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About Alexander Calzadilla

Alexander Calzadilla is a Cuban male originally from Philadelphia, who has happily called Miami his home since moving here at the age of 15. He attended Southwest Sr. High School and Florida International University, ultimately receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. While in college, he began working as a paralegal for the Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Reichenbacher, a position he kept for seven years after graduation. He subsequently worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Associates before landing at Costa Nursery. After distinguishing himself with many accomplishments, he was promoted to the position of Director of Specialty Products, which included the orchid, bonsai and lucky bamboo departments. When Alex was first put in charge of the three departments, they ranked near the bottom. By the time he left Costa after seven years, Alex had transformed the floundering departments into unqualified successes, posting record earnings, sales and profitability. In 2008 Alex was named the Costa Employee of the Year. Alex now puts his formidable prowess as a businessman into his newest venture, Avant-Garde Home Furnishings, LLC, serving as Managing Partner.

About Avant-Garde

We offer home furnishings and decor for every area of your home,both inside and out, always striving to bring you the most current design elements being used by today's top designers, at a fraction of their retail cost. Whether you are completely redecorating an area of your home, looking for the perfect accent piece to finish off an existing room, shopping for a unique gift, or simply "window shopping" to get design ideas, Avant-Garde is the place to go for everything modern & contemporary for your home.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Color... Diferent ideas and a great article

Kate Smith's article appeared in a Glidden advertorial in the September 2010 House Beautiful magazine
This article appeared in a
Glidden™ Paint advertorial in the
September 2010 issue of
House Beautiful magazine

 A color options article by:

Written by Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH   

So you’re ready for a change—but with so many colors out there to choose from, how do you find the right one for you? Let Sensational Color’s Kate Smith show you the way, with three easy tips that will help you find your perfect color—and kick start your painting project.
Q: I want to spruce up my home, but picking the wrong color keeps me up at night. Where do I start?
A: First, you want to choose an atmosphere you’d like to come home to day after day. Maybe you’re craving a place where you can kick up your heels, or maybe it’s a lively, fun space for entertaining. Glidden™ Paint can help you get inspired with their Top 10 color palettes selected by design experts. Check out Top 10 Quiet Time Colors, or for something more dynamic, see what a pop of color can do with Top 10 Accent Colors. Still not sure? See the full array of Top 10 palettes at
Q.  I just picked a color family but there are so many great shades to choose from. What can I do?
Try a simple designer trick and ask yourself, “What’s in my closet?” If your hangers are filled with lavenders and soft yellows, then you’re most comfortable and happywith feminine, ladylike hues. If those drawers are packed with ochre and indigo, you might feel more comfy in a room that has a rugged spirit. It’s an easy way to see which colors you’re naturally drawn to. We decorate our homes like we decorate ourselves— so what could be more exciting than realizing you already know exactly what you like?
Q: I’ve heard a lot about warm and cool colors, but I’m not sure what’s right for me?
A: When you’re looking at your Glidden™ color palette, warm neutrals like Elegant Ivory or Shell White make you feel calm and cozy. Dove White or Quiet Rain are cool and feel refreshing, like a mint. If you’re still not sure, visit a Glidden Color Center at The Home Depot and bring home some ready-to-go testers. They come with built-in brushes— available in every color. Put them up on the wall and see what feels right to you.

Does Selecting Paint Color Scare Hue?
Whether the white walls are starting to turn gray or you inherited a circa 1980 color scheme that you just can’t live with, you know it’s time for a change—a big one. But, if you’re like most people, the thought of choosing paint colors leaves you a bit green.
Never fear! Inspiration is all around you. This quick start guide will help you find the paint colors that will make you proud to show off that designed-by-you room.
  • Keep your eyes open – Have you ever hiked along a trail and admired the many shades of green? Did you ever stop for a moment to look at the lush, blooming flower pots on a neighbor’s front porch? When you see shades that make you stop and take notice, you can start to add those to your list of go-to colors.
  • Go pro – No, that doesn’t mean you need to invest in a professional interior designer. If you’re a Nervous Nelly about choosing a color, turn to the professionally-chosen schemes featured in magazines. You might check out the layouts in a home interior magazine or, perhaps, a gossip rag with a layout featuring a celebrity’s meticulously decorated home. Take note of the colors and styles that speak to you.
  • Take a trip – We all have that special spot, whether it’s a white sand beach or mountain retreat. Flip through your favorite vacation pics, noticing any of the colors that take you right back to that time and place. It might be the blue roof of a church on Santorini or the hues of a Peruvian textile. Capture that feeling every day by incorporating those colors into your room.
  • Keep your camera phone or digital camera handy – You never know when inspiration will strike. Perhaps you see a display of funky green ottomans at the warehouse store. Maybe you’ll drive by a restored Victorian house with just the color scheme you’re looking for. While the color on the screen may not be exact, it will still give you a good feel for what arouses your eye.
Inspiration is not just for the Michelangelo’s of the world. By opening your eyes to the things you already know and love, you will choose paint colors without fear—and with confidence.

Most Flattering Color to Paint a Bathroom

For a room that often isn't very large figuring out what color to paint the bathroom often turns into a big problem for many homeowners.  A few easy to think about guidelines can make picking a color much simpler.

Today a reader asked for advice on picking paint color for her bathroom.  Here is her color dilemma.
"I have a question.  I am remodeling my bathroom at home and was wondering what paint color makes you look your best.  I have a friend who has taken some interior design classes and told me that green tends to make people look/ and feel sick; therefore, I changed my initial plan.  Can you please help?"  --Melissa

Thanks for your question Melissa.  Here's what I as a way to think about paint color for your bathroom.  Start with the end result in mind.  This will help you narrow your color choices and then you can focus on finding just the right hue for your bathroom.

Flatter your guests
If this is a guest bath and your goal is to create a backdrop that is flattering for anyone when they look in the mirror Then consider tints or tones inspired by skintones.  These would be hues in the peach to pink to warm beige ror soft tan.  These are colors that easily flatter just about everyone no matter their coloring.
paint, color, colour, bathroom, best, color dilemma
Bathroom painted with Valspar Paint Color: Peach Taffy

For hair salons and other professional establishments, I almost always recommend that they go the pinky-peach route because most people will look great surrounded by it when looking in the mirror.  When your business is making people look good this is exactly what you want a customer to think when they glance in the mirror to see their freshly styled hair.

You could also consider a color like turquoise that looks good on everyone too but this may not be as easy a color to work into your decorating scheme.

Make a decorating statement
For a guest bath however you might have the desire to chose a color that makes a decorating statement.  That' can work well and often a rich or dark color that accents your decor can turn your guest room into a little jewel.  No need to worry about whether the color flatters your guest.  They will probably be too busy admiring your beautiful decorating scheme to be looking at themselves anyway.  just choose a color that feels great to you in the room and make the statement you have in mind.

One thinkg to note however about color that make a statement.  With colors that are  very vibrant they will seem to bounce off the walls in a small room and you and your guest might feel the same way.  If you really want a bold, bright color in the bathroom consider it on just one wall and use artwork or accessories to bring in more of the same or other bold colors.

Make it your perfect color!
Your friend is right that greens and yellows, as well as many other colors, can be unflattering for some people.  For your private bath however you can easily go with any color that flatters you...even green if that is a color you normally wear and feel great in.
If you share the bath you could pick a color that looks great on both of you or at least consider are the one picking and painting after all.

Having a garage is great but having one that dominates the front of your home can be a design challenge.  I have found that the biggest mistake homeowners make is to use color to draw too much attention to the garage doors rather than downplaying them.  This is even more pronounced on a home with a protruding garage that already dominates the view of the home. 

In some custom homes the garage doors add to the architectural detail and it makes sense to have them standout.  However, the vast majority of homes have standard or unattractive garage doors and it is best to have them blend rather than  contrast with the main color of the home.
Here are my general DO’s and DON’Ts for painting garage doors:
  • DO paint the garage doors in the same color as the house itself and not the trim color or white (unless white is your house color) if you want to keep them from standing out. Painting the garage doors the same colors as the body of the house may also make your home appear larger.
  • DO paint the trim around the doors either to match the door or to match the trim on the rest of your home.  Usually it looks best if it is the same as on the rest of your home but there are times when it may look better to not call attention to the trim with a contrasting color.
  • DON’T paint the garage doors in the same accent color as the front door or shutters. This usually draws too much attention to the garage doors and chops up the facade of the home.
  • DON’T highlight the details of a standard garage door by painting the door in more than one color. There are historic or special doors where this may be appropriate but for the majority of garage doors this would not be the way to go.
If the home is brick rather than find a color that is very close to that of the brick, I recommend identifying the color cast of the brick and use that as a guide for selecting a paint color.
The bricks in a home may basically be red but will have a cast of another color such as beige or gold or gray. The best bet is to find a close color match to the cast color.  For example if your bricks have a beige cast paint the siding and garage doors in a shade of beige. This guarantees that the siding and garage door colors will harmonize with the rest of the home and give you nice curb appeal.
To continue to draw the focus away from the garage and to the entrance of your home select a beautiful color for the front door and draw attention to you entry with lighting, colorful plants and flowers, or an interesting bench or other tasteful element near the door.

Neighbors Outraged Over Yellow Home
yellow, paint, exterior, color, colour, color dilemmaStand out but don't clash is sound advice for painting the exterior of any home and a good thing to keep in mind as you express yourself with color and style.  Having a home with a striking exterior can be both an asset and source of pride for its owners.  Having a home that stands out like a sore thumb on the other hand can cause a rift with your neighbors and can reduce the value of your home when you decide to sell.

A clashing or bold exterior paint color can become an issue that impacts an entire community as is the case with this reader.  He asked me for some advice to a color dilemma that has some outraged over their neighbors choice of color for their home.

I live in a planned community, and people have recently started painting their houses.  I think it's fantastic - instead of 83 houses the same shade of dull off white, there're some darker greens, burnt oranges, lighter and darker blues.  Maybe 5 or 6 of the houses in the neighborhood have been painted different colors.

Recently one home (unfortunately, near the entrance to the neighborhood, where everyone could see it) was painted yellow.  Outraged residents immediately started posting on our neighborhood website that it was "highlighter yellow", and all our property values would go down. The only reason it stands out so much is because so many other houses have the nasty beige and off white paint that was applied by the developer en masse 7 years ago.

So my question is, how to deal with these people who feel so emotional about the color of other people's homes when they feel their investment in their home is threatened by change?

Here's what I suggested to help calm the color and the community.

You have already hit upon the primary reason that this color created such a negative reaction in your situation.  It is not simply the color that people are responding to, since some studies show that people respond positively to homes painted yellow and that they sell faster on average than any other color.  In this case, it is that the yellow home seems out of sync in a neighborhood of beige and white homes.
Many times a color that would be admired in one setting may be unwelcome in another.  If all the homes in your neighborhood were painted in dramatic colors, then the bright yellow home probably would not have caused a stir.  Since it is currently only one of a very few homes that are different, it would stand out regardless of the color.  However, the fact that it is painted a bright color calls even more attention to this fact.  It does seem likely that a fair number of others in the community will choose to move away from the current scheme and add color to their homes based on what you are seeing already.  As more and more homeowners paint their properties this home will not stand out quite so much.  While the bright yellow may never blend in it will stand out less among homes that are a variety of colors than it currently does among its white and beige counterparts.

I agree that having the homes painted in a variety of colors is much more appealing than the limited palettes most builders use when building home today.  Just about any color can work in any community but what it comes down to is finding a version of the color that blends with the neighborhood or stands out in a subtle, unobtrusive manner.  As the owners of this home are finding out trying to make a bold, personal statement with a color that clashes with the homes around it may not be well received.

With many people voicing their negative opinion of the color choice after the review committee approved it, the homeowners association may react by attempting to restrict colors or limiting choices in the future in some way.  While this may appease those concerned in the short-term it could serve to insure that this house remains out of sync with the neighborhood. So any direction set by the homeowners association should be done with the guidance of someone that has knowledge of how to assess a home and community for the overall best impact of particular color or color combinations.

In the meantime, if a homeowner wants to lessen the impact of a particular home in their neighborhood when it comes time to sell, then I can suggest a couple of things that they might do.  First inform their real estate agent of their concern and ask that prospective buyers be directed to their home by a route that avoids a direct view of the home to lessen the impact of a strong color.  Since you mention that the home in is near the entrance to your community this might not be possible.

For homeowners bordering the property they could plant a tree or trees with dense foliage to break the visual field up thus reducing the effect of a large area of bright color.  One tree or a small grouping of trees can be enough to give the viewer a different impression of the color.

Another thing to note is that our reaction to color is very personal and occurs both consciously and unconsciously, so if someone truly dislikes the color it is unlikely that you will change their mind.  But know that even when someone strongly dislikes a color that as they view it over time they have less of a negative reaction to it.

It seems that a bit of time and distance are the only suggestions I can offer to you. I wish there was some magic answer I could provide since you care enough about your community to have asked the question.  I hope what I have shared can in some way help you maintain harmony among your neighbors. 

Choosing Exterior Paint Colors that Last
"Painting the exterior of you home is a major investment so you will want to make sure it will look good for many years to come.  To get the facts on the science behind having the color last I went to an expert Ed Edrosa, Product Manager for Dunn-Edwards Paints.  Here's what Ed has to say about picking the perfect color for your homes' exterior." ~Kate Smith

COLOR is an important and powerful tool in exterior painting.  Color can enhance or create attractive features in a home or commercial building.  However, beyond aesthetics the most essential thing to consider when choosing exterior colors is longevity.

Exterior Paint Color, Colour, Choosing Paint Colors that LastEven though paint technology has improved considerably, it is a scientific fact that color selection has a strong influence on paint performance.  The amount of ultraviolet (UV) light absorbed or reflected by the color affects how long a paint job will last.

While dark colors on trim can provide a pleasant contrast and draw attention to architectural detail, they are much more prone to fading.  Dark colors also pose more maintenance problems.  Dark colors absorb heat and suffer more moisture problems than lighter shades.  That's why lighter colors last longer and fade less than dark colors.  And because dark colors fade faster, they are more difficult to touch up.

Here are other things to consider when choosing exterior paint colors that last longer:

Be aware of color limitations

Certain colors are not recommended for exterior use.  Others are alkali-sensitive and should not be used on highly alkaline surfaces, such as new masonry.  Most paint manufacturers have symbols or icons printed on the color chips that provide this information.

Consider the exposure of the surface to be painted

Exposure direction has a significant impact on color retention.  Southern exposures receive the most UV light, which can produce the greatest color loss problems.

Organic colors tend to fade more quickly then inorganic colors

Inorganic colors (beiges, browns, tans, and other earth-tone colors) are more stable on exterior exposure.  The pigments used in these colors are less likely to break down then the pigments in organic colors such as reds, blues, greens and yellows.  This is especially true in dry, hot climates, such as Arizona and Nevada, where the intense UV exposure exerts a heavy toll on exterior paint.

Always use high-quality paints for superior color retention

All else being equal, high-quality paints are outstanding for holding their color when exposed to the elements.  High-quality paints not only exhibit better adhesion to the surface to which they are applied, they are also more resistant to chalking - a process that can rob an exterior paint of its color.  Investing the time to carefully select the paint color for your property will pay off measurably.







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