Painting My House

So when we first bought our little cottage I knew a lot of paint would completely restore the curb appeal. 

Don't get me wrong- some brick is beautiful and I would never paint it. But for me, this brick made the entire yard look dark and bleek. And the contrast of the white trim was taking away from what I loved most about this Tudor style house: the steeply pitched roof, the arched enclosed entry, etc.  I wanted to give it a fresh look while still staying true to this 100 year old cottage.

So we did just that.



I'm not gonna lie- I had a hard time figuring out the perfect paint color. Exterior paint is really tricky. Before committing you really have to guess and check, apply samples on all sides of the house, see it in different lights/ different times of day, after a few drinks, etc. 

It will make you go a little crazy. (as you can see below:)

 I say this because I learned the hard way. I felt confident in my decision of Benjamin Moore's Tapestry Beige until I pulled into the driveway after work one day and half of my house was painted yellow.

I panicked.  And told everyone to stop while I ran to the paint store to get more samples. 


Hoyt was up on the ladder kindly painting swatches trying to convince me that it "wasn't yellow" while meanwhile one of the painters is yelling from the street "I LIKE the yellow!"

"See Hoyt- He's saying it's YEL-LOW."-me

"Probably because you are calling it yellow."-H

"Because IT IS!!"

This goes on until a random neighbor walks by and confirms that it's "a bit yellow."

(see. it was totally yellow.)

After hacking away at the formula- taking out black, red, who knows what- we ended up with...Benjamin Moore OC-30 "Gray Mist".

My initial plan was to paint the window trim a contrast darker color to match the front door. 

But after everything else was painted light I felt like the windows disappeared. So I had them paint one side with gray mist windows, and all of a sudden they came to life. (see difference between left and right window) 

I was also planning on putting shutters back up but once the paint was done I felt it looked nice as is. We can always add them later. (Changing my mind-Strike 3.) 

It's amazing how changing the paint color made our house finally feel like home...

Other notes:

-We had long window boxes built to span the width of the windows. 

-We replaced the roof with Landmark"weathered wood" architectural shingles. A favorite.

-kept the original clay roof caps and put them on the new roof to give it back it's old feel. 

-painted the entire house, trim and all- Benjamin Moore's Gray Mist. 

-replaced the gutters with 1/4 round/ "musket brown" finish. 

-painted the door Sherwin Williams "Black Fox".

-replaced the light fixtures with these copper ones by Visual Comfort 

-And we did a little landscaping, but that's for another post. 

*see if you can spot Finley in one of these pictures. 1,2,3.go.

Dark Doors

I have a thing for dark doors.

Some houses call for it, some don't. 

<via Southern Accents>

<Nate Berkus>

When would I recommend painting doors dark?

*When you have a long, uninteresting hallway with lots of doors (and you don't want it to look like The Shining.)

*When you have cheap (stock white) doors. Painting them dark almost always makes them look nicer than they actually are. 

<Todd Romano>

<Jennifer Dyer via Lonny Mag>

*When you are lacking warmth in a room. Warm up the doors.

<Cobb via cottage living; last photograph in post is same house> 

<source unknown>

<Douglas Friedman via House Beautiful>

*When you want to add some GLAM in a room (go with black high gloss)

<via house and home>

* When your front door (from the inside) is uninteresting and disappears. Same thing goes for french doors or accent doors.

<Barbara Westbrook via AHG>

<via Canadian House and Home 2008>

<Barbara Westbrook via House Beautiful>

<via House Beautiful>

Paint colors to try:

If you want a good true black my go to is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black-

I used it on a recent project paired with Rocky Mountain hardware in the white bronze finish - stunning combo:

If you want more of a dark brown/grey I'd recommend Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze. I actually painted all of the interior doors in my house this color. I also used it in this kitchen. It's a good one. 

If you want to go a tad lighter than that- try Sherwin Williams Porpoise.

For a good neutral brown (that doesn't go too brown, more of a grey brown) I like Benjamin Moore Fairview Taupe

Other recommendations:

  • Paint the DOOR only. No trim. 
  • Go glossy on the finish. Satin oil or high gloss.
  • Pair it with good hardware.


MAQs.... let's try this.

I've gotten a lot of emails and comments asking details about projects I post on the blog. I am truly flattered that you ask!! Really, I am. But since my clients pay me to come up with a plan for their home and implement the design I can't share every detail of their project on the blog. That wouldn't be fair to them. It's the tricky part of this business... and blog. 

BUT- here's what I will do. Any time I post projects that I've done I will answer the most asked question (MAQ). I've thought about this for a while and it seems like a happy medium. 

***The MAQ from my last post was- what is the dark paint color of the cabinets?

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.

(It's a great color- I use it often.)

 Thanks for understanding and I really, really appreciate your encouraging comments. It means SO much to me!


Paint Post- Whites & Neutrals

I heard somewhere that the human eye can perceive an average of 5 million colors... or something equally insane. It's no wonder paint decks are so huge. And for most people- extremely intimidating!

 So, let's just start with the most important part: Neutrals

You will find that most of these are Benjamin Moore colors. I hate to show favoritism but... I can't help it. I love their neutrals.

Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee that any of these colors will go perfectly in your home. These are just ones I continue to go back to. I use 3-5 paint decks in almost every paint consultation and still recommend putting up sample boards. 

One more thing: The 'swatches' below are not a perfect representation of the actual paint color. I hesitated to include them but thought a wordy Monday post would be too boring for yall me to handle. So here goes...

Grand teton white 
 Benjamin Moore- Grand Teton White AC-42- a great all-over neutral. Not too dark, not too light. 

White dove
 Benjamin Moore- White Dove OC-17- my personal 'go to' trim color. I don't like to use stark white. This one is easy on the eyes and easy to work with.

Dove Wing OC-18 is a good one too. 

Sherwin William's Dover White SW6385- A fresh white with a tiny hint of cream in it. Very pretty on cabinets.

Manchester tan
 Manchester Tan HC-81- one of my favorite neutrals. Has more 'grey' in it than 'cream' but is soothing and you'll never get tired of it. In fact, in my opinion you can't go wrong with any of the neutrals on that entire sleeve. One of them being:

Grant beige
 Grant Beige HC-83- always a winner if you're looking for a neutral grey. Tapestry Beige OC-32 is a good one as well. These colors look great with blues and greens.

 Pittsburgh Paints PPG (the new porter)- Morocco Sand 515-3- a pretty cream; great for large rooms

Sherwin William's Softer Tan SW6141- a pretty creamy beige. And one step darker:

Picture 12
 Sherwin William's Macadamia SW6142- a warm and cozy neutral; sometimes I describe it as 'buttery' but then I kick myself for sounding like I'm describing a chardonnay. Great for bedrooms or dens. 

Abingdon putty  

Two good neutrals with a little green undertone: Benjamin Moore's Carrington Beige HC-93 or Abingdon Putty HC-99 (pictured above) 

PPG's Antique White 516-2 - another great neutral with a hint of grey, tiiiny hint of green. Looks awesome with sagey greens.

Ok, those are just a few of my faves. Next time I'll share my foolproof blues and greens!

For a helpful online paint matching tool click HERE. (Or you can find it below this post.)

Are there any neutral paint colors you have used and loved? If so, please share! 


A great online paint tool...

I want to share with you a helpful online paint tool that I use quite often: Easy RGB.

Let's say you go over to a friend's house and her living room is painted the OLD Porter's Indian Ivory

You come home and realize you only have a Sherwin Williams paint deck...Crap. How can you figure out a close match to Indian Ivory without having to go through Porter??? 

Go to Easy RGB ( and follow these instructions:

From the toolbar at the top click on "From Commercial Tints to RGB"

Type in the original color name you want to match and select its brand from the drop down menu. (see below)

Picture 7 
 Press Start.

Then you should see the name of the paint with a bunch of weird #s below it (unless you typed it in wrong)

Click "Get Commercial Tints"

You should now see a page like this:

Picture 10 

Don't mess with the color numbers that have appeared and ignore the HTML color # part.. just leave that blank
Last step- just select the paint brand you'd like to match your color to. Press Start

Voila! Sherwin's closest matches to Porter's Indian Ivory. 

Picture 9 

Not close enough?

Go back and select another brand to match it to and see how close you can get.

Hope it helps!


Paint Color Investigating

Have you ever looked through a magazine and wondered what paint color is on the walls of the room you're drooling over-- and then quickly flip back to the resources section hoping you'll find the answer there?

Well, I do.

About 20 times per magazine.

There are paint colors that I use over and over again (which I will share with you in a future post soon!) and some of them have come straight from the resources section. 

Here are a few beautiful rooms that had me flipping.... (no pun intended)

Gray cashmere SA 

This is the picture that made me fall in love with Gray Cashmere, by Benjamin Moore. I've used it on several jobs and am pleased with it every time! 

(photo from Southern Accents)  

White dove via habitually chic
White Dove, by Benjamin Moore....another staple of mine.

(designer Jeffrey Bilhuber) 

Disclaimer: Paint colors are tough. They appear one way in the magazine but 95% of the time they will look completely different in your own home. I recommend painting several sample boards and hanging them in different spots around the room before making your decision.

Moving on...

Picture 1
Light Gray by Farrow and Ball 

(Ina Garten's home, via House Beautiful) 

Creekside green amelia handegan HB
 Creekside Green by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Amelia Handegan, from HB)  

Borrowed light hb frankroop 
Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball

(designer Frank Roop, from HB)   

Picture 2
  Bone White by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Suzanne Kasler, from HB)  

Tudor Brown sandi holland HB

Island and base cabinets are Tudor Brown by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Sandi Holland, from HB)  

 Cabinets and trim color are China White, walls are Indian White by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Jim Howard, from HB)  

Tobacco by Pratt & Lambert

(designer Barbara Westbrook, HB)  

Sag Harbor Gray by Benjamin Moore

(designer Bobby Mcalpine & Susan Ferrier, HB)  

Have a great weekend!


little paint, long way

A little paint goes a long way. I am a HUGE fan of paint- it is HANDS DOWN the most inexpensive way to spruce up your house.

One of my clients, Liza (from Style Blueprint), posted about her front porch yesterday. She hired me a while back to help fix up her house to sell and one of the first things I told her to do was to paint the porch furniture. This is one of the few places where I almost always advise to go dark (borderline black, if not black itself). As the economy LUCK would have it, she decided to stay in Nashville-! Yea! And just to celebrate we had the furniture painted anyway. 


Liza porch 1

A few cans of black paint and some reupholstered cushions later...


Liza porch 2

Voila! A new front porch... Has more of a pop to it, right?

Click here to read more about the porch and for the magic paint color!

You don't always have to go dark. In fact, in my initial meetings with new clients there is a common saying when we enter a room:

"I just want it to be lighter.. more open."

Most of these people are MOMS and let's be honest- spending all day in a dreary kitchen will start to wear on you. 

I'll give you an example.

When my parents moved into their current house the kitchen looked like this: (keep your eyes on those green windows)


Kitchen before


Kitchen now

Ahhh.. much better.

Cabinet and wall color: Benjamin Moore- Manchester Tan

Moral of the story is:



*If you need HELP with paint colors email me. Unfortunately I don't design for free, as paint color selection is part of my real job- but if you want to hire someone and avoid the headache you know where to find me.

*Happy Birthday Mom! Love you.

I Spy Gray and Pink*

Color therapy color forecast 2009
color therapy color forecast 2009

One of the bloggers that I (openly) stalk-Marianne at haven and home- did a post yesterday about rooms with bursts of pink- and I loved it. Then it had me thinking about PINK. I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan of pink rooms and I think it's because it's very often paired with blah blah brown. Not to say that it doesn't look good- it can be very tastefully done! But we all know restoration hardware likes to take a color scheme and run with it do victory laps past the finish line with it.


But I might be calling the tea kettle black here---I've been in a gray phase since Day 1 and I can't seem to shake it. So, naturally, my heart skips a beat when I see pink and gray together. Even the words look good next to each other:

pink. gray.

And just to be clear: I'm not talking about the gray that almost turns blue or even purple. I'm talking about a warmer,stone-colored gray. Even verging on hints of green...

One of my favorites- off the top of my head- is Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. I just did a client's living room/entry in this color and it is gorgeous. The perfect combination of neutral and gray- definitely agreeable.

I've always wanted to do a nursery in soft gray and pink. I used to carry around this magazine tear-out of a putty gray wall next to a pink stripe roman shade (terrible description). It was so random and had nothing to do with a nursery but it screamed "baby girl's room" to me. It was soothing and beautiful... and I have absolutely no idea where I put it. 

So as soon as Erika at Urban Grace (another blog crush) posted that she was going to re-paint her girl's nursery "Comfort Gray" I thought Bingo.
Although I'm totally assuming that she will be using a little pink to go with it. It's the American way.
Gasl06_soothingbath-724740 domino
via domino
Home sweet home

*the pink/gray combo can be subtle or bold. These days I prefer the more subtle approach... (but I included pictures of both)

Tom scheerer townhouse
the fabulous Tom Scheerer
Decor pad 
image via decorpad

design by kelly wearstler

Katy elliot pink room
image via decorpad
Gray bedroom point click home 
Pink kitchen point click home
above 2 images via pointclickhome
martha stewart living, sept. 05
Elizabeth_Bougainvillea walnut
Apt therapy
Jane-packer-tabletop-southern accents
via Southern Accents, styled by Jane Packer

Peter dunham
peter dunham designs

an Antonia Hutt entry
Bedroom 3-Haymarket Hotel[4]
Haymarket Hotel room via absolutely beautiful things
Romo fabrics 

Soothing colors, don't you think?