Insider Information and the Secret Codes

My domain. Needs a plant.
My domain. Needs a plant.

Many of you already have tremendous Paint Store Savvy. You know your way around the color names and the codes and the different palettes of colors. This post is for those of you who are in the process of ratcheting up your Savviness Factor.

Insider information is always helpful, and in this case, it’s even legal.

So, you are looking at wonderful colors and inspirational rooms on Houzz, Pinterest, and the HGTV shows and have jotted down the names of all the marvelous colors. The names are so wonderful! This is done on purpose by the crafty Paint Namers who know the power of The Word. There is always more than one good color choice; oftentimes it’s the appeal of the name of the color that is the tipping point.

Many of my clients see the name of a color as a mystical sign, and after living for more than 20 years in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I do not argue about mystical signs.

I have one client who chose all his interior shades based on the place names of where he’s been or where he wants to go: Costa Rica Blue for a huge ceiling in a sunny room, Stone Harbor for a bedroom’s walls, Bavarian Cream in an entryway and stairwell, and Mardigras Gold for a wild punch of color in a powder room. Don’t worry, it all works together really well.

Seriously, words are powerful.

BUT, in order to increase your Savviness Factor in the paint store, know the NUMERICAL CODE of the color. The number code sometimes includes 2 or 3 letters (as in AF-20, CSP-1010, CW-5). The letters identify which palette the color belongs to, and Benjamin Moore has 9 different palettes. With the numerical code in hand, you and/or the paint store professional will be able to find the paper color swatch or even make a pint sample pot in a speedy manner.

For example, AF-20 is the Mascarpone color in the Affinity Collection. Affinity is home to the famous earthy purple Caponata AF-650 and the delicious coffee-color Frappe AF-85. This palette is designed so that you can randomly choose any three colors and they will look beautiful together. Try it!

The Color Stories Palette (CSP). Perfectly Pesto CSP-895 is the erpiest olive-y green you have ever seen and it lives in the Color Stories Palette. In my view, the CSP colors are the royalty of Benjamin Moore. 127 colors. Complex. Very alive. Made with twice the number of pigments than other palettes, and gray or black pigments are never used. CSP’s can only be made in the top-of-the-line Aura paint formula. Feast your eyes on Sea Salt CSP-95, Lavender Wash CSP-515, Cosmopolitan CSP-100, Granny Smith CSP-860 and Dark Harbor CSP-720.

The Colonial Williamsburg palette is a fave collection. Complex, sophisticated shades. Nelson Blue CW-635 is the softest gray-blue-green you can imagine. in  This palette has the mysterious Bracken Cream CW-105, the complexion-friendly Franklin White CW-200, the steady and strong Greenhow Vermillion CW-335, the serious Palace Arms Red CW-255, deep Everard Blue CW-575, earthy Williamsburg Stone CW-25…oh, don’t get me started. One of my clients chose a Williamsburg color for every room in her fourteen room carriage house. She is devoted to the CW colors and I am, too. Oh, and don’t miss Tucker Orange CW-300.

That’s enough for you to process for now.I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with all these high level secrets. More soon about the Classic Collection, the Preview Collection, Historicals, America’s Favorites, and the OffWhites.

However, if you have only the color names and no number codes, it is not a color emergency. Fan decks have alphabetical lists on the last several pages and color names and codes can be looked up there. There are 9 different fan decks and the font size on those lists is about a 3pt, but, hey, go for it!

Go forth with confidence.

Love, Barbara


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