Tag Archives: living room

Further (mis)Adventures in Painting and a Quick Shine for the Floors

Well dear readers, mistakes were made.

Remember when I painted the walls of my kitchen three times before I was satisfied?  Remember how when all my instincts were screaming MISTAKE MISTAKE I just soldiered on, sure that when all was said and done it would be just fine?

Apparently I learned nothing from that debacle.  I am still the eternal optimist who, against all evidence to the contrary, is sure it will turn out all right in the end.  I maintain my optimism for the final, final product, but for now I’m writing this while sitting in a living room painted a shade of powder blue that would be better suited to a nursery, or a birth announcement proclaiming ‘It’s a Boy!’ Please note that it photographs much better than it reads in real life:

Red House West//Living Room Take OneAfter the deliberations I shared with you here, I decided to have the Farrow & Ball color Blackened color matched by Miller Paint in their Evolution line.  I admit to being a little swayed by the F & B advertising which describes Blackened as being: “Historically made with the addition of ‘lamp black’, a pigment made by collecting the residue from burnt lamp oil.”  As an avid reader of British mysteries, there was just something so romantic about this imagery.  There is nothing – not one thing – romantic about the reality of  violet-tinged powder blue walls.  I mean, this is more like a cold shower:

margin of blueSo, back to the drawing board.  I have a few more samples I’m considering (though it’s hard to get a clear read on them with the current wall color – everything is cast with a blue light).  Adding a little stress to the decision-making process is that Miller Paint has a 40% off sale running through Monday, so there’s a strong likelihood that as you read this I am sweating bullets and trying to make a decision in time to get the savings.


A chilling window into my chaotic mind

In happier news, I decided to make good use of the fact that our living room is partially empty and do a little treatment on our wood floors (this had the additional benefit of forcing me to take a break from frenetically putting sample after sample up on the walls).  Our floors are fir, and original to the house when it was built in 1930.  They are in good shape but definitely show the wear of the people and pets and children who have lived here.

Floor beforeThey’re not in need of full on refinishing, but I wanted to do something that would freshen them up.  There are a ton of products out there – the top two are Bona and Rejuvenation (As Seen on TV!) – but after reading many, many internet reviews I was nervous about the number of complaints that both of these brands are known to leave a white film on floors (especially older ones) that require ammonia or professional methods to undo.  I ended up using Hope’s Floor Revive, which – as far as I could find – had not ruined anyone’s floors and also had the advantage of costing much less than the other options.  As I said, our floors are old and I did not expect (nor want) them to end up looking like highly reflective glass, but after less than an hour’s work they are definitely shinier and the scratches are much less noticeable.  Here they are after I used the Floor Revive:Red House West//Easy fix for old wood floor

The process was simple. I gave the floors a thorough cleaning (the product forms a sort of seal, so it’s important to get every last bit of cat hair up before using it). When the floors were dry, I just poured it on a small section then spread it around with a damp sponge. It was easy, not fume-y and is a marked improvement.

With the small victory of the floors, I feel a bit more prepared to move forward with painting the walls. Again.

Please send good thoughts that I might find a good paint color for our living room or, barring that, that I might find the strength to stop painting if I notice after one coat – or hey!  even one wall! – that it’s going awry.  Also give Mera the good grace not to say ‘I told you so’ about Blackened looking blue, even though she did tell me so.  Thanks!

Katie’s House: Paint Colors for the Living Room

We have just two weeks until our sojourn in Walla Walla ends and we’re back in our red house for good.   I’m so excited!  After consulting the mile-long to-do list, I’ve decided that the very first house project I want to tackle upon return is painting the living room.  The problem?  I’m still not sure just what paint color I want to use, though I do at least know the color family.  I think.

First up, let me give you a little tour so you know what we’re working with.  This room has great bones and a lot of potential.  It is south-facing and filled with incredible light throughout the day.  It is currently painted a soft green – that sometimes reads beige – which is in itself inoffensive, but which doesn’t work at all with our furniture and art, or with the transition into the newly blue dining room.

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint3

Our house was built in 1930, and had a major remodel done in 1960.  They opened up what had previously been a number of small rooms into one large space linked by generous archways.  The room is bisected by the front door and the dining room arch (as seen in the image above, taken from the dining room) which means that though it’s visually a single room, there’s a sort of pathway in the middle where we can’t really have any furniture, so we use it more like two rooms.  Let me show you what I’m talking about:

Paint Ideas for the Living Room 6

Here we are standing by the front door and looking toward the dining room.  I’m sure it’s hard to tear your eyes from the wonder of Beatrice, so let me quickly introduce you.  I found Beatrice (so named because of the artist – Beatrice Roitmann Metrick) at an antique store and for more than a year I would drop in and visit her.  Cameron and my mom teamed up and gave her to me as a gift, and I love her.  I find Beatrice’s heavy-lidded stare serene, my father finds it homicidal, and Cameron loves the bird in the party hat.  Something for everyone.  I think both she, and the orange couch I got on Craigslist, will benefit greatly from a change of wall color.

Here’s a wider view of that part of the room.  That cat-ravaged pink chair?  Fixing it up is number two on that mile-long to-do list.

Paint Ideas for the Living Room 9

If you were to stand next to the couch and look across the room, this is what you would see.  An indoor jungle.  I consolidated most of the houseplants so our housesitter would have an easier time watering them, but I can still admit I *might* have a problem.
Paint Ideas for the Living Room 10

The little alcove where the tulip chair sits was the home’s original front porch; they moved the entrance to its current location in the 1960s.

Paint Ideas for the Living Room 4

We’re definitely still figuring out how best to use the space, but I’ll save thoughts on layout/furnishings for another post.  For now?  Paint!  I’m on the hunt for a soft white or very light gray.  It’s important that the color we choose plays nicely with Beatrice, the couch, and the orange-y fir floors.  It’s also imperative that it work with the linen curtains.  Cameron’s mom and I made them not too long after we moved in and I’ve got no interest in sewing that many hems again any time soon.

First up in the closer-to-white colors I’m considering is Seapearl by Benjamin Moore.  It’s kind of an earthy white with gray/brown (griege) undertones.


Shown against the fir floors with a swatch of fabric from the curtains


Seapearl used in a room.  Image found here.

A nice, creamy white I’ve tried out is Mascarpone, also by Benjamin Moore.  I think it’s whiter than I want for this space -and a bit on the yellow side next to the color of the floors and curtains – but it’s very pretty.



Mascarpone used in a room.  Image found here

I really loved the quality of the Miller Paint I used in the dining room, and this light gray color called Crystal Ball is a frontrunner.  Unfortunately there are no images online of this color being used in an actual space.

Crystal Ball_swatch

I’m also very interested in a couple of colors by Farrow & Ball, but there isn’t anywhere in Eugene to buy their paint and shipping expenses for a sample pot are too steep for me to pay.  There are lots of images online, though, and the colors I’m most crushing on are Cornforth White and Blackened.  It might just be worth a road trip to Portland to pick some up.


Cornforth White

Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball. Images found here.



Blackened by Farrow & Ball. Images found here.

Have you used any of these colors?  Do you have a clear favorite of the ones I’ve shown or a recommendation of your own?  Thanks for reading along – I’m so excited to paint this room and share it with you!  Make sure to check the blog on Wednesday, Mera made an enviable Craigslist score and will be sharing a couple of really great restoration methods.