Architects. Planners. Designers.

Spotlight on Staff | Donna Aldrich, Principal, Architectural Color Design


WHA’s Color Studio offers integrated, architectural color and material design services. With over 25 years of experience, this highly skilled team of professionals has provided color and material services for a wide variety of project types in diverse geographic regions. Join us as we sit down with Donna Aldrich, the head of WHA’s Color Studio to ask her about her journey.


1. Tell us about your journey to becoming an Architectural Color Designer?

My interior design career has seemed to naturally evolve into architectural color design.  A college internship through CSULB led to my first interior design job with Langdon Wilson Architects in Newport Beach.  When my husband’s business relocated us to Santa Barbara, I felt very lucky to find an interior design position with Kruger Bensen Zeimer Architects. There were many opportunities at KBZ for me to expand my knowledge and scope of involvement on projects beyond interior design including the exterior material and color selections for our architecture.  This experience positioned me perfectly for the specialization of architectural color design at WHA.


2. What’s your favorite thing about WHA?

The dynamic mix of creative people, the diversity of our projects and the opportunity Bill Hezmalhalch provides for us to grow in our careers are my favorite aspects of WHA.


3. What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on at WHA?

After 22 years with WHA, it’s impossible to choose one!  Ambassador Gardens for City Ventures in Pasadena – the amazing site, existing historic homes and our three luxury townhome products, which Ron Nestor couldn’t have architecturally dovetailed more perfectly, is a standout.  Color consulting for Eagle Roofing for over ten years was very rewarding; our color blends are still a successful part of their existing product lines.


Ambassador Gardens | Pasadena, CA


4. What factors come into play when selecting architectural color palettes?

The location of the project – its geography, the adjacent natural and built environment and the style of architecture, along with the designer and our client’s goals all come into play when we create architectural color palettes.


5. Can you give us a brief overview of current color trends?

Gray continues to be very popular and white – lots of white with black or vibrant accents.


6. What’s a common faux pas people make when choosing color?

For our projects, personal color preferences can hamper our ability to do our best work, especially with regard to creating diverse streetscapes, when specific hues are favored too much or excluded altogether.


7. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I are lucky to share many of the same interests; he actually started out studying architecture in college.  With our shared love of historic architecture, theater, art, and gardens, we try to weave a little of each into our vacations and enjoy the abundance of opportunities locally.  In the summer you’ll find us under the stars at UCI’s New Swan Theater, strolling through Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach or Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar.

UCI’s New Swan Theater

Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, CA

Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar, CA

About Allie Martin

Allie Martin is an associate, Marketing Communications Manager and has been with WHA since January of 2012. Allie's role helps guide marketing strategies, public and media materials along with web and print content.
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