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Inside the Design: Choosing Color

Category: All Category: Inspiration


Over the years, the product designers here at Schoolhouse have introduced many custom colors to the world, often helping to define the products with which they’re used: The Studio Lamp in Industrial Yellow, the Foundry Desk in Sargent Green, and The Schoolhouse Electric Clock in Persimmon are just a few examples. When developing a new product, our product design team is looking for something more than just a pleasing tone. Every color is carefully chosen to tell a story and give a voice to the product, and every collection is tightly edited to make the most out of those color stories.

“Color is incredibly important when developing a new product.” says Product Development Lead Jenny Trygg. “We are always looking at vintage spaces, furniture, products and textiles for color inspiration. The goal is to select colors that will bring life to your home or office for years to come.” Many good examples of this meticulous color curation can be found in our recently launched Fall Collection, which takes inspiration from the Detective Building as well as the culture of the city where the store is located, Pittsburgh. Let’s take a look at the story behind some of our favorite colors in this new assortment.

Andy Collection

The most visible color story in the new Fall Collection can be found in the Andy Collection, a set of modular stools and tables that overflows with personality. Familiar yet fresh, the collection strikes a balance between pops of color and neutral tones that can be deployed in a variety of settings. The tables are available in four base colors—Ash, Lichen, Pool, and Toffee—with table top options that include Oak and Parchment. The stools are available in the same base options, but each option comes with its own unique color of vegan leather: Ash pairs with Tobacco, Lichen with Forest, Pool with Midnight, and Toffee with Ochre.

Each of these color combinations were specially selected to be mixed with ease while avoiding feeling overly match-y. “We find that spaces are more welcoming when everything doesn’t match perfectly. Mix over match is a mantra we use often,” says Jenny.

The preference for mixing colors over matching is foundational here at Schoolhouse, but in this circumstance, there was another reason it was part of the color choosing rationale—the goal was for the collection to feel reminiscent of the incidental color stories that pop up naturally in institutional settings like schools and offices. Put another way, the product design team wanted to make the Andy Collection feel like it could have occupied the Detective Building throughout its years in operation.

Rogers Ottoman

Taking its name from Pittsburgh-native Fred Rogers, the Rogers Ottoman is as refined yet playful as the beloved entertainer himself. Each piece in this family is upholstered in fabric that looks and feels like it could have been sewn into one of Mr. Rogers’ sweaters. The Brushed Navy Cotton colorway is sophisticated and stately, while the Orange Wool version is bright, fun, and unexpected. Tying these two colorways together is the Confetti Tweed version, which reads neutral from a distance but reveals itself to contain a multitude of brilliant colors upon closer inspection. All three ottomans feature a base hand-crafted from richly textured walnut.

Pittsburgh Edition Ion Lamp and Pittsburgh Edition Steel Waste in Butterscotch

This specially developed high-gloss Butterscotch paint features prominently in the Fall Collection on the Pittsburgh Edition Ion Lamp and Pittsburgh Edition Steel Waste Basket. High-gloss butterscotch isn’t new to Schoolhouse—it was first used on the Alleghany Indoor/Outdoor Sconce—but it found a new voice in the Detective Building.

“We wanted to bring the butterscotch into the Detective Building because we found the warmth of the butterscotch was the perfect counterpoint to the liberal use of raw concrete throughout,” says Jenny. “Neutral tones are integral to our favorite interior spaces, but without some thoughtful incorporation of color a space can easily fall flat, or feel sterile.” From Butterscotch to Navy, Tobacco to Lichen, these colors tell a story we’re excited to share again and again.  


Shop Fall 2018



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