January 31, 2012

how to pick neutral paint colors

These colors I'm considering for my new kitchen cabinets have been hanging out on the fridge, for viewing day and night, for over a week now. And I can say I am only slightly closer to picking one than I was a week ago. Now, I'm naturally indecisive, but picking neutrals is also notoriously tough. Here's my best advice for how to do it.

1. Get recommendations. What have people you trust used and loved? Try these first and you may save yourself a lot of time. Over the past months, I've picked up some hints as to a few to try. Revere Pewter and Clay Beige from Benjamin Moore were two I added to my list at the recommendation of some trusted friends.

2. Examine your samples, in the actual room you want to paint, in all kinds of light. Check out your paint colors day and night, in sun and clouds. This is how the undertones will emerge. For instance, I like Revere Pewter best in the morning light, when it's cool and clear, but less at night under indoor light, when it turns warmer and slightly peachy.

3. Get to know your undertones. There's always one to deal with, so figure out if you're okay with something a little more yellow, or pink, or blue. Gray Horse is too blue. The Sherwin Williams strip on the right is too pink. The strip on the left is looking good. A bit green. But as undertones go, this is one direction I'd head in gladly.

4. Bring in, if they're not there already, other colors and finishes that'll live in the room. For my kitchen cabinet color, that's why I initially pinned the colors up on the fridge, to see how they'd complement the stainless. I should also, according to my own rules, have a countertop and flooring sample here too, to see how the colors work together. Maybe that's why this decision has been so hard.

5. Finally, narrow down and paint a large sample. Here's where you get closer to finding what you'll really you love. Eliminate those colors you just can't live with and narrow down to just your favorites. I think three is plenty. Two is just fine. Buy some small paint samples and paint out a large sample on the wall, or even better, on a board you can move around the room and check out in the changing light of your space. Good luck! And I'll need it too!

At least I'm onto the last step. Unless anyone has any other neutral paint recommendations?!

By the way, here are some inspiration shots. If my kitchen could look like any of these, I'll be a very happy girl!

all images via pinterest

January 25, 2012

no turning back now!

Michael unexpectedly had a few days off this week due to a job delay, and he decided to stay busy at home.

This is happening! We are not really ready for complete demo yet (cabinets are not even ordered!), but we did want to see what was behind this wall and measure exactly where the chimney was. Actually, we have to determine whether we can, or even want to expose the chimney.

It doesn't look great now, and it will need to be sealed up and rebricked where the old coal stove fed into it. Not to mention totally cleaned up. There are also some electrical wires running up the right side to the second floor. We need to find out if we can move/hide those.

But look at how much room we have now! We took that silly closet out and gained over a foot. The fridge will sit back there eventually, next to the hopefully-exposed chimney. But see that gas line? Yeah, that's going to be tricky.

The big news is we think we can move the doorway more to the right now, which will give us room for a longer run of sink cabinets and...drumroll...a very shallow floor-to-ceiling pantry there. To say I am psyched would be a huge understatement!

On the other side of that run of cabinets (where we'll eventually have range, dishwasher, sink, pullout trash, pantry), Michael framed up the wall so we can clear up that weird gap behind the cabinets, and take advantage of the extra space with a narrow linen cabinet next to the bathroom door.

There's lots more to come, and I'll be sharing more details as we make progress. (For a reminder of what the kitchen used to look like, go here.) I hope you'll follow along! We have many decisions to make, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens!

January 24, 2012

mini-project: paper-lined cabinet

Last week I was inspired by this image that Rene featured in her pretty storage post.


I instantly thought, how easy would this be?! Rene showed how simple it was when she lined her closet with wrapping paper. Wrapping paper! No need for fancy wallpaper and booking and paste and painstaking hanging. Just some simple wrapping paper and poster tape.

So why hadn't I already done this in my dark, uninspiring medicine cabinet?

Well, I did. And it makes everything look better!

So much better! I could have chosen something brighter, but there's a new black-and-white theme going on in my bathroom now. And it's all coming together, with the addition of this great ticking stripe wrapping paper from Target. I've got a few more projects to finish this room. But for now I'm a very happy girl.

January 23, 2012

bright monday & a winner!

It's dark and cloudy, and there's snow on the ground this morning in New England. I'm feeling like it's going to take a long while waking up (and a miracle to actually leave the house) today. Maybe a dose of brightness here will help?




sherry hart

pinterest, ikea chest

sarah richardson

And speaking of yellow, Angeline is the lucky winner of the DwellStudio Citrine pillows from my sponsor Windows by Melissa. Congrats, Angeline! Your living room just got a little brighter this season ;-)

January 20, 2012

don't forget!

Happy Friday, everyone, and a reminder before the weekend: Don't forget to enter the awesome pillow giveaway! (It ends Sunday.) Your house needs freshening up, right?

via house of turquoise

And speaking of forgetting, I have not forgotten about showing you my jute-wrapped headboard project. It's just that I'm making painstakingly slow progress on it. Think hot glue, burnt thumbs, running out of supplies, etc. It's going to look great as soon as I can put a few more hours into it though! Wish me luck on it—and wish me motivation—again ;-)

January 19, 2012

floor & cabinet colors in the kitchen

A lot of you liked the dark wood floor that was my first choice for the kitchen as much as I did. I knew there was a reason we're all friends ;-) Well, friends, you can help me again. No sooner do I decide on dark wood floors then I begin to notice all the beautiful kitchens with light wood floors. Some of my favorites. Like this one.

house & home

This image has me seriously rethinking. We've got a small house and the light floors might expand the space. And I could just replicate the look of this kitchen and be completely, deliriously happy.

So if you have contrast somehwere in the space, must you have it between two surfaces that connect—the floors and lower cabinets? I had always assumed so, but the contrast is very minimal above (the stainless appliances and grey island do help overall though).


Here's another with just the island for contrast.


The contrasting island seems to be a theme. But what about Tommy's famous kitchen? Dark lowers and dark floors. Yet it works.

tommy smythe

The contrast only kicks in with the backsplash and the upper cabinets. Hmmm. And here.

cottage living

I'm starting to think anything goes with floor and cabinet colors! As long as you have contrast somewhere in the kitchen. Maybe the uppers provide contrast. Maybe the island. Maybe both.

Most kitchens I like with dark wood floors tend to have white cabinets.



house beautiful


But this starts to look a little predictable, no? We've seen it everywhere. What about dark floors with a light color—or any color on the cabinets? This is what we had in mind originally.

southern living

traditional home

These kitchens look great. So I'm thinking I should stick with my first instinct. Color swatches for cabinets are on the way (not white). And the dark floor still seems to work best for our house, though I do fluctuate on this a bit. But if you could weigh in, I'd be endlessly grateful! What do you think? Light floors or dark? White cabinets or painted? What kitchen do you love?

January 17, 2012

dwellstudio pillow giveaway!

I don't know about you, but I always want new pillows to jazz up my surroundings, and in dreary January these DwellStudio for Robert Allen Gate 20" pillow covers are just the thing, especially in this Citrine colorway. Thanks to my awesome sponsor Windows by Melissa, you can win a pair now and your home will be feeling bright and cheery in no time!

The whole collection is so lovely. You just can't go wrong with it.

Here's how to enter:
{1} Follow this blog. If you don't already, click Join this site through Google Friend Connect on the right.
{2} Leave a comment about what you'll do with your new pillows!

Contest ends Sunday, January 22 at midnight, and I'll announce the winner Monday. Good luck everyone!

January 16, 2012

weekend kitchen picks

Surprise, surprise: some progress towards the new kitchen was made this weekend! Michael had to make a quick visit to a client and to the cabinet shop, so I offered to go with, knowing this was a great chance to get some decisions on the books.

We picked out a door style. VERY simple Shaker frame. That is all. And this organization will be finding its way into our design. Near the stove. For sure.

Then it was on to Lumber Liquidators to check out wood floors. We decided on wood versus tile because my house is so small, and we have wood in the other rooms. It'd be nice for the rooms to have more flow and feel more open to each other. Ideally the woods would blend and help with this expansive, open feeling. Of course some of the woods we like were LOVELY but would not blend well with my old oak floors. They're too dramatic. Oh well.

We both fell for this knotty, grainy, light/dark Australian cypress. It has a character like pine or oak but with a crisper, cooler feel. It was the most expensive of the three we chose, however.

On the bargain side, I was into this hickory selection. It'd be great with a very cottagey white-cabinet kitchen. Do you like the variation of tones in the boards? I'm not sure exactly why, maybe because it makes the floor look more unique and handcrafted versus out of the box and standard, but I am sooo into that.

I've always really loved the idea of a dark wood floor, though.

Apparently, This Old House loved it too. (They must have used it in a recent project. Will have to do some research here!) I love how this stain is not too warm and not too cool. It looks to me like walnut, even though it's birch. And it's not flat; literally, it's roughly planed, giving a slightly rustic look I like. But at the same time, the color I think makes it more modern. And the tones aren't flat. The staining has some nice depth and variation. The pricing for this one was somewhere in the middle of our high and low choices.

And yeah, I know it can be hard to clean, which is a bummer, but I have a white floor now, so that's no biggie to me. I think it'd be dramatic and sleek and eventually I'd like to have my other wood floors in the house sanded and stained to match. This could be the one.

What are your thoughts? Which would you pick? For pure looks, for price, and to put in a modern-country Shaker-style painted cabinet (but not white) kitchen?
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