The architectural debut of our home is more than one would think by looking up and down our neighborhood streets. Ours is the neighborhood, where, if you are not careful, you might pull in the wrong driveway. There is actually the same house as ours, exact same, on the other side of the ‘hood with the exact same address! Now isn’t that a perfectly planned neighborhood!?
Anyway, when we first walked into the home 2 years ago as potential buyers, we were impressed by the many arched passageways and the wall niches.
However, it was hard for us as to imagine this home in a better color than it had been painted a mere six months before…TAN! Yes. Tan with accents of burgundy red. Tan, which in some lights looked orange, and burgundy red, which made it hard to breath because it felt like the walls were crashing in on us. These colors were professionally picked, we were told. So, I thought we must be crazy and we agreed to live with it for a while, but it just could not be done.
Now, it should be mentioned, there are many people who entered our arched home and commented on the pleasant color of our tan walls, but for me, it was never comfortable or interesting enough. Basically, I didn’t like looking at it. “Blah” pretty much summed it up. And, everything in our house, make that everything we are not going to change the color of, is also a version of tan; floors and cupboards and window blinds. There was no visual interest. Colors accomplish so much more when they contrast with one another and are allowed to POP!
So, I embarked on the journey, into the virtual world, of searching for a paint color. Deciding to start small, I focused on the kitchen. The kitchen with it’s Providence Olive (AKA Green) walls and Picture Gallery Red (AKA Burgundy) eat in kitchen area (AKA Christmas.All.Year.Long).
(Messy house pictures ~ Yes, people live here.)
I wanted a neutral, but was hesitant with beiges and creams because I felt they were too basic and overdone. After countless hours painting virtual walls, and many trips to Mr. William’s paint shop, I stumbled upon the next most overdone neutral; gray. It was perfect. Consider this: Gray sweats, Heather Gray cable sweaters, and Grandma’s hair…(stretch), all lead me to the idea of calm and comfort. Gray was stuck on my OCD mind…yep, I was going gray!
Did you know there are blogs written on picking the perfect gray? It is not an easy task. I think I collected every swatch and about 70 paint samples for the kitchen alone. I had so many on the wall that my patchwork quilt technique was confusing to all living here, but I did not want to ever paint this room again. I settled on Worldly Gray by Sherwin Williams. This gray does not turn stealy blue in direct light like many grays do, nor does it get washed out by the sun. It is a lighter gray and really looks sweet with our white trim and black granite. Oh, and did I mention the red is gone? As soon as the primer went up and covered that heart-palpitating color I knew we made a good choice. Ahhh! We now breath during breakfast!
I felt so refreshed after painting the kitchen that I was motivated to paint the rest of the house. Moving forward with the family room, the front sitting room, the foyer and stairway upstairs, was not easy. Originally our house was Benjamin Moore’s Springfield Tan (not a popular color in my book), as you know, and had three Ralph Lauren Picture Gallery Red accent walls throughout. After painting over the kitchen red, I had two more to cover up, however, our walls are 17 feet high or so.
We put up a ladder, got scared and realized that I had better pick the most perfect colors because it was not getting painted ever again! Back to the virtual wall painting, blog reading, swatch taping, sample buying, money wasting, time sucking process of picking the perfect color.
I learned that grays are typically created with three base colors; blue, red and green. Made with a blue base, gray can turn ‘cold’, like steal blue. Choosing a red base is choosing a Taupe color, by which one should be careful because in certain lights the color may have a peach or pink accent, and in other lights it may be your perfect color! This can especially happen with high light in a room. I had to revert my path, about 40 sample colors in, to a green base. This gray tends to ‘warm-up’ in the direct light and are sometimes referred to as brown-grays.
I settled on my two colors with a little help from some Facebook Friends. Benjamin Moore has this nifty and FREE color consulting service which I would recommend to anyone on the same frustrating path of color choosing. Did I mention it was free? The winning colors are: Benjamin Moore’s Kingsport Gray and Indian River. Both warm grays and both beautiful to look at in any light. I love it! It calms me.
(Click Image to Enlarge)
I love my gray walls. Gray, I feel, goes with everything. It looks spectacular with teals, oranges, and yellows. It compliments espresso furniture and even looks good with a monochromatic theme going a bit darker or lighter. I can even see my wood floors and cabinets these days, with my gray walls stimulating their beauty. And, if I someday decide to come back around to burgundy red, (I am shaking slightly), my gray walls will support me.
I am in no way affiliated with Benjamin Moore, but I do think their Facebook service is really neat!
Linking up to ‘A Perfect Gray’
Images: all Laura for Monkeyonmyback.com