Portland, OR: Colorhouse Makes No VOC, Eco-Friendly Paint Without Compromising on Color or Quality

Walls and ceilings, which are usually painted, make up 70% of the interior of your home. If you use traditional paints that contain VOCs, that means 70% of your surfaces are emitting, or “off gassing,” dangerous chemicals into your environment. Scary stuff!

In Portland, we had the opportunity to visit Colorhouse Paint with Puji Sherer, VP of Marketing and Chief Color Nerd. Colorhouse is working to eliminate VOCs from the paint market without compromising on design or color quality.

Puji joined Colorhouse as the very first employee in 2005.  (More about the Colorhouse story here.) She has been committed to color since she started her career after graduating with a degree in Fine Arts, with the philosophy that color is everywhere and is fundamental to design. At Colorhouse, Puji had the chance to become part of a company whose quest was to create top quality colors in a way that was healthy for people and the planet.  

Puji, Jennie and Goose at Colorhouse Paint in Portland, OR

Puji, Jennie and Goose at Colorhouse Paint in Portland, OR

To blend these two goals together was complicated. The founders of Colorhouse began by experimenting with  all-natural coatings like clay and milk paint, , but found that these paints were inconsistent in quality and performance.  Committed to creating a premium zero VOC paint Colorhouse paint is a high quality latex paint with excellent durability and extremely low odor.  

Colorhouse paints have Green Wise Gold certification and are manufactured in a LEED Gold facility.  Colorhouse is dedicated to maintaining environmental standards as well as color standards. This makes them the only paint company that is committed to green attributes, color and design.

Colorhouse’s environmental standards include:  

  • 100% PCW Chlorine-Free Labels

  • 100% PCW brochures

  • Recycled content paint containers

  • Member EPA SmartWay Transportation

  • PaintCare drop off facility

  • Renewable Energy at HQ

  • South Coast Air Quality Management District- Super Compliant

  • MPI Extreme Green Certified

Their design commitment is just as strong, and is pervasive throughout their office and manufacturing facility. From the 128 colors that hang from their showroom wall, to the inspiration that is shown behind each color trend palette, to the design and creative areas in the warehouse to test and play with paints, it is clear that Colorhouse truly has a passion for color.  

Huge garage doors open in their warehouse so they can work on color ideas seen in the background

Huge garage doors open in their warehouse so they can work on color ideas seen in the background

Some of their colors featured in Crate and Barrel

Some of their colors featured in Crate and Barrel

The original paints from the first line of colors

The original paints from the first line of colors

To Colorhouse, color, design, and sustainability are critical, equally important elements. This revolutionary viewpoint is changing the marketplace. To break into the paint industry with very large, well established players took a lot of time, patience and ability to prove a real need for the product.

It worked. They began selling online through Home Depot in 2010 to show that there was demand for their product. Based on the success in this channel, Home Depot began selling Colorhouse in select New York locations in 2015.  Recently sales through Crate and Barrel, Amazon, Serena & Lily, other retailers, and Colorhouse’s own website have been gaining tremendous momentum as well.

We saw these sales in action two miles away from Colorhouse at Green Depot, a green version of Home Depot in Portland. When we stopped in the store, an employee told us that Colorhouse is their best selling product.  

Colorhouse featured at Green Depot in Portland

Colorhouse featured at Green Depot in Portland

Colorhouse was another completely inspiring business along this tour. It was especially cool to me to see how these women have built such a successful business in such an established market without compromising their values and ideals. Next time Ward and I embark on a paint project at home or at Green Spaces, I know where we’ll be getting our paint.