Finishing Color Trends

Finishing Color Trends

I am particularly pleased to report that people are taking more colorful risks with painted finishes these days. Over the past year, we’ve completed several projects utilizing unconventional color schemes: powder blue, periwinkle, turquoise, matte black with silver leafing, even electric green, high-gloss magenta and neon orange!

I’ve always urged our clients to take the risk with color. You should love where you live, allow yourself to be psychologically altered by your choices – choose the most soothing color for you in your bedroom, the most inspiring color for your office, the color that makes you happiest in your bedroom. Color can be utilized in highly unexpected ways as well – do a stark white room and add high-gloss moss green trim, paint your powder room ceiling metallic purple, do your kitchen cabinets in a vibrant lemon hue!

It’s important to consider the psychology of color when making intense color choices, but despite general human tendencies towards specific colors, we are all affected differently due to our personal experiences. Be sure to sit with a sample for a few days, but don’t let yourself ruminate for too long or you’ll doubt your initial spontaneous choice, which usually ends up being what you really want anyway!

In my own line of restyled vintage furniture, I take colorful risks with every piece. Each item screams with personality, just like me! Don’t be afraid to be who you are with the environment you live in. Don’t get caught in the magazines and the trends – they will come and go – make your choices based on creating the kind of life you want for yourself. And if that means a totally white house accented with nothing but neutrals, that’s OK too!

Happy decorating – I’m always here to help!

Powder Blue Cabinet     Electric Green Lamp    Pink Walls & Gray Ceiling

               IMG_2837  Red Kitchen Stools

Neon Orange Chairs     Blue Ceiling      

Chamber of Commerce After Hours

Chamber of Commerce After Hours

On June 20, we hosted the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce After Hours event at our shop. It was a wonderful evening filled with good friends, food, drinks and music! We look forward to many more such events in the future!

GracieR Ready to Restyle Vintage High Boy Dresser GracieR Ready to Restyle Vintage High Boy Dresser GracieR Work in Progress GracieR Vintage Vanity Top GracieR Ready to Restyle Vintage Settee GracieR Vintage Find Peach Loveseats GracieR Ready to Restyle Rustic Red Cabinet Craig Donegan, Fred Schroeder and Grace Ragsdale Styling Decor Three Little Farm Chairs Sitting in a Row Steve Ragsdale conversing with guests Coffee Table After Beautiful display piece from the Silk Thumb GracieR Vintage Vanity TopStyling Decor Party Guests  GracieR Restyled Side Tables Carol Noble and Sandy Ragsdale GracieR Restyled Side Tables John Hadelstad and Chantal Mullens  Seating Vignette Chair Perspective Table Perspective GracieR Restyled Patio Chair Ragsdale, Inc. Showroom  GracieR Vintage Find Chairs Carlsville Jazz Trio Ragsdale, Inc. Showroom

“Mission Possible”

“Mission Possible”

“Mission Possible” is the project code name for this year’s beneficiary of the “Designing for Veterans” service grant to Army SGT Cameron Crouch.

Cameron’s story is not unlike other returning vets.  While on duty in Iraq, Cameron plunged seventy feet to a marble floor shattering his legs and spine.  After a series of more than twenty surgeries he lost both legs below the knee and received two synthetic spines. The project, executed in March by the founding members of “Designing for Veterans” (of which Ragsdale, Inc. is part) and the  student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers at The Illinois Instiutute of Art-Chicago, resolved design issues in Cameron’s home related to his disabilities.

To learn more about “Designing for Veterans” and “Mission Possible”, please check out the website.

The project was also recently featured on CBS’s “Your Chicago with Rob and Kate”! To see the clip, please click here!

Cameron's Master Bathroom

Cameron’s Redesigned Bathroom

Close Up of Bedside Cabinet

Close up of Cameron’s Bedside Cabinet

Color Pulse 2012

Color Pulse 2012

Today I watched the webinar on Color Pulse 2012 and I wanted to share some of the trends for the coming year.

Overall, things are moving in a direction of handcrafted influence. The retro/vintage/whimsical look is dominating design, with an emphasis on up-cycling items for infinite human use. Scraps, like scarves, t-shirts, ties, wool blankets, and reclaimed or scrap lumber are being repurposed to create artwork and furniture. 

The experience of fun is rearing its head in the design world. There is a movement toward playfulness, an intent of designing to create conversation, inspiration, innovation. Color is being used like a bright box of crayons, patterns are geometric in nature, and textures are finding a very natural influence.

In addition to these themes, there is a movement toward bringing the outdoors in. Vertical gardens are gaining much popularity, and many designers are finding creative ways to bring the natural environment into the built environment.

Color trends are as follows:

Reds will have a deep, sophisticated tone. They will also be seen with a blue or orange cast.

Pinks are either soft or electric, with hints of fuscia and purple.

Oranges are diverging and either heading in a vibrant direction or toward a more muted brown.

Yellow is showing dominance in color trends. Yellow is being used as a combination color, showing up in pattern and use with purples or greens.

Green is going bold. Kelly green and chartreuse or apple green will be prevalent.

In the blue department we see another strong divergence. In one direction, muted, powdery periwinkles, in the other direction, teals and aquas inspired by the islands. Navy is still showing prominence as well.

Purples are showing up in a variety of ways. Muted, grey, even mauve purples are being used, particularly in layers of shading. Bold purples with red or blue influences are also seen. In addition, berry toned purples are making an appearance.

Neutrals are being seen in a very utilitarian way. Neutrals with natural textures, unfinished and reclaimed wood, and off-whites dominate.

In general with color, an emphasis is being made on the way light manipulates color. 

Benjamin Moore recently launched a new full-spectrum color palette called “Color Stories”. These colors are made to work with light, providing a beautiful ambiance through color. Check out their website for more details. If you see something inspiring, give us a call. We’d love to work up a sample and show you the difference that comes with this new technology. Color Stories colors are available in the Aura product line only.

What are VOC’s?

What are VOC’s?

What are VOC’s?
  • Volatile Organic Compounds. Finish materials can contain toxic compounds (such as formaldehyde) that off-gas into the environment (including paint, carpet, fabric, etc.) and cause health and safety concerns for those exposed (including cancer, asthma, etc.). These conditions can persist for days, weeks, months, and even years after initial installation.
  • example: “New Car Smell”
  • example: “Sick Building Syndrome”
  • Solution: Design with Indoor Air Quality in mind. Specify finishes that are low or zero VOC products (for paint, Benjamin Moore’s Aura, Regal Select, Advance and Natura are great options!).
  • Be sure to check the affect of color tinting on a product’s VOC levels. Color tints can increase VOC’s dramatically, fooling you into thinking you’re using a low VOC product when you aren’t.

Why We’re Painters

Recently, people in the know about such things have convinced me of the value of blogging about our business.  I never thought of myself as a blogger.  In fact, I don’t think I have ever read a blog.  In spite of these facts, here I am, blogging…a blogger!

I suppose I do have a few things to say about the business and industry that have provided my livelihood over the past 35 years.  We’ll see where this goes.

Though I have a tendency to get caught up in things to complain about, there is, and always has been way more to celebrate and for which to be grateful.  I’d absolutely say that the single best thing about our business is the many remarkable relationships we have formed with our customers and suppliers.  I am renewed every time our phone rings and a familiar, or new, voice expresses a need for our work.  I am thrilled to run into a customer at the grocery store, or Starbucks, and hear them praise our employees and the results of our work.  It is really great to live in, and be a part of, the community in which so much of our work is performed.

For many, the work they do is merely a means by which they put food on the table.  The painting and finishing business has always been way more than that for me….although it did, indeed, start out as that.  Being involved in making the spaces in which lives are lived beautiful and comfortable is really rewarding.  Being able to create an environment for talented craftspeople to celebrate their creativity and earn an honest living is equally rewarding.  Though I could easily use this forum as a platform to voice complaints…I have a few, at least for today, I choose to look on the bright side and give thanks for the great gifts our business brings to me, our customers and our awesome, talented and hard working employees.

Thanks for listening,

Steve Ragsdale

What is REGREEN?

What is REGREEN?

As an Industry Partner of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), our company is invited to participate in various events offered through the organization. We were recently invited to a training program being offered by ASID in partnership with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) called “REGREEN”.

REGREEN was launched in March 2008 with the release of the REGREEN Residential Remodeling Guidelines. These guidelines, developed by a diverse group of industry experts, address the major elements of any green renovation project, including the site of the home, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The guidelines can be applied to a variety of home remodeling projects, from a bathroom remodel to a full gut rehab. The REGREEN program also includes a Strategy Generator tool to help determine the most effective green solution for any aspect of your green residential remodeling project.

Professionals who want to demonstrate their mastery of REGREEN can complete the full REGREEN coursework and become REGREEN certified. After attending a day-long REGREEN seminar last month, Grace decided to pursue this certification, and now holds the official title of REGREEN Trained Professional.

We will be implementing the REGREEN principles into Ragsdale company practices wherever possible. In fact, we are already hard at work evaluating our vendors, scrutinizing our preferred products, and developing a more stringent field procedure for handling jobsite waste more efficiently.

 If you are interested in pursuing a green remodeling project, Grace can serve as your REGREEN consultant and/or project manager, ensuring the seamless execution of your project. The rest of the Ragsdale crew is ready to assist as well! With a wide array of water-based, low and zero-VOC paint and stain solutions, we can bring an exquisite and green finish to any residential remodeling project! Check out the Environmental & Safety Concerns page on our website to learn more about the many steps we take to conduct business in an environmentally sustainable way.

Check out REGREEN on the web at!

For more information on ASID, please visit!

Wondering About Wallpaper?

Wondering About Wallpaper?

The world of interior design and decoration has recently seen an incredible resurgence of wallpaper.  With beautiful and innovative new paper designs, now more than ever is the time for you to consider paper installation for your next remodeling project.

Wallpaper comes in three major types – paper, natural and vinyl. Papers can be delicate, so they are best suited for low-traffic areas such as powder rooms or sitting rooms. Traditional paper does, however, offer the widest variety of patterns and colors, so if you’re looking to make a statement you’ll probably want to go this route.

Natural wall coverings, such as linen and grasscloth, can be equally fragile. This type of wall covering works best in rooms of minimal physical activity, such as studies and dens. A nice alternative to natural wall covering is a custom painted wall finish. This option will allow you to manipulate the thickness/thinness of patterning as well as adjust the hue of paint to obtain the precise color you are looking to achieve.

Vinyl wall covering is the best solution for high-traffic and active spaces, such as kitchens, mudrooms and children’s playrooms. Vinyl products can often be scrubbed and maintain better moisture resistance than other types of wall covering. If you want a custom painted wall finish in a high-traffic/active space, you may want to consider vinyl wall covering as an alternative. These types of finishes can be extremely difficult to touch up if damaged. A vinyl product can produce the same aesthetic feel as a custom painted finish and yet provide the durability that a custom finish cannot.

If you like the appearance of upholstered walls but are looking for an easier route, there may be a solution for you! Often times, fabric and wallpaper manufacturers will put a paper backing on your favorite fabric so it can be applied to your walls.

Wallpaper comes in standard, double and triple rolls, as well as in multiple widths. Double and triple rolls provide longer continuous lengths for cutting strips, allowing minimization of waste, particularly if you are covering a large space which requires many strips. European and Metric double rolls are generally 20.5” wide, containing 56 square feet of paper, while American double rolls are 27” wide, containing 70 square feet of paper. Wallpaper borders vary in width but typically come in 5 yard rolls (standard length of a wallpaper roll). Paper prices range from $30 to well over $200 for a standard roll.

As with all aspects of painting and decorating, proper and thorough preparation is 80-90% of the job. Surfaces must be patched and sanded to achieve a smooth, matte surface prior to sizing and paper application. Paper adheres to surfaces with paste; some papers require the paste to be applied directly to the wall while others require it be applied to the paper. Be sure to review the specifications that come with your product – wallpaper mistakes can be costly!

If you expect a pristine finished product, you should always hire a professional and experienced paperhanger. Paperhanging is an art that few are truly accomplished in, so be sure to check references when you hire someone for the job.

Ragsdale, Inc. has been expertly removing and installing wall coverings since 1977. Our craftsmen are meticulous in their surface preparation, vigilant and precise in their methods of application. Steve and Grace are happy to consult on paper selection and/or pair you with one of our talented design partners who can help coordinate your project.

To purchase wallpaper locally, please visit one of our local trade partners:

Thybony Paints & Wallcovering – 847.735.9020

Whether you need paper removed or installed, a custom painted wall finish to match a damaged or discontinued paper, or to locate a paper that will match an existing painted wall finish, remember that the experts at Ragsdale, Inc. are here to help!