Painting My World.

I triumphantly write to you at the end of what was the first plentiful yard sale plunder of the season for me! It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I actually got up and out of the house before 7 this morning, for the first time this summer. I didn’t get a chance to take pics — I’ll try tomorrow — but I’m not sure how interested most of you will be in my treasures, as they’re almost all contemporary finds, nary a vintage find among them. It’s good for me, because the college kids are coming back into town shortly, and both booths need to be stocked with pretties that might attract a young, 20-something’s eye. I think I got a pretty good start on that today.

What I have primarily been occupying my time with, though, is painting our master bedroom (and eventually, bath). It is, currently a…tan color. Justin calls it tan. I don’t know what to call it. It’s hideous and depressing and I cannot imagine anyone actually purposefully purchasing this color at a paint store. Perhaps it was an oops gallon? Here’s a picture of the room (this is not our furniture — this is a pic from the original listing of the house when it was for sale):

Ya’ll are going to look at that and say, “hey, that’s not THAT bad.” But it photographs much lighter than it actually is. SHUDDER.

So when we painted over the VERY RED kitchen, I hired someone else to do the painting. I don’t know what I was thinking — that we were MADE of money??? But painting around the cabinets intimidated me and the walls are so high…and I’m lazy. A lazy, lazy person. But I can’t possibly justify the cost this time around, I knew I had to do it myself,  which is why it has taken me so long to get started despite my hatred of the color.

FIRST: I had to pick out paint colors. If I say this around anyone I know in real life they slowly start backing away from me, because I have a LOT of trouble with choosing paint colors. It is customary to call everyone I know to come over and stare with me at the stripes of different colored paint on the wall.  I am terrified of making the wrong choice. All that work, only to hate the color in the end? NO SIR. So I basically spent what an entire gallon of paint would cost in samples. Here’s a tip: get your samples at Lowe’s. There have only been one or two BM or SW colors they don’t have in their system. They’re the cheapest. Home Depot’s samples have gone up to three-something and Sherwin Williams is around $7 (for a sample!) and Benjamin Moore is even more. I realize that there is a slight danger of some color differentiation but I don’t think it’s enough to warrant paying twice as much for a sample — in fact, I ended up testing that out when I made my final choice. I was worried the Lowe’s sample might be different than the actual SW color so I went ahead and got a sample of SW before purchasing my gallons, painted both next to each other on the wall, and they were exactly the same.

I had decided that I wanted a fairly neutral, green-blue color with the emphasis on the green. Yay, a definitive call on at least the color family! Then I promptly fell down the rabbit hole. First of all, the light in that room is just plain WEIRD. It has a wall of windows that face the North, so it gets a lot of sun as the day goes by, but at the beginning and end of the day, it’s kind of an odd, cool light. Secondly, green-blues are FREAKISH COLORS. Look at the paints I got samples of and tell me that most of them, at least, don’t look fairly similar.

I know there are a few outliers — like Hazel — but for the most part, to me, all of these colors look very similar. Every single one of them looked like a COMPLETELY different color when I painted them on the wall. Now, this ain’t my first time at the rodeo. I know that paint on the wall looks entirely different than paint on the card. For that very reason, I paint wide, four- or five-feet swatches on the wall to take a good look. But I’ve never had any colors look this drastically different. I can’t count the times I came charging out of the bedroom and thrust the paint sample in Justin’s face and said “LOOK AT THIS PAINT IN THE JAR AND LOOK AT IT ON THE WALL. IT IS NOT THE SAME PAINT.” Silver Marlin in particular jumps out at me because it was plain SILVER on the wall. So strange. Most of these read overtly blue on our walls, too, which, for some reason, was unacceptable to me. I don’t know why; I love blue. I told Justin I can’t even put into words what color I was searching for, because it was all emotion that had no English words to describe it. But this was easily my most frustrating paint search to date. I was ALL UP in Pinterest’s grill for two weeks.

Finally, I settled on Sherwin William’s Contented.

On my wall, it doesn’t look anything like this, so I don’t know why I’m even bothering to show you! I found it on a site that called it a grey and it does look very grey in this sample — but it’s a very earthy green-blue on my wall. It’s a warm, earth tone. Very cozy with a hint of strong color but not so much that it’s not neutral. It think it will be fun to accent — I would LOVE to ask you guys suggestions on an accent color but since I don’t think this sample is a very good representation of what the color looks like in the room, I don’t know if that’s even possible. But if you have any ideas, let it rip.

I knew I wanted to use either Sherwin Williams of Benjamin Moore. I’m a paint snob. But I’m only a paint snob because I’m SO LAZY. I figured out a long time ago that if you spend more money on the paint, you are far less likely to have to do more than one coat. Contented was a Sherwin Williams color and they just happened to be having one of their sales so I went with them. I strongly recommend you check the Internet for any sales/coupons before purchasing paint — BM and SW have frequent, GOOD sales (this time it was 30% off). I got the Duration line, which, I think is one step below their most expensive. I told the sales person I HATED gloss of any kind but recognized that I needed something with some degree of washability and she prodded me towards matte, which I am loving. Not as flat as flat but there isn’t a sheen at all. It’s perfect. I also like how the paint is somehow thinner than other paints I’ve worked with yet the coverage is perfect.

I started a few days ago and am doing a bit here and there, when I get a chance. Emme sleeps in there both for nap and at the beginning of the night (if we try to put them to bed in the same room, there’s a frat party going on before we know it) so I can’t work on it when they’re sleeping. I don’t mind taking it slow like this — in fact, I’m using a brush and not a roller, which REALLY slows things down. The last time I undertook a huge painting project like this was in Chicago; it was the year before we had the twins and I had just had surgery due to an ectopic pregnancy and needed something to take my mind off of the sadness of that. So I up and painted our kitchen and dining room. It was summer, I was off work, and I just listened to books on my iPod until I had the entire project done — it was therapeutic for me then and it’s hitting me the same way now…just a chance to concentrate on the same methodical motions and put some of the sadness out of my head. And it’s SO rewarding — you get instant gratification as you look behind you at your work! One more unexpected benefit of using a brush instead of a roller — I can’t believe how much less paint I’m using. I’m 3/4 of the way through and barely halfway through one gallon. I didn’t realize painting with rollers used so much more paint.

When I move into the bathroom, I’m going to have to figure out how to take down the builder-grade mirror. There are lots of tutorials of success stories out there, but I would like to find a few that tell about trying to do it and it turning into a disaster so I’ll know what to expect. Anyone ever do that before? And while I’m throwing questions out there, anyone ever put up their own crown molding? Am I crazy for thinking I might be able to do that? The biggest issue in this room is all the weird angles (see pic above) — don’t know quite how to handle that. But everything about the room is so builder-grade. I would love to add some personality to it.

I’ll be back to posting vintage goodies soon, I swear. Paint obsession won’t last forever!

July 12, 2015 - 11:31 am

Shara You are seriously the most NOT lazy person I have ever met. I hate paint and fabric. That is why I have white walls. BORING.

I know how to install light fixtures if you ever need any help with that.

July 13, 2015 - 9:29 am

Ellen Hi Lara!
We have mostly grey walls in our house which has an open floor plan, lots of windows. And our trim is white. I LOVE it. EVERYTHING looks good on these walls, art and photos of any color look fantastic.

July 14, 2015 - 3:47 pm

Anne Holcomb Hey Lara Jo, I love the color you chose and I love to paint with a brush too. I purchased Martha Stewart paint a few months ago at Home Depot when they were having a clearance sale on it to paint my kitchen. It went from $45.00 a gallon to $12.00 because they changed to Ralph Lauren I believe. I chose a cornmeal yellow and because I have a SEVERELY BAD knee right now, I have had to put it off but one day…..Bye now.

July 20, 2015 - 11:59 am

Jenn These kinds of earthy, sagey greens are my favourite and I’ve just painted my bedroom a similar colour! I think they work really well with clean white accents and some elements of copper.

July 24, 2015 - 7:27 pm

Lara Jo The trim is white (slightly off-white, actually) so I’m good there and OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH COPPER! I love that idea! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

I don’t know why I’m suddenly so drawn to greens. I never thought of that color group as being one of my favorites, but right after we moved in we painted over the flaming red of the kitchen with Sherwin Williams Koi Pond, which was a perfect green for a kitchen. So I’m with you. They’re now my favorite shades.

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

July 24, 2015 - 7:28 pm

Lara Jo Anne, I thought I noticed Martha Steward had disappeared from HD. I love yellow for a kitchen! I painted the kitchen in our old apartment in Chicago yellow. Always made me feel more cheerful when I walked in. Hope the knee is better!

July 24, 2015 - 7:29 pm

Lara Jo Ellen, our living room was painted a dark grey when we moved in, and I really like it, mostly for the reason you mentioned — everything looks good against it and it’s easy to match. I actually considered going with shades of gray but got a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices and how some had blue undertones, etc. I do worry that our rooms don’t “flow” like they’re supposed to with the paint colors but then I thought, screw it, you can’t worry about everything. 🙂 Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

July 24, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Lara Jo Shara, are you serious?? Do you really know how to install light fixtures? You are going to be so sorry you admitted that to me. 🙂