Bold, Unthinkable Colors

Bold, unthinkable colors is what started me on this snowball blog in the first place. And the more I look, the more I see, and the more I see the more I want to share my discoveries with you.


I discovered this  bright, boldly painted door, one day as I was passing a restaurant in the Mission. Its bright colors and the green wall behind it made me want to go inside and find out what sort of restaurant is was. It turned out to be a Korean restaurant and I ended up having a delicious lunch there even though I had not intended to take myself out to lunch when I set out on my walk.

Colors do amazing things to our psyche, our stomachs and our hearts in ways we cannot anticipate in the moment. You may have a color you love, or despise, but the reason for your reaction is purely emotional. The vibration of the color waves affect your brain in a positive or negative way and hence, you react either positively or negatively to that particular color. However, if that same color was to appear to you within a greater context, you may find yourself changing your tune about whether or not you actually like or dislike it.

After I graduated college, my first job was as a production artist for a business card company that specialized in die-cuts. The owner of the company had a large, spacious office with one wall, behind his desk, painted a deep, rich red. He told me that the color red made people want to give him money, which was why he was in business in the first place. The business was doing very well so maybe there is some truth to his claim. Perhaps that’s why children are given red envelopes with money inside at Chinese New Year. Its a topic to research and would probably make an interesting blog post. For the moment, I’ll keep my observations theoretical and personal to my opinions but have made a note for future investigation.

This house has always appealed to me.

2012-11-27 10.16.05I met the owner by chance one day and she affirmed the obvious fact that she is a great admirer of the Mexican, surrealist painter, Frida Kahlo.

Frida-Kahlo-9359496-1-402[1]Over the years, Kahlo has gained a huge following all over the world and particularly here, in San Francisco, where her husband, Diego Rivera, painted a few amazing murals that can be seen in the theater at SF City College and at the Art Institute.

2012-11-27 10.17.15

Kahlo’s image can be seen all over the Mission district and her honesty of subject matter, the boldness of her lines and truth of her pain serve as an inspiration to all who see her work. A reflection of which is visible in the unapologetic use of multiple colors and imagery painted on this house.

This is another door I love that inspires me every time I walk by this house.

2012-11-28 15.24.16The colors make me think anything is possible when it comes to color combinations for I would never, in a million years, thought of painting my house these colors but they work together beautifully especially, this time of year when the sky is so dark with heavy, gray clouds. A cranberry colored house with persimmon colored accents and smooth, cream colored trim, makes for a deliciously painted home that speaks directly to my heart. And though I’ve never ventured inside, I imagine it full of warm, welcoming colors that soothe my soul and whet my appetite. Wouldn’t it be funny if I was completely wrong and inside it was cold, dark and musty!

Like our wardrobe, how we show ourselves to the world is a reflection of how we see ourselves within. And though we may change our attitudes from day to day, deep inside, the values we hold sacred, the vision of the world we see through the windows to our brains, are, voluntarily or not, consciously or not, expressed by the clothes we dress ourselves when we leave the safety and shelter of our homes. So if you are feeling sunny, warm and happy, you’re going to show a bit of skin because you know the world is on your side and nothing bad is going to happen. And if you believe that, then that’s probably what your day will be like. Just like this house. It’s bold, cheery colors tell the world that it’s unafraid to be different and that its good to be alive.

Here is another example of happy boldness.

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And to be honest, its not a favorite of mine. I think its the two contrasting shades of blue that just don’t strikd a chord with me but maybe you love it which is why I’m sharing it with you today.

This house is definitely not one that I like and yet, it has all the characteristics of a home that I would think I would like. Again, the colors seem too chaotic and rather than making a harmonious ring, the overall sound is loud, pounding and unpleasant, to my eye.

2012-12-01 17.27.03 - Copy

You may love it and if so, I’m happy you do. The goal is not for me to make converts to my way of seeing the world, but to help you, should you need help, see what’s possible and to discover your own taste in color. Like I said before, the more you look, the more you see and the more you will understand your own likes and dislikes when it comes to home design.

Here are a couple more examples of color choices that rub me the wrong way.

2012-11-28 15.28.44

It’s funny how subjective the art of color can be. The house on the left was recently remodeled with the addition of a huge box on its right. Granted, I’m not an architect but to me, this once charming home is now saddled with a huge, boxy addition, painted awful colors and is trying unsuccessfully to recapture a beauty that it no longer possesses. If it were up to me, i would have cut the angle of the addition so it looked less like a box and more like a huge bay window.

2012-12-01 17.25.37 - Copy2012-11-27 10.27.332012-12-01 17.23.28

Here are three more houses painted in bold colors that I think work great.


Well, I guess that pretty much covers it for today. Thank you for sticking with me till the end. Until tomorrow, I remain your devoted design detective,



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1 Response to Bold, Unthinkable Colors

  1. steve reimers says:

    I see so many of these I drive around…. and so many I see now I miss….

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