Ranch Rambler: Creating a Blank Slate

We had a two-week window between our renters moving out of this house and our closing date on the red house.  Time was of the essence, so we lined up a local contractor to remove the popcorn texture from the ceilings.  Luckily there wasn’t any asbestos (our house was built in 1978, and thankfully it had become much less common by then) and it only took them a couple days to scrape everything down.  It’s a project that we definitely could have DIY’d if we had more time, but in the midst of moving it was relief to hand the messy task off to someone else.

Before they came we removed all the trim in the whole house (we’re planning to replace it anyway, and knew it would make painting go much faster), and took down all of the ceiling fixtures.  When the popcorn was (blessedly! beautifully!) gone, Cam and I primed and painted all of the ceilings and then our awesome family came over to help us paint every single room in the house.  Before we could do that though?  I had to pick a color.

I knew I wanted a white – part of my vision for this house includes ceilings, walls, trim, and doors all the same color, so they blend and recede – but just which white I wasn’t sure, though I narrowed it down to three:

Red House West || Creating a Blank Slate

They look laughably similar on my monitor but once they were up on the walls, the choice was easy:

Red House West || Creating a Blank Slate
White Dove by a mile! Swiss Coffee read really tan in our (lack of) natural light, and Simply White was just too glaringly bright; it looked kind of cheap and clinical. White Dove is the color we used in the upstairs of the Red House, and I’m convinced it’s the most perfect, versatile, luminous white.  We went with a flat finish to minimize the orange peel texture on the walls, and everything feels so much fresher.

You may remember from the list of whole-house updates I shared in  my last post that in addition to removing the popcorn and painting everything the same color, we also want to upgrade all the doors and lighting.  Once I had the paint picked out – and once I’d spent an inordinate amount of time online and in stores looking at doors and hardware – I was able to nail down some of those big decisions.  The light fixture in this mood board is for the entry, but its simplicity makes it a good proxy for where we’re heading with the lighting in the whole house:


Definitely simple and neutral; in this smaller, open-plan house, I feel like our art and furniture will be bringing in plenty of color and I don’t want the permanent fixtures to compete with that.   My initial thought for doors was a five-panel shaker, but I quickly realized that all those boxes would look pretty busy in this door-riddled house.  I love the ones we chose.  They are solid core – such a difference from the dented and peeling hollow-core doors we have now! – and the square edging on the panel (vs. a rounded bullnose, which was an option) feels both classic and modern.  I’m also so happy about those doorknobs! They are relatively inexpensive – $19 – but very weighty and substantial.  A huge upgrade from what we have now.

I’m driving up to Portland this weekend to pick up the Luna pendant (when Schoolhouse Electric says there’s a four-week lead time on light fixtures, they aren’t joking), and I’ll talk a little more about why I chose that one once we install it.

We put our first door up last weekend.  The process was, as Cameron says, a shakedown cruise, and hopefully the next 10 (!) will go a lot faster.  For now though, that one beautiful door with its smooth-actioned doorknob is making my heart go pitter-patter.  Here’s a real time before and after:
Red House West || Creating a Blank Slate

Hot damn.  Even without trim, she’s looking fi-ine.  And that ceiling?  Only a million times better.

Oh, and you may have noticed that we sneaked in (it sure feels like it should be ‘snuck’) a short Monday post!  Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing some mini posts about whatever we’re into at the moment – design or otherwise.  If there’s a topic you’d like to hear about or discuss, let us know in the comments!


11 responses on “Ranch Rambler: Creating a Blank Slate

  1. Karyn

    White Dove rules! My husband would have been grateful if I had narrowed it down to only 3 whites…I think we started with eight. White Dove seems to work in a variety of styles as well, our rebuilt home is very contemporary. I am enjoying how the natural light interacts with the White Dove throughout the day providing a sculptural element to the wall surfaces.

  2. Lea

    Great call on pulling off all of the trim to get everything painted White Dove with minimal fuss. I so wish we had done that when we repainted our walls.

    And I think you are completely correct that the single panel doors are a better choice for your space, especially in light of your hall. We’ve got five nearly-retro-at-this-point ten panel pine doors in our upper hallway and the overall effect of all that busy woodwork is very door-centric.

    1. Katie Post author

      There are so many elements of this house that are teetering on the edge of retro! I’m not sure I can hold out though…

  3. Gillianne

    Lookin’ good–clean and contemporary. Big payoff in a fresh base for whatever comes next.

    Whoever thought popcorn ceilings are a good idea should fester in the same design purgatory as the person who sold ceiling radiant heat all over the PNW. I mean, heat RISES, right? It doesn’t fall! (apologies for mini-rant)

    1. Katie Post author

      When I close my eyes and picture contemporary, somehow it’s the greens and reds of the late ’90s, so I’m going to hope you mean it in its literal ‘of the moment’ sense 🙂 Language is hard.
      And so many shaken fists at the ceiling heat!

    2. Lea

      And there’s further proof that you can learn something new every day. I’m just now learning that ceiling heat exists. How can that be a thing?

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