Katie’s House: Paint colors for the dining room and how I dragged home a(nother) chair

I’m home! And covered in cats, just as I’d hoped! I’m attempting to type this post with the use of only one hand, as the other one is currently pinioned beneath the fat and furry body of Dean.  Carl (aka Tiny Tiger)  is here too – shorn like a baboon after a trip to the vet for a bite on his tail (likely from a raccoon).  It’s so good to be back – baboon butt-ed cats, useless limbs and all.

Part One: In Which I Refer to a Chair as a Female Person

Yesterday my mom – who had been visiting us in Walla Walla – and I drove from eastern Washington to Eugene; from the wide open sky of ranch country and into the heavily forested valleys of home.

Through the windshield

A couple hours into our journey we pulled into a tiny, windswept town in search of ice cream, and – by the grace of the generous chair gods high upon their bentwood throne – also found the chair of my dreams. Or maybe a chair of my dreams.

Chair in situ

Ah, she may not look like much.  The poor girl is weathered and worn, and those dirty orange cushions could make even the prettiest lady look dated and dumpy.  She was crying for rescue – hollering that she was better than this one-horse town, that she was gonna be somebody, that she could be a star.  I heard her cries, saw her potential, and decided that this little Norma Jean had a destiny (less tragic, but no less beautiful than her namesake) to fulfill.  It almost didn’t happen–my car was already packed to the gills and she squeezed through the back door with less than a millimeter to spare. It took plenty of willpower and some serious Tetris skills to make everything fit and I really wish I’d taken a photo of the contents of my car strewn about Main Street, but I was so intent on jamming it all back in that I didn’t document it.

So you might be reading this story, looking at that sorry photograph, and thinking I’m a nut.  That the old girl is too far gone. But please take a moment and remember this picture I shared last week of one of my dream rooms:

Take a good look at those chairs, and then take a look at my girl once I got her home and freed her from the orange vinyl:

Side view of road trip chair in front of garage door

Pretty similar, right?  Once I hydrate her parched bones with oil and love, this little honey is going to be the beauty she was meant to be.

Part Two : Turning my Dining Room into a Cerulean Grotto

After I dropped my dear mom off, my chairs and I (the McCobb, ready for its new seat cover, was in there too) stopped by the hardware store to pick up paint samples for my dining room.  I am dreaming of deep blue walls, and – after considerable online research – chose four Benjamin Moore colors to try:

Paint swatches with text copy

As you can see, the dining room walls are already pretty dark.  They are a shade of purple – Benjamin Moore’s Cabernet – painted by the previous owners.  Purple is not my jam, but I’ve now lived with this color for two years and I am confident that this room, and the adjoining kitchen, can not only handle a heavily pigmented color during the relentlessly gray and dreary Oregon winters, but actually look better with it.

The kitchen is currently painted a darker shade of purple – the accurately and evocatively named Dark Purple, also by Benjamin Moore (their creative-name team must’ve been taking a break).  The east wall (on your right in the picture below) has white cabinetry.  The door at the end of the room in this picture leads into the laundry room.

I love the greeny-blue tones of the peculiarly named Gentleman's Gray.

I love the greeny-blue tones of the less accurately named Gentleman’s Gray.

The other side of the dining room leads through an arch into the living room, which will also be getting a coat (or -more realistically- five) of paint soon. I’m looking at whites and very light hues for that room, which I think will contrast nicely with blue in the dining room.


The cabinets in the dining room are cherry, and the countertops are black granite, so any paint color will need to play nice with both of those (because of this I’ve pretty much ruled out Hale Navy, which is too flat and too dark of a color in this context).

comparing color with cabinets and countertops

Cameron's dad built the table as a wedding gift.  He also built the bench which is acting as a dining chair until I can round out our motley crew (if it were Crue the McCobb chair would totally be Vince Neil) of thrifted chairs.

Cameron’s dad built the table as a wedding gift. He also built the bench which is moonlighting as a dining chair until I can round out our motley crew (incidentally, if they were a Motley Crue, the McCobb chair would totally be Vince Neil) of thrifted chairs.

Today, in this overcast light, I am leaning toward either Newburyport Blue (far left in the picture below) or Newburg Green (second from left) for the dining room walls. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to emerge and perhaps a clear paint color winner will emerge with it.

I definitely plan on changing the curtains, but I haven't yet decided to what.

I haven’t yet decided on new curtains, but these will definitely go

It feels so great to be home and I’m excited to be tackling this room! Once I decide on a color I’ll get rolling and will definitely share the result. What do you think? Do any of you have a deep blue color you’d recommend? Mera and I will be back on Friday with some DIY inspiration – thanks for reading along!

14 responses on “Katie’s House: Paint colors for the dining room and how I dragged home a(nother) chair

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks Kal, I’ll definitely take a look at Newport Grey. Amazing job on those chairs! And excellent advice on heeding temperature warnings when refinishing — I learned that the hard way too 😉

  1. Susan Glassow

    She looked in need of rescue as wind gusted through Shaniko’s main street. This Oregon “ghost town” was once a center for wool shipping, grand enough for the now empty grand hotel. How quickly one life becomes another. It’s a kind of magical realism, the chair of your pin and your imagination of discovery, materializing on Route 97 West.

  2. Carol Crump Bryner

    It will be fun to see what you decide. A bit of sun on the walls will help. That’s such a beautiful table, and dark walls seem to show it off well. And you really are a chair champion. Chairs do seem sometimes to be place holders for people, so for you to call the chair “she” seems very appropriate.

    1. k80bennett

      I really, really like being called a chair champion! It was different today with the sun – same frontrunners, but I also headed to the paint store for one more option…

  3. Candy@Habitat2Home

    So jealous of your chair rescue. We had a pair when I was young. Wish we still had them. I have to throw a vote out for Newburg Green. Such a beautiful, versatile color. It’ll play nicely with the cabinetry and granite, too.

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks for your input Candy! Newburg Green is definitely a beautiful color. And thanks for using the term ‘rescue’ – makes me feel like the Humane Society for woebegone chairs, rather than just a hoarder 🙂

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