Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Money Pit- Painting

After we cleaned up from the aftermath of scraping our ceilings we began painting.

After scraping the ceilings, they all had to be primed before being painted.  
(Note:  You always have to prime something that has never been painted.  Since, the ceilings were scraped down to drywall or plaster, they were now raw and so it was though they had never been painted.)

We primed them with standard white primer.  Then I painted them with flat latex paint in Benjamin Moore's "Tapestry Beige" OC-32.  (But we got the paint mixed at Sherwin Williams, because it's cheaper).  

Tapestry Beige OC-32
(digital swatches do not give a true color)

I chose this color as opposed to standard white ceiling paint because I felt that it really gave the house a cozy- warm feeling.  After painting I realized the color had a little more pink in it than I would of liked but I think it worked out well.  It was on the same swatch card as my wall color, and I thought they complimented each other nicely.  

I toyed around with the idea of painting some or all of my ceilings accent colors.  But after priming the first ceiling I changed my mind.
I'm not a cussing woman...but painting ceilings is a B... and they drive me to cuss!  So I went with a neutral color that I don't plan on changing....EVER.

Practical Advice:  Cover all your floors with contractors paper before painting, especially when painting ceilings.  Also, wipe up all drops of paint on floor with a wet rag immediately!  I didn't take this seriously enough and nearly ruined our floors!!!

I'm a colorful person.  But my friends and family urged me to use restraint when choosing wall colors.  Our house is small, and so by the advice of my sister, Emily, I knew that I needed to paint all adjoining common areas the same color to make the space flow and feel bigger.  I decided to keep with the trend and paint all of our bedrooms the same color.  This is our first house, and we may grow out of it before too long, so I wanted to go as neutral as possible so we don't have to paint again before selling.  I went with Benjamin Moore's Coastal Fog 976.  I wanted a warm gray, and I have been happy with my selection.  It has so much more green in it than I realized from the swatch, but I don't mind it.
Coastal Fog 976

The trim in our house was stark white, as it is in most old houses.  I don't mind this look, and think it is very clean and refreshing.  However, I wanted to go with something a little more "fashion-foward".  I wanted to keep accenting the woodwork, because I think the craftsman style woodwork is such a charming part of 1930s houses.  My sister, Emily, advised me to consider going darker on my trim than my walls.  I had never heard of this, but once I started scouring the internet for decorating pictures, I was convinced I would love it.  Here's one picture in particular that inspired me to go for it.

(From Photo Stylist / Decorator Anne Turner Carrol's personal home)

I went through a rigorous, slightly obsessive swatch testing process.
Choosing paint colors is SO HARD!  It's hard to look at a color objectively when it is surrounded by the previous paint color.  It always looks a certain way compared to the surrounding color.  It is so hard to look at such a small swatch and imagine what it would look like in a whole room.
The swatches below were my two final choices.
The swatches painted on the walls are both Coastal Fog (my wall color selection), but I was deciding between the trim color on the left (Sandy Hook Gray) and the trim color on the right (Kingsport Gray).  Kingsport Gray is a color I saw and loved in a store as the wall color.  Sandy Hook Gray is one I found simply by flipping through the Benjamin Moore swatch book.  I was partial to Kingsport because I had seen and loved it in person.  Sandy Hook was a whim.  I was worried Sandy Hook wouldn't be enough contrast, because it seemed so close to my wall color (in fact, when they are wet they look exactly alike).  But I thought Kingsport would be too much contrast and might make our house look like a lodge.

It was down to the wire and I was on my way to buy paint and still didn't know.  My stomach was in knots about it...drama queen, I know.
Something in my gut told me to go with the color on the left, Benjamin Moore's Sandy Hook Gray HC 108.  So, when I got to the store, I just closed my eyes, bit my lip, and bought it.
Sandy Hook Gray HC 108
After painting our house with these colors, one take away that I learned is that a little bit of contrast goes a long way.  In just a test swatch, my wall color and trim color seemed almost the same.  When I painted the whole house the contrast was much more noticeable.  I love it, and I am so glad I didn't go with the darker trim color.

One day, in our dream house, Chris and I would love to have solid wood walnut stained doors all over the house.  Sigh.
When we were looking for houses, we looked at a house where every door was painted brown.  Not as fabulous as real wood stained doors, but a cheap way to lean towards that same look.  We tucked this idea away into our little noggins.  
Voila!  It came back to me and I realized the perfect way to incorporate the darker trim color option, Kingsport Gray!  It went so well with my color story, and so painting our doors this color was the perfect way to incorporate it without darkening up the house too much.
So our doors were painted Benjamin Moore's Kingsport Gray HC-86.

Kingsport Gray HC-86

And so the basic paint color story for our house became...
 ceiling                                 walls
 trim                                    doors

Here's a sneak peek of just the colors...

Here's the before & after look at just our living room/dining room areas...

Okay, so remember before I said I was a colorful person?  Well, I had to get that out somewhere.  So, I decided to get a little creative with our three bedrooms.  Although my ceiling, wall color, trim color, and door color stayed the same, for each bedroom I chose an accent color for the trim just around the windows.  I figured this was a fun, creative way to use a little color, but it's super easy to go back and paint to match the rest of our trim one day when we sell.  I got my inspiration from the houses in the Southside and Crestwood areas of Birmingham, as well as from some of the houses we saw in Austin, TX.
Here are some inspirational pics...
I love the bold trim colors on these houses, especially around the windows.  This was my inspiration to paint the trim around my windows a bold color.

In my three rooms, I wanted some shade of blue, green, and red for the three rooms.  But anyone who's every picked paint knows it's not that simple.  I scoured my swatch book and tested tons of different colors.   I looked for colors that had gray undertones so that it would flow with my gray toned walls and trim.  I read a post from Colour Me Happy and hopefully I understood it correctly and realized I needed "dirty" colors, instead of "clean" colors.    After MUCH deliberation I settled on the following three colors:
                  knoxville gray HC160       pumice stone 1197            wethersfield moss HC110

Here's how it turned out...
(oops!  i forgot to take pictures before we moved in our furniture)

our bedroom...
guest bedroom...

Thanks for reading!  I hope you like it.

...if you likey to readee then postey a commenty...


  1. Sara, you are right. Choosing paint colors IS so hard. I usually get one of my designer friends to make the final call. It is even more stressful for people who love color. I am definitely one of those. Your house looks so charming. Love all your choices. Keep us posted on what's next!

  2. Man I can't wait to do this one day. Can I fly you up here to help me?



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