Ginnie and Janie of Yolo Colorhouse

Ginnie and Janie of Yolo Colorhouse

Leela Cyd
Dec 29, 2011

How do people live green in their everyday life? What motivates and inspires them? In Re-Nest's new column, Creative People, Living Green, I interview interesting people I meet to find out their habits, thoughts, creative pursuits, business ventures, and green living wisdom.

Ginnie and Janie started Yolo Colorhouse, a premium zero VOC interior paint company, in 2005. Since then, they've been at the forefront of green design, creating luscious colors inspired by fine art. Join us for an interview and tour of their gorgeous Portland, Oregon studio. See more photos below:

Ginnie and Janie both have backgrounds in fine art and painting. For many years they created whimsical murals and paintings in homes. Eventually, this work led to the team developing their own line of non-toxic, zero VOC interior paints. Their attuned sense of color variation and how a palette can come together in an architectural space is quite something. Their paints are available online as well as 20 Lowes stores on the West Coast and nationally at Home Depot.

These ladies draw inspiration from a variety of sources—from design conferences such as the 100% Design Show in London, to art galleries, dance performances and the natural world around them. They look to color trends in fashion and see what sticks around for a few seasons before potentially turning a muted version of this color into a paint. It's amazing how observant, detailed and creative this field of color development can be. Splashy, bright and punchy to muted, subtle and relaxing, Ginnie and Janie create color with distinct personality. And, even better, their paints are bound solely with water, instead of toxic chemicals, creating a low impact product that benefits both us and the environment.

Green Profile


What does a typical day look like?
A roller coaster. There's no typical day. Every day has its own surprises. We have a small team, so we all wear many different hats. On any given day, we could be working on trend palettes, working on a pitch for more distribution, working on social media campaigns, working on spreading the word with a tiny budget, meeting with dealers, meeting with vendors, celebrating little victories and pulling together when we feel defeat.

The term "green living" can be so generic. What does it mean to you?
Living simply and with as little impact on the earth as possible. It's a mindset, a lifestyle, a value system. We're lucky to live in a place where the majority of people in our community have a similar mindset. It's easier when you can support and learn from each other and all strive for the same goals. It continues to evolve and be a work in progress.

 What inspires you?
People who make ideas come to life through art, music, dance, small businesses, and other creative endeavors. We just saw a play in New York called War Horse. It was so inspiring on so many levels—the story, the sculptures they call "puppets," the set. It was amazing and we were both buzzing with inspiration when we walked out of the theater.

We're also inspired by graffiti, gardening, colors in rocks. We try to be observant and open, and we never know where the next source of inspiration will come from. We capture what inspires us through a blog that we write for YOLO Colorhouse.
The one thing you can't live without:
Color, and maybe wine. Friends and family are nice to have around, too.
Favorite quote or personal mantra you live by?
We believe the world can be more colorful and less volatile.

Thanks Ginny and Janie for showing us around your studio!

Visit Yolo's Site: Yolo Colorhouse

Read Ginny and Janie's blog: Yolo Colorhouse Blog

Related: Robin Carlisle of Holiday Hair, Creative People, Living Green

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross. Originally published 2011-08-16)

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