Tag Archives: Evolution Paint

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!

Katie’s House: Deep Blue Walls in the Dining Room

As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago I shared some plans for painting my dining room. I had hung swatches of four different Benjamin Moore paint colors, and spent more than a week staring at them in different light and from different angles (thanks to Mera for pulling double post duty last week while I deliberated!). I stared until my eyes crossed and I couldn’t remember a color that wasn’t blue, but still I couldn’t pull the trigger. They were too green, too blue, too dark or too light – nothing was feeling quite right.

Dining Room Before

Dining Room Before

Finally – encouraged by my mom who had used their paint and really liked it – I decided to go check out Miller Paint, a company based in Portland who has a store in Eugene, and look what I found! A rich and lovely deep blue:

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint2

The color I chose is Nova in Miller’s Evolution line – I decided on the ‘wipeable matte finish,’ and I love the soft sheen. The way it catches the light makes it look almost like clay.

The plant basket is from Nate Berkus' Target line.

The plant basket is Nate Berkus for Target

Choosing to use this paint was kind of a leap of faith – I usually do a lot of online research to read reviews and see images of the colors I like used in actual rooms. There isn’t very much information available for Evolution paint and – to make it a little more challenging – they don’t sell small sizes of this particular paint formula. What they do have, for $1.99, are 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets that the color is actually painted on (not printed like regular swatches). I was leery of the accuracy, but in this instance at least the swatch gave a very true representation of the color.

Nova blue paint swatch on the Nova blue wall

Nova blue paint swatch on the Nova blue wall

The paint isn’t cheap – $50 a gallon – but is less expensive than Benjamin Moore’s higher quality lines, and I gotta say that the consistency and coverage of this paint is incredible. Does that sound like hyperbole? Like an advertisement? Don’t worry, no one is paying me to write this; I honestly loved using this paint. It’s thick like yogurt, has almost no smell, and it took just over half a gallon to put two thick coats onto my dining room walls.

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint5

Remember that time RHW reader Carol called me a Chair Champion in the comments? Well I do, fondly and frequently, and I’m doing my best to be deserving of both the moniker and the unitard emblazoned with CC I plan to make. On that note, I was so excited to find these four mid-century teak chairs on Craigslist last week! They go beautifully with the three Bramin chairs I already had – their legs are similarly shaped and they are broad-beamed and comfortable – and that wood grain… be still my heart.

Bunny tested, Bunny approved

Bunny tested, Bunny approved

The chairs don’t have any kind of manufacturer’s mark on them, but I found some pictures of these similar ones (the only difference is the way the back is attached). My guess is that my chairs may be knock-offs of that designer, but I’m not sure. Someone really needs to make a dichotomous key for mid-century modern chairs with characteristics like type of wood, shape of back, etc. If something like that already exists, or if someone has found a good, comprehensive source for identifying mcm designers, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Red House West - Dining Room Chairs3

The chairs are in really good shape, with only a couple of dings in the wood. I washed them with Murphy’s wood soap and rubbed them down with neutral Restor-a-Finish and Howard’s Feed & Wax. The seat coverings were soiled, so I recovered them in upholstery fabric I got at a local store called Econo Sales, which sells upholstery and outdoor fabrics for really cheap. Mine was only $6.95 a yard (with a width of 54″), so it was an inexpensive makeover – less than two dollars per chair. Initially I’d planned on something monochrome or dark, but ultimately decided light fabric would play better with all the wood and dark paint.

The runner is from World Market, and I added the tassels :)

The runner is from World Market but I added the tassels.  As I do.

The pattern and texture of the fabric are subtle, but really pretty in person.


Red House West - Dining Room Chairs2

I decided to forgo curtains entirely. I love the old original windows and they look into two evergreen bushes – a rhododendron and a camellia – and across our driveway into a laurel hedge (also an evergreen), so privacy isn’t an issue. They are east-facing so there’s no afternoon glare, and I love the natural light that moves through this room during the day.

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint10

Whyyyyyyy is that light fixture so far off center?  No really, why?   I’m hoping that when Cameron and I are back for good at the end of summer we can fix it.  The vintage cast iron light was an eBay bargain last fall. When it arrived it was rusty and sticky with many coats of gold spray paint and the slurry of a thousand cigarettes smoked beneath it. We had it powder coated, and if you live in or near Eugene and have a need to get anything powder coated, send an email and I’ll pass on the guy’s name. It was cheap – like $20 – and he was really helpful and nice.

Any guesses on how many times I bumped my head on that light while I was painting?

Did you guess 100? Well you are wrong! It was only 20, maybe 30 times – luckily it’s a small enough room that I couldn’t get up enough momentum to really brain myself on it.

Getting the dining room to a good place has inspired me to start thinking about painting the living room too. I’d like to go lighter in there – it’s still the green it was when me moved in – and I’m on the hunt for a white or light gray that’s not too yellow or blue or dingy or stark. You know – no problem. If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

A view into the living room and the myriad paint swatches

A view into the living room and the myriad paint swatches

Thanks for reading along and we hope to see you back on Wednesday for a new post! Anybody else do some home improvements this past week?