Life in Color

Midwest Home and ASID MN present the winners of a colorful design competition
Clean white panels and a glossy dark wood floor provide the perfect backdrop for this elegant, blue-accented space designed by Martha O’Hara Interiors.
Clean white panels and a glossy dark wood floor provide the perfect backdrop for this elegant, blue-accented space designed by Martha O’Hara Interiors. (Corey Gaffer)

Color speaks to us. It calms, energizes, cheers, and enfolds. It’s a powerful tool in interior design—for good and ill.

We sense that color affects us. Red, for example, is warm, bold, and exciting. Yellow, the color of summer, feels happy and optimistic. Blue is restful and tranquil, often the go-to color for bedrooms. Green, the color of nature, also leans cool and serene.

We may intuitively understand those effects, but translating them into the décor of a bedroom, study, or master bath that is stylish and captures the mood and emotion we want to convey? The aesthetic and psychological choices can be overwhelming. The default for many: neutrals—white, beige, greige, or gray. Nothing inherently wrong with those choices, but often we’re opting for little color because we’re afraid to commit to making a statement with bolder, brighter tones.

Cue the talented interior designer who knows color and its impact. Well-versed in color theory and color psychology, interior designers skillfully balance color, pattern, and texture to create rooms that capture the personality and preferences of their owners.

Midwest Home and the American Society of Interior Designers Minnesota (ASID MN) created the annual Life in Color competition to demonstrate the power of color. For the 2018 competition, we asked ASID designers to submit vibrant designs that showcased their use of color and creativity, and successfully fulfilled their clients’ needs and wants. From the entries, we selected the six projects featured here.

Habitation Furnishing + Design logo.
Life in Color Contest Sponsored by Habitation Furnishing + Design.

The color blue is well represented among the winning entries. No surprise there—it’s the most popular color in the world, according to numerous surveys, universally appealing because it’s the color of sky and (clean) water. But what blues! They range from a high-gloss, saturated navy that encases an entire room to a cheery sky blue on a bedroom ceiling to a turquoise that unifies a modern home.

The designers’ skillful and innovative applications across the spectrum of blue make for especially noteworthy rooms. Other winners just as artfully employ corals, sunny marigolds, leafy greens, and toasty cinnamons to create the mood homeowners wanted.

All these spaces speak volumes: The glam sitting room encapsulated in deep blue says mingle and indulge; the sophisticated solarium declares repose and relax; the bright, pattern-filled bedroom urges guests to rise and shine; while the cream and burnt orange bedroom says get cozy and unwind.

All you have to do is listen.

2018 Jury

Ron Scolman

Retired principal,Ron Scolman Interior Design

Bethany Wrede Peterson

Principal, Atelier Wrede Waters

Chris Lee

Editor-at-large, Midwest Home magazine

Cream colored chairs surround a white wicker table with flowers on it in a blue painted room by Martha O'Hara Interiors.
(Corey Gaffer)

Glam & Glossy

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Darsi Floersch

Thanks to a deep shade of aqua navy fully encasing the room—walls, ceiling, millwork—this sitting room is a glam, downright sexy, parlor. A high-gloss lacquered coating adds drama, and the five-tier chandelier hung lower than normal makes it sparkle. Neutral furnishings keep the focus on the rich walls and the faux bois-patterned rug adds whimsy. When the doors to the adjacent room are closed, they are nearly invisible and a bar is hidden behind the paneled walls. The client loves to host gatherings, so this space is designed for easy conversation and entertaining.

Three paint color swatches of the colors Galapagos Turquoise by Benjamin Moore, Steel Blue by Romo, and McCoy, Dune by Stark.

A blu bed with white bedspread and red pillows sits in a room with red and blue flower wallpaper designed by Martha O'Hara Interiors.
(Troy Thies)

Rise and Shine

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Darsi Floersch

The designer’s instructions: Make this cabin’s guest bedroom joyful. Vibrant patterns, playful colors, and unique details do exactly that. The bold pattern of the wallpaper—repeated in the fabric of the window panels and accent pillows—sky-colored ceiling, and graphic chair underline the room’s happy personality. The curves and delicate details of the spindled chair, scalloped dressers, and clover-shaped ottoman soften the design. Amidst calming white, bright orange accents add the finishing touch.

A paint swatch consisting of three colors, including Blueberry by Redford House, Pool Blue by Benjamin Moore, and Sulu, Coral by Thibaut.

An all white bathroom with herringbone tile, a yellow chair, and yellow flower wallpaper designed by ImPeckable Design, Inc.
(Amy Jeanchaiyaphum / Eye Love Photo)

Sunny Bathroom

ImPeckable Design, Inc.

Laura Antognozzi Peck

This windowless master bath is a fresh, invigorating retreat for an active sophisticated couple. The floral wallpaper is an eruption of sunny color tempered by its mist-colored background. Clean white and mirrors balance the space, while the natural stone floors and the gold accents of hardware and the sculptural chair highlight the mustard tones in the wallpaper.

A paint swatch with three colors, including Kew, Jonquil by Black Edition, Blazer, Dunhurst by Camira, and Tumbled Marble, Herringbone by Hampton Carrara.

ImPeckable Design, Inc.

A blue couch with pillows sits beside a dark wood table in a three season porch designed by Twist Interior Design.
(Susan Gilmore)

Sophisticated Solarium

Twist Interior Design

Sandy LaMendola

The homeowners requested an international flavor for the solarium in this historic renovation. Handmade floor tiles, in a hue similar to the original, are installed on the diagonal to add interest. The ceiling, painted a rich, spiced orange, offsets the green and contrasts with the sweeping view of the river valley below. The queen-sized daybed, covered in a custom cover of teal strie velvet, monk’s bed coffee table, and Moroccan rug add exotic charm.

A paint swatch of three colors, including Tea by Benjamin Moore, Sandstone, Celery Green, and Antique Strie Velvet, Teal by Schumacher.

Side-by-side photos of a kitchen and bathroom with turquoise walls and white cabinetry.

Bold Pops

Studio Grey

Amanda Maday

Inspired by his art collection, this client wanted a tech-driven style and bold pops of color throughout his home. The designer balanced playful and sophisticated to oblige, with a glass backsplash in the kitchen that continues on the ceiling, Vetrazzo countertops with flecks of turquoise glass, and a turquoise geometric wallcovering in the master bath upstairs.

A paint swatch with three colors, including Mariner by Sherwin Williams, Floating Blue by Vetrazzo, and Marquise, Amazonite by D.L. Couch.

A bed with a cream colored bedspread and plaid pillows under a wood ceiling with a painting on the wall, designed by DesignSmith Interiors.
(Kory Reckinger)

Rustic Luxury

DesignSmith Interiors

Aaron Smith

This cabin-themed guest bedroom in a midcentury home reflects the client’s love of lake life. Warm finishes, fabrics, and colors underline the luxury lakeside hotel ambiance yet feel comfortably rustic at the same time. Masculine touches make the room welcoming and cozy for guests.

Three paint swatches including the colors of Origin Weaves, Woad Powder by Phillip Jeffries, Burnt Orange/Zinc by Sandra Jordan, and Savile Row Windsor Tweed, Agnes by Holland & Sherry.

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