I spent this week struggling with a lot of things – one of them being paint colors. My new house has some great – but weird – light, especially in the formal living room, which happens to be the one room I’m making a BIG color commitment in (painting the walls, trim, mullions, mantel and millwork ALL the same color). I’m usually pretty damn good at paint colors, but this room had me stumped. A lot of it has to do with the current wall color, which really changes how my samples look.
Initially I thought I was going to do a green-grey, but every sample looked a bit muddy or too dark, and I have a lot of green happening in other parts of the house, so I switched it up to a blue grey color. I brought a ton of chips over, all the “light blues” went baby blue, and a lot of the greyer blues went dark grey. My painter, Adelfia Painting, was so helpful by painting around the swatches with white primer so the colors looked truer. This was a huge help and something I advise doing to help make a solid decision.
I want to do moss green velvet sofas in here, so I wanted the blue grey to be light but not baby blue. Rich but not too dark.
Top left of mantel: BM Wales Gray, underneath that is BM Silver Mink, bottom left of that (cut off) is BM Boothbay Gray
This is what the colors above looked like painted on the existing yellow/green color- it’s CRAZY!!!!
On the previous wall color, the colors look COMPLETELY different: From top: Silver Mink, Wales Gray and Boothbay Gray.
In the end, I picked BM Wales Grey – let’s hope it turns out how I imagine and not like a little boy’s nursery! LOL.
I thought I’d round up all the wallpaper and paint colors we’re doing in the house (as of now – there are some I have not tested yet (master bathroom) and some I have not been able to decide on (Henry’s room)).
FIRST FLOOR: In addition to the “Great Light Blue Grey Paint Dilemma of 2020” we’re doing some more painting. When we bought the house it appeared the trim was all in great shape. Then, as drapes came down and furniture moved out we noticed that a lot of the crown moulding was yellowing because it’s oil paint. Sooooooo, there went my reasonable paint budget. We are now painting almost all the trim over in Ben Moore White Dove.
The foyer, stairwells, hallways, family room and playroom will all be a light neutral, Sherwin’s Natural Choice – not too warm, not too cool. For the powder room between the formal living and kitchen we’re painting all the trim F&B Green Smoke and using the dreamy Raphael paper on the walls. For the kitchen I ended up deciding that since there is not a ton of natural light in there, doing green cabinets was going to be too dark. So I chose an “english kitchen” inspiration of a light warm taupe, BM Edgecomb Gray. With the dark grey and white counters, brass hardware and zellige subway it’s going to (hopefully) look great. They should be done painting by this weekend!!!
For the mudroom right off the kitchen, I’m doing a brick floor and thought this Jasper wallpaper I’ve always loved (inspo from Heather Chadduck) would be SO good. Then in the tiny bar, which has little light and wood counters, a deep green.
The most AMAZING part of the first floor is going to be the dining room – I’m getting the grisaille mural of my DREAMS from The Mural Source – their English Parks panoramic in Fog, which is taupey- not too cool or warm. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS.
SECOND FLOOR: I will change out the stair runner, but right now I can’t afford to. Possibly a pale leopard or animal print someday. The reason I can’t afford it is because I’m splurging on another dream wallpaper for the master bedroom – Schumacher’s Chinois Palais Vinyl in Stone. Planning some green accents in here, but lots of whites, neutrals, etc. The bathroom is currently gutted, but the plan is to paint all the trim, casing and vanity BM Revere Pewter and the walls a lighter Classic Grey.
The guest room, which will be Emma’s room for now so she can be on the same floor as us until she’s a little older , is F&B’s Lulworth Blue because I get to reuse her GORGEOUS drapes and pelmets in here :) All of her current nursery items will go in here – eventually we’ll swap in the raffia bed from Serena and Lily we have from our old guest room and make it a guest bedroom. We did not do anything but paint the guest bath as we plan to someday take this whole side of the house (guest, bath, office and part of the laundry) and make it a new master suite.
The office I chose a gorgeous deep brown that has a hint of grey and it’s going to be SO cozy and amazing. Ignoring the laundry for now completely. Can’t do it all.
THIRD FLOOR: The two kids rooms are up here, plus their shared bath, which is getting a gut reno as well. I’m planning on this Colefax star paper on the walls since kids rarely shower, so steam won’t be a big issue. Emma’s room I am definitely doing Bowood, but I have NO idea what I’m doing for Henry. I want to try to reuse his roman shades, but I don’t know what to do on the walls. The room is too dark to do what he has now, so we’ll see. He also says he wants a GIANT bed (I.e. a full or queen), so we’ll see.
I plan on posting here once a week about the progress, with my boards/schemes for each room! We move Jan 21st so the clock is ticking! :) A big thanks to my painters, Adelphia Painting, and contractor Brookes & Hill for making this happen so fast!
Thanks for sharing your progress with us, Erin! I live in a neighboring town and it’s so fun to see a nearby gem get some TLC! Here’s a random question…what do you use for creating mood boards/schemes for each room? Something online? I need something more than Pinterest these days!
Huge F&B fan here. I had a similar living room issue – weird light. I went with Mizzle. I swear it’s like this magic color that is great in any light, changes beautifully through the day and isn’t too dark or too light. Good luck! Color is tricky!
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I’m so weirdly excited for your new house and am eager to see it come together – I love your style, and I love old houses – this is such a treat. Thank you for sharing all this with us!
We painted our dining room Edgecomb Gray last year. It will be a great color for your kitchen. :)
Yeah! I can’t believe how fast your guys are moving! So lucky. My master reno has been going on for a month and we have just as of today, had drywall finishers in. We DID have a pipe burst and huge 50 year old plumbing issues, but still…Jelly! Your house is going to be gorgeous.!
We use White Dove everywhere in our old farmhouse on the bay, but I have an affinity for Linen White in my home.
Love your choices! You are painting the master bath trim a different color from the rest of the house. What are your tips for the transition from one to the other. I’ve always struggled with this.
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. We love Natural Choice too.
Erin – love following you! I live in Atlanta now but moved here from Wellesley!! The funny thing is when I lived in Wellesley, Adelphia painters were my go to. If Peter is still painting, tell him I said hello!! Marianne Murray
You HAD ME @ MURAL!!!! Oh, lucky, lucky, you…it will be so fab!! This is going to be SO fun!! franki
I seriously cannot believe how fast your tradespeople work! Totally jealous over here! Just as an aside, I have two rooms in my house painted with BM Boothbay – a south facing room that gets a lot of light and a powder room that has no natural light whatsoever and I LOVE it in both. I think any of the blue-grey’s you were looking at will be beautiful. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!
B, I had the same thought about how quickly the work was able to begin. Having dealt with permitting in Wellesley for four renovations, I was impressed that you were able to start the work so quickly after closing. Loving the updates. Keep ’em coming!
Living vicariously through you right now. This is the content I need haha
This house is going to be gorgeous. I cannot wait to see it come together.
Having purchased a green sofa last year I feel so very on trend! Love adding this shade to all my blue. Hope Wales grey works-did not for me:( but then I have very strange light in my dining room that changes EVERY color.)
Love your updates – such a good eye. And also picking paint before upholstery etc is risky!!
Your paint choices look beautiful and I’m a big fan of BM white dove for trim. As a decorator, can you explain to me, a layperson, why you plan to paint everything in the living room the same color? Wouldn’t the fireplace and trim be stunning if painted in white dove too? What is the concept or reason for painting everything all one color?
It’s become very on trend in modernize historical homes with a lot of details. The woodwork still adds depth and layers to the wall, but presents a visually “calmer” or less busy background for the rest of the furnishing and decor. Also really draws attention to that one color, whereas if the trim is white/you notice more the interplay between those two vs the wash of color when kept consistent on everything on the walls. I did it in my master bedroom and love the look. I used BM Brittany Blue, which I wouldn’t recommend, but have come to still like–skewed way more baby blue than I expected in spite of SO much swatching in various places throughout the room, blues are so tough. I think choosing a grey that has blue undertones works better especially with green accents; my rug and built in wardrobe is olive. I did a semi-gloss on the trim and eggshell on the walls so even though the color is the same, you still get a bit of a tone difference from the varied sheen. Highly recommend
Such great choices, Erin; I love all your picks! I’m so excited to see it all take shape. It’s gonna be gorgeous.
Totally thought the BM Wales Gray looked best before I read further and saw that was your final choice given that all the trim is the same color too. So pretty off the moss green velvet! Having the island and cabinets the same shade will be much calmer, esp. with 3 kinds of wallpaper and that bold green all in nearby spaces. (Think mixed cabinet colors are going to look very 2019 very soon. It has become so ubiquitous.) I have Mural Source’s Maysong Jade in our master bath. Their quality is wonderful. I’ve handled Gracie before and I prefer the Mural Source. Great choice! And Emma’s drapes off the Lulworth blue too. Can’t wait to see the progress photos!
Can you also do a post someday on how to pick patterns for adjoining spaces? The Bowood and Larissa wallpapers for example. Not having them be too matchy but still not clashing seems to a hard balancing act but you do it so well.
Erin for mural wallpaper is it best on a full wall or can it go above a wainscoting? Thanks.
Can you share your thoughts on latex vs oil paint when dealing with an old house with yellowing oil trim?
Love your new house scheme and can’t wait to watch it unfold!
The house is going to be gorgeous. I’m loving your updates. So sweet of you to do considering how busy you are.
I agree, Elle — this is SO much fun to read about! Thank you, Erin, for bringing us along on this journey :)
I love love love your choices! My 5.5 year old has started only taking showers (she started this summer). Her friends are the same way – I thought we’d be taking baths for much longer, but she says they’re for babies. =(
I agree. Your kids may start with showers sooner than you think. My kids are 8 & 10, and have been showering since they were 3 & 5. As a parent, it is so much less work for you too.
Can’t wait to follow along with the process. I love seeing in progress posts and all the decisions that go into a beautiful design.
My 4 yo goes back and forth, sometimes wants to take a bath still, but is open to showers, too (having a handheld shower head is SO great in all kids bathrooms, even when they bathe, rinsing hair is so much easier with a handheld). I’d be prepared for possible steam sooner than you think. On the upside, unless you’re using it as an activity, bathing goes so much faster with a shower than a bath!
It’s so nice to see COLOR on your walls! There are so many homes going all-white, but that doesn’t always work. I look forward to the inspiration your choices will bring and all the updates.
How did you get to take your drapes and Roman shades? I’m so jealous as I had to sell mine with the house!
In order to keep your drapes or light fixtures (anything removable), you have to specify them as “exceptions” in the real estate listing.
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I am LOVING all your choices & can’t wait to see more progress! I too have a large living room with complicated, ever-changing light and when we picked the color after sampling tons of shades, it looked great until a few months later when we removed a huge tree outside that changed the light completely. That’s why I adore paint- you can always change it!
We just finished painting most of our new (dated) home after having every wall retextured. I think I went through 11 gray samples? Most of the rooms are painted a 75%mix of BM Gray Owl. It looks different on almost every wall. It’s comforting to me that even a designer who is so used to paint colors struggles sometimes, too!
Greys are hard with all the undertones. I’ve had the same experience of having them look different everywhere I used them. Frustrating!