This past weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling to the magical world of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The home of Anne of Green Gables is incredible! It has stunning seaside views, charming locals, red sand beaches, and the most delicious mussels I have ever tasted. There was, however, one surprising element to Canada’s smallest province: the colors of the homes!
The colors don’t jump out at you like the blindingly white homes of Santorini; it’s more subtle than that. It began with a warm feeling of cohesiveness across the entire capital, Charlottetown. Then, little by little, I began to see the theme.
The colors varied from building to building. But the one common element that tied everything together was the wonderfully muted saturation. Regardless of hue, all the homes have the same desaturated feel! The result is a color palette that beautifully blends conformity with individuality.
My first thought was “How the heck did they do this?” How did they get everyone in town to agree to the same color scheme? I mean, the people in PEI are the kindest people you will ever meet, but there must be one rogue individual that would want to paint their home bright red.
After some research, I found the town has an extremely thorough document. It’s called, “The Design Guidelines for the Preservation of Historic Resources”. It covers everything from approved doors to windows to roofs to masonry. The paint colors are just as closely regulated.
There are certain guidelines to the types of paint that are used and consequences for anyone that breaks the rules. From what it sounds like, there is so much respect for the town’s tradition and aesthetics that compliance is never an issue.
Here are three main takeaways from my trip.
1)The town’s color palette was incredible! However, there was one color in particular that I found mesmerizing: a distinctly deep yet bright teal. This color has the perfect balance of richness and depth. It is a powerful color but is subdued enough to be used in larger quantities. Perhaps as a wall color or a piece of furniture.
I am currently working on designing another studio apartment in NYC and think this color will be perfect as an accent wall or throw pillow. Seriously, how great is this color!?
2) Sometimes to achieve a cohesive color scheme, simply focus on saturation. By maintaining a common saturation level, you can incorporate a wide variety of colors and still look cohesive. This is something that would work if you want to maintain a cohesive look in your entire home while varying the colors from room to room.
3) In order to create a successful color scheme for a large scale project, you must develop a plan and follow it. I will repeatedly state that good design can only happen when there is a well-designed plan developed and then executed.
I am creating a free workshop that will show you how to design your next project! I feel that the pre-planning is the most important stage in the process. And if this town can create a plan that is followed by thousands of people, we can certainly design one for our own families.