All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Monday, January 18, 2010

O Canada, our home and native land...

For those who don't know, my father was a Canadian and I still have close relatives up in Alberta and British Columbia. (Best Story Ever:  On one of his last trips to Canada, my father was being questioned at the border due to a couple of "indescretions" on his record. Emboldened by a few in-flight cocktails, he said to the guards, "Ya gotta let me in...I'm a f**king Canadian!")

This was the man who encouraged me to seek out new experiences and follow my passion.

As previously mentioned, my cousin Vickey and her husband Alvy are having a new home built in Alberta (not too far from Calgary.) She asked me for some advice on cabinets, flooring, and other finishes that the builders and developers were putting in. The choices were limited, and she sent me some exterior photos:

The dark blue siding and stone exterior set the tone for my inspiration. From talking to Vickey, I knew she liked traditional interiors with a few modern touches, and I learned that although Alvy is pretty hands-off about this process, his favorite color is purple. Not being entirely sure of their flooring and cabinet choices, I threw together this collage:

Once again, I started with a palette of light and dark grays, black cabinets, limed oak, and purple accents. I figured that any developer would at least give some basic black and white choices for their new homes in addition to the standard "contractor's specials" of golden oak and beige tiles.

I was wrong.

Vickey called me the day she had to make her cabinet selection and told me her choices were incredibly limited. She ended up choosing reddish-stained kitchen cabinets and more contemporary brushed steel pendant lights. This didn't seem to match her traditional style at all, so I looked for some color choices that might be able to tie in these elements with her sizeable collection of antique wooden furniture (which I glimpsed in storage last time I went up to visit her):

The Sherwin-Williams color "Iron Ore" seemed to work well with the reddish cabinets, and I knew Vickey's antique armoires and other blonde wood pieces would contrast it nicely. The collage above shows three different sections, the kitchen (left), dining room (center), and living room (right.) All three spaces are fairly open to each other, so I wanted them to coordinate somewhat. Here's a floorplan so you can see what I'm talking about:

Later, I had a long chat with Vickey, trying to convince her that the gray was a sophisticated choice that worked well not only with her existing pieces but also with her traditional, French provincial style. I even sent her old renderings and elevations I had done on other projects to show how warm accent colors popped against dark backgrounds. But in the end, she decided she couldn't spend the harsh winter months with "Iron Ore."

Now I'm back at square one. Or maybe 1.5. If she likes that French country look, I can suggest white instead of dark gray. She wants something "warmer," but I'm not sure what other colors might work with those cabinets as well as her mix of wooden furniture without making her home look "country" in a totally different way. I'm researching it.

I've got time, right?

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