Thursday, February 26, 2015

Color My World!

Hello Chickens!

Sending greetings from the land of drywall.   Here are some in-progress pics...

guest bedroom


Media room...showing the exposed steel beam
These guys are amazing, look at what they have to do everywhere a wall meets the stone!

That is some seriously amazing hand-crafting right there!
You'll notice that we are two-toned, the drywallers are using the mold resistant stuff on the lower half in case we ever get water in the basement.  Always thinking, and you know our basement motto:  Better safe than soggy.  More next week when the taping is done!

First off, congrats to Bridget O'Neill who has won a copy of my new novel, please send your shipping address to me at staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com and I will get it out to you.  For the rest of you, have you remembered to PRE-ORDER your copy of RECIPE FOR DISASTER?

(Okay, you don't have to order eight copies, unless you really want me to love you to bits, but one would be awesome!)

If you have been following along, you have heard that we have decided to be a top to bottom Sherwin-Williams house when it comes to paints and stains and finishes.  If not, check out the first paint post HERE.  And we have picked out the different product lines of theirs to use for the various types of spaces we have.  Which means it is time for COLOR.

And can I get an A-MEN.

I have some philosophies about color.  First off, while I love the moody greige Restoration Hardware Catalog as much as the next girl, when it comes to the spaces I am going to actually live in?  I don't want to be afraid of color.  And while my wardrobe might be 50 shades of gray, my tastes for interior design (not to mention books and movies) are a little more...singular.

I think unfortunately, we can all tend to go to extremes with paint color.  Either we get scared of color completely, and paint the whole house off-white figuring that our furnishings will provide all the color we need, which makes our spaces look generic and lifeless.  Or we go too far to the other side, and paint each room a different color without imagining how they relate to the spaces you can see or pass thru, making our houses look like fruit salad.

Here are my thoughts, and worth just what you are paying for them.

Just like you want to be careful about your flooring choices, since different flooring in every room is visually jarring, think about the flow-through spaces and ceilings of your home as your map.  By unifying those two areas, preferably with a neutral, you help the eye travel through your home.  We are using a Sherwin-Williams color called SuperWhite, which is specially formulated to minimize the reflection of other colors.  By choosing this crisp, pure white for all of our hallways, the stairwell, and all of the ceilings, we will have a bright clean palate cleanser for the eyes as we move through a home where we are making some bold color choices.  Keeping the ceilings this clean white will also help rooms with dark walls not become cave-like, and will help reflect light.

When it comes to choosing colors, think about each entire floor of your house as a palette.  You want to choose colors that are friends.  That doesn't necessarily mean that they all have to be different tones of the same color, which is certainly a choice you can make and can be very elegant.  It just means that none of them should clash when put next to each other.

Choosing the color for different rooms is actually a two step process.  First is to choose the general color:  deep brown, for example.  Then you want to get a few samples of deep browns that you like, and get them up in the actual space for a few days.  Lighting in your rooms is very different, even from room to room, and it changes at every time of day and night.  You want to make sure that the brown you choose doesn't go too black at night, or doesn't get too green in the light you have in that room.  Remember the napkin story?  Trust me, treat each room as its own environment, and let the colors live there for a bit before you decide.

Sherwin-Williams makes choosing color pretty easy.  First off, on their website for homeowners, they have a Color Visualizer that allows you to easily upload a photo of your room and try different colors on the walls right on your computer!  Once you narrow down your colors, you can buy a few samples and paint them right on your walls to test them out.  If you are working with an interior designer, or one of the designers at Walter E Smithe like we are, they can order you paint samples pages in three sizes, I like the 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets, so that you can just tape them up on the wall.

You want to put up at least 3-4 versions of the color you want, and label them so you know which is which.  Then go look at them at several times of day...early morning, late morning, midday, midafternoon, sundown, night.  Rank them in order of preference at each of these times of day, and see if one stands out as being preferred the most number of times of the day, especially the times of day you are most likely to be in that room.  After all, if you are usually in your bedroom only early morning and late at night, how it looks at noon is less relevant.  But if you have a home office that you are in all day, those changing midday times will mean much more to you.  This process should allow you to pick the perfect version of the general color you have chosen.

When thinking about colors on a floor of your home, you can mix and match darks and lights, as long as they all go together.  I'll use our basement as the example.

We know the hallway and stairwell and ceilings will all be that fabulous SuperWhite.  We have some design challenges for the rooms, including the fact that the media room and exercise room share open arched entryways, and not doors, and that the wine cellar is also off of these spaces, albeit with a door.

Charming Suitor knew that he wanted a dark color in the wine cellar, after all, it is supposed to be cavelike, so in that room, we are also going to break from our rule of the white ceiling, and choose one color that will go on all walls and the ceiling as well.  And we knew we would want a dark wall color in the media room, since the primary function of that room is to watch movies and such, so while we will still do the SuperWhite on the ceiling for some brightening, we want the walls to be dark.  That meant we would simply paint the little hall that has the entries to all three rooms the same color as the media room, and would extend that color into the exercise room as well, so that the spaces flow.  We can use a different color for the wine cellar, since it has a door, but want something that will be friends with the other colors.

CS and I both love a deep rich dark molasses brown, which we used in our Kitchen Library upstairs:

Since it really looks great with wood, and the wine cellar will be covered in wood racking, he wanted to use a similar color down there.

With the gray floor and stone walls in the media and exercise rooms, we thought a dark gray would be a better choice, and luckily, gray and brown look elegant together, as long as you get the right ones!  Both brown and gray can lean yellow or green or reddish, so when choosing versions that will live right next to each other, you need to choose versions with the same base tones.  When using our Sherwin-Williams fan deck to pick samples, we choose them from the same section of the deck, to make sure that the undertones are the same.  Our Walter E Smithe designer Mary Jo helped us order several versions of each, so that we can find ones that will work well with each other AND with the rooms.  As soon as we get the drywall up, we can tape the samples to the walls and start our process of checking them out all times of day!

We have two guest bedrooms down there, and when it comes to basement bedrooms, my personal opinion is that you go light and bright.  Basements can get a little dark in general, so if you want the rooms to feel bigger and more open, a light color is the way to go.  And since these rooms are right next to each other, we wanted to unify them by picking one color that would work in both.  I didn't want to go white or off-white, I feel that they can too easily go yellow in darker spaces, I wanted something warm and welcoming.  Since those rooms each have a stone and brick wall, and the brick is sort of rosy, I though that a lovely pale pink with hints of gray in it would be perfect.  At first CS thought that pink would be a little girly and pastel, but then I showed him this:

 And this:

And this:

And he saw what I meant, that I wasn't talking about a girly babydoll ballerina pink, but a pale grayish pink that is very sophisticated and elegant.  We have ordered, I kid you not, about 10 different pink samples to test in these rooms because this is a color that if we get it wrong, it will be REALLY WRONG.  So we are going to get all of these samples up and check them out for the better part of a week before committing, I think it is going to be our hardest color choice to pull the trigger on, but I also think if we get it right it will be really fantastic and special.

The bathroom down there has very limited paint, since the walls get a tile wainscoting to nearly four feet high, but it is also a dark-ish room, so we are going to be looking for a light stone color that will go with the exposed stone and brick, something close to the color of the tile:

And finally, we have a laundry room, with two stone walls, and since we will be using the same Bath Paint mildew-resistant product in that room as we are using in the bathroom, we thought that we will use the same color as well.

So here is our basic palette:

Now, in conversation, if you said that on one floor we were going to use brown, gray, pink and putty colors, you might say that they were all too different and that it would be jarring.  But as you can see when you put them together, they are all friends!  It allows us to use deep rich colors in rooms that can take it, and pale colors that still have some oomph where we need lightness, and with the white unifying the hallway and ceilings, we should have a color story downstairs that is fun and interesting but not strange or incompatible.  We will be doing the same thing as we move up, floor by floor, in each case not shying away from using color, just being really thoughtful about the connection between the colors we are choosing to use!

Once the drywall is finished, I'll show you some pictures of the samples we are using at different times of day to show you how things change, and will let you know which specific colors we end up picking!

The last thing is about finish.  Sherwin-Williams paints come in nine different finishes, from Flat thru High Gloss.  Here are the ones we are using down there:

For ceilings, we go Flat.  You want light to reflect, but not create shine above your head.  This will be true of all ceilings throughout the house.

For walls, go Satin or Eggshell.  Still a matte surface, but has a little more life than the Flat, and is easier to clean.  There are a couple of rooms upstairs that we are planning high gloss for a really special look, but in general, Eggshell is our best friend.

For doors and trim, we are going with the Cashmere Pearl.  This is halfway between a Satin and a Semi-Gloss, and sort of just glows.  You want a different finish on trim and doors, especially if you are using the same color as the walls, which we are.  For me, I don't want the sheen of a Semi-Gloss here, but I do want a little more oomph to separate it from the walls, and the Cashmere Pearl finish is subtle, and lovely.

Next week I will have an update on the drywall and other finishing touches, and some pics of paint samples!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath

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