Friday, October 31, 2014

And So It Begins......

When my clients move into a new home, I frequently suggest they hold off on choosing paint colors right away. Rather, live in the space for a while, see how it feels, so how and where the sun hits the room, how it looks in the dark. But did I take my own advice? Of course not!

Don't get me wrong. The paint colors in our new-to-us house were not bad. In fact, the family room and kitchen were already the color I would have chosen - Benjamin Moore's Pittsfield Buff. It's a nice neutral that's not boring. And it has a hint of yellow-gold, something this house with lots of trees in the yard (making the rooms a bit dark) needed. I knew it would look very nice carried through into the living and dining room.

But the real issue for me was the woodwork. It was all a darker honey stain that had been badly polyurethaned, with lots of drips everywhere. I wanted it changed NOW! And it needed to be painted white to help bring in light.

So I made the decision to paint right away. Painting the woodwork meant also painting the walls, so I chose the colors after only living in the house a couple of months. I should say "we" chose the colors, because my husband does have a good eye for color and did have a say in the decision. And right now I'm thinking it was the right decision.
Here's the before with the stained woodwork.

After: Woodwork is painted as is the front door.
I'm very pleased with how light and airy the living room feels. The wall color is very similar, but with just a hint more yellow. It definitely makes me happy.

So to my clients, do as I say not as I do. Unless you're feeling the same way I was. Then make sure the choices you make are ones you can live with into the future. And be willing to paint again if you get new furniture, or find out the way the light hits the room in the summer is very different from the winter and the color you selected just doesn't work. But if you stick with interesting neutrals for the walls (please, no white) you should be able to live with them for a while. Then once you really know the house, you can make a different decision, if necessary. But if you're careful, you just may not need to change the colors for a long, long time.


  1. Great advice, Ann, and so nice to see the photographs of your new home! It looks lovely :-) Personal blog posts are usually my favorite.
    I had a client recently who was picking paint colors for her whole downstairs, and we had to be so careful. Depending on the light, it went from pink (!) to beige to yuk, all in a day. Fortunately, we found the perfect one, but it was an important decision, so I am glad we were able to spend the time.
    - Wendy

    1. Colors with pink undertones can be the most difficult! Having said that, all colors change with the lighting and the time of day. And you're so right, that takes time! I'm sure she's delighted with your selection.