A weekly blog series exploring different creatives' views on color and its use in interiors, art and design. We will dive deep into their obsessions with color. How and why they use color. You will get to know their stories and you may even gather some tips for using color in your own home. What is better than learning from the experts!
Designer Spotlight: Alison Habermehl
I am thrilled to have Canadian designer, Alison Habermehl founder of the Habermehl Design Group in Waterlloo as my guest. HDG’s Design approach is a deeply personal collaboration with each client, to interpret their taste and understand their individual and collective needs, to achieve a harmonious balance between aesthetics and functionality. Alison currently has an ad for DXV, a contemporary bath she designed, that is running in most major magazines. If you haven't seen it yet make a point to do so. The bathroom is amazing. Here we go with her views on color.
Susan Jamieson: What one color represents your design style?
Alison Habermehl: If I can only pick one, I would say white for its versatility and how it's a perfect backdrop for art and contrasting finishes.
Photo by Virginia MacDonald
SJ: Do you use color as a dominant role in your designs or as an accent?
AH: Mostly as an accent and most prominently in the art.
photo by Virginia MacDonald
"I LOVE THE CHALLENGE OF BRINGING TO LIFE MY CLIENT'S BEST ATTRIBUTES IN THEIR HOMES. IT SHOULD BE A REFLECTION OF WHO THEY ARE AND AT THE SAME TIME INSPIRE THEM TO BE WHO THEY WANT TO BE."
- ALISON HABERMEHL
SJ: How do you feel about matching colors in a room?
AH: I do like a palette that flows so you will see a repeated colour being used in my projects. I don't intentionally try to be matchy-matchy but I do prefer rooms that aren't jarring with multiple colours and patterns. Ultimately I pick colours that suit my client's taste and it's a pretty instinctual process for me.
SJ: What color represents your personality?
AH: I have more than one ... sorry. Varying degrees of blues that remind me of water. I also think black and white represents my personality for its classic and sometimes edgy look.
SJ: What color comes to mind when you talk about:
Your favorite City ....... A magical town called Asilah on the coast of Morocco. I backpacked there in 1989 and fell in love with its artistic culture. It has an annual arts festival that is now world renowned. I think of cerulean blue and chalky white for the painted doors and vibrant art on the medina walls.
The House You Grew Up In ......... We moved every few years but my favorite home was in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the 80's for its modern architecture. White, tan and deep browns are the colours I remember about that house.
Last Fabulous Dinner You Had ........ For me it's all about the company and my last fabulous dinner was a homemade frittata made by my best friend. Garnet red for all the wine we drank that evening.
Your favorite Flower ....... I don't actually have one favorite flower. For me a flower has to look beautiful in a simple arrangement just picked from my garden; whether it is Peonies, Lily of the Valley or Cherry blossom branches. I'm not a huge fan of mixed bouquets, as they feel too contrived. Soft pinky-white.
Your favorite season ...... Late summer. I take a two week holiday at my cottage at the end of August every year and love the warm days and cool nights of the late summer. Lake Huron can mysteriously change from a mineral grey colour to a tropical green-blue depending on the weather. So I think of those colours for late summer.
Your Favorite Art ...... One I bought in Palm Springs California by artist Cassandra Complex. Even though blue is the prominent colour, I think of black when I look at it for the sinister attitude it suggests. I also love Peggy Guggenheim's mind blowing art collection in Venice. It has some of my favorites artists represented with a kaleidoscope of colours.
"I DESIGN WITH AN INFUSION OF ALL THAT IS SENSUAL, CHIC AND STUDIOUSLY TAILORED."
- ALLISON HABERMEHL
Your Favorite Room in Your Home ..... I love any room that feels as comfortable for a single person as it does for many. It has to be able to adapt to the energy of each scenario and not feel fussy. I would say a well-designed family room is my favorite and it has to always have a place to put a drink.. then you know it was designed for real use , not just for show. I think white is a chameleon colour and perfect for a family room when mixed with contrasts.
Your Favorite Beauty product .... I have super sensitive skin so my go to is Cetaphil cleanser, but just to prove I am a grown up, I use a rich hand and body cream bought in Tuscany which is made from olive oil by Prima Spremitura. It has a beautiful, natural scent. I pay more for shipping than I do for the cream, but it is totally worth it. I think of Green.
Your Favorite Article of Clothing ...... My Emerson Fry navy kimono style robe with white piping. It is so beautiful I want to wear it out some night but I haven't had the guts to do it yet.
SJ: Name a color you never use?
AH: I rarely use any colour in its purist form, so there is no colour off limits really. However one of my least favorite colours is purple.
SJ: Name a color you use frequently?
AH: My main colour is white or colours used in the lightest spectrum but I love using cyan in the softest tint to the most saturated tone. Because of its complexity, it can be both fresh and sultry depending on the depth and application.
SJ: If you could pick a name for a color what would it be?
AH: Fun Question! How about Charlatan Green or Smoke and Mirrors Grey...hmm there's a theme happening here.
SJ: Do you have a pet? What color reminds you of him/her? Do you have a nickname for this pet?
AH: A Jack Russel cross called Angus who is now a senior citizen. Black and White. He has many nicknames to match his personalities, but a favorite is Stinky Pants.
SJ: What is the Now Neutral?
AH: Blush for light and Navy for dark... grey is still kicking.
DXV Bath Ad
SJ: What is your prediction for the next big color trend?
AH: When I was in Italy last year I saw a lot of saturated corals and teals. They're usually ahead of the game.
SJ: What are the best color combinations?
AH: Whatever looks effortless or provokes a mood. My favorite combos are: white and black for the contrast, navy and black for the sophistication , and the deepest mineral green with a hint of something warm like copper, brass or red for drama.
SJ: Best advice when it comes to picking paint colors?
AH: Know your natural and unnatural light situation and how it changes a colour dramatically depending on the time of day or the bulbs being used.
Test a patch on each wall in the room with at least two coats to see the true colour.
If you want a light colour on the walls go with the lightest version and when you want a rich saturated colour go for the darkest version... often people think you won't see the colour with either spectrum, but I find these are usually the most flattering.
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