Friday, May 23, 2008

Community Colors - The Ripple Effect. Habitat for Humanity Silver Lake Blvd.

Success isn't always immediately obvious. I worked on a project a few years ago in Bend, Oregon that has proven to be very successful. I am sharing the result because I believe that each one of us can have a positive impact on our global community with actions that at the time may not create a big splash.

Fitting affordable housing into an upscale neighborhood is a difficult task in cities where property prices have outpaced wages, a situation that has happened in my town. Meeting this challenge in the city of Bend, Oregon, Habitat for Humanity developed the neighborhood hamlet of Silver Lake. They planned ten homes to integrate into an existing upscale neighborhood. Building small homes that would coordinate (rather than match) the surrounding Craftsman/Arts & Craft style inspired neighborhood, Habitat planned for Craftsman details to be added to the Silver Lake homes.

Reading about this plan I realized that despite the addition of woodsy front porches and trim, if all of the Silver Lake homes were painted the white and tan tones of the then usual Bend Habitat home, the vision of a lovely hamlet would fade into a cluster of mini track homes.

Calling Habitat, I got permission to approach a national paint company for a donation (this project was too big to rely on one local store for generosity). Benjamin Moore & Company said yes to my proposal and generously supplied free paint to the Silver Lake project for both the exterior and interior of the ten homes! This gift was valued at approximately $20,000.00 dollars! The local dealer for Benjamin Moore paints, Standard Paint & Abbey Carpet worked with the Bend branch of Habitat for Humanity to make the donation a success.

I developed a palette of exterior paint colors that the neighborhood invested into their covenants and restrictions. Clients could choose any paint colors they wanted from that exterior color palette.

Habitat clients, most of whom had never chosen their own house paint colors were ecstatic! I guided them in the paint color choosing process if they requested my support.

The Silver Lake project was so successful, that it won a local community award, the 2005 Bend Beautification Award. The city saw that Habitat’s concept worked, which led to two more Habitat neighborhood projects of ten homes each. I am very proud to be part of this project. It nurtured the seed of the idea to integrate affordable housing within a community into a successful reality. Thank you Bend Habitat for Humanity and Benjamin Moore!

See more of my color consulting work on my Project Portfolio website page.

See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website. Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.


  1. You are amazing, Cristina! The colors are beautiful, and the fact that you took on that entire project exemplifies volunteerism.

  2. Great thinking and great action on your part! That is really what all developments, low income or not - need - wonderful color choices. To think that COLOR was empowering for the people that got to choose it and the entire PROJECT. Kudos!!