Designer Kelly Deck’s Go-To Paint Colours

Vancouver designer Kelly Deck steps into the shoes of guest decorating expert for our June 2014 Ask A Designer page. She helped solve a reader’s dilemma about choosing neutral paint colours, but we wondered what are her favourite paints. Kelly is known for her sophisticated, light and airy interiors, but she definitely has a flair for the dramatic. Read on to discover her (surprisingly) dark side, and discover her classic B.C. colour pick.

House & Home: You suggested some really classic neutrals to our reader in June, but you have said that you love black. Can you give us some examples of ones that are livable?
Kelly Deck:
Sherwin Williams has some beautiful blacks, like Iron Ore (SW 7069). It is a beautiful near black, not a true black, it actually like a dark gray. I wouldn’t hesitate to paint an entire room in this colour. People get scared of dark colours, but I love it when people just commit. I am not a fan of feature walls: they only work in big, modern spaces. If you’re worried about it feeling ominous, offset the darkness with a contrast, such as big art pieces with huge white mats, or offset the darkness with a high-contrast white art. Twilight Zone (2127–10) by Benjamin Moore is a true black. It has a lot of depth. If you want to get very dramatic, you could do a powder room in this black and it would look spectacular.

H&H: Does you tend to put black in smaller places, like a powder room?
I really love black dining rooms. Again you need to bring in other details, or try black wallpaper to add a layer of pattern and texture. Then you layer on your metals, whether a brushed brass or polished nickel, and a silk drapery. With these colours, it’s about layering, not about minimalism. It’s about what you put on top of it so the black acts as a negative space.

H&H: What about finishes?
You definitely want it as flat as possible. We design a lot of new homes with pristine walls but that’s not the case with older homes, so a matte finish is more forgiving.

H&H: Are there other dark shades you gravitate towards if peole are intimidated by black?
KD: If you want something warmer, midnight blue adds sophistication and something unexpected. Blackberry Punch (CC-962) has the slightest violet undertone, almost a true navy. If you layer gold or cognac leather or camel cashmere in spaces, it’s the epitome of old world luxury, so beautiful. If you do have pristine walls, I prefer a flat finish but you could do a satin or semi-gloss to get a luxurious look. But you need to have a lot of mouldings and detail for it to look right, otherwise it would be a poor choice.

For a more neutral, slightly greyed navy, try Mysterious (AF-565). Dark spaces are more moody, sultry and little bit sexier. Everyone wants to express different dimensions of their personality, your home is kind of the same way. It’s nice to have a bit of diversity rather than every room being the same value.

H&H: Do you have a perfect white?
I always love a really light, airy space, our look is really known for that. For a beautiful neutral white, rather than a warm white, I like White Dove (OC-17). I love it in a modern space or even in a traditional home where it’s white on white on white. You feel like you’re floating. I love an ephemeral space, but to keep things from feeling too austere I would incorporate wood floors and meaningful artwork, with a lot of texture. I would layer in neutral, beautiful wood furnishings for a luxurious but informal look. One of my favourite greys is Gray Mist (OC-30).

H&H: Why do you love it?
It has a slightly green cast to it that works particularly well on the West Coast. So often the skies are overcast here and people think they should use a warm colour to counteract the coolness. I think you should embrace it, and create a seamless transition between the outdoors and inside. Cool, neutral walls reflect the beauty outside and bring it indoors. The key is to layer in silk, velvet mohair, wool, and a meaty linen with a good hand, nothing flimsy. To me that epitomizes West Coast style.

See what paint colour combos our editors are loving for summer.

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