Category Archives: Kelly’s Color Designs

Online Design: Fall Colors

Many people ask me how my Online Color service works…and if it even works at all.  Well, I’m always happy to explain the process and say, “Yep, it really works!”

color design by kporter

To see how it all comes together, take a look at this color design that I created for Angela, who lives in Pittsburgh (250 miles from me).  This project is also very timely, because it includes a fabulous fall color scheme.

Angela contacted me because she was having difficulty choosing paint colors for the main floor of her home.  She had already worked with a local designer, who helped her select fabrics, but Angela wasn’t too happy with the color advice she was getting.  The designer was suggesting pale, neutral paint colors but Angela wanted hues that were a bit more adventurous.

fall fabric

Angela sent me a photo of her fabric selections

Angela sent me photos of her home and fabrics, and she completed an online design questionnaire. We also had a phone consultation — a very important step in the process because listening to my clients is huge for me.  I want to hear my clients explain what they envision for their space.  If I can’t physically be in the room, then careful listening is a must. I pick up so much just by hearing someone’s tone and the words they use.  Most people give me a short story, which can be very informative.  In turn, I want them to know that they are working with real person.

BEFORE: a very pretty sunroom but the walls were missing something…


BEFORE: a kitchen in need of warmth

BEFORE: In the foyer, Angela sampled colors that turned out too dark.

In Angela’s home,  the sunroom, kitchen and family room are all open to each other, but using just one color for the entire area would have been not-so-adventurous.  So, I pulled two colors from the fabric; making sure the hues were somewhat muted so the space wouldn’t feel overwhelming.  Here’s the original plan:

plan for open area (colors by Sherwin-Williams)

plan for open area (colors by Sherwin-Williams)

Using paint colors along with ‘lively’ fabrics can be challenging.  The trick is to paint the walls with colors that are not too dull or too overpowering.

For the foyer I selected a warm gray, and I chose chocolate brown for an optional accent wall:

colors for the foyer, hall and stairway

colors for the foyer, hall and stairway

Angela was happy with the color scheme, but she was also a little hesitant — which is normal, especially with people who are going from white walls to multiple colors.  After testing paint samples and trading a few more emails with me,  Angela decided to go for it. But she made one change:  she used Anjou Pear in the family room instead of the sunroom. Here are some AFTER photos:

a more inviting kitchen

a more inviting kitchen

family room and sunroom

family room and sunroom

just the right shade of gray in the foyer

Angela was patient with the process and as a result, she and her family are loving their ‘warm and inviting’ fall colors.  That’s how Online Design works.  If you’d like to know how it can work for you, send me an email at

Periwinkle Rocks!

wash post_house calls makeover by kelly porter

Today, The Washington Post published my 4th ‘House Calls’ makeover!  My re-design was for a couple who wanted a comfortable space for reading and entertaining.  And of course, I included a great wall color – a deep, vibrant shade of periwinkle – Gentian by Sherwin-Williams.  This color creates a cozy space without looking dreary and drab.  The white furnishings also help to give the room a light and airy feel.  Here is the ‘before’ photo:

house calls_before photo

What a big difference!

above illustration by Julius Goyanko; photo from

Exterior Color Ideas {from Oregon}

One thing I love about my online design service is that I get to work with really nice people who live all over country…

…such as Anne, a watercolor artist who lives in Corvallis, Oregon.  I was thrilled when she contacted me about helping her choose exterior colors.  Anne owns two houses that sit just a few hundred feet apart on a gorgeous piece of property filled with colorful flower gardens and lush green trees.  One of the homes is her main residence and she uses the other for her studio and guest house.

When I spoke with Anne, it was clear that she loves vibrant hues and was open to using multiple colors on each house.  But she didn’t want the colors to compete with her flowers or draw too much attention to her property.

She had some ideas for paint colors but she wasn’t sure what would look best or if there were other colors she should consider.  All of that is understandable.  Deciding on the colors for one house can be a challenge…but two houses?  That can be a daunting task.

Anne sent me photos of her houses, the gardens, and she also sent a photo of her artwork.  This radiant watercolor allowed me to see what colors Anne is comfortable with, and it helped me to pull the color scheme together:

{by Anne Schuster}

I wanted the dominant colors on each house to reflect nature’s seasonal hues, so I went with an earthy green {Clary Sage} for the main residence and an autumn amber {Autumnal} for the guest house.  For both houses, the trim was done in a tone that was a couple of shades darker than the main color, but still in the same color family.  To tie the look together {and to add a little punch of color} the front door on each home was painted with the same vibrant violet {Fabulous Grape}.  All colors are by

{BEFORE – main residence}


{BEFORE – guest house}


I was so happy when Anne emailed to say that she loved the color scheme, and I was even more excited when she sent the ‘after’ photos.  In her own words, this is what she had to say about the process:

Does your home’s exterior need a fresh coat of paint?  Now is a great time to get it done before the weather gets colder.  If you need help choosing colors, I’d love to help you!  Just send me an email at:, and I’ll respond quickly with a quote.  Right now I’m offering special pricing for fall!

All photos provided by Anne Schuster.   Check out her website to see more of her amazing paintings:  Bellfountain Art


eDesign: A New Look For Birchgrove Baking

There’s only one word I can use to describe my recent eDesign project: Sweet!

Located in Montpelier, Vermont, Birchgrove Baking specializes in custom cakes, pastries and coffee.

I first heard from Jenn a couple of months ago.  As the owners of Birchgrove Baking, she and her husband were trying to decide on a new color scheme.  At that time, the bakery had blue walls, black display cases {left behind from the previous owners} and red accent chairs — all great colors but Jenn was ready for a change.  She wanted friendly hues that would give the bakery a fresh look and appeal to her loyal customers.

After reviewing a few different color palettes that I recommended for the bakery, Jenn ultimately decided on the combination of yellow and gray.  She also threw in a couple of warm blues for accent colors.

The new colors are cheerful, welcoming, and everyone loves the new look.  Jenn says the bakery, which measures just 19′ x 23′, even looks larger.  In a stark contrast from the previous wall color, customers are now greeted with sunny yellow walls.  Jenn also removed some of the display cases, and the remaining pieces received a coat of gray paint.  She stenciled the backs of a few shelves, and others were covered with Woods Wallpaper from Anthropologie, which was also used on the bakery’s accent walls.

This re-design was all about color branding and paying attention to the details:  Accent chairs and the Barista bar were also given new hues.

Didn’t Jenn do a wonderful job?  Birchgrove Baking was already a hot spot with the locals before this re-design, but it’s even more popular now.  If you’re ever in Vermont or you live in or near Montpelier, be sure to stop by the bakery for coffee and a sweet treat…and tell ‘em Kelly@Color Sizzle sent you!

If you need help selecting a color scheme for your business, contact me at  I offer affordable eDesign services to assist you wherever you live {PayPal accepted}.

Restaurant Color {The Silver Star Diner}

You may remember my eDesign post when I gave you a glimpse of my color design for The Silver Star Diner in Ontario, Canada.  Well…

…I was so happy to discover that the restaurant finally opened, and from the photos I’ve seen, it looks terrific!  I was so honored when the restaurant’s owner {who is also a top chef} contacted me about creating the color design for his modern diner, which was still under construction at the time.


I didn’t travel the 400+ miles to the site {although I would have gladly done so}.  Instead, the owner and I exchanged sketches, drawings and photos via email, and we also had a couple of phone conversations.  In the end and after several months, The Silver Star Diner opened for business earlier this year.  Let me take you on a tour:

The restaurant’s owner wanted stand-out colors that would fit the diner’s modern take on tradition.  He also wanted the colors to attract customers and make them feel welcome.  I chose Eastlake Gold for the main color {very warm and inviting} and charcoal gray was used for the upholstered banquettes.

And for a little bling at the bar, I specified a metallic-silver upholstery for the stools.

{All paint colors are from Sherwin-Williams}

For the accents I selected fun, punch colors:  Robust Orange, Gentian and Ionian.  All of these colors are featured on the bar wall and on the upholstered chairs.  I wanted to have the bar wall color-blocked to create a strong focal point.  Then, chose Ionian for the coffee station wall:

Using ‘in-between’ colors gives a space tons of interest because they are so intriguing.  In this palette, Gentian is in-between purple and blue.  Ionian is a cross between green and blue.

Another great feature in this space is the ‘welcome wall’ at the front of the diner.  The owner wasn’t quite sure how to treat this wall, so I suggested a silvery-gray glass mosaic tile.  The idea was that the tiles would twinkle — just like stars.

Setting the mood with color is so important in commercial spaces.  Just like we want to feel comfortable in our homes, we also want to feel at home in our favorite restaurant.

If you need help choosing a color scheme for your restaurant, contact me at  I offer affordable eDesign services to assist you wherever you live {PayPal accepted}.

Photos by:  Class Act Productions; Reclaimed