Renovating the Western Riviera

Interior designer Blanche Garcia overcomes obstacles at the Western Riviera in Grand Lake, CO.

This project was more about tried and true Design and construction practices then it was about craft projects. So I want to share with you a fundamental Design principle that is a Designers secret. If you have been watching the show then you know that color plays a huge roll in my designs. This is because it’s the most inexpensive way for me to create the most impact. This is also because color allows me to direct your eyes to one place while keeping you from looking at another. The basic principle being that you highlight what you want seen and you shade or blend in what you want hid.


In room 6 at the Western Riviera I had more obstacles than positives to deal with. It’s a basic room but a relatively smallish space with standard height ceilings and no outstanding architectural qualities. I also had an adjoining door to the adjacent suite that I didn’t want the guest to focus on. So lets take the problems and solutions one by one.

Problem 1: A small room with no outstanding architectural quality.

I sectioned off the room by painting the walls two colors. A warm tan with red undertones for the main walls were painted in Sherwin Williams SW 0010 Wickerwork. The red undertones were important because they cast a rosy glow to anyone in the room and in essence always creating a positive light. I then painted the back closet nook and bathroom in an earthy brownish gray color by Sherwin Williams called SW 0024 Curio Gray.

This color added texture to the room but didn’t over power the space because it was broken up by the blond colored faux wood tile and beetle kill wood that I used as a chair rail throughout the space. It’s a Design myth that dark colors make a space appear smaller. When done properly and used with a contrasting element, it can actually make a space appear larger.

Problem 2: A basic ceiling height.

People tend to paint their ceilings pure white. Which is fine if your ceiling is 8 feet or higher off the floor. Remember that white calls attention to the object that you paint it. So if you're looking to keep attention from the ceiling and treat the room as a whole, then shade it a deeper color. I wanted a light ceiling but I didn’t want it to be the first thing that you noticed when you walked into the room. So I chose a beige like color within the same hue value of the wall color. A color hue is basically the lightness or darkness of a particular color. So even though the colors were different, by choosing two colors along the same hue value made them blend cohesively together. My chosen ceiling color was Sherwin Williams SW 6155 Rice Grain

Problem 3: A connecting room suite door that I wanted the guest to not focus on.

This is the oldest Designer trick in the book. Remember I said to shade what you want hidden. So I decided to paint the molding as well as the door the same Sherwin Williams SW 0010 Wickerwork color as the walls. This way the doorway became an extension of the wall. This is a great trick to use when you have unsightly or small molding detail or when you want the space to look less choppy.

Paint and color in general never ceases to amaze me, and the fun part is that if you make a mistake you can paint right over it!
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