Commercial or residential?
Here are two client stories about their own experiences in working with our color consulting services.

Clients sometimes write to me with a comment that is too long for the regular ‘testimonial/client comments’ section. Here are two, one is from a residential “HOA” condo group, and one is from commercial client. I hope you enjoy reading them!

Residential – HOA condo group
It was such a pleasure to work with Barbara Jacobs Color and Design as our condo association approached the task of repainting what has been best described as our 100 year old hulking gray battleship. Our large home in Jamaica Plain occupies a well traveled intersection in one of the more popular areas of town. Over the years it has been modified sporadically, with odd changes in detail here and there. Although far from ‘gingerbread style,’ it has lots of trim, though not much of it, at this point in its life, particularly beautiful. Our house could best be described as ‘interesting.’

Our mix of occupants can also be described as ‘interesting.’ The six owners get along very well, which can be unusual in a small condominium setting. We are, however, all quite different with varied tastes. Although we all trend somewhat toward the ‘artiness’ of Jamaica Plain, some of us are surprisingly conservative when it comes to real estate, and some of us would prefer to make a very bold statement. We approached the project knowing that the paint and repair job itself was going to be not just expensive, but difficult to live through; we feared our harmonious condo owner relationship could be at risk over something as simple as color choice.

Our solution? Call a color consultant. We looked online and found a few. We chose Barbara Jacobs and Integral Design because of her personal approach. Unlike other services, she did not have a cookie cutter plan for design. A real consultant, she did not want to simply have us mail photos of the house so she could return an edict on what was best for the building’s architecture and place.

Barbara arranged a time to meet with us as a group to gain an understanding of our personalities and thoughts about the future of the building. In advance, she suggested that we all look around and think about the houses whose paint schemes we like, and why. In the meeting, Barbara facilitated a discussion during which she heard from each of us individually and at length, and followed up with questions and thoughts. She drew out opinions and considerations that we did not know were there, and we discovered things about one another’s perspectives on the house and its place in the community that we were unaware of. She encouraged us to think about the buildings around us and their colors, the level of property maintenance in the neighborhood, the size of our building and its corner location, what we each wanted to come home to in the evening, and of course, resale value. We looked at pictures of other homes in the neighborhood we had taken, and Barbara talked with us individually and in groups about the pros and cons of each scheme and what the possibilities might have been. Before leaving that day, Barbara spent considerable time photographing each section of the house and considering its appearance from various angles.

The paint scheme possibilities that Barbara returned to us were clearly well thought out, and were remarkable in their capacity to address our varied desires for the look of the house. Three different options all seemed to fit – sophisticated, simple, appealing to a broad audience, yet bold with options to go bolder should we choose. We were all quite impressed. She ordered paint color samples from Benjamin Moore sent to our home, with enough ‘chips’ for us each to take our time with them. She checked in frequently via phone and email with our designated in-house coordinator who fielded questions and comments from fellow owners. She explained each option thoroughly and took the time to offer alternative detail plans.

Amazingly, we all agreed on a scheme quite easily, knowing that any of the three options would be a quality choice. None of the colors were any that we had individually considered, and yet, they were all just right for us. Post-choice, Barbara carefully wrote out her plan for the painters, displaying the names and identification numbers for each color, with a colored block next to it, on a spreadsheet, explaining also in prose which part of the building it was for. This was no easy task, as aforementioned, our building has been modified irregularly over the years, with six different porches with various railing styles, and varied window trims and details from side to side. She discussed possibilities with us as we reviewed it, noting that there were of course different ways to look at different parts of trim, and that there was room to adjust. When the painters needed further guidance, she offered to come onsite, and further helped us to designate areas on photographs for them.

As the project progressed, Barbara checked in frequently to make sure there were no further questions or concerns. When the question of an additional accent color was raised, she called us while traveling to offer solutions. Her genuine interest in our success made us all feel terrific about the project. Barbara has a very reasonable cost structure and will work within the budget presented. She was very clear about what the costs would be for which services, and was willing to make adjustments as necessary to fit our sometimes changing needs.

Our condominium’s investment in Barbara Jacob’s service was one of the best our association has made. On the most basic level, it ensured harmonious relationships within the building. On a higher level, it made us realize just how difficult it is to put together a color scheme that actually works and will hold up over time, and how extraordinarily helpful expert opinion in this area can be. It made it possible for us to address the structural issues the building faced and the significant financial commitment and consideration they required, without having to worry about bickering over color. We all wound up with a building we are proud to come home to, enjoy looking at, and feel confident will reap improved return on our individual investments when it comes time for any one of us to move.

I highly recommend talking to Barbara before you embark on what may well be your most important real estate investment.


Jamaica Plain, MA

ReDesign of a Commercial Space
Working with Barbara on renovating the common areas of our office building in Arlington was an absolute pleasure.  Our property provides office space and shared waiting areas for many professionals who are primarily in the therapy field, including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, MSW’s, and others.  The waiting areas and bathrooms had not been renovated in years and were in need of a complete facelift.

While initially hired as our color consultant for the interior painting work, Barbara surveyed the entire 10,000 square foot property, taking pictures of every nook and cranny from every possible angle, and then went back to her drawing board to create an entirely new vision for the spaces.  Working with a blank slate, she chose paint colors throughout the spaces for the walls, trims, baseboards, and coving throughout while taking into account the natural and artificial light available in each area.  In addition, she researched countless carpet books and spec’ed attractive carpeting throughout, including border and inlay carpets in some of the areas, all of which perfectly complemented the paint palettes chosen.  She also helped advise us on our choice of tiling for the bathrooms and recommended a lighting designer that we used to update all of the lighting fixtures.

The implementation of Barbara’s ideas and specifications resulted in a complete transformation of the property, which is what we had hoped for.  I would highly recommend Barbara to anyone looking for color consulting or any design ideas if they’re interested in working with a true professional, who delivers creative, tasteful, and highly detailed specifications in a timely manner.  Having renovated and developed many houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, and office and retail properties over the years, I understand how difficult it can be to find someone who is both creative and professional as often these two traits do not go hand-in-hand.  Barbara gets the highest references for me on both counts and was always willing to go above and beyond whenever we had a question or needed a quick answer.

W. Kaplan, owner
Arlington, MA