This Old House: Color Me Beautiful

I like color. It makes me happy.  And I think painting is an inexpensive way to refresh a house and infuse it with your own personality. So you might be surprised to hear that Dean and I lived in our first house a full year before we painted a single wall. And then we painted a room here and a room there (usually to coincide with the arrival of out of town guests) before finally hiring a colorist to give us color suggestions and a painter to knock the rest of it out.

When we made the move to the new house, painting was #1 on my priority list. The majority of the house was painted in different tones of cool whites or cool beiges. The master and Juliette’s bath were painted a deep green, the master bath was a pastel green and the guest bath was the color of a caramel apple (we have been known to call this the poop bathroom because quite frankly, it’s the color of poop!). We are guessing the green and brown colors were chosen to match the multicolor slate tile which features shades of green, brown and rust. Since we are not huge fans of the tile, we began the daunting task of picking paint colors that would work with the tile and downplay it at the same time. Not easy I tell you. Luckily, I am developing a better eye for these things and both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have excellent online tools.

I also cannot say enough good things about the staff at Rooster’s Paint and Decor (formerly known as Hill Country Paint) in Austin, TX. My love affair with this store began like this: I was desperately looking for the perfect gray for my guest bedroom. If you have ever tried to pick a gray paint, you know how excruciatingly difficult it is. Gray can look baby blue/purple/beige/pink depending upon your lighting and other factors. I wanted a true gray and and must have painted at least 13 of them on poster boards all over this room. Finally, I came upon a blog called Design Crisis in which they called upon a painting expert who suggested Abalone or Silver Fox. I headed over to Ben Moore and ran smack dab into THE expert- Sanders Gibbs. He turned me onto Harbor Gray, which was what I ended up choosing. So I must admit when I began the paint selection process this time around, I panicked when I did not run into Sanders during any of my first 3 trips into the store. I guess his son’s games coincide with when my Juliette naps and I kept missing him. Fortunately, everyone in that store has an eye for color and I was in good hands. I even visited the Westlake location and had a similar good experience. If you live in Austin, run- do not walk- to this store. You will not be disappointed. I found that they were very honest with me whether they agreed or disagreed with my selections. And that can save you from making painting mistakes (time & $). I also highly recommend buying paint samples and painting them on poster board. That way you can move them to various locations throughout your room and view the color in both natural and artificial light.

It took me three long weeks to pick out paint colors for phase I of our painting project. We chose not to DIY this time around but rather to rely upon our trusty painter Danny Wright of Wright Way Painting. I also have to plug Danny here. He has always done a great job painting our house. If you don’t believe me, read about him on Angie’s List.

Here is what we chose:


Sherwin Williams 6107: Nomadic Desert

This is on the ever popular strip 16 and a cousin of Latte which we had in the dining room of our last house. Strip 16 features warm neutrals that look good with most any other color you should choose.

IMG_5417 IMG_5430


Sherwin Williams 6109: Hopsack

This is two below Nomadic Desert on strip 16.



Benjamin Moore HC-30: Philadelphia Cream

Philadelphia cream is also a warm neutral with a slight yellow hue that gives it the appearance of butter in certain light. It also looks nice beside the nomadic beige and the brandon beige in its adjoining rooms.



Benjamin Moore 977: Brandon Beige

This color is one of Dean’s picks. It was painted in a bedroom we saw on Houzz. When I saw that it goes well with both brown and gold, I had to have it for our living room as these are the accent colors we had in our existing pillows and throws. It also looks very nice with green.


Benjamin Moore 979: Stampede

This is two below Brandon Beige on the same color strip.



Benjamin Moore HC-69: Whitall Brown

This is another of Dean’s Houzz finds. Our inspiration room featured  a whitall brown accent wall and similar charcoal bedding to what we now have. This was our most daring color choice but we felt it was meant to be after the BM guys suggested dried basil for our master bath to downplay the tile in there. Dried basil  is a complementary color to whitall brown. Our only complaint about it is that being a grawn, it looked a bit purple in artificial light. This has seemed to resolve some since tearing out the tile and installing a neutral carpet, but I suspect that switching to natural light bulbs (the blue tinted ones) would also have done the trick.



Benjamin Moore 1510: Dried Basil (also known as CC-634 Herbes de Provence)

I do love green for a bathroom but the wrong green can make you appear sickly as you are admiring yourself in the vanity mirror. This was the case with the BM Bridal Bouquet that the previous owners chose. I have a tote that color and it is one of my favorites, but I could not live with it in the bathroom any longer.  The dried basil was a HUGE improvement.



Benjamin Moore 1563: Quiet Moments

This is Dean’s third and final Houzz find. It is a tranquil blue-gray. Perfect to inspire sweet dreams.




Benjamin Moore 478: Sweet Caroline


Pottery Barn Kids helped me to choose this lovely green shade for J’s room.  Blue is her favorite color, but I thought she could use a change from her nursery blue color,  and green is a close second favorite. This green pairs well with the pink in her valances and toddler bedding.

We are pleased with the results. The colors really warmed the house up, and it is finally starting to feel like home. We still have 2 more bedrooms, a bath and office to paint but I am currently taking a little break from poring over paint swatches. I am looking forward to phase II though. Color can be so much fun!

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