Nature-Oriented Paint Palettes
We’ve just added four more Eichler mid-century modern house plans (by architect Claude Oakland — see them at the end of this post) to our Signature Plans Collection and this has made me think about interior paint colors that might be appropriate for contemporary homes. And it’s spring: spruce-up time! The Yolo Colorhouse palette of no VOC paints (volatile organic compounds) sprang to mind.
The colors are organized in nature-based categories, from Air to Petal. One advantage of Yolo Colorhouse is that you can order poster-size color swatches (instead of smaller paint chips) to see how the color will look (remember that online paint color is only an approximation and you should refer to a dry paint chip sample before purchasing paint).
Because the range of color possibilities is so wide, I asked architectural color consultant Jill Pilaroscia of Colour Studio, who has directed color projects for Herman Miller and a wide variety of community developers, for her advice.
She suggested taking cues from the design, the materials, and the lifestyle characteristics of the typical Eichler home: its open plan, use of wood and warm-toned laminates, casual organization and clean lines; its rooms oriented toward and connecting with the garden; and its abundant daylight through window walls and interior transoms.
She says: “All of these basic characteristics set the stage for a range of natural and organic colors that will harmonize with the building’s given elements. Warm reds, rusts, browns, taupes, olives, greens, buffs, greyed tones that mirror those found in shadowed natural settings look wonderful in these homes. Sometimes an owner will find the colors heavy and oppressive and determine they want to paint the ceiling beams, and paint out the woods. Subjective color likes and dislikes are deeply ingrained with the emotional connotations. This in no way means this is the only way to deal with an Eichler. Some clients will choose to work in strong colors that suit their personal subjective color needs and can make it work. “
Jill suggested twelve Benjamin Moore hues in several categories as a starting point (swatches shown below).
035 Baked Clay
077 Fiery Opal
194 Hathaway Gold
Softer Organic Warm Yellows to suggest light:
177 Mushroom Cap
186 Harvest Time
492 Dune Grass
495 Hillside Green
1522 Inner Balance
1547 Dragon’s Breath, for deep metal accents
and Deep Browns:
HC-72 Branchport Brown
2114-20 Mississippi Mud
On the Benjamin Moore website you can use their Virtual Fan Deck and Personal Color Viewer to see the paint applied to walls in several sample room photos, like this:
which uses Dune Grass on the fireplace and trim and Hillside Grass on the walls.
Here’s the same room with Hathaway Gold on fireplace and trim and Mushroom Cap on the walls. Beware, the click-and-cover feature can definitely become addictive… For information about colors used in the original Eichlers see CA Modern, the magazine of the Eichler Network.
Our latest Eichler Plans
The most recent additions to our Signature Plans Collection are four more historic Eichler plans from the early 1960s.
The 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2,733 sq. ft. layout of Plan 470-6 (original model HPO-15) — organized around an an open-air atrium — allows windows on two sides of every major room for cross-ventilation and balanced light.
The plan is both elegant and practical: a spacious loggia connects the kitchen/multipurpose room with the living room, and a laundry hall opens to the garage. The street front
centers a big welcoming gable porch over the entry beside the flat-roofed garage.
In Plan 470-8 (model NY-254), one of the very few Eichler homes also built outside California (in the Hudson River Valley outside New York City),
a long horizontal facade — part garage, part wall — preserves privacy for the front courtyard.
The 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1,706 sq. ft., L-shaped house wraps around two sides of this open space. The living dining area and the master bedroom open directly to the rear yard.
Plan 470-7 (model MC-34) shows how the so-called “multipurpose room” is no longer part of the kitchen (where it appears in the previous two plans) but its own separate space,
that now really functions as a family room. The “Gallery” in this 2,364 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 2 bath plan includes a variation on the atrium idea, only this time it has a roof and is part of the interior. The segmented gable
extends from front to rear, across the gallery. These Eichler designs celebrate easy indoor-outdoor living and remain seductive for people who want to live on one level. We are able to offer copies of the designs by special arrangement with the Environmental Design Archives at U. C. Berkeley; a percentage of the plan price supports the Archives.