Painting the Kitchen and a Trip to Farrow & Ball

It’s hard to express how happy I am to be back home in our red house after four months away.  I’m so appreciative of the light and space and the fat furry creatures who live here with us.  I’m also grateful to have an outlet for the considerable energy for household projects that built up while we were gone, and I opened the floodgate this past week by painting my kitchen walls.  Three times.  I felt like Goldilocks: at first it was too shiny, then it was too light, and finally, it was just right.

Red House West:Dark to Light 7

I knew I wanted the blue in the kitchen to be just slightly darker than the dining room.  The difference is subtle enough that it’s not obvious in all light, but to my eye the slightly different tones help delineate the rooms.

Red House West:Dark to Light 9

Uncharacteristically, I didn’t dither about the color at all.  Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore was a strong contender when I was choosing paint for the dining room, and I knew it had just the right depth of color for our kitchen.

So what led me to paint this room three times?  An inability to stop before it was too late.  I began painting with a quart of Hale Navy I had on hand, and managed to get a decent first coat up before it ran out.  When I went to get more, I realized that the paint I’d used had an eggshell finish, rather than matte like the rest of the house.  Did I stop? Nope, I soldiered on.  The finished walls looked like plastic compared to the matte blue of the adjoining dining room, so I decided to redo it – properly this time – and get a gallon of Miller Paint’s Evolution line (which I used and loved in my dining room) color matched to Hale Navy.  After the first coat I was thinking it looked a little light, a little – dare I say it – Smurfy.  Did I stop?  Nope, I soldiered on.  It did not become miraculously darker when it dried, so back I went to the store for the third time.  The folks at Miller Paint were great and mixed up a fresh (correctly tinted) gallon free of charge.  And, thank goodness because I was losing my will to live, the color was just right.

Red House West:Dark to Light 4The real reason I like these dark walls is because they provide such a nice backdrop for this lithograph of Dean (well, a cat that looks a lot like Dean) that I got at the thrift store.  I am in grave danger of becoming someone who collects anything that resembles her furry little darlings.  Help keep me sane folks, but this one was too good to pass up – am I right?  The artist really nailed Dean’s haughty glare.

Red House West::Siamese Cat LithographNext on the agenda is painting the living room.  A couple of weeks ago I shared some Farrow & Ball colors that I really wanted to see in person (but didn’t want to pay shipping costs for),  so I made a detour to downtown Portland on my final trip back from Walla Walla.  It was totally worth the extra hour in the car (I cleverly hit Portland just at rush hour) to go into the cool, clean, industrial-chic boutique and see the lovely displays of Farrow & Ball.  I gotta say that I pretty much felt like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’ when she went to the shop on Rodeo Drive in her hooker garb and everyone sneered at her.  Except instead of prostitute garb I was in my comfy but disheveled car clothes.  And the saleslady wasn’t mean to me at all, she just gave me a weird look when I literally purred over the cute little F&B inspiration booklet she gave me.  And of course I’m just somebody who blogs about her house,  not a prostitute with a heart of gold (has there been a worse premise for a movie??) and this parallel is falling apart – BUT I did feel out of place because the store was clean and pretty and I smelled and looked like road trip.  The awkward feelings were worth it though! Just look at the goodie bag I walked out with (this ain’t no hardware store folks).

Farrow & Ball Schwag

So I’m really excited to move forward and get painting, but I admit I’ve been having a little trepidation about the flow between a light-colored living room and the dark-painted dining room/kitchen area.

Red House West::Dark to Light

All the paint colors I’m considering for the living room are much lighter than the current greenish color.

To ease my mind I did an online hunt for rooms with color contrasts similar to the one I’m envisioning for our house.

And now I feel better!  I think it’s going to look just fine.  Thanks for reading along – check back in on Wednesday for a post from Mera!

11 responses on “Painting the Kitchen and a Trip to Farrow & Ball

  1. Carol Crump Bryner

    “Smurfy” is such a great word to describe a particular color of blue. Glad you covered that one up. I think the walls look great, and I like the contrast of the blue and white rooms. The cat litho really is striking on that wall. I can see why you bought it. And now I want to go to that paint store in Portland.

  2. michellet2013

    I’m warming up to your cool blues Katie, especially with the contrast of the lighter, adjoining room. I shy away from dark colors because it’s so dark and dreary here where I live much of the year—will you report back in the depths of winter and let us know how the colors work in the winter light? Thanks for the great post!

    1. k80bennett

      I will definitely report back in mid-winter! I’m hoping it’s cozy, not dreary and cold. But if it is too dark… well, what’s three more coats of paint? 🙂

  3. y2knina

    I kinda love that you planned your dining room paint color solely on a piece of thrift store art.

    I like the room-to-room color contrast idea you’re working with. Although that first inspiration shot? I don’t think I could eat in that room with all those faces staring down at me from the wall…

  4. papict

    I love that blue colour. I am sorry you had such hassle getting it right but all your endeavors were worth it. I really like the contrast between the light and dark rooms.

    1. k80bennett

      Thank you! I love it too. I’ve spent all day (alllllll daaaaaaay) canning plums and I kept looking up at the walls and feeling happy about the color.

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