• July 7, 2014



    If you want an inviting, comfortable home, nothing perhaps is more important than picking the right color scheme. Finding the right paint colors for your home is a source of great frustration to many.  It’s the question I get asked the most, so I thought I would take you through the process I use when I pick a color scheme for an entire home or a color for a room.

    I’m revamping our Swedish house this month, and needed a new color for our TV room, so I will use my home as a guide. Here is a process I use to come up with a color scheme.

    Jill sorensen-foyer

    1. DECIDE THE VIBE AND FEELING YOU WANT FOR YOUR HOME

    The first thing to ask yourself is how do you want to feel in your space. Do you want a space that makes you happy? A space that calms you down? Colors have a strong effect on the way we feel and the selection of the right colors is more important than you think.  Brighter hues such a red, orange and yellow gives us energy while pale blues and greens have a calming effect. Some lifts us up and some brings us down.

    When we bought our house in Sweden I wanted a place I could come to and relax. It needed to be PEACEFUL and stress free. It could also not feel too “serious” and needed a touch of a playfulness yet still feel really “Swedish”.  Knowing all this I knew the colors had to be pale and soothing, and to use fun stronger colors only as accents.

    Swede view

    This is the view from most of the house.

    2. LET WHAT’S RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW BE A GUIDE

    Look outdoors, what do you see? Do you have a view? What are the colors you see? Is it an urban landscape, is it a lawn? Sunset or sunrise views?  Whatever you see outside, or don’t want to see outside, decides what color you might pick inside.

    For example, in our house, from almost every single room we have an incredible view. Therefore I didn’t want to use a busy wallpaper or a color that would take away or distract from the beauty right outside. I wanted nature to be a guide.

    JIll Sorensen swedish guest house

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    Selecting hues that already where outside added a cohesive and soothing effect. (All color chips are from Benjamin Moore.)

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    3. DETERMINE YOUR HOME’S NATURAL LIGHT

    What is the natural light like? In Sweden there is almost no daylight for many months of the year, therefore a white background is often painted to allow sunlight to reflect off the walls, and let the home feel brighter. Rarely do you see a Swedish home painted in dark colors for this reason.

    You can brighten a dark room in the house with a light color, or magnify what is already is there by painting it a dark engulfing color.

    Since there is an extreme lack of sunlight here most of the year, I picked white and yellow paint colors for several rooms to reflect light or  mimic sunlight.

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    4. LET THE LOCALE INSPIRE YOU

    Where is your house located? Downtown? Mountains? Horse country? If your home is downtown Manhattan versus out on a farm you might want a different feeling. Let the history of the town and area give you ideas.  Read old books, pick up some local vintage treasures, watch TV shows from the place.  There can be some amazing colors you find that could be used in a new fun way.

    Since we spend a limited amount of time here,  I wanted a very Swedish vibe and welcomed using some traditional Swedish colors.

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    Turn of the century department store chandelier.

    I picked up local vintage pieces that had colors of the area and let them inspire me.

    Jill Sorensen-Sweden

    Swedish “trasmatta” woven with tons of leftover colors are very common here.

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    I love Pippi Longstocking (she’s my hero) and the TV show from the 60-70′s is a great source of fun and unusual colors.

    5. MAKE THE TRANSITION OF COLORS RUN SMOOTH FROM ROOM TO ROOM

    When you stand in one room and look in to another the colors have to flow peacefully.  From every single angle of your home the colors have to harmonize as far as your eye can see. Here it was easy since it’s so white. But this can also be achieved very well with tons of strong colors as long as your overall color scheme “plays” together.

    JIll Sorensen Lifestyle-Lavender Monogram

    6. DON’T LET IT BE TOO EXPECTED – ADD AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

    Never let a room be boring, choose something in your overall scheme that adds an element of surprise. Too much of the same color in a room, can make it boring.

    Swedish manor house guestroom copy 2

    7. DETERMINE THE COLORS IN YOUR SCHEME THAT SHOULD BE USED FOR THE WALLS 

    When you have gathered a bunch of colors. Go back to the questions. What do you want your home to feel like?

    For me it was PEACEFUL and RELAXING with a touch of fun. So peaceful hues had to be the wall colors and the fun tones would become accents.

    Natural light needs?  Yellow and White.

    What did I see outside? Blue and Green.

    Sense of playfulness and local inspiration?  Accent colors: Turquoise, Orange, Blue, Lavender.

    Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 5.31.21 AM

    This became our full color scheme, for the main house and the guest house. The guest house since small is only in blue hues mixed with the whites.

    Vintage Josef Frank chair-Jill Sorensen

    I’m repainting our TV room this week. Although it’s already painted in a grayish yellow, somehow the space too cold. To find a new color I went back to my original scheme and decided what I wanted more of.  I needed a warm hue.

    And I decided I wanted more of Pippi Longstocking 70′s TV show vibe.

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    I selected these colors above to go with the already orange accents in the room.

    Pink color scheme-Jill SorensenLifestyle

    The wall color would be a pink/coral tone for warmth.

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    The carpet has orange accents and the cabinet if I ever finish it will have orange accents. ( This room is half way through makeover…) Will share more on that in a later post.

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    Picking colors is a really fun process.

    I hope I have not been rambling and that this gives you some kind of guide to pick a color scheme for your home.

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    P.S. If you feel you still need help. Stay tuned for my affordable color scheme service coming soon.

     

     

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  • July 1, 2014



    Our house in Sweden is surrounded by several red barns.  Back in the day they were used for animals and hay farming, but for years they have been used as storage facilities for all kinds of stuff. Despite the rainy, chilly (55 degrees and I love it) weather this week, the barn make over project is taking place!

    Turning the biggest of our red barns in to a cool barn dining/party room is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. My mother and I decided to invite everyone in this village for cake and coffee (or as they say in Sweden “fika”) before I leave, so the pressure is on to complete it.

    It’s the barn behind me on the left.

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    The barn is close by the lake and behind it we have some new neighbors…

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    …mosquito stomping cows. Yes there is a well known mosquito problem in this area and cows are now “employed” to trample down mosquito breeding areas close to the lake.

    The always environmental Swedes…

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    The barn has a giant black door and has for years it has been a storage area for my brother’s salvage windows and old doors. He rescues old houses and has hundreds of old windows and doors. (You can read about him in this post.)

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    But this is the year it’s finally getting emptied. Luke and Peter have been at it, and most are already gone.

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    But there’s more to go and the barn is still a mess.

     

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    But it’s moving ahead despite four days of straight rain!

    Here are some of my inspiration pictures.

    ELLE-DECOR-Kathryn-M.-Ireland

    Who can resist this picture of designer Kathryn Ireland’s barn in France?

    We won’t have the pretty stone walls but I want a long simple plank table.

    barn-wedding-ideas

    This is a giant festive barn.

    misty table view from raftters

    This is a cozy restaurant barn.

    Yesterday I had a Swedish husband and wife team come over and help me build a simple 18′ plank table.

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    We are using just simple bases found in the barn.

    After cleaning up a part of it I saved some old pieces that will be allowed to stay.

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    This is where we are at so far. The entire side of the barn still has to be emptied.

    I’ll share more as it comes along.

    I need seating, chandeliers and maybe some horns covering the wall. I’ll have to wait and see what I can find at the giant recycling store we are going to.

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    At last the sun started shining through the rain clouds and created a beautiful rainbow.

    You can join me on JILLSORENSEN@INSTAGRAM as well.

    Hope you are having a good week!

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  • June 25, 2014



    This week could not have come soon enough.   It’s my favorite time of the year when we get to head back home to Sweden for the summer.  I work from there for a big part of it, and get to spend quality time with my family on our farm in the middle of nowhere. And Luke gets a chance to experience being “Swedish”.

    On our way there we stopped over for a whirlwind visit to our former home town, DC. It’s been ten months since we moved to LA, boy does time fly! The intense and fun welcome and catching up with some of our beloved DC friends made me realize we’ve been gone far longer than I thought.

    And seeing the size of Luke’s friends….well then you know time has passed.

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    Luke with his old buddy Diego. Hard to believe these tall dudes have only just turned 13!!

    Is it only me or are kids HUGE these days?

    While the visit was a lot of fun, it was also very difficult. This was the first visit back since we moved to LA, and DC is a reminder of Luke’s dad who passed away two years ago from brain cancer.

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    The two dogs (Butterball and Midnight) Luke had at his dad’s house are still living with the caretaker there. We made the difficult decision that they would stay with her, since she took care of them every day when his dad was sick. And we already have two rescue dogs and a cat. They have a great life staying there in the country side with her (who loves them dearly), where they can run around on several acres of land.  And Luke can visit them whenever he wants to.

    But it was bittersweet.

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    I got to spend time with my good buddies ( also design clients).  We hiked and toured some land one of them recently purchased and will build a new home on.

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    We stayed at my dear friend Patty’s house. Her home was the very first house outside of my own I ever designed. A classic English/American look. This is her dining room.  I design mostly modern homes these days, but classic interiors are timeless.  We’ll do chair upholstery updates, but this room is still hanging in there many years later!

    After DC we flew in to NY to of course stay with Dan.

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    New York from Dan’s apartment on the 22nd floor.

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    Seriously is there really a place cooler than Manhattan?

    I’m not so sure.

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    Central Park is a magical oasis right among the high rises.

    But the best for last.

    I live for this view below.

    I love waking up after an overnight flight and look out the plane window as we land in Stockholm. And now Luke shares that same joy with me. Down below is a little green fairly tale country filled with lakes and rivers….

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    After we land, I have the best latte at the airport Seven 11. Yes people Seven 11. You would be shocked to know how fancy that chain is over here, so is Mc Donalds!

    After the 8 hour plane ride from NYC,  we take a 5 hour bus ride.

    But it’s so worth it when we arrive here…

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    Sooo peaceful, and the best place ever to SLEEP!

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    The rain has not stopped for three days.

    But we absolutely love the 55 degree weather, rain, and family dinners by a crackling fire.

    Think we’ll stay a while.

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    (P.S. To our DC friends we didn’t get to see. We missed seeing you and we’ll be back very soon!)

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  • June 25, 2014



    I’ve been working really hard to expand my carpet collection and this is just the beginning of what’s coming! We are preparing for our first “design” show and pop up shop! Details and dates to come later, but it will kick off in Los Angeles in early fall. I hope you will come visit!

    I’m pretty obsessed with these cotton carpets, super durable,soft,  chic, easy to wash and easy to carry around.

    (Who doesn’t love to redecorate in a whim? I do!)

    Maze carpet-Jill Sorensen

    (Maze-Beach House and Maze-Bonfire)

    We are testing a bunch of new colorways and samples in the bungalow, and of course as soon as they go on the floor my tiny rescue Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix BUBBA ROCKET (he’s wickedly fast)  can’t resist the urge to sit on them..

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    …and not move.

    Not sure why dogs always do this. Do you?

    And forget it if a camera lens comes out, he LOVES to pose!

    That’s how he ended up on the cover of the my online store.  How can you resist him?

    After all he is a suitable model. I have these carpets in my bungalow which is always crowded with people, pets, kids, and they handle it perfectly!

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    In case you missed it and are not on my store mailing list this sale is still live until July 1.

    I hope you are having a good week I’m off to airport today for some serious travels for fun & work.

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