Category Archives: Color

Are You Ready For Some Mushroom?

As I mentioned previously,

G.O. has been busily replacing all of our original woodwork upstairs.





More during:


Yet more during:


And, in conclusion, even more during:


My goal for all this beautiful woodwork?

I want to paint it gray with warm white walls.

gray woodwork living room

gray woodwork with dress

gray wainscoting and woodwork

gray woodwork -- fixer upper living room

This time I’m choosing a gray

which skews a bit more beige than plain Jane gray.

Something just like this,

which (my personal favorite), Country Living magazine,

is calling Mushroom:

mushroom staircase

A Pinterest search for Mushroom yielded this yummy photo:

mushroom country living

I have a Pittsburgh Paint fan deck upstairs this morning,

hoping to find the most perfect Mushroom.


The good news is that I found 3 contenders!

The lightest — Swirling Smoke:


Or perhaps something in the medium range, Ghost Writer:

pittsburgh paint ghost writer

Or the darkest Mushroom, Stonehenge Greige:


(Greige is another word for Mushroom, by the way.)

Here’s my inspiration photo again:

mushroom staircase

My 2 top contenders are the medium, Ghost Writer,

or, if I am brave enough, the dark, Stonehenge Greige.

Stay tuned!


Has Gray Finally Had Its Day?

G.O. has been busy with the woodwork upstairs,

so it’s now or never for me to select a paint color for said woodwork.

I’m thinking a medium to dark color with white walls.

kristen wigg

G.O. wasn’t on board at first, as he often isn’t.

The last time I had darker woodwork with white walls was in 1985,

when I chose a pretty gray

from the Benjamin Moore Historical Colors Collection.

kay with gray kitchen cabs

How 80’s of me!

Fun fact:  Benjamin Moore still has their Historic Colors Collection!

Back to my dark woodwork with white walls aspirations.

This: dark woodwork with white walls.

Yum!  Notice the wainscoting,

which is painted with the same color as the woodwork.

Upstairs, we happen to have a pretty embossed wainscot of our own:




I can’t wait to see that original feature shine,

once it’s painted something darker, with white walls.

My first thought was gray, which had me asking:

Isn’t there enough gray downstairs?

Is gray going to fall out of fashion soon?

Aren’t brown +/or beige making big comebacks?

surprised boy


Anyway, within moments, I began my search

for a neutral that’s more beige than gray,

or, as the popular kids call it: “GREIGE”.

Speaking of which, check out these beautiful greige rooms,

in a charming Charleston, SC home:

beige on remodelista 2

beige on remodelista


It’s not just me —  you love it, too, right?

Meanwhile, I’m now back on the prowl for a greige paint that I love!

Stay tuned!




I don’t know why, but I typically don’t take lots of before photos,

+ believe me, there have been really horrific ones, like this,

in our main bathroom downstairs:

bathroom -- main before

The befores make the after photos so much more dramatic!

bathroom -- main after

Wow — viva la difference, am I right?

Earlier this week, I forced myself to grab the camera

+ head upstairs for some epic before AND during photo ops.

Let’s start with the bathroom’s tub + shower surround,

which are already finished + are actually afters.

I chose white subway tiles because they are classic + timeless.

My design for the window surround turned out well, I thought, modestly:


I’ve already shared the Sherwin-Williams paint we chose:

Unusual Gray (at the bottom) for the walls,

paint green sage

with Contented (third from top) at 50%, for the ceiling.



Very neutral!  Very pretty!

But as often happens in a room’s during stage, it’s kind of a blah!

What does it need?


I’m not sure, but here’s a start.

These IKEA cabinets in white contrast nicely

with the darker-than-I-thought-they’d-be Unusual Gray walls:


I’ve already shared my love for the tall cabinet’s black legs.


They, combined with the black in our floor tiles,

mean I need to repeat more black, for continuity purposes.

How about a black metal mirror for above the vanity?


I’ve chosen this one, because it’s modern yet rustic at the same time.

Another disclaimer: this was $90-something from Target,

but they’re out of it online,

+ you’ll have to search for it in their stores.

mirror of black with shelf

We are going to Target right now, so stay tuned!


Trips to 2 different Target stores ensued,

+ we ended up buying this one, which was $35-ish!

Have you shopped for mirrors lately?  That’s a great price!





Now it’s time for G.O. to hang the bathroom door.

Here’s what that looks like, about midway though:


He sez that all this wood stuff is called door casing,

+ it’s taking longer than I’d hoped.


I have to remember that he is a perfectionist, so I shan’t ask him to work faster.

HA!  Most of the time, I don’t!

Here you can see where the finished woodwork will be positioned:



Here’s a wider view, looking to the hallway + bath.


What’s up with that embossed-looking wainscoting — you’re wondering?

Here’s a close up:


It was surely very beautiful when the house was built,

but right now, parts of it are in rough  shape.


Speaking of being in rough shape, notice our beautiful-but-sad staircase

+ how the wainscoting extends down those stairs!


Back to our upstairs.   Right now, my goal is to find an even grayer gray/green.

I want something more neutral for the upstairs woodwork,

but I don’t want just gray; we’ve got that downstairs.

As always, I shall head to Pinterest first + see what others have chosen.

Stay tuned!


That Time We Almost Had A Green House

It’s official.

I am somewhat obsessed with green now.

You may recall my Pinspiration greens from Sherwin-Williams.

I recently blogged about painting our upstairs bath sage green.

paint green sage

We chose Unusual Gray (at the bottom) for the walls,

with a ceiling of 50% Contented (second from top).

Our bathroom, very much in its “during” stage:

My green obsession has me plotting to use a lot of sage green upstairs,

so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, I now have just a wee bit of color remorse

re: the exterior siding of our Dutch colonial.

surprised baby.jpg

How’s that possible?  I’m asking myself,

when I truly love the white + gray + black scheme that’s out there now?



I was perusing some older blog posts the other day,

when I came across some siding choices from 5 years ago.

As one does, I’d placed some color samples on the house

for what I call “the admire”,

which is what I do when I am trying to decide ANY-thing.

Notice that there are 2 gray siding samples at left + 1 green sample at right.

siding of green long view

Even 5 years before my green obsession developed,

I was seriously considering green siding!

Too late now, of course, but for fun, here’s a close up of the green:

siding of green close up

I forget the name of the siding company,  but we bought it from Menards.


Shall we look at some green houses + wonder “what if”?

siding of green craftsman

Found on Pinterest — source unknown

Check out the stunning details on this next beautiful home!

The Adirondack chair + container of blue hydrangeas are so “me”!

siding of green with white adirondack

Domino magazine — I must subscribe!

And, saving the best for last, this cottage charmer.

Looks like they used the same colors as we did in our bathroom!

Extra points for painting the front door + the window sashes

with the same (beautiful) darker color!

Disclaimer: I would totally fall on those steps!

siding of green round arch door

Found on Pinterest — source unknown

I still love our white house with the gray gables, though.

I think it’s timeless, + the white first story + contrasting color second story

is definitely a “thing” when it comes to Dutch colonials.


Our Bathroom’s Green/Now What?

I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone,

+ we’re painting our upstairs bathroom sage green.

It’s one of many sage greens from Sherwin-Williams!

paint green sage

I chose Unusual Gray (at the bottom, above) for the walls,

with Contented (3rd from the top), lightened by 50%, for the ceiling.


Here they are, side by side in our bathroom.

I think they look more green + less gray, on the walls + ceilings.

sage green -- facing door and hall

It looks good, but it needs a white crown molding at the ceiling

to make it look crisp + neat.

Something like this:

crown molding

The Contented ceiling pops nicely against the white subway tiles,

so I have faith it will look great with that white crown.

sage green -- shower enclosure

There wasn’t enough of the original woodwork for this room,

so G.O. bought some new baseboards that are just as tall as the old ones:


He brought in his compound miter saw from the garage:


Soon, he’ll add some quarter-round molding at the floor.

sage green -- southern baseboard



I am relieved that I like actually like the colors . . .


. . . because let’s face it: greens can go so wrong, so easily.

The Unusual Gray is a tad darker than I anticipated,

but that might be because of all the dark + cloudy days we’re having.

Soon enough, we will be adding all the finishing touches.

Help!  What goes with green?

Stay tuned!

Will I Have Painter’s Remorse?

Yesterday I mentioned my quest

to find the perfect gray-green paint for our upstairs bathroom.

I found this list of sage greens on Pinterest.

We’d be living in our car if there was no Pinterest.

paint green sage

I had chosen my front runner last night,

but I had to wait to see the paint chips in our bathroom in the day.


We started eliminating the ones that were clearly wrong —

maybe too dark or too yellow to make the cut.


Our paint mustn’t be too green, either, as I wanted a gray-green.

We finally ruled out the rest of the unwanted colors,

settling on this pair, for both the wall + the ceiling.

Unusual Gray, left, + Contentment, slightly lighter for the ceiling.


Not so fast.

Soon I had myself fearing that Contentment was too dark on the ceiling

+ wouldn’t provide enough contrast with the walls.

Here’s where it gets a little crazy.

I told G.O. to ask the paint guy at Sherwin-Williams to lighten it by 50%.

He was not on board, but I assured him that this was a thing,

+ that the popular bloggers do it!

To ease his mind (+ mine), I called Sherwin-Williams to confirm.

Yes, they do it.

See for yourself:


Here are the cans, waiting for their thumbs up or down by me:


Disclaimer: as greens tend to do,

Unusual Gray looked more gray in the light of the kitchen (below)

+ more green in the bathroom.


Here’s the first bit of Contentment on the ceiling:


It’s a dark + gloomy day,  so I’m sure the colors will change

when/if the sun finally opts to shine again.

That bathroom is super bright

because of a solar tube that G.O. installed in the ceiling.

Excuse the unusually bad photo, but here ’tis:


He needs to install the panel thing, of course.

When the sun’s shining, that room is so bright —

the kind of bright that has you reaching for the light switch!

I’ll have to ask G.O. about the solar tube

so that I can share with the class.


Meanwhile,  here are a couple of additional photos of our bathroom.

Our white vanity from is from IKEA:


I forget its Swedish name, but it has 2 drawers.

I super love its vanity top, which is similar to this:

IKEA bathroom with our top

The black + white tiles are period-appropriate to our house:


I think Lowe’s has them in stock,

but we got ours from Tile Outlet in Chicago.

Anyway, it’s time to climb those stairs again

+ inspect G.O.’s progress.

Stay tuned for more ‘after’ updates!

My Quest For The Perfect Gray-Green

G.O. is working on the upstairs bathroom,

so I’ve been busy thinking about paint colors, etc.

I was all set to get Glidden’s Prairie Sage (bottom right),

since it was described as a neutral alternative to gray.

paint green of sage

Trust me, we have enough gray walls downstairs.

 I am ready for a change but want to stay neutral-ish.

Besides, green is a thing now.

Anyway, off we drive to Home Depot for a gallon of Glidden Prairie Sage.

Long story short — neither of us liked it.

I thought it looked too bright + too mint.

surprised baby

The minute we got home, I headed to Pinterest,

where I began a furtive search for green-gray paint.

When I saw these being described as matches to

Restoration Hardware paint, my search was officially ovah!

paint green sage

I mean, people.

Everything from Restoration Hardware is exquisite, is it not?

Sadly, it’s almost 5 bells, so I shall have to wait until manana

to drive to our (brand new + local) Sherwin-Williams.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, earlier today I casually suggested we do this

to the bathrooms walls:

board and batten entryway

I mean, how cool!  Plus, isn’t it easy to install?  I hope?

board and batten bathtub

Oops.  I think that’s where I lost him.

cats fighting

Wish me luck with the paint, though.

  I’ll report back — so stay tuned.


Kitchen Windows + Door

Last Christmas we had wreaths like this in every window.


I wanted to hang them on the windows outside this year.

Like this:

wreaths of window

Or this:

wreath on wiindows

How charming is that?

G.O. wasn’t on board, sadly, so maybe next year.

Meanwhile, the wreaths do look good on windows inside the house,

don’t you think?


The cute, little trees were from IKEA a few years ago,

+ my favorite Guy Wolff pots were from Smith + Hawken.  RIP



Those sweet red checked curtains started their lives as a bed skirt

from when Martha Stewart still sold stuff at K-Mart.  RIP

Watch here to see a K-Mart commercial starring Martha Stewart.

F U N !

Awwwww!  That cute Dachsie card was sent to me by cousin, Gwen.

Those red light fixtures were from Ballard Designs.


We hung another wreath on our kitchen door:


How adorable!

But now I must ask for your opinions.

We painted all of our interior doors Black Magic by Pittsburgh Paints.

Here’s the door to the powder room:

Here’s our bedroom closet doors:

door of black with greg

We just assumed that the kitchen door

would receive its own coat of Black Magic paint someday.

But wait.

My friends were here for brunch a few days ago,

+ they both thought the door looked good, as is!

kristen wigg

I had never thought to do that!

Of course, I am now kind of obsessing about it.

See Exhibits A + B:

What do you think?

Black Magic?

door of black with greg

Or chippy white?


Time will tell, so stay tuned!

Our Porch Ceiling Change Of Plans

Here is our front porch, in progress:


As you can see, G.O. is in the middle of stripping all the old paint

from our porch’s original bead board ceiling.


Our plans were to paint the ceiling a pretty pale blue.

Exhibits A – B + C:

exterior pale blue ceiling with wicker

exterior pale blue ceiling with black rockers

exteriior pale blue ceiling

Pale blue porch ceilings are a thing in the south.

I grew up in southern Illinois (which is very southern, BTW),

so I’ve been on board the blue ceiling train since I was a wee lass.

Anyway, just as we were discussing what pale blue paint to use,

this happened:


We were both surprised at how pretty the natural wood ceiling is!

And, speaking of something being a design thing,

natural wood exterior accents are wildly popular now.

Have you noticed?

I first saw this trend on HGTV’s FIXER UPPER.

bathroom of fixer upper shower

Okay, that mirror she’s touching is painted white,

but here are just a few natural wood accents from the show.

Exhibits D – E – F + G:

wood exterior columns

wood exterior fixer upper

wood exterior shutters

wood exterior window boxes


While we had our hearts set on a pale blue porch ceiling,

I think we’ve changed our minds.

That wood ceiling of ours is way too pretty in its natural state,

+ it wouldn’t be right to cover it with paint.

Exhibits H – I – J – K + L:



You can easily see the portion that’s not been fully stripped:



So.  This just illustrates why one must be flexible when working on anything,

or as I like to call it: heading to Plan B.

The natural wood is so warm + lovely, isn’t it?


G.O. is such a perfectionist;

this change in plans will no doubt have him going back

over the entire porch ceiling again, maybe multiple times.

That’s his thing, + really.

How many times can I say, “It doesn’t have to be perfect!”?

I Still Love Moody Gray

 Let’s take a break from gushing about touring 4 barn homes

in Country Living Magazine’s October issue.

Here are 2 of them, about which I recently blogged:

Kit Barn (read my post)


Modern Barn (read my post about it)


Instead, let’s discuss something about which I am obsessing lately.


My current design crush, Emily Henderson (that’s her), loves white walls.

emily henderson in bed

Remember?  She won HGTV’s Design Star when that was still on

emily henderson winning design star

I’ve been following her online for years.

To see why I’m such a fan,

look at this genius before + after in her own kitchen.


emily henderson kitchen before


emily henderson kitchen after


Here’s yet more white awesomeness from Emily:

white room emily henderson 2

I could go on posting yummy white rooms for days,

but you get my point.

It’s cool . . .

. . . + of course, now I’m yearning to repaint all our walls WHITE!

IN-cluding our beloved power room (??)

(which is now Flagstone by Pittsburgh Paints.)

I’ve been wanting white walls all summer,

+ then I spy this, in one of my favorite blogs, just the other day:

gray house staircase

O  M  i  G  o  s  h  !

There’s gray everything, even the ceiling!

And look how great all their design choices look with all that gray!

That lantern:

gray house staircase

The sisal carpeted staircase:


Here’s some more gray fabulousness from the same house:

gray house 2 rooms

Yet more:

gray house table with books

Hold on now.  Let’s study the genius styling in this little area,

because I have been studying it + now wish to copy it.**

**More on that soon.

Let’s break it down.

Natural wood tone table pops nicely against the dark wall

Antique mirror does the same thing:


Stack of books on the floor (note to self: one is askew!):

gray house table with books

Wire basket with mags on the floor


I have enough magazines to have about 80 baskets full of them,

scattered all over the house.

gray house table with books

Back to the vignette!

Art piece on the floor:


Bucket o’ logs on the floor (more wood popping with dark):


Wood item  (what is that?) leaning against the corner

Leaning stuff = love

gray house table with books

Including multiples of natural wood is a great example

of the repeat an element (at least) 3 times rule,

which of course, we all do.  Right?

Anyway, in conclusion, I’m asking:

Is one beautifully moody gray house enough

to distract me from Emily Henderson’s white awesomeness?

What do you think?





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