Sunday, September 23, 2012

Support Small Paint Business...

Hello all! This week was an exciting week because I was able to go out on the road and speak about paint and color in Massachusetts.  During this visit, so many people had paint and color questions, and it was so great to be able to get the message out about how color and good paint can completely transform your space, but more importantly, why all paint is not the same.
   This brings me to the topic that so many of us in the paint world are beginning to see, and that is the support of the small business that is so needed in this country.  We see commercials on TV all the time for the bigger companies like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Behr and Valspar to name a few.  While we know that their products are good, we also know that they are mass produced and they are not a company that has a face to it.  They are all corporate giants who do not take into the personalization that color can have in ones home.  They sell you tons of colors on their displays, but never took the time to really have a conversation about how any of this works.  They do not get that this process of design can be a complicated one that takes time and thought.  They think that more choices is a good thing, and the reality is that it is total confusion!
   One of the ways that Muralo and the Michelle Winick Color Collection is set apart from the rest is that there was a ton of time and thought that went into everything color.  The colors were made to work in the product, and it was a formulation that was done with color and product quality in mind.  The Muralo company is very proud of the technology they have, and their product backs that up.  Whenever I refer the Ultra product to someone, they fall in love with it instantly because they see its exceptional quality.  When the MW colors go up in a space, people understand that every color has a unique balance to it, something that the mass produced collections of color to do not have.
   Next time you are looking to purchase paint, think about the options you have.  You can support the company that works hard for the customer, or the one that mass produces its products and does not work for the consumer! Just because you may not recognize the name does not mean that the quality is not there.  Trust me, I would not put my name on the product if I did not know it was the best!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dear Benjamin Moore...

Dear Benjamin Moore,
   My passion for color and paint is what I have used to create a niche for myself in the interior design world.  I have been able to explore the paint world in a huge way for the past few years by having a designer color collection with the Muralo paint company.
  When I first started the color collection, I had a vision of it becoming the "go to" palette of colors for homeowners, designers and contractors to take the headache out of choosing color.  I also knew that when creating these colors and the combinations of the palettes, that it was going to be a way to take out all the unnecessary colors that many paint companies put on their color displays.  What I did not envision was creating this tool for you to color match into your paint, and then getting complaint's from those people who purchased the "knock offs".
  While I did not reinvent the color wheel, I did establish a palette of colors that have very unique qualities to them.  The MW color collection is composed of colors that are very soothing, and have a fresh, clean look to them. When you see them fully painted in a space, you understand why people say they are different than other colors on the market.  They have a look to them that makes them look as though they are made to specifically go into the environment they are in.  It is not only the colors that gives them this aesthetic appeal, but it is the paint that gives them this look as well.  Muralo's paint has a look to it like I have never seen before.  Everyone who uses this color collection understand's what I am talking about.
  Over the past few years, I have had to deal with the reality that the paint world steals each others colors, not realizing that they are just trying to recreate what has been made for a specific product.  Benjamin Moore specifically has told homeowners, designers, and everyone else that you can get great color just by color matching other lines of color into their paint, and this has created mass confusion for everyone.  We also have seen an industry that has confused everyone into thinking that a brand describes the quality of paint, and it is simply not true.  Yes, you make a good can of paint, but you are not the best at everything.
   The Muralo company has been around since the late 1800's and they have focused on technology to always produce a high quality product.  Muralo is not owned by a billionaire (Warren Buffet), and does not get to advertise at the Yankee games, or on TV regularly.  They are a small business that works hard to make great paint.  For many years they have spent their money on research to create paint that is known to industry professionals as some of the best paint they have ever used.
   Now Muralo has something going for it that they have never had before-COLOR! And this is color that has been specifically formulated for THEIR paint, not Benjamin Moore...  This means that they are mine and Muralo's colors, and this is why they look the way they do when people choose them-because they are custom made for Muralo...
   The MW Collection color tools are the best on the market.  All the color tools are hand made using REAL paint, something that has never been done before by Benjamin Moore.  These tools take hard work and care, something that this small business is very passionate about.  I also created verbiage on my fan deck that somehow ended up on your fan deck? I wonder how that happened? We seem to work in the same neck of the woods...
   The most amusing story I heard recently was a Benjamin Moore worker calling a local NJ paint store asking why Muralo has these colors, and the question was "well what am I supposed to do to get these colors"? It was as though we hurt their feelings by creating something they could not get their hands on.  She went on to say that she would be creating formulas to match the colors, and then sell them in Benjamin Moore paint.  This seems like stealing to me...!
  If you choose a shirt, do you go up to the cash register as ask if they can make it in another brand??  I don't think so...So why is paint any different?
  I am going to list the many ridiculous questions that I have been asked about Muralo paint since I started this color collection, and I know that you may laugh reading this, but YES, these are real questions I have been asked, and most of them by seasoned Benjamin Moore users.  It seems like they will use any excuse to blindly stay loyal to their brand...

1. Does the paint work like Benjamin Moore, meaning you can roll it and not see roller marks?
2. Does the paint adhere to the wall? I know Benjamin Moore has good adhesion, and I do not know if Muralo works the same way.
3. Will the paint fade.  I know Benjamin Moore never fades?
4. Is Muralo a brand of Benjamin Moore?
5. Will it peel off the wall?
6. And this is my favorite.  Why aren't you using Benjamin Moore? "I have never used anything else".

Yes, these are real questions from painters...
Now, I am not going to dignify most of these with a response, but I am going to say this.  The Michelle Winick Color Collection colors are MURALO colors.  They are not Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams or Behr colors or any other paint colors.  They are exclusive to the Muralo company, and they cannot be matched! If you choose a color, then you should use the color as it is made.  When you match it in another paint, it is no longer the color, so you might as well just hope it works now...
  My message to Benjamin Moore is this..."I don't steal your colors...Stop stealing mine."  There are plenty of walls for everyone in this world.

Yours Truly,
~Michelle Winick

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Color Matching Simply does not cut it!

    I am inspired to write this blog because I received a letter from a consumer that told me a very common story of what happened to her when she had her room painted.  She went into the paint showroom and chose one of the “Michelle Winick Color Collection” colors to paint her bedroom with. She chose the color, and  told her painter what to purchase. 
    This email was written to me because she was frustrated that my color did not match the swatch she chose from,  and she wanted to know if there was something that could be done (like get reimbursed for the paint perhaps?)
   I told her to do her research and grab the paint gallon out of her garage that was used and take a picture of it to send me.  Sure enough, it is labeled as one of “my” colors, but a color match of it.  It was in a different brand of paint, hence not making it a “color match” one of my colors.

    When I created my color collection, I knew that the knocking off of colors would be something that is a fact of this business, and I could never do anything about it.  Company’s make colors and samples for their colors based off how the color looks when they create it.  That is the main reason why the color chips in my color collection are made with real paint. When you “color match” it may be close, but the final result is not the color you originally chose.   It is not authentic.
    The paint industry seems to think that advertising color matching is a way to sell paint, but I think it is irresponsible advertising message to the consumer that does not know any better.  When a company says that they can match any color, what they are not telling you is that the composition of the color is completely different when they do a “color match”.  Do you think that they will back it up when it does not look the same on your wall as the original color you chose? Absolutely not. It is technically a match, it just doesn’t look the same, and there is a big difference between the match and what the authentic color you choose will look like.  
   I have worked many of hours tinting my colors for the collection, and when I do this, there is a lot of math involved as well as trade secrets that I have been fortunate to have learned over the years I have been in this business.  I choose which colorants I want to go into my colors because I know the way the light changes the colors based off of how the color is formulated. The colorants that go into it greatly impact the overall appearance of the paint color.  
    Authenticity is important when making any purchase.  Just like choosing a piece of designer clothing, or a fine bottle of wine, knowing how it is made is very important! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paint and color matters when looking to sell a home

Today my husband and I were out looking at open houses, and it inspired me to write this short blog for anyone putting a house on the market.  
    The first thing that every home owner should know is that paint is the easiest thing to change in your home, but the reality is that the cost of paint and labor is going up, so this can be more of an expense than people realize.  
   This is where good paint and colors come into play.  If you are looking to sell your home, or if you are a builder or real estate agent, I think it is important to bring up the topic of paint colors and paint quality.  While I myself can look past it and know that it can be fixed, a lot of people cannot.  
  I was inspired to write this blog because even I had a hard time looking past this particular house I saw today, mainly because it was a new construction, and it looked like it had been painted a decade ago.  What I think threw me off more than the poor color choices, was the lack of quality in the paint.  In a house that is considered to be brand new, you should not have cracked, sagging paint on every surface of the home.  It took away from the beauty of the moldings and spaces because the surfaces were done with such poor quality.  I would now need to consider painting ever inch of this house, not to mention doing the prep again because of these low quality products when looking at my budget.
   While beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to color, when it comes to the quality, that is a whole other story.  The best advice I can give is that just like with everything else in get what you pay for.  Do not believe that "paint is paint" because it is completely untrue.  It really does matter on the overall appearance of a house, and it is worth every penny to purchase good quality paint for a job.
  Check out the Muralo Ultra "the creme dela creme of paint" as I like to call it.  And for an eco friendly product check out the Muralo BreatheSafe.  You will be happy you used quality products when you see your walls and trim sparkle with these products.  And the colors from the Michelle Winick Color Collection will allow your spaces to feel clean and fresh, with a touch of elegance and sophistication.
   Happy Painting!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Can the type of paint you use change the way the colors look in the room?

Q. I am looking to repaint rooms of my home, and I want to see if you think the type of paint I use can affect the color.  I have been sampling colors, and the paint store mentioned the color can change when I put it up on the walls because they are different paints.  What does this mean?

A. This is a great question because this is a topic that a lot people do not speak about or know about.  Color sampling is tough when you are not sampling with the paint you are ultimately going to use.  Product and sheen can alter the way a color looks.  Sheen of paint will change the way the color reflects on the wall-the higher the sheen, the more the light will reflect off of it.  The color can even look lighter when you have more of a sheen.
   When you are sampling colors and buying sample pints, they are usually made with eggshell.  You may end up using a matte or flat on the walls, so you want to be aware of that once you finalize a color.
  The quality can also make a color look different.  A good quality paint will make the color look cleaner and richer.  An inexpensive paint can look muddy because the make up of it is different (I could get into the technical aspect of it, but it is not necessary).  I have had clients painters use contractor grade paint, and then notice that the colors do not look as good.
   This is something that everyone should be aware of because it can be the difference that makes or breaks a space.  Always check that your contractor is using a high quality, durable paint, such as the Muralo Ultra used with the "Michelle Winick Color Collection".  It is necessary not only for the quality of the job, but to make the colors in the space look fabulous!  Happy Painting!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A question from a homeowner on choosing colors for a new construction

Q. I am in the process of building a new home, and I am trying to choose colors for every room of the house.  I picked up the fan deck from the Michelle Winick Color Collection, and the story boards with the color combinations, and I wanted to see what you recommend for a home with nothing but some tiles and cabinets in it? We do not have any furniture chosen yet.  Where do I begin with color choice? What products are best for me? My children are young, and my current homes walls are a mess! Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated!

A. Congrats on building a brand new home!   I work on a lot of new constructions and spec homes, and that is how I came up with the concept of the color collection-using usable, sophisticated colors that bring out the elements of all homes-stones, tiles, etc.  The best thing to do is choose paint colors that allow you to bring in color with furniture later on.  My recommendation is to start with the common areas, and then work your way out into the other spaces.  A safe bet is to keep the foyer and hallways (common areas) a neutral color, and then branch off into other colors.
    Start by choosing a color a palette you are comfortable with (mainly decide if you prefer browner neutrals, grayer neutrals or neutrals with a warmer tone).  If you are bringing in a granite or stone in the kitchen that is predominately beige/brown, the neutrals are the best place to start.  (MW-1, MW-2, MW-3 and MW-6 are usually tones that will be in a granite).  If you are bringing in lets say a carrara marble with gray tones, then start with the serenity and earthy palette (MW-15, MW-16 and MW-21 are all great grays from my color collection).  The warmth collection is great for warmer accents.  Now that you have a color palette that works with the bones of your house (stones, tiles, etc), start to bring in deeper tones in those palettes into the living room, family room, etc.  Those spaces are also great to keep somewhat neutral so you can bring in fabrics, etc.later on.
   Once you have your palette for those spaces, start to bring in accent colors (greens, blues, etc.) perhaps into powder rooms, dining room, study, office, etc. Allow the palettes (neutrals, serenity, etc.) in the collection to guide you. The palettes of your choice will work together in harmony throughout your home from room to room.  And don't forget about the coordinating trim and ceiling colors.  Those trim and ceiling colors are what tie the whole space together!
  Now as far as the paint itself is concerned, the Muralo Ultra is the "creme dela creme" of the paint industry.  The Ultra Matte would be my recommendation for the walls.  It is a durable finish, yet flat enough to hide imperfections in the walls (especially in new construction where nail pops and settling will occur).  It is also scrubbable for those little fingerprints!  For the trim I suggest the Muralo Ultra Semi-Gloss or Satin.  The semi-gloss will be more of a shine than the satin, and that is just a matter of preference.  For the ceiling, the Muralo Ultra Flat is the way to go.  It is a dead flat, which is what you want for a ceiling to hide any imperfections due to the house settling, etc.
  Good Luck and Happy Painting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Question of the day..."Which paint is right for me?"

"What kind of paint should I be looking for?"
 When I ask a homeowner what kind of paint is going in their home, they just tell me the brand, but do not know what line it is within the brand.  This question then this leads to this discussion...
     I often consider myself an advocate for homeowners when it comes time to make this investment into their home.  I always explain what is on the market, and just because a good brand name is behind the products, it does not mean that it is right product for you and your home.  Just when you thought choosing the color was the hardest thing, choosing the product can be just as tricky!
   How do you know what is right for your home and lifestyle?  Terms like-low VOC, zero VOC, eco-friendly, Green Guard, natural, earth friendly, high durability, scrubbable, etc. are some of the many things you hear, and the list goes on and on!  Every company has their different grades and lines of paint, and your job is to figure out which one is right for you.  You want to consider the quality and durability of the product on the top of your list.
   With all that is changing in this growing industry, how is one to keep up on this information and know what they really want and need?  I am going to give you a short guide to choosing what is right for your home when you are getting painting done.  Keep in mind that when doing the painting in your home that it is your house, and you want to know what is going in it. Do your research because you are the one that is paying for it, and living with it for years to come!

1. First have an idea of the colors that you are looking to use for the walls, ceiling and trim.  The "Michelle Winick Color Collection" gives you the guide to many of today's color trends and color combinations.

2. Once you know the tone of the color (light, medium, dark), you can then choose the sheen you prefer-flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss or high gloss.  Keep in mind that the higher the sheen, the more imperfections will show up when the painting is complete, and the higher the sheen, the more durability the paint has.  Darker colors on the walls also hold up better when a matte or eggshell is used vs a flat paint.
  2a) Typically Flat, Matte or Eggshell are the best for walls, Flat or Matte is best for the Ceiling, and Satin or Semi-gloss is best for trim.

3. Now that you have color and sheen, you want to determine what type of paint is best for you.  Some things to take into consideration are "do you have children or pets?",  "are these spaces high traffic?", "do you have allergies?".

4. For spaces that have children, pets or traffic to contend with, you want to make sure you use high quality paint for those areas with some sheen to them (Matte or Eggshell for the walls would be best!).  Believe me when I say that you will thank me later when you splurged the extra $20 for the gallon so that in 5 years your room still looks like the day you painted it!  The Muralo Ultra line from my color collection is the winner if you answered yes to any of these questions.  It is what I call the "creme dela creme" of all the paints on the market today.  It is Green Guard certified which is a bonus with this product, and it is self priming when going over a clean, previously painted surface.  I have rooms in my home painted with it, and it is fantastic!

5.  If allergies are something that are of serious concern to you, you will want to look into the Muralo BreatheSafe line.  This is a zero VOC product that has been created, and the quality is also great.

6. Next, make sure that you make a clear list of everything you want when you or the painting contractor go to the paint store.  You want to make sure you list the color, brand, line and sheen. (ex: MW-1 Ivory Stone, Muralo Ultra Matte).

7. Keep good records on what you purchase so that if touch ups are needed, you can always refer back to your list.

Happy Painting!