Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Expert Advice: How to Mix a Custom Color


Expert Advice: How to Mix a Custom Color

October 20, 2011

In the San Francisco Bay Area, where architects have to figure out how to make their mark against the city’s strong backdrop of historical buildings, Douglas Burnham of Oakland-based Envelope A+D (a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) has been able to find the right balance. He’s known for his edgy restaurant interiors, but he’s also been the talk of the town for his Clipper Street Residence, a Victorian that he brought into the modern age. Curious about how he settled on the color of the house, we talked to Burnham about his thought process and the steps he went through to achieve the perfect shade of black.

Expert Advice How to Mix a Custom Color portrait 3

Above: The Clipper Street Residence in Noe Valley.

RM: Why did you choose to paint the house black?

DB: We were interested in referencing the European tradition of black houses (in Amsterdam and in the UK, black houses have a very sophisticated urban quality) and placing it a San Francisco context of pastels and painted ladies.

RM: What happens when you paint a Victorian a single shade?

DB: The detailing on the house was a little strange. There was some filigree that looked like marshmallows on a stick–it was kind of ugly. So going with a single shade was a way to push all of that back and turn it into texture, rather than pattern.

RM: What paint did you use?

DB: It’s a custom color that we created through a sampling process. We often mix our own paints, looking for unusual colors. Here, we took a can of straight black and another can of the darkest blue, and we made 12 samples in a range from black to blue. Our final pick was one that was closest to the straight black; it was about 75 percent black and 25 percent blue. Then we took it to the paint store and turned it into a formula so we could order it in quantity. It’s a Benjamin Moore exterior paint with a soft gloss.

black blue murobond 7

Above: Images of paint chips via Murobond.

RM: Why not just go with straight black?

DB: A pure black house is a little bit “witchy,” and blue-black has a vibrancy to it. If you drive by the house really quickly, it reads as black, but if you look at it from the street, it’s definitely blue-black. It’s an idea we’ve played with before–my own house is painted brown-black, and I went through the same process, using standard paint, to come up with a color that has a warmth and richness to it.

RM: Any suggestions for trying this at home?

DB: Don’t be afraid to dive in. It’s a very straightforward process. Just use a measuring container and mix up your samples. Keep in mind that the right shade will be different for every location, because the quality of light will be different and the surrounding environment will be different. Also, if you’re repainting a whole house, we’ve found that you need a four-by-four-foot section so that you can really see what it looks like. We’ve tried going with a smaller area, and it just doesn’t quite work.

(Visited 287 times, 1 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Frequently asked questions

What is custom color?

A custom color is a hue that is achieved by mixing two or more colors together. It is a unique shade that cannot be found in pre-mixed paint cans.

Can any paint be used to mix a custom color?

Yes, any type of paint can be used to mix a custom color. However, it is important to ensure that the paints being used are compatible with each other.

What materials and tools are needed to mix a custom color?

Paints, measuring cups, mixing cups, stirring sticks, and a palette knife or spatula are commonly used to mix a custom color.

What is the best way to begin mixing a custom color?

The best way to begin mixing a custom color is by using small amounts of paint and gradually adding more as needed. Start with the lightest color and add a small amount of the darker color until the desired shade is achieved.

How do I record the recipe for a custom color?

Keep track of the colors used and the measurements of each color. This will ensure that the custom color can be recreated in the future, if needed.

Can different paint brands be mixed to create a custom color?

Yes, different paint brands can be mixed to create a custom color. However, it is important to check the compatibility of the products first to avoid any adverse reactions.

How do I test the custom color before applying it to a large area?

Apply the custom color to a small test area and let it dry completely. Check the color in different lighting conditions before applying it to a larger area.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation