Anyone who’s ever had to make a decision about home renovation or decor already knows this. So many of the decisions we make about our homes generate the onslaught of too many choices. Whether looking for wallpaper, granite, fabric, tile or paint, or any number of other things for the home, there are simply too many options to consider! The task becomes massive!
About two postings ago, I wrote about my husband agreeing to my long-standing campaign to have our trim and other wood in our home painted a shade of white. (See The Elephant Gives Birth! ). Once we achieved that, I realized that it was also time for our kitchen, adjoining family room and mudroom to have a full paint job, including walls and ceilings. The paint for the trim had already been chosen due to the color used on other wood in the house – bookcases and stair risers – that had been painted last year: Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, a classic, softly shaded white. One decision made: the trim would also be White Dove.
Next came the dilemma of the wall color. My initial thought when I first started to think about this a year or so ago was that I eschewed what I called Ubiquitous Gray. Over the past few years it seemed I’ve seen gray everywhere – on walls, on cabinetry, and even on floors. As an alternative I knew I didn’t want my walls to be beige, not that I don’t like beiges and taupes but simply because part of my goal with the new white trim was to remove much of the brown that I saw as I looked around my main floor. And beige or taupe was just too much of brown’s distant cousin for my current tastes. So I started to look at other possibilities such as variations of sea foam (but worried about it fighting with my blacksplash) and Swiss Coffee (Benjamin Moore) which was a beautiful bright off-white but, alas, too close to the current color on my walls, and it really didn’t allow the white trim to pop sufficiently. Besides, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to see change in the color on the walls. Within that vast, overwhelming paint color wheel, surely there had to be new colors to consider, right?
I don’t know if you noticed but this Spring, magazine covers screamed out “Go Bold,” “Color Calling,” and with a throwback to the Fifties, more than one article celebrated use of paint combinations such as fuschia, turquoise and yellow. I was looking for ideas and have never been adverse to color but I knew I couldn‘t live with Coney Island Pink in my kitchen. And I’d already served my time with Salmon walls years ago. It may be the current trend but it’s not the look I wanted now.
So I went back to Plan A, searching for the calm, classic and relatively unobtrusive hue I originally envisioned. There was the beautiful Muslin (Benjamin Moore) that I have loved for fifteen years but felt now that on my walls it came off just too beigy to make the cut. I started to see actual grays on actual walls in the well appointed homes of friends and family – all of which looked absolutely beautiful, colors that were establishing themselves in my mind as definitely in the running. With the arrival of the painter looming, I started to slather swatches on my walls. And I was clearly leaning toward all the shades of gray!
There was beautiful Wickham Gray (Benjamin Moore) which shows on my friend’s walls as a stunning whisper of blue. I was convinced that was to be the color. But in my lighting, it came off much darker than I wanted. There was Agreeable Gray. (Sherwin Williams). Popular Gray (Sherwin Williams). Palest Pistachio, which sounds like it should be green but it was almost white (Benjamin Moore). There was Silver Ash (Behr). There was the Revere Pewter (Benjamin Moore) of my son and daughter-in-law’s beautiful kitchen and family room and one of the first gray shades that got my serious attention. Throughout the course of living with the swatches on the walls, Revere Pewter just seemed too dark in my spaces and was virtually eliminated right out of the gate. Some turned into an unexpected shade of violet or almost turquoise. What I wanted was a relatively pale gray, that would still be strong enough to show off the white trim. It became an huge task with too many options and now I was facing a pressing deadline.
I was really at a loss, that is until one morning when I came down into my kitchen and saw the Revere Pewter swatch propped up against my backsplash. What struck me was how beautifully it matched with my kitchen cabinets that remain stained, and, most of all, with how it drew out the gray imbedded in my mosaic backsplash. Was it possible that this had been the color all along? It was then and there that I locked onto Revere Pewter as my color. There’s nothing like the pressure of painter arrival to force focus and a needed decision!
Now that the white is on the trim and Revere Pewter is on the walls, I see the transformation I was looking for in my home! It has been achieved and I love it! It is just the way I wanted my rooms to look – updated, fresh, and clean! More importantly, my husband and I both love it! In fact, we loved it so much, we had the wall under the chair rail in our dining room also painted Revere Pewter since the dining room is visible from the kitchen.
Now I’m taking another look at my “decoration” around the house. Since painting requires scaling back – furniture needs to be moved out and walls bared – it’s an opportunity to re-think what stays and what goes, to recreate the design and decor used in the rooms. For example, contemporary parson’s benches which are now upholstered in a dark animal print in our family room will be re-covered in a light airy fabric.
Our home is a traditional colonial. While our decor is fundamentally traditional, incorporated are elements of some collectibles and antiques, a bit of contemporary. I believe the white trim and new wall color create a more classic contemporary feel that accommodates a variety of styles.
While I’m not an antique fanatic, interspersed throughout our home are cherished pieces that have great meaning to my husband and me, collected over the years that are, and will always remain, part of our home. Among them, there are the lights, original to our 1920’s home in Pennsylvania and that we removed before we sadly put that house on the market: the twenties-era cranberry glass ceiling lamp that adorned the entry to that home is now the lighting above our relatively modern, oversized dining room table,
as well as another art deco ceiling lamp that now lights part of our entry hallway.
There is a folk vase from Czechoslovakia from the 1930’s that belonged to my grandmother.
There is the 1880’s Civil War Reconstruction era cannon-ball brass bed – now the centerpiece in one of our guest rooms – that was a wedding gift to us from my mother-in-law. It has helped us create our version of the Lincoln bedroom.
We also bought at a private sale in Pennsylvania about forty years ago, and still use, a set of 1880’s dressers. My mother’s 1930’s cedar hope chest is displayed in front of one of our bookcases. These are heavy brown pieces but they are pieces held dear by us that will happily remain as they are in our home.
I’m excited as I sparingly and slowly add back only some of the items that previously hung on our walls. While my home is far from minimalist, I believe that quite a number of walls and nooks that previously had some embellishment, will now remain bare. Unless I get too bored with that…..
Thank you for stopping by. Until next time…….