afford. As AtticMag's Jane Tulanian (fellow blogger and rug guru) suggests, contrary to the popular mindset of not wanting to spend much $$ on a rug because the animals/kids might ruin it, if you get a good quality hand-knotted (not tufted!) wool rug, it will last for generations.

image source

2.) Be sure to check the materials. There are many Natural fibers that, for a start, include silk, cotton, flax, ALLO, or wool. Whereas Synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, and acrylic.  Jane also advises that rugs made of polypropylene (recycled plastics) are impervious to staining and can even be hosed down. That makes them especially great for outdoor use. The fibers won’t stain, dyes don’t bleed and unlike many natural fiber rugs, they aren’t scratchy on bare feet. Wool has some inherent stain-resist qualities also. The more lanolin, as in Himalayan wool, the better. In fact with a high quality Tibetan rug made of Himalayan wool, the luster only increases with use and 'proper care'.  
This is a huge topic that really deserves a dedicated post all by itself!

image source
3.) A busy pattern hides stains and dirt better than large areas of solid color. Barbara Jacobs of Integral Color, a color expert and rug designer, gives us another option.

For a solid-color look with a more interesting and 'forgiving' appearance that just "solid," look for a dye technique called "abrash" or a weaving technique called "tweeding", that can, depending on the color, have the overall look of a solid but be more interesting. Think, "pointillism" in art work. It's sort of like a color-pattern rather than a patterned design motif. There are other options also, if you get into a custom piece.

4.) Look for certified child-labor-free labels.  Formerly known as RugMark, the new GoodWeave label assures that no children under age 14 were employed by the facility responsible for making the labeled rug. It's good to know where something is made, and who is making it.

image source
5.) Educate yourself about the different ways rugs are constructed so that you know what you are getting

image source 

Things to consider:

What's the process / technique of weaving (machine-made, hand-hooked, hand-tufted, hand-knotted, a flat weave, braided?)

Pile depth (Think flat weave all the way up to shag. Okay, so that's a bit extreme. Typical is around 4mm for low pile to or more for a little thicker rug. Lower knot count will result in a thicker rug.)

Barbara explains knot count. As long as we're dealing with high quality rugs, knot count is about the 'look"rather than simply what's a "better" rug. It's about the preferred thickness, pile height, and the design 'resolution."  Most rugs range from 50 to 150 knots per square inch. Think of it this way: knots are like pixels. Lower dpi will have lower res in the details. So, in a rug that has a less detailed and more informal look, even 50 knots is fine.

image source 
Barbara's design on the left is 50 knots whereas the example on the right, virtually the same design, is 100 knots.  You can see that the edges of the right design areas are 'sharper' and more crisp; the lines are thinner, too.

As I am quickly discovering, this is just the tip of the iceberg. So much for just browsing the web, looking at a pretty picture, and declaring, "That's the one. I'll take it!"

More rug construction definitions
Pets and Carpets
Many thanks to Barbara and Jane for their extensive rug knowledge!

Your daily dose of color

Last year, I came across a great sign in NYC that stated "Remember to take your daily dose of color". I didn't know what it meant, but I was intrigued. I can't recall if I ever shared it with you- does it look familiar?
image source
In anycase, I just discovered what that's all about!

Nature Matching System (NMS) is a project designed to educate people about dietary needs via consumption of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. As explained on the site, "[Fruits and vegetables] get many of their colors from phytonutrients, compounds that play key roles in health and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The more colors come together at a meal, the better." By making sure you eat fresh foods as represented by the colors on the products,  you'll be ensuring you're ingesting valuable nutrients at every meal.

The low down on phytonutrients- the more colorful, the more nutrients: yellow, orange, and red pigment in fruits and vegetables. Dark, green, leafy vegetables. Reddish pigments found in red grape skins and citrus fruits... you get the idea.

While iterations of the project travel around from location to location in the form of murals, seminars, and products, artist and founder Tattfoo Tan hopes the message will linger. "NMS hopes to re-educate [people] back to healthy eating habits, but not to deprive them of the fun and experience of eating colorful real food," said Tan. "Color is such a captivating element of food, but too often it's used to make highly processed junk food, which mimics nature's intention of using color to nourish us. NMS is not only art for art's sake but it also carries a deeper social and educational value that will carry on even after the mural is gone."(source)

For the Dumbo mural project, students from PS 307 attended workshops where Tan asked them to select a favorite fruit or vegetable, whose color the students then painted onto panels. Each of these panels was then incorporated into the mural, containing other panels painted by Tan.

It's been painted panels mounted to a fence under the Manhattan Bridge overpass in Dumbo, Brookyln (up until January 9th for those of you who can check it out)

as well as in the form of printed vinyl on glass windows in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, located in the Fashion District of New York City.

image source
Another application for NMS: Match your meal to the placemat and see how many of the colors show up on your plate. I would love a set of those for myself. Alas, when I emailed the artist to inquire if these were still available, he said they were out of production. Bummer.

But all hope is not lost! Want to remember on a daily basis? Download your very own screen saver!

''Marketers package food colorfully because color attracts people,'' said Mr. Tan, whose work often reflects the cultural importance of food. ''I wanted to create a visually tempting way to view the intangibility of nutrition.''(source)

Sounds good to me!

Challenge: finding the perfect rug

They're here, they're here! Our violet sofas arrived on New Years Eve in all their purply splendor.

Ophelia, our paper mach√© hippopotamus perched atop the cabinet, is thrilled. A rug to tie everything together is definitely needed. Yup, yup, yup. 

Our initial thinking was to try and visually tie the dining room together with the living room area.

This is a old shot before our new plum pretties came and our dining area became a massive pile of old couches, chairs and random furniture.

So, here are the essentials:
Fact #1: this is a rental, so we're not married to the style of the house or the wall colors as a permanent fixture, although we do love both

Fact #2: We have a dog who, when feeling ill, takes comfort in throwing up directly on the living room carpet. Not the easy clean-up hardwood or tile floors, but instead the cozy rug. She has black fur, and sheds all over the place, so large areas of very light colors have to be out for practicality purposes. (the blonde dog stays with us quite frequently, as well) So, dark fur and light fur to contend with, not to mention kiddos to come.

Fact #3: Our dining room, situated in the same space as the living room, right behind the sofas, sports chairs with blue, green, and turquoise cushions which would be nice to tie together with the living area
Update: I think we're throwing the blue/green dining room colors tie-in out of the equation. too many factors and the chairs are such minor elements, anyways.

Fact #4: The blue throw pillows are eminently changeable, should we so desire.

Fact #5: We can't be too frivolous $-wise with a rug that's going to take a beating.

SO, are you up to the challenge? What rug would you select for our living room? I can't wait to see what you all suggest!