They write scripts for television shows, sketch fashion accessories for renowned men's boutiques, and study worldwide trends and themes for the latest in home merchandise – all in spaces that spark their artistic side. Here, three creative men take time away from their laptops, sketchbooks, travel itineraries and fabric swatches to share their wall-color selections and inspirations.
Gary Babcock, senior vice president of fashion and merchandising for Ohio-based Arhaus Furniture, gravitates toward grays when he wants to clear his mind of clutter. Enter his 1832 Ohio farmhouse, and you'll likely find him in his library, thanks to the room's inviting wall colors.
"The library's gray shade is so welcoming &ndash it enables me to get to that place where I can think on a much deeper level," says Babcock.
Three of the room's walls boast a "restful" gray. "It's either Dovetail (SW 7018) or Essential Gray (SW 6002)," he says. The remaining wall features a large alcove, which Babcock finished in stripes using the same shade of gray along with an elegant beige.
"The room reflects my personality," he says. "People tell me I'm calm, cool and collected. I'm just not a frantic person."
Lately, Babcock, who travels the world in search of the latest inspirations for home furnishings, has been studying hues from the green color family. Given it's both his and his company's goal to use refurbished, salvaged or eco-friendly materials more often in their products, "green" is a natural fit for him. Several Arhaus tables and occasional pieces are made of salvaged materials – such as wood rescued from a razed barn or from a beached sailboat.
"I accessorize with sustainable elements now, so painting the walls an earthy shade of green feels like the next step," says the father of two. "It's a wonderful color to incorporate into any home, because it brings the outside in." His green contemplations include Houseplant (SW 6727), Arugula (SW 6446), Garden Spot (SW 6432), Mesclun Green (SW 6724), Lime Rickey (SW 6717) and Overt Green (SW 6718).
Dressing your walls
K. Cooper Ray – designer, founder of the fashion and etiquette website SocialPrimer.com and 13th-generation Southerner – believes that the colors and patterns on your walls are as important as those in your closet.
"I change room colors with the seasons," says Ray, whose mannerly blog site is a veritable beacon for men in search of trends, fashion, etiquette and more. "You wear wools and plaids in the winter and linens and cottons in the summer, so change up your paint palette, too. Make it your own."
Recently, Ray worked with Brooks Brothers to create the "Social Primer for Brooks Brothers Bow Tie Collection". Eight different ties make up this collection, and each features two distinct patterns made from Brook Brothers vintage fabrics. Tied properly (or not), each bow tie shows a contrasting left and right side pattern. Ray's neckwear is nothing short of creative.
"I love paint like I love fabric and use it almost interchangeably," says Ray from his home office in Charleston, S.C. "Sometimes I want a clean neutral canvas for a lot of artwork or crazy patterned furniture." In that case, he uses Rice Paddy (SW 6414), "a nice cream-beige-antique white that gives the room a comfortable, traditional backdrop on top of which I toss some crazy adornments."
Currently, a string of brightly colored nautical flags hangs from Ray's ceilings and walls (he's a big-time sailor). The flags inspired him to paint his hardwood stairs a red with navy and white stripes. "It looks like a great big flag and makes me smile every time I hit those stairs."
Recalling his pre-"Rice Paddy" days, Ray thinks fondly of his now-painted-over "Charleston" green-and-yellow-striped living room wall. "I was in a stripe frenzy back then and really went to town with them. That's the great thing about paint – it's not permanent, so change it up!" says Ray. (Sherwin-Williams offers historically accurate paint color palettes for both interiors and exteriors.)
From zap to nap
Ed Zuckerman, TV writer, journalist and author, knows all about frenzied energy and how he used to get invigorated by his wall colors.
"Back in my young, single days, in college and post-college, when I lived in apartments, I generally painted the walls a bright gold," says Zuckerman. "The color was similar to Glitzy Gold (SW 6691) from the Restless Nomad collection. That color was really energizing." Zuckerman also finds Habanero Chile (SW 7589) from the Bold Invention collection stimulating. "Perhaps I'd be less prone to nap now if l had walls those colors!"
Today, his home office walls are much more soothing, clad in a white with a hint of green. "It's a color my wife chose – somewhere between Spinach White (SW 6434) and Green Glaze (SW 7128). It's a color that calms me."
Their palettes may be varied, but these creatives' wall colors inspire them to turn out imaginative and artistic work, while also offering glimpses of their personalities.