The Wolfram Alpha of Color

What Women Really Think
May 20 2009 2:18 PM

The Wolfram Alpha of Color


Ah, the blogosphere : hate the word, love the benefits. I was recently introduced to a fresh and charming blog, A Bloomsbury Life (author Lisa is sort of Vita Sackville-West meets Cameron Diaz), which led me to discover an insanely addictive website, . Do we recall my favorite feature from the late, great Domino , "Can this Outfit Be Turned into a Room?" Similar concept: if you have a photo of said outfit, or of a favorite painting or magazine cover or room, then you're well on your way to that room with Color Hunter.


All it takes is uploading your shot et voila, five of the most dominant (and usually pretty saturated) colors appear on the screen. Check out Lisa's results with a lovely Ruthie Sommers room from Domino at right. Such chicness! Totally reminds me of Lance and Harry's fabulous, tiny studio from Apartment Therapy. (Guilty admission: I tried three different images of my old apartment and all the schemes were HIDEOUS. Like, I was living inside a bottle of Chartreuse or something.)

Okay, I know not everyone will paint their hallway charcoal and add a melon-y shade (though I highly recommend it!), so let's analyze the Sommers-inspired palette and try to make a stylish living room with only these colors and by varying textures. I would paint the walls the buttery off-white (flat, maybe lightened a bit) with the lighter grey on trim (high gloss), or the reverse as in L&H's apartment. I actually like the unexpected contrast of the warm beige next to colder neutrals so I could see a sofa in this shade of cotton duck, piped in the dark charcoal or vermilion red. That's the safe route. Another option would be a bright red cotton sofa with a warmer wooden frame (a la L&H) and rich charcoal satin pillows for texture contrast, on a beige jute area rug sitting atop a wood floor painted deep grey or black. Either way a red lacquer coffee table would look terrific.

Whew, see how one could while away the hours? I'll get to my beef with Color Hunter: just what do those numbers refer to? First I thought Pantone , but no. It's maddening. In a perfect world the site would spit out Benjamin Moore (or, heck, Home Depot brand) colors with a link to purchase, available for pickup at a local store. Am I missing something? If not I fear the site's a bit like the much-hyped Wolfram Alpha search, completely remarkable but frustratingly limited.

Image is a screenshot courtesy of A Bloomsbury Life .



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