palette cleanse

IMG_5684 After years of near-riotious explosions of color, we're finally calming things down a bit around here. When we first moved from California I worried a lot about leaving light behind. We'd grown quite used to endless days of sunny skies, and facing winter again was a daunting task. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I went a little crazy with the pastels for awhile there in an effort to counterbalance what I feared would be months on end of leaden gray, early dark afternoons. Our hall and entry was a sunny yellow, and for a (brief) while the living room was an almost sky blue. It was cheery all right.

In the seven years since we've been here, the dining room, living room and family room/kitchen have all changed color several times (the dining room and living room both a grand total of three each -yikes!), and we've gradually moved to a more muted color palette. Our family room is a sea gray (color: zircon from Sherwin Williams), the dining room is Valspar Brilliant Metals from Lowes, sort of a Tiffany box blue color, and the living room, also from Valspar is a creamy pearl. (I did a quick internet search for the actual names of the colors and didn't have much luck. Besides, I seriously doubt you're going to run out and paint your house just! like! mine! anyway.)

These three colors feel good together. They feel subtle and minimal, which was the sense I wanted in this wandery downstairs of a house, but that left large parts of the place with those (admittedly cheery) pastels that just didn't feel right anymore.

IMG_5693 Say goodbye to The Lavender Room. Remember our guest room with all of my grandmother's lovely things? What I decided I wanted was a unified color in the downstairs entryway, the stairwell (pictured at the start of this post), the upstairs hall and the guest room. One seamless flow of creamy white.

IMG_5705 So we started with the guest room. The alcove in that room is such a sweet spot that we kept it purple, but I wasn't even very sad to paint over the rest of it with that bright, warm white (Fresh Cotton, also Valspar, also Lowes).

IMG_5687 I'm glad we kept that little nod to the way it used to be. Although my dad was the first to stay in the rehabed room, I thought about my mom a lot as we I painted. It was her mom who loved purple so much. Her mom's painting hangs on the wall. Her mom's bed sits cozily piled with comfy blankets and pillows. But it seems though that my mom gets nothing but bad news when she stays in this room, so I'm hoping the color change will bring a sea-change for her in that regard.

IMG_5689 As the first strokes of the roller went on, I tried to fill them with warm and hopeful thoughts, but the Kilz was such a pain in the butt that I soon gave up and just wanted finished with the darn thing. So much for a sea change. My irritated mood might be more fitting, though! We didn't call my grandmother Eeyore for nothing.



IMG_5696 We didn't stop at the walls in this room. Added a shelf for some books, and topped it with a sweet blue fan from etsy to replace the ceiling fan we took out. Switched out some dressers and gave the ladder back chair we use as a night stand new life with some silver spray paint. Alfie pointed out that it's nice to have a chair to put your jammies on, so in when another chair, and hey! What about a mirror? That might be a nice thing for guests to use. All it lacks is a flat screen tv and a mini fridge and people may never want to leave.

After I got past the irritated part of the project, I moved straight into worried (one of the 8 stages of painting {excited, undecided, resolved, excited (again) worried, tired, whiny and satisfied}). Was it too white? Was it not warm enough? Too like the trim? Does it look like we don't care about color? Because we really do care about color! When I thought about these walls in my mind, I was thinking about maybe Parisian apartment or country farmhouse. Spare, unadorned. Beauty in their simplicity. In the old part of our house the walls are heavily plastered, and I wanted that work to shine. A few weeks later we were painting the hall the same white, and when Neel was doing the hard ceiling part, he said, "I really like this color, it reminds me of the whitewashed walls on those houses we saw in Greece."

Okay. I think we got it right.