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Color TV: Interview with DIY Host Shannon Kaye

Earlier this year, the DIY Network challenged their viewers to help them build a log cabin. Week by week viewers were asked to go online and vote for choices in regard to location, building materials, décor, landscaping — and slowly the “Blog” cabin took shape.

blog-cabin_official-photo_cabin.jpgWith that done, DIY went to work and began building that cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains. The result? Some truly interesting home and garden TV. The best part? One lucky viewer will win the cabin when it’s done! Shannon Kaye, host of the DIY Network series Fresh Coat, sat down to talk with me about this unusual project, her role and left me with some easy decorating tips we can all use.

Shannon: As the host of Fresh Coat, a makeover show that uses just paint, I was excited to jump into the Blog Cabin project for the painting episode. I wanted to make sure that my contribution met with the standards of the work that had already been done. I wanted viewers to see how even a little bit of color can enhance a space. shannon-kaye_photos.jpgBut working on a project like Blog Cabin comes with its own unique set of challenges. Shannon: The biggest challenge on Blog Cabin was specifying the paint colors from photos. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and with the cabin being built in the Smokey Mountains, there was just no way to get out there in time to choose colors before we shot the painting episode. I’m a real fan of selecting colors in the space where they’ll be used, so making color choices from photos made me nervous. The team was great though; they must’ve sent me 50 pictures to help me understand the space. It was a huge relief to open the paint cans once I was there and find that the colors worked beautifully. This was a team effort that really came through. And speaking of team effort, what was it like building a project that was designed by non-designers? Shannon: Viewers voted to stick with solid paint colors for the walls, which I thought, was a good choice. There were so many beautiful materials and textures that the walls really didn’t need much to look terrific. I did throw in a little decoration, though. How much did the location and style of the cabin play into the décor? Shannon: Location and architecture are critical to choosing the colors and style in a space. I drew inspiration from the native trees to select a fresh green in the entry and looked to the beautiful golden wood tones in the cabin to select a warm kind of caramel sap color for the master bedroom. I created a large simple pinecone stencil for the master bedroom walls to give it a bid of a modern twist on a very traditional theme. The walls were painted a creamy golden color with the pinecones stenciled in crisp white and scattered broadly across the wall. The effect was country cozy with fresh clean detail. We also painted a simple rug pattern on the floor of an upstairs bedroom. I wanted to people to know that this was a common practice years ago and that simple broad details can enhance the quality of a space. Sounds too complicated for me! What if I just want to spruce up my living room? Where do I start? Shannon: Paint! It’s the quickest, most cost effective way to bring a room back to life. It’s important to use the right tools and invest in the time to do it well. Painting is relatively easy but it does take concentration and plenty of time for everything to turn out just right. A room can be painted beautifully in a weekend, but if you want to take on those kitchen cabinets or do all the kids rooms at once, you’re going to need some help and maybe an extra weekend or two to complete those bigger jobs. Another great way to spruce up a room is to update the window treatments. You don’t have to spend a fortune for some simple cream shades or gorgeous drapes in a striking new color. New colors, huh? I’ve thought about going bold and painting my bedroom red or an ocean blue but when it comes right down to it, picking colors overwhelms me. Shannon: Choosing a new color scheme is as easy as looking in your room. Use a favorite piece of artwork or accent pillow to build your color scheme. I like to take my inspiration piece to the paint store with me so I can hold several color chips next to it and see how they look. Then I bring a few color samples home with me to brush on the wall. Never buy a paint color without testing in your home first. It’s important to see a patch of color (about 2 ft square) on each wall of the house and take at look at those patches several times a day as the light changes. Testing with a few quarts of paint or the samples sizes many paint companies carry now, will save you an incredible amount of time and effort and money in the end. Planning and preparation are the key to a successful paint makeover. So Shannon, what if the unthinkable happened and their was only one paint color left in the world. Which color would you choose? Shannon: Hmm, color is so personal and the lighting in every space is so different. I couldn’t choose one color, but my preference for green has been strong my entire life. It represents newness, life, calmness, and hope. I generally end up incorporating some shade of green in most design schemes. Rich, thick olive colors are earthy and comfortable while bright apple green is vibrant and energetic. There’s pretty much a green for everyone. I like them all 🙂 With Blog Cabin, Fresh Coat and all of your other projects, you have a lot on plate! Where do you find the inspiration you need to keep creating? Shannon: Texture and pattern inspire me the most. I love experimenting with layers of color and shape to create beautiful surfaces and surroundings. And if people feel good and look good in a space that I’ve created than my inspirations have paid off. Watch Blog Cabin Thursdays at 9 and Fresh Coat Wednesdays at 3 on DIY. And don’t forget to enter to win the actual Blog Cabin at

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