Designer Patrick Hamilton Is Fearless With Color

Designer Patrick Hamilton is fearless with color

Patrick J. Hamilton and I “met” online but I had never had the pleasure of speaking with him until this interview for the Valspar Paints piece you see above that is in the Sept 2013 issue of House Beautiful. What a treat to finally speak to Patrick in person and even more fun to be interviewing for a piece on color. I hope you enjoy his colorful insights as much as I enjoyed his charming personality.

What Color is Your Night Light? It May Affect Your Mood

Study Finds That Your Night Light Can Change Your Mood

COLUMBUS, Ohio — When it comes to some of the health hazards of light at night, a new study suggests that the color of the light can make a big difference.

In a study involving hamsters, researchers found that blue light had the worst effects on mood-related measures, followed closely by white light.

But hamsters exposed to red light at night had significantly less evidence of depressive-like symptoms and changes in the brain linked to depression, compared to those that experienced blue or white light.

The only hamsters that fared better than those exposed to red light were those that had total darkness at night.

The findings may have important implications for humans, particularly those whose work on night shifts makes them susceptible to mood disorders, said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at The Ohio State University.

“Our findings suggest that if we could use red light when appropriate for night-shift workers, it may not have some of the negative effects on their health that white light does,” Nelson said.

Red light at night is best study says

The study appears in the Aug. 7, 2013, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research examined the role of specialized photosensitive cells in the retina — called ipRGCs — that don’t have a major role in vision, but detect light and send messages to a part of the brain that helps regulate the body’s circadian clock. This is the body’s master clock that helps determine when people feel sleepy and awake.

Other research suggests these light-sensitive cells also send messages to parts of the brain that play a role in mood and emotion.

“Light at night may result in parts of the brain regulating mood receiving signals during times of the day when they shouldn’t,” said co-author Tracy Bedrosian, a former graduate student at Ohio State who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute. “This may be why light at night seems to be linked to depression in some people.”

What people experience as different colors of light are actually lights of different wavelengths. The ipRGCs don’t appear to react to light of different wavelengths in the same way.

“These cells are most sensitive to blue wavelengths and least sensitive to red wavelengths,” Nelson said. “We wanted to see how exposure to these different color wavelengths affected the hamsters.”

In one experiment, the researchers exposed adult female Siberian hamsters to four weeks each of nighttime conditions with no light, dim red light, dim white light (similar to that found in normal light bulbs) or dim blue light.

They then did several tests with the hamsters that are used to check for depressive-like symptoms. For example, if the hamsters drink less-than-normal amounts of sugar water — a treat they normally enjoy — that is seen as evidence of a mood problem.

Results showed that hamsters that were kept in the dark at night drank the most sugar water, followed closely by those exposed to red light. Those that lived with dim white or blue light at night drank significantly less of the sugar water than the others.

After the testing, the researchers then examined the hippocampus regions of the brains of the hamsters.

Hamsters that spent the night in dim blue or white light had a significantly reduced density of dendritic spines compared to those that lived in total darkness or that were exposed to only red light. Dendritic spines are hairlike growths on brain cells that are used to send chemical messages from one cell to another.

A lowered density of these dendritic spines has been linked to depression, Nelson said.

“The behavior tests and changes in brain structure in hamsters both suggest that the color of lights may play a key role in mood,” he said.

“In nearly every measure we had, hamsters exposed to blue light were the worst off, followed by those exposed to white light,” he said. “While total darkness was best, red light was not nearly as bad as the other wavelengths we studied.”

Nelson and Bedrosian said they believe these results may be applicable to humans.

In addition to shift workers, others may benefit from limiting their light at night from computers, televisions and other electronic devices, they said. And, if light is needed, the color may matter.

“If you need a night light in the bathroom or bedroom, it may be better to have one that gives off red light rather than white light,” Bedrosian said.

Will Your Roof Color Work with Copper Two, Ten, or Twenty Years from Now? | ‘Roof Rap’ Blog

Will Your Roof Color Work with Copper Two Ten or Twenty Years from Now

Not too long ago a homeowner contacted us with a question about selecting a roof color for the new home he is having built. He wanted to include copper patina tiles but needed help on choosing the right color. In this post I guide the homeowner along with information on copper and how it changes over time. Read the full post on the Davinci Roofscapes blog, Roof Rap, to see my suggestions.

Bucks County Courier Times: Free Online Color Guide

The Free Online Color Guides — {FRESH} Exterior Color and {FRESH} Color Schemes For Your Home Exterior were mentioned in the Bucks County Courier Times, today.
Bucks County Courier Times: Free Online Color Guide

Josef Albers’s ‘Interaction of Color’ Goes Interactive

Interaction of Color App for the iPad

As a long time fan of Josef Albers I am thrilled that to mark the 50th anniversary of Josef Albers’s book Interaction of Color, Yale University Press, the publisher of the original edition, are offering a new way to engage with Albers’s lessons by releasing the “Interaction of Color” App for the iPad. This is an awesome app and a “must have” for anyone interested in fully understanding color.Interactions of Color App
For just $9.99 the app bundles the book’s full text and more than 125 of its original color studies with 60+ new interactive plates that allow users to perform their own experiments with color. You can see how this works in the video below.

Along with the color palette tool there is video commentary that explains Albers’s principles.

Another nice feature is that there are interviews with the graphic designer Peter Mendelsund; the artists Brice Marden and Anoka Faruquee; the architect Annabelle Selldorf; the textile designers Denyse Schmidt and Christopher Farr; and the director of sourcing and product development of, Brian Mullan, all of whom talk about the use of color in their professional practices; as well as Nicholas Fox Weber, the director of the Albers Foundation.

Video: Interaction of Color App Demo

Video: The designers involved in the project talk about the importance of color and the influence of Albers.

Audio: Design Matters — Interaction of Color

On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, and Philip Tiongson, a principal at Potion, a design and technology firm specializing in interactive experiences, about Josef Alber’s book Interaction of Color. To mark the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking book, Yale University is releasing an iPad app of the book.

The Interaction of Color mobile app for iPad helps the user understand the book’s ideas, view the plates, experiment, and create and share designs. This interactive edition of one of the most influential books on color ever written offers users an entirely new way to experience Josef Albers’s original masterwork.

The free download allows you to view Chapter X, including text, commentary, and two interactive plates, and to experiment with all the features, including the color palette tool. The full version of the app includes the complete text, over 125 color plates, over 60 interactive studies, and a wide range of video commentaries, interviews, and additional features. The full version is available as an in-app purchase for $9.99.

50th Anniversary Edition of the Book: Interaction of Color

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

 There is also a new edition of the book so if you want a print copy as well as the app you can buy a copy of Interaction of Color 50th Anniversary Edition.

Terra Firma Colors for Your Slate or Shake Roof | ‘Roof Rap’ Blog

Terra Firma Colors for Your Slate or Shake Roof

In this post, I share another element that can be an excellent clue to your perfect roofing color — your soil. This may sound crazy but it is a really great way for you to find a color that will help you to naturally blend your home into its surroundings. Read the full post on DaVinci Roofscapes blog, Roof Rap, to find out how to look at the landscape around your home for answers on choosing the perfect color roof.

Decorating Boy’s Spaces | ‘My Way Home’ Blog

Beach Inspired Design | ‘My Way Home’ Blog

Decorating a little guy’s room is always a fun design challenge. Utilizing the always classic  blue is a no-brainer. But what’s the best way to infuse color through accents or even choose other elements in the space? What are some new products that I can incorporate as he grows and changes his taste? Learn more about designing for a boy’s space and take a closer look at  ways to choose décor that represents your little man-  without compromising style – in my article, Decorating Boy’s Spaces.


Beach Inspired Design | ‘My Way Home’ Blog

Beach Inspired Design | ‘My Way Home’ Blog


Dreaming up a seaside retreat in your own home has never been simpler. Choosing the right elements, color and textures you can come home to a little resort everyday. Any room in your home can benefit from this sort of outdoor makeover. Grab a tote bag, some sunglasses and head over to my article on Beach Inspired Design to learn how to make your beachy dreams come true.

He Likes…She Likes…How to Resolve a Common Color Dilemma

He Likes...She Likes...How to Resolve a Common Color Delimma

Color is very personal. Even if a person is usually willing to make concessions on a color choice, when it comes to something as important as the exterior of their home they may not be as willing to compromise. Here I share ways to agree on colors you and your partner both like without compromising what you truly love. Read the full post on the DaVinci Roofscapes blog, Roof Rap.

Designer Ellen Hamilton Is Fearless With Color

Designer Ellen Hamiton Is Fearless With Color

Kate Smith had the pleasure of interviewing master colorist and designer Ellen Hamilton and writing the story for the July/Aug issue of House Beautiful magazine. Ellen is very well versed in ‎color and I think you will find the nuggets of know-how she shared helpful.