Posts Tagged ‘choosing paint colours’

We can’t have friends to stay and we dont know when that will change. But I dream of having guests: People to cook for and with, friends whose presence justifies that extra drink that now just makes me feel guilty, and someone new with whom to play board games and cards.

This desire, along with a decision not to rent our place this year to vacationers, was ample motivation to spend a few days improving our guest room.

2019 guest room. Someone had to sleep against the wall.

This room – every room in fact – was freshly painted with a matte white when we bought the place in late 2007. So repainting was not an early priority. It has; however, become increasingly desirable over the last few years. And no excuse not to do it right now.

Benjamin Moore has a new, extra durable paint called Scuffex. It’s not outrageously expensive either. I chose a pearl finish as the room is a bit dark and would benefit from a reflective lift. As for colour, as usual I went with my gut, quickly singling out a pale grey white called White Wisp. It isn’t a warm colour, which is what one craves just now, but the cottage is principally a summer spot, so I had to put myself in summer thinking mode.

The paint went on beautifully, and floor, ceiling, 5 panel door and window trim were all given 2 coats of gloss in BM Cloud White.

We replaced a cheap ikea ceiling fixture with a lovely nickel fixture that we wrote out of our sales contract when we sold up in Port Moody. I was so glad to find a perfect place for it. We also replaced the non- functioning dimmer switch.

We reoriented the bed so there is (some) room on both sides, then edited and rehung wall decor. We also painted up some found “free” shelves with trim paint and installed them at about 2 metres from the floor, to add a splash of interest and some high storage to an otherwise bare-by-necessity wall.

A shippy light fixture and some free, high shelves are favourite touches.

I washed the duvet and mattress pad, replaced all the pillows and polished the floor.

As usual, there are a few things holding me back from declaring the job fully complete. We are hoping to refinish an old piece of furniture to double as desk and dresser for this tiny room. And the baseboard heater needs to be replaced.

But in general, I am happy everytime I walk by the room and can’t wait to welcome our first guests of 2021. Whenever that becomes possible.

Meanwhile, we use this as Break Out space for our individual activities: puzzles and crafts for me, and music and gaming sessions via Zoom for my partner.

A more inviting space, just waiting for friends.

There was about a litre of the grey white paint left, so after a few days rest, I washed, taped and painted the small hallway outside the guest room.

I followed on with the trim and other doors off this hallway. Now I can’t stop. My room next, then the livingroom and eventually, a complete redo of the bathroom.

The hallway before it got a fresh coat of paint.
In progress. Lighting is not optimal, but this photo shows the soft grey shade of BM White Wisp as I started to paint the hallway.

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Coming from me, these words may make you roar with laughter.

I’m the one who has been agonizing over colour choices for the main room of our cottage  for what?…a year now?

And because we still weren’t quite ready to do that paint job (March, I think) I could afford the luxury of mulling it over from time to time.

But over the holiday break, Cottager started a kamikaze-style project – at our city home – to summon a home office out of …nothing really. It has been a bit of a ride, watching the walls go up, choking on drywall and filler dust, the agony of glass brick and mortar installation  – all I could do was stand back and watch, offer signficant constructive criticism, and trust his vision.

This weekend we hit the paint stage. I grabbed my holster of benjamin moore colours, sorted 30 or so strips out of the horde, and quickly decided which one was my favourite. Then I showed them to Cottager, asked him to pick out his favourites, and when his finger landed on the one I’d chosen, we had a winner:  Nantucket Grey (which is actually quite green, fyi.)

Got it, used it. Love it.  It was just that simple. 

I’ve resolved not to give the cottage paint any more thought. Cottager and I have agreed, in principal, on how we would like it to look. When the day arrives that we are really ready to paint, we’ll do the same thing:  Pick 20 or 30 possibilities out of our holster of swatches, narrow it down to two we like, then leap into action.  It is only paint, right? 

Tune in towards the end of the month for before and after pictures of the home  office Cottager magic’d out of thin air. We still have flooring and molding to do, but it already looks terrific.

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After living with our all-white walls and trim for nearly a year now, I think I have a much better idea of how to proceed. When I first called out for advice, I had only photos of empty or near-empty rooms. Every idea I received was exciting to contemplate -especially the really bold suggestions like celery green.

But over the summer, almost every person that walked through the door commented on how expansive and fresh the white was. Some even remarked that they really should take some of their own rooms back to white – that’s how well white suits this little cottage!  

With five large windows and two french doors opening off the main rooms, the white walls pleasantly meld outdoor space with indoors. In bright, warm weather the room is a cool, clean haven and on cold, wet days the warm wood floors, fireplace and some soft lighting are more than enough to make it cozy. I have to conclude that this space is meant to be white. Or more precisely, two whites!

So I went back to thinking about style guru Mary Emmerling’s advice for white on white paint. She talks about mixing – 50/50 – Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White and Linen White to get the perfect white paint. Or she suggests using both; putting the Decorator’s White on the walls and doing the trim with Linen White. Now I am just unimaginative enough to think that this must be a misprint: Surely the darker tone goes on the walls and the trim takes the ultra white?

Next I dug out my BM colour wheels. These make a great gift by the way. They come in a tidy holder with a shoulder strap and have been endlessly useful. Until today, that is, when I found no Linen White at all. There is a Natural Linen and there is a Linen Sand but each of these came down pretty firmly in the beige camp. At my local BM supplier, they typed Linen White into their computer and came up with a pre-2000 colour numbered 912.  Then they dug around in a dusty shoebox and presented me with a chip numbered 912. Ah-ha!  This is a white. Quite a pretty white. A soft, slightly yellowy-white that looks good with Decorator White. Is this what you were talking about Mary?  

Below is a detail of the room as it is today. It is, and will likely always be, a work in progress, but the colour scheme comes down to blue and white.  What do YOU think of Mary’s idea to do the trim – which in this case would include moldings, French doors, lots of multi-light wooden window casements, rough vertical and horizontal support beams, the fireplace and a chimney in the kitchen – in the darker of the two whites?  Am I the only one that finds this a bit counter-intuitive?

Keats View Fireplace

Keats View Fireplace

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