Jessamy Tsoris has a calling, and it involves color. It's a gift she's always had, though it wasn't until recently that she decided to make a living at it. For years, she has been the go-to girl among her friends and family for decorating advice. Now, with her new thriving color consulting business, Color Zen, she can be everyone's go-to.
With a degree in art, Tsoris is fueled by creativity, beauty and the quest for the perfect hue.
"I absolutely love it and I cannot get enough of it," she says.
To her trained eye, there is perhaps nothing is more satisfying than transforming a bathroom with a coat of Revere Pewter, one of her favorite selections from Benjamin Moore, or adding life to a room with a splash of Pale Avocado.
Let's face it; it's not a talent we all possess.
Some customers come to her for help revamping a single room, while others have an entire unpainted, new construction house with which to contend. She's up for it all, and loves a good color challenge.
Here's how it works.
Tsoris meets with all her clients for a consultation in their home or office for which she charges between $75 and $90 per hour, depending on her involvement. From there, she interviews them about their ideas while showing them swatches and other materials. She then takes a solo tour through the space and jots down notes. By the time she leaves, a concept is born.
To make her clients feel more comfortable with their choices, she send them large color sheets in their chosen hues to hang and adjust to for a few days. If they decide it's too much or it's just not for them, Tsoris goes back to the drawing board.
Some people know what they're looking for and just need help picking the right shade. Others don't know how to pick a group of colors that work well together or neutrals that don't clash with their woodwork or countertops.
"I always tell people that this can be as involved or as simple as you want it to be," she says. "If you only want broad suggestions, that's great. If you want to take it to the point that I come back and take a look at the paint on the walls once it's complete, I'm OK with that, too."
The key to making a house or a business look really great is ensuring everything flows together and works as a whole, she says. And as a former graphic designer, she's practiced in pleasing clients, no matter how much their tastes differ from her own.
"I believe that you become more successful when you learn to put your personal preferences aside," she says. "And everyone's taste is so personal; it's what makes it so fun. You never really know what you're walking into."
So regardless of her hankering for hues such as Benjamin Moore's Branchport Brown or White Dove, Tsoris will always consider her customer's palette before her own. Still, she's current on interior design trends that can help bring a room up to speed.
She said she's seeing a lot of white and light neutrals with splashes of bright color. This could be an accent wall, or bright colors in the rug. This has shifted from a few years back, when rich, saturated colors -- and a different one in each room -- was popular.
While home decor accessories aren't necessarily part of Tsoris' services, she says she is available for consultation on the subject if the customer wants her opinion.
The only thing left to do?
Paint the room.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”