Gray Matter

I haven’t written much lately because it seems like I’m not doing much, but in reality there is a TON going on!  We’ve decided to take off all the existing 2-inch baseboard and door trim on the main floor and in the upstairs (bedrooms, hall, and bath).  This has been awesome for me because as the designated paintress (it sounds way better than painter), it’s a lot easier to paint a wall when there is no baseboard or trim to cut around.  The down side is, I need to make a lot of decisions very quickly!

If I were going to live in this house by myself, this would be the easiest and most fun thing ever.  But, since I need to make it a place that feels like home for Mark too, I need to find a way to seamlessly blend his style with mine…which is difficult!  Mark feels most alive around cool colors like blues (navy, particularly) and gray tones.  I love warm tones–yellow is my favorite color.  Yellow is Mark’s least favorite.  He’s missing out.

One thing we both agree on is texture.  We both love texturally rich spaces.  I love wood, and brick, and softness, and stone.  Mark does too!  So we’re actually agreeing a lot on the surface things.

But, paint.  That brings me to the gray matter.  Gray is a really great color because it is never just “gray.”  There are green grays, beige grays, red grays, blue grays–and the undertones can be so subtle too.  This is not a one-size-fits-all color.  We decided on a gray wall scheme in our living room because it allowed us to cater to his cool tones and my warm tones without having to really pick a side.  We will furnish with pops of color to give a nod to each of our preferences.  Simple?  Hardly.

It was really tough to find that perfect gray!  Our living room is bright in the mornings with a lot of Eastern light.  Our first round of gray options were all so light they looked white–and Mark hates white.  I’m not a huge fan (for this room) either.  I went to the locally owned paint/hardware store and got the greatest rundown on paint mixing ever!  This is why mom and pop shops are great.  The man there explained the ratios of various tints that go into paint and by reading the tint chart, he was able to help me find the perfect gray.  So much fun.  I’d play with the paint mixing machine all the time if I were him.

Our finalists were:

From left: Benjamin Moore – Stonington Gray, Benjamin Moore – Gray Owl, Benjamin Moore – Sea Haze.

I liked Sherwin-Williams Argos as well (and used it in the bathroom cabinetry) but since the local shop used Benjamin Moore, I worked within their line.

After testing some samples, Stonington Gray actually looked like baby blue in the daylight (there is a lot of blue in that one) and a blueberry yogurt color in the evening.  Not right for our room.  Gray owl was super light and pretty–but almost too soft and nursery-like.  Sea haze was just right–rich with a bluish green undertone that is perfect for hosting some warmer pops of color in our decor.  On my monitor right now, none of these colors look a thing like what they look like on the wall–which is why sampling is SO important.

The color is so great.  I was worried at first–but it really works with our space and marrying our completely opposite tastes!  Something I do not love?  The mini-tarantula found wandering the upstairs hallway.  This house is going to look beautiful but I’ll never live there if he’s planning on being my roomie.  Nope!

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