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  • Writer's pictureDesigner James Treble

The Power of Three

When meeting new clients I’m often asked how to best balance a Colour scheme for the external of their new or soon to be renovated home. The simplest rule I refer to in giving guidance or finding a starting point is “the power of three”!

So what do I mean by this? Within the unwritten rules of design there are certain processes which work in the natural world and which can assist in making manmade structures “sit” in their location, that is, seem to feel right in their location.

The way this relates to architecture is with looking at how 3 different finishes, elements or Colours can create interest and yet still provide balance and harmony to a given structure. To better illustrate this with a house facade, picture a home which has one building material, just bricks for example, or one Colour only like the roof and walls matching . This scheme lacks life; it will be a safe choice but will easily look and feel be boring.

If you think how a large modern rendered home can look, dominating its street scape! Team this up with an all white or cream Colour scheme, no or little architectural details and windows or garage door also in the same Colour, and you have a soulless block, which ‘doesn’t talk’ to the other houses in the street let alone have any real character itself! Now picture the house next door, with its mixture of face brick, small rendered detail in the form of a portico or garage surround and team this up with a contrasting roof Colour and garage door! This combination of 3 different finishes can create a well balanced interesting home, which is comfortable to look at and at ease within its environment!

This is not a new concept, I grew up in a 60′s red brick house in Carlingford, on a wide block, it had three different plains in its facade with the walls of the lounge, bed 2& bed 3 sitting slightly forward of each other, added to this were sandstone window sills, ( a very flash thing for a 60′s home to have!) and anodised aluminium windows, and this home had 3 different finishes, and even with its red scheme it still worked!

Even in nature the power of 3 is evident, think of how a landscape design works. One row of small border planting, a second row of shrubs and then a third row of taller screening plants and this comfortable setting provides a well balanced design, protection for each layer of planting from the elements and is also very pleasing to the eye!

So when you are next considering a new Colour scheme or are wishing to change your internal or external Colour scheme take notice of what is going to be the main finish, and consider how the power of three can help you achieve a well balanced and comfortable design alternative.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.


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