Oh! That Beige!

I don't know why, but it seems that some of you people are afraid to commit. I'm talking wall paint colors, of course!

For the most part the interior of our new house was painted an ugly beige. I'm not just talking about the walls. The trim and some of the ceilings were beige. The trim and balusters in the entryway were just a shade darker...beige. They were a glossy version of ugly. Even the underside of the mahogany handrail on the main staircase was painted beige! I've seen this color time and time again in other homes. It's like my friend Barbara, who is a very talented designer, says, "I don't know why all these houses' interiors are painted the same ugly beige?!" Yep...

 

Getting rid of the ugly beige in the entryway.

Anyone who's been in the store knows that Nick and I love color. Our design style is what we sometimes like to call Modern Country. It's a style that's based in tradition (we collect vintage pieces and antiques and love old houses), but with lots of modern elements thrown in. When we furnish rooms we like to create a base of calm, neutral fabrics, colors and textures with pops of color. This means that, for the most part, large furniture pieces have a neutral palette. Then we layer colors and textures with smaller items, like chairs, pillows, rugs, wall art, etc. But first we lay the foundation with the wall colors.

 

Cutting in the corners of the living room. 

Looking at color wheels to choose paint colors is always fun for me. Sometimes I have a hard time choosing and end up with 2-3 colors that I like for each room, before settling on "the one". I like to buy samples whenever I can. This allows me to test colors in the rooms. I apply small square patches to the walls in different parts of the room. By doing this I can see how the paint color will look next to a bright window in daylight or in the top corners at night, etc. I always recommend looking at paint colors this way. This will allow you to see how the color changes at different times of the day as well as under lamp light. Makes a big difference.  

We were about to start renovations and would be living in basically five or so rooms for a while: the living room, parlor, the guest bedroom, the entryway/staircase/upstairs hallway and Nick's writing room. We decided to paint these rooms before settling in for the not-too-long (all fingers crossed) renovation process. The other rooms we'd get to after the renovation was done. For the living room and parlor we wanted the same color. As for the entryway, staircase, upstairs hallway and Nick's writing room: these would all be painted the same color, but something different than the living rooms. The guest bedroom, where we'd be sleeping, was a color we actually didn't mind. We decided to wait to paint in there.

Just finished applying the last coat of the warm gray to the living room walls. 

It took me a few days to patch up the ceiling and walls. Old houses really settle and create cracks in the plaster. Then a few more days to paint the ceiling in each room (flat ceiling white). The entryway was hardest. It had curved parts with bull nosed edges along the staircase. And, like any old house, sometimes the edges were a bit, shall I say, ambiguous? After getting rid of the ugly beige and brightening up the walls we were sure we'd feel much better...

Entryway wall and interior of front door after a fresh coat of paint.

We decided on a wonderfully warm gray for the living room and parlor (Benjamin Moore #HC-163 Duxbury Gray).  In the entryway, staircase, upstairs hallway and Nick's writing room, I surprised myself by actually going with a white (Benjamin Moore #AF-5 Frostine). I say this because I usually add color to every wall. Except for Nick's room, these walls were going to be a gallery for our artwork, so it made sense. And besides, it looked great with the dark floors. All of the trim we painted a crisp high-gloss white (Sherwin Williams Alumina). A note on this paint color: I always paint trim this color. It's an old Martha Stewart paint and, even though they discontinued it, they still have the formula to make it. All I had to do was ask. All internal doors I painted high gloss black (Benjamin Moore #PM-9 Black). We're eventually going to replace our front door, but, in the meantime, I painted the inside of the (beige) door a pretty blue (Benjamin Moore #HC-143 Wythe Blue). When we were done painting we really began to see how remarkable this house really was going to be. 

A cosy corner of the living room just after we set it up.

Now we were ready to "camp out" in these few rooms of the house while the demolition and construction took place. Yes...we were going to be living through all of the work. No kitchen. No laundry. Clothes hanging on garment racks. How glamorous. Oh, well...keep your eye on the prize we told ourselves.