Interior Color Design

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"Cass gave us very good color advice for our home. The nine new colors are a big change, but not shocking to the eye. They flow together and seem like they really belong here. We could not have done it without her!" Caroline and Andrew
This Mediterranean/Tuscan contemporary home was just built last year. It has a 15 foot ceiling in the great room and 10 feet ceilings elsewhere. They chose Blomberg windows and doors, a cast concrete fireplace with a tiled overmantle niche, wide plank hickory floors, and green marble countertops. It has an inviting, casual country feel with rustic pine furniture mixed with antiques.
The owners of this new home call it "Tahoe meets Maybeck", and yes the architect does design churches. A lot of recyled wood was used for the ceilings and floors. The craftsmanship and stone work, inside and out, is fabulous.
Here we have a brand new condo overlooking the freeway and downtown Oakland. The exterior walls and the ceilings are concrete and the floors are dark bamboo. The overall feeling is modern, minimal, sleek and high-tech. The colors are mostly grays and neutrals with the shock of red in the kitchen.
This 1926 Normandy/Storybook home was designed by W. R. Yelland, who was also the architect for the Normandy Village in Berkeley. The original color downstairs was a medium brown, which the owners' grandson and his wife, the present occupants, felt was too dark. I chose a creamy white to go with the wood ceilings and upstairs will be some pale colors. This is a wonderful house with different shaped archways, no right angles anywhere, a round corner fireplace, all of the original light fixtures, and enchanting details!
This pretty Mediterranean has lovely arches all throughout. It was built in 1924, with wings added in 1935. Anna says, "We only wanted the calm and quiet of undemanding whites, but finding just the right ones was not as easy as I thought. Cass helped us sift through the incredible number of choices of whites, making our decision process manageable and more efficient."


LIGHTING: Everyone knows that the type and amount of light radically changes colors. It’s always best to sample paint colors and look at them in the daylight and in artificial light. Changing the light bulbs in your home will have a big effect.

Types of light bulbs include incandescent, fluorescent, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent), LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), halogen. LEDs are the thing now: uncorrected they have a bluish light but come in a range of colors from warm to cooler tones of white.

Light bulbs have a Kelvin rating that refers to the color value assigned to the bulb, and hardware stores often have a chart for you. They are rated on a Kelvin Scale showing the temperature range of the bulbs from 2700K of warm light up to 6500K daylight. You might want a warm 2700 – 3000K bulb in the living room and a 4000K natural white in the kitchen.

A LITTLE ABOUT COLOR: Big topic! It sets a mood, creating a feeling like relaxation, excitement, or warmth and coziness. Generalizations about specific colors are that red stimulates the appetite, blue lowers blood pressure, green boosts concentration. Every color has a warm side and a cool side, a saturated side and a neutral quiet one. An example is that an electric lime green is loud and wild, while a pale sage green is very quiet. Cool colors work well in south-facing rooms and warm colors in north-facing rooms.

Color is subjective and people have different feelings and memories of color; some are only comfortable with shades of white and soft light neutrals. I can help you find the right colors for you that are personal.

CHOOSING YOUR PALETTE: One way to focus on your ideas is to look in your closet and see your color choices. Also consider the style of your home and furnishings. Modern? Traditional? Look at things you have collected like art work and dishes. Inspiration is all around you.

Consider the flow from room to room – often the hardest part. I can help you pull things together to make your environment more interesting and alive, to accent architectural features, to transform and personalize your home. I can work with you to create an atmosphere that’s traditional or ultra-modern, neutral and serene, or saturated and exciting. Call me for an appointment! Cass Morris 510.524.1726


There are many different decorating styles that people look for, especially when remodeling their homes or businesses. Transitional, modern, and farmhouse are the most popular here in the Bay Area.

The transitional style combines a traditional classic look with updated features. It celebrates natural light, a relaxed look and is warm yet modern.

The modern style has many features, like minimalism and clean lines, similar to midcentury and contemporary styles. It has an emphasis on form and structure, natural materials, often monochromatic colors.

An industrial style is most often seen in live/work spaces, lofts and converted factories. It uses exposed raw materials like brick, concrete, steel. There’s lots of open space, utilitarian furnishings, and often cool colors.

Farmhouse style emphasizes function over form with rural sometimes rustic elements. It is known for practicality, simplicity and a utilitarian look with elements like sliding barn doors and wall paneling.

Midcentury style features clean lines, natural wood, organic shapes, graphic patterns.

The traditional style comes from 18th and 19th century European history. It leans toward formal, symmetrical design, with classic and antique furniture.

The contemporary style is the opposite of traditional; it is what is trending currently. Can be vibrant colors or white or a combination. It uses whatever is the newest look and materials.

Mediterranean-style spaces can have the traditional earthy, warm colors or white walls with dark wood trim and beams. Carved woodwork and colorful tiles are often found.

The coastal style means East coast, generally New England, and beach colors. Mostly whites, neutrals, blues – light and airy. There’s a casual, relaxed look with bare wood floors, whitewashed wood, materials like wicker and rattan.

The Scandinavian style has a lot in common with the coastal with its’ light, color and natural materials. It usually uses a mix of antique and contemporary furnishings.

An eclectic style doesn’t adhere to a particular style but combines things in a personal way to create a unique esthetic. There might be super modern next to funky vintage pieces, often lots of color and interesting objects.

For the rustic style think of stone lodges and log cabins. Usually has fireplaces, exposed
beams, brick or stone, natural hues, and large comfortable furniture.