Wednesday, October 3, 2007


With the task of painting squarely in front of us we're moving quickly to finalize the color palette that coordinates with our material selections. It's important to gather all of your materials and look at them together, it's best to do this under daylight if possible. Incandescent light especially when used as the primary light source can distort colors quite a bit.

Clockwise from upper left: Taun, white porcelain, stainless steel, Bateig Azul limestone, cocoa matting, 'Swiss Coffee', 'Granite Boulder' (Behr Premium Plus)

We’re relying heavily on the materials for color in our house, the floor, the stone tile, the countertops so our paint colors are meant to complement those materials not take center stage. Here’s the thinking behind the paint selection process. The dark brown wood in the floor will perform the heavy lifting in our color palette. Visual weight is the key here, the floor will ground the rooms nicely and the wall will provide the contrast and background for the floor. Using a color on the walls would change the value and tone of the floor. With a floor this dark adding vibrant wall color can be a difficult exercise without a lot of experimentation which of course equals time and money.

For the walls and ceilings we chose a classic white (Swiss Coffee - Behr) that will complement the browns in the floor, so while it’s ‘white’ it’s not a super-white. We chose Behr Premium Plus Interior paint in an eggshell finish in two colors, one is the primary wall and ceiling color for all exterior walls the other is a deeper accent color used in select locations. With regards to gloss level, the general thinking is that flat paints (while less expensive) show wear and tear much more readily than even one gloss level up. Eggshell (one gloss level above flat) has a light luster, subtly different but it affects wear and won't marr as easily as flat. Satin borders on semi-gloss, not what we're after. People generally reserve flat for ceilings (to hide imperfections) and semi-gloss for trim for cleaning and durability. No trim here though so eggshell it is.

The second part of our paint palette is the accent color reserved for the center block of rooms and the freestanding wall in the master bath. This is a muted warm grey and emphasizes the inward focus of these spaces The grey color we chose (Granite Boulder - Behr) directly references the stone tile and the stainless accents we have in those spaces, but the walls will be a smooth textural counterpoint to the stone and stainless. White plumbing fixtures pop beautifully on the grays.

Special thanks to my colleague, fiber artist and color authority Jennifer Morrow for her consult and advice.

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