Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Ms. Sunshine • I Sit Down With Ellen Kennon, One of The Nations Top Color Consultants and Owner of Full Spectrum Paints

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    Who is Ellen Kennon? She's a kick in the pants is what she is! But who is she, you ask?   
Besides being a complete hoot and loads of fun, House Beautiful named her one of the nations top color consultants––in fact, the glowing review stated she is of the "Three Best Color Consultants." What an honor! 

In addition to having a career spanning all corners of interior design, color consulting and furniture design, Ellen developed a line of wonderful paints which she aptly named Full Spectrum––more on that in a minute.


Ellen and I had a ton of fun the other week when I went to visit her in St. Francisville. She and I had been conversing over the last few months, trying to set up a meeting between the two of us–– poor Ellen, she was so patient with my flakiness, I cancelled on her not once but TWICE {how rude!!} due to schedule conflicts. Alas, Ellen being the kind lady she is, welcomed me wholeheartedly and within minutes we made fast friends who spent the night cackling while throwing our heads back and getting along quite famously, indeed.

Since she was a child, Ellen has always been described as "lucky" and "optimistic" In fact, one of her favorite things to tell her daughter is "Act happy and you will BE happy" Isn't that a sunny outlook on life? I'm adopting it right now, because think of it––there is no truer statement than that, right?

So the story goes: 

When Ellen was just starting out as an interior designer in NYC, she was fortunate to have projects which took her to Paris and beyond. After a few years of wanderlust and having fun, she decided to find permanent employment back in New York. On the wake of one of her many trips back to Paris, she submitted her 'non-resumé, resumé' to the architecture firm of Peter Marino. To her delight she received a call from Mr. Marino's office stating interest in having her for his company. Soon after, Ellen became Sr. Designer at the firm, overseeing large projects and a healthy design team.

{Peter Marino, you know, the architect that does little known storefronts like these}

Louis Vuitton Paris

Chanel Manhattan
Image Via Architectural Digest 

Chanel Manhattan

Image Via Architectural Digest

Chanel Los Angeles
Image via Architectural Digest

And Residences Like These:

Image Via Architectural Digest  

Image Via Architectural Digest  

Image Via Architectural Digest  

Image Via Architectural Digest  


After working and loving her tenure at Peter Marino, Ellen felt called back home to Louisiana, so she set her eye on a plat of land off of a less-traveled road and decided to build herself a retreat. Ellen designed and built her home, a lovely cabin tucked away in the woods which she created a respite and a new life––albeit a quieter life than before. Little did she know that the start of her newest transformation was peering just around the corner.

No longer working the grind, Ellen had time to reflect and decide if she was going to continue on the path she was on with full-scale interior design, or try something new. In talking with a spiritual coach, Ellen was given the advice to focus on her true passion within her field and hone her abilities to their highest capacities. Ellen said it came to her immediately that color was undoubtedly her most enjoyable aspect of the design process, so after a while of not precisely knowing how to calculate her next move, she knew at that moment where she needed to be.

Full Spectrum Paints is Born

Ellen's focus shifted the day of Summer Solstice of 2001. That day, she began mixing up pots and pots of colors using only the seven hues found in the rays of the sun.
By omitting the black traditionally added to paint and only mixing color as an artist does, Ellen's final products are what are called truly "Full Spectrum." Her pigments bounce light and adapt to neighboring colors like no other paint out there––the ability to be reflective enhances low-light conditions and can also allow you to saturate a room with a bold color and have very few 'dark spots'. I have experienced seeing this 1st hand, and it's entirely true!
She was also one of the pioneers of Low-VOC paints or "green" paint. Full Spectrum Paints are made of earth friendly ingredients––thanks, Ellen! 
Ellen has a fantastic line of well edited colors––no need to sift through thousands, when a hundred of perfect hues will do! She also creates custom colors for projects when needed.

Here at Jon Vaccari {one of my personal favorite antique shops}, she created a color named "Cloud White" a hint of grey, a touch of cream. To me, this is a beautiful and perfect white.

For Marc Charbonnet, a client that states he "Only will use Ellen's Full Spectrum paint" on projects, "Classic Cream" and "White opal" make this dining room a crisp and classic stunner.  

Would you know that the informal dining room was the same color combination? The colors are so adaptive, it's just incredible!

And here, for who else but Hunt Slonem––Ellen responded to Hunt's love of saturated and vibrant hues by creating richly pigmented colors for his studio and personal homes.
"Pueblo" was chosen for the study at Hunt's Lakeside Plantation

"Tuscan Sun" for a 3rd floor bedroom at Lakeside. It just sings!

These photos below were taken at Hunt's former studio for a Vogue photo-shoot. Full Spectrum as the backdrop make the images so chroma-rich and intensely saturated that you want to just dive into them!

In Ellen's Words

"When choosing a color, the one mistake that people make is to match paint to furnishings without taking careful consideration over how color creates ambiance overall."Ellen selects color first based on Color Therapy, and recommends strongly that anyone looking to choose a palette do a bit of research on color energy. 

She also notes that taking color cues from nature is a great place to begin to build your palette, as nature surrounds us everywhere and the inspiration is of infinite potential.

Ellen believes that color has such a strong impact on our lives, our moods, our overall health she feels much more is to be discovered about the psychology of color and it's effects.  "Color is a healing modality which we will be hearing and seeing much more about in the future."

I asked Ellen which color she felt would be the next "Up and Coming" for color trends and her response was just perfect. Ellen stated "Complex neutrals including whites are here to stay" and she feels that "Atmospheric 'no color, colors' " will start to tread into the on-trend territory very soon.
Good news! I've certainly seen a shift from swackingly bold color to much more restful and whisper-like spaces, so I'd say she's right on target with her analysis of what's to come, don't you? 


Wait, she does even MORE??

Ellen's talents not only lie in being all of what you just read––she has a terrific line of furniture that she designs and sells on her website as well. Take a peek, it's gorgeous:

How stunning is this??? May be my favorite piece. 

But this one is a close contender. 

Oh, wait. No, THIS is my favorite. On second thought, I can't play favorites, I love them all! 

All of her furnishings are lovely, just lovely!


Ellen has had one of those illustrious careers that proves that with hard work, determination, passion and staunch self-reliance you can achieve more than you ever thought possible. Spending time with her was a true breath of fresh air and I left feeling energized, creative and excited about just everything. Her story is truly inspiring––and I hope to spend more time getting to know this fascinating lady.  

Be sure to peruse her website. Also, her paints––while ordered through her–– are available nationwide through Azco Nobel {Dulux} paints. So it's as simple as ordering her samples, choosing your color, placing your order through, and picking up your gallon at your local distributor. She is also available for consultation if you run into trouble with your selection––I'd say that's a ton more service than I'm used to at Drone Sheepot, don't you agree? 

Isn't she just a ball of talent? I hope you had as much fun getting to know her as I did. If you ever get the chance to work with Ellen, you'll see what a fun, kind, energetic lady she is––and you'll get along famously, I'm certain! 
Also, check out her blog, where she chronicles all things color and Full Spectrum. Enjoy! 

**My apologies for this blog post's formatting being a little whacky––sparing you all the banal details, something is going on with my blogger formatting and threw it all off. After the 1000th attempt to rectify, I gave up and gave in and said "Ç'est la vie!" Thanks for reading {even if your eyes are crossing by now}


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and a FAB Recipe From Moi to Vous!

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Wow, is it really that time already??? I ducked out of hosting this year and played it real cool by offering up my most famous dish as my contribution––Nutella Bread Pudding. I know, I had you at Nutella. This is SO simple, and people go crazy over it, so I wanted to share it with you as a little token of thanks for all of the support and sweet emails I receive from you all. 

Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! Love on your family, DO eat too much bird, {but have your fat pants handy for changing into at the drop of the hat}  and above all else, relish in all the great things life has offered us this past year. I know that I am so very, very thankful for all that has come my way––and that includes you! 



Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Splendid Afternoon With Talented {And Gracious} Ty Larkins

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This past week I had the absolute pleasure of spending time with one of my favorite Louisiana designers, Ty Larkins, who's FABULOUS shop is located in Baton Rouge, just under an hour from my home. From the moment I popped my head in the door, Ty made me feel as if we were old pals, certainly not new acquaintances––we just chatted and chatted for what seemed like an eternity!  The conversation was so riveting and Ty so engaging that even the threat of 5 o'clock traffic couldn't peel me away––on my drive home, I reflected on what a gracious gentleman; adept designer; fantastic conversationalist and consummate host Mr. Larkins is. If you are ever in Baton Rouge, treat yourself and stop in for a visit. 

Years ago, Grand Dame blogger Joni Webb of Cote de Texas featured Ty and myself on a blog post of her's titled 

To be quite honest I was very bashful for images of my former home and a few small projects that I had completed as a neo-designer to be showcased for all  the world to see––not to mention being featured in the same post under one of my biggest design-crushes almost made me so nervous I wanted to back out!. Besides being a complete wreck over those small details, I was in the middle of packing and moving to our current home and had to SCRAMBLE to remotely attempt to stylize the photos ;) I'm so glad I didn't chicken out because then I may not be able to have made the connection with Ty if not for Joni and her wonderful post on us :)


Image via House Beautiful

Ty has been on the fast track to success––in five short years, he has transitioned from practicing law to interior design, somehow managed to: raise twin daughters, become published in House Beautiful, open a storefront and build a quite successful design business––all while maintaining a very humble presence about himself. Wildly refreshing, don't you say? 

It all started for Ty and his wife here at their gorgeous home they built a few short years ago. What a stunner! The proportions are exquisite, the detailing not missing any thought, and the implementation of historical accuracy made my heart sing! It actually reminds me of my home, but with more Georgian features than ours. I am in love with the portico and the wide, linear steps spanning the front!! What a wonderful entrance! 

Image via House Beautiful
The courtyard is a sight to behold. Love what appears to be an architectural element used as the table base here––gorgeous!

 Image via House Beautiful

 Image via House Beautiful

 Image via House Beautiful

 Image via House Beautiful

Image via House Beautiful


Ty's Lovely Shop and Studio

Ty's shop is housed in a beautiful Arts and Crafts Bungalow that he completely gutted and restored to perfection. The feel is a touch masculine, very clean, current and modern but incredibly warm and welcoming. 

This beautiful seating arrangement greets you as you first enter––the chairs beg for you to sit on them as your eye eagerly travels from one beautiful object to another.

Image via Ty Larkins
Notice that fantastic industrial beam with the wonderful paneled columns! Ty said that when he bought the structure, the building was such a departure from it's original glory and had been badly modified from it's proper detailing and layout, he had to completely reconfigure the whole space and start anew. I'd say he did this old beauty justice, for certain!

That chest is breathtaking! Masculine, clean and refined. 

That mirror nearly took my breath away! Ty's impeccable taste gives way for a incredible selection of statement accessories.

I was longue-ing to lay upon that chaise longue ;) 

This bench served as the host chair for the dining table. It looked wonderful!

Isn't this place SPECTACULAR??????? You can see why it was so easy to melt my day away! When you're surrounded by such beauty and enjoyable conversation, you never want to leave!

 I wish Ty all the best and know that he has been on this steadily upward trajectory that is SO well deserved because he's a true gem of a man with unwavering and impeccable taste, determination and kindness. I can't wait to visit with him again soon!

Visit his website to see more images of his great talent!