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Friday, February 12, 2010

Architectural Chocolate

In the spirit of Valentines Day, I'd like to pay homage to one of my favorite colors-chocolate brown! I'm a bit of a foodie and architectural chocoholic. Two of my projects in 2009 involved the use of deep browns and I couldn't have had more fun with them. Chocolate brown conveys elegance, warmth and urban chic in a prominent way. It's growing popularity the last few years is noticeable although I have to say I've rather tired of much of the brown/baby blue combos I once enjoyed in design and graphics. Some of my clients have wanted this color as an alternative to highly saturated colors that they felt might be a bit too high profile to live with. When you think of the variables that chocolates come in, such a milk, bittersweet and deep dark, consider that dark brown paints also come in a wide range of choices. Some have red, golden, purple or grayish undertones that must be considered.
These clients were remodeling their Oakland Hills great room and like so many houses in this area, the old floor plan and flow was funky. Former owners added more strange touches. On it's way out was the boxy, small kitchen separating it from the rest of the large room as well as the curious white bathroom tile around the otherwise awesome freestanding fireplace. Also going was the reddish-coral accent wall that my clients had grown tired of.

They still wanted an accent color but not one that would hit them over the head! To compliment the deep subtle greens and warm grays in her amazing new granite we explored the possibility of brown. New cabinets were added as well. The client's husband initially balked at the deep brown but finally came around to our views and now LOVES the balance and hint of drama it gives to the completed room. We used Benjamin Moore's Rural Earth on the formerly red accent wall.

Another client called me after she and her husband were worn down after numerous stabs at testing paint colors on the exterior of their lovely Oakland home. They were torn between repainting the exterior deep green once again but were also exploring the possibility of deep browns. They had reservations on whether it would be appropriate or overwhelming to use such a deep brown. After looking at large brushouts and rendings they settled on Benjamin Moore's Appalachian Brown and it's subtle purplish undertones. They were thrilled with the deep rich brown and the home's transformation. Another fan of deep brown was born. This home no longer fades into the background but makes an elegant addition to their neighborhood.

Here are some additional inspiring uses for browns:

Pottery Barn

Let me know-what are YOUR favorite deep browns to work with?
Happy Valentine's Day! Hope your day includes plenty of chocolate!


Unknown said...

i've definitely grown fond of brown, myself. we used Rural Earth in our own bathroom.I love how your client's brown DR wall really tied in the brown ceiling beams, carrying your eyes across the room.

Kelly, Arte Styling said...

I, too, love chocolate browns...even if they've been overused the past few years. Great photos, Marie! That kitchen turned out really nice. Thanks for sharing!!! (I just used BM's Raisin in a recent color palette. Will share pics when I get them!)

Maria Killam said...

Love those rooms! I like Bittersweet chocolate on furniture!

Unknown said...

I love me some chocolate! It works with everything and it tastes good too!