Meet your merchant: ‘Architect of color’ finds rewarding career in transforming spaces with new hues in Grass Valley
Color consulting for architectural spaces
Rachel Gamolsky, consultant
Next workshop: 6 p.m. on Oct. 10, “How to Choose a Painter.”
Knights Paint, 1219 Sutton Way Grass Valley
Rachel Gamolsky has always had an active imagination. As a child, while her friends were playing in the school yard, she would venture out to construction sites.
“I did it for fun,” she said. “I would stand there and imagine what I would do if I were building the structure, including the windows, the shapes, the colors. I could visualize what it would all look like.”
Born in Germany to Israeli and German parents, Rachel (pronounced “Raquel”) Gamolsky moved to Israel when she was just 6 years old. A product of two countries that both possess a rich cultural and architectural heritage, she was fascinated by the ancient Muslim, Christian and Jewish sites of Israel, as well as the well-preserved palaces of the Middle Ages in Germany and Vienna.
Later, as a young woman, her urge to explore took her to the cathedrals of France and England, India’s Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt, the ruins of Greece, the temples of Mexico, among others.
In the early ’90s, Gamolsky moved to the foothills of California, and opened a floral design studio. Despite her rural lifestyle, her work became widely known and she continued to travel, serving private clients in their homes, offices and galleries.
“I focused on coordinating large events, galas and formal dinners,” she said. “I continued traveling and had the good fortune of working with remarkable florists all over the world, often participating in large-scale events in London, Rome and Tel Aviv.”
In 1997, she spent a year studying classical and baroque architecture and interiors in Rome, an experience that began to shift her focus to color harmonies in interior and exterior spaces.
“I loved being a floral designer — I did it for 20 years. But when you work with an ephemeral medium, an incredible amount of work goes into something that doesn’t last — it’s also an incredible physical undertaking,” she said. “I realized I had a lot to offer when it came to architectural color and design.”
Gamolsky began taking classes with the International Association of Color Consultants, which has schools in Austria, Italy, Japan and the United States. An accredited color program, the association says it focuses on the application of color; the curriculum “helps develop skills that begin with an artists’s eye and continues with knowledge and a proven scientific approach.”
The mission, as well as the association’s international reputation and expertise, was a perfect fit for Gamolsky. This eventually led to the launching of her own company, Sundance Colors, a color consulting service for architectural spaces.
Today, many years later, roughly 80 percent of her clients are from Grass Valley and Nevada City. Others are primarily from nearby communities, such as Roseville, Lincoln and Truckee. While most are quick to assume that she focuses primarily inside the homes of her clients, Gamolsky has also become well known for her exterior sensibilities and knowledge of color science.
Two years ago, Gamolsky was hired as a color consultant for the painting of the outside and lobby of the Don Baggett Theatre on the Nevada Union High School campus. In addition, she suggested the school switch from dingy dark blue lockers to a warm orange. More recently, she consulted on the new exterior colors at the California College of Ayurveda in Nevada City.
“I don’t come in and tell you what to do — my goal is to get into the heart and soul of the person and place I’m working with,” she said. “I want to get a sense of what makes the client happy. When building a house, some think you only need a contractor. But here is merit to hiring an architect, and I’m the architect for color.”
If you’re spending up to $22,000 to paint the outside of your house, wouldn’t it make sense to hire a color consultant before taking the plunge, she asks.
“Generally, I have three clients when I come to a home — the couple and the house itself,” she added. “The opinion of the house is just as important. Color always goes with architecture. Up to 85% of the information I get from the client is nonverbal. The house is 100% nonverbal, but it has strong opinions. You can completely transform a space with colors.”
A fun side job for Gamolsky has been hosting the “Color Club” at Knight’s Paint twice a week in Grass Valley — the only service like this available within a 100 mile radius. The first five to 10 minutes are free, then there is an option to make an appointment of 40 minutes ($60 plus two free pints of paint), or an on-site consultation for $125 an hour. she and others host color presentations and workshops at 6 p.m. On Oct. 10, the topic will be “How to Choose a Painter” and on Nov. 7 it will be “How to combine all architectural surfaces harmoniously.”
Eventually, Gamolsky said she’d like to bring in high end “architectural gurus” for two-day seminars, each with a specific focus, such as painting Victorian homes.
“Color is like music when it comes to vibration and rules of harmony,” she said. “You don’t have to be a musician to know when there’s a wrong note. But when it works, people can tell.
“Color is just the same. The most rewarding part of my job is when people tell me, ‘I love my house — I wake up every morning and love being here.’”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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