Archive for the ‘paint’ Category

The Office Stripes

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Posted by Rebecca, February 21st, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter, you know what I was up to this weekend. Never have I thought of an idea on a Wednesday, blogged about it on a Thursday, started it on a Friday and finished it (mostly) on a Saturday.

Needless to say, we were a little spontaneous this weekend and decided to do this…

The temperatures were in the high 60s here on Friday, so Mike and I planned to take the afternoon off from work to do something fun. At 11:50, we still didn’t know what that was and we had an email exchange that went something like this..

Me: What do you want to do today? NYC, beach, stay local, find some waterfalls, Ikea, couch shopping, outlet shopping?

Mike: I don’t care, it’s your choice

Me: You know if it was up to me we’d paint the office

Mike: I’m game.

We did grab some lunch and take our time to relax, but by 4:00, it had begun.

I decided to go with my beloved Smoked Oyster by Benjamin Moore color matched to Olympic’s no VOC paint. We chose one shade more gray and one shade lighter, Benjamin Moore’s Silver Fox, for our lighter stripe since the colors below Smoked Oyster on the swatch appeared lavender. We also color matched that to Olympic. We brought it home and started putting our “lighter” color on the walls and ceiling…

Holy dark! We also painted the ceiling this “lighter” color and yes for a little bit, we were completely panicked. I think the color match was slightly darker and a little more purple than the Silver Fox appeared on paper. After painting this, I knew we couldn’t go with the darker, even more purple Smoked Oyster for the stripes. Luckily I picked up some testers for our bedroom and tried out Olympic’s Silver Dollar and Gray Ghost on the wall. Silver Dollar was the exact same color as Benjamin Moore’s Silver Fox (funny huh?) so we decided to go with the much lighter Gray Ghost, which was just one color below our darker one on the swatch.

The original, darker Smoked Oyster we were going to do for the stripe is on the right. The Gray Ghost, our new choice, looks white in this picture.

By around 8pm on Friday, our office was all painted, ceilings and walls.

The ceilings actually look higher now that they’re darker! I love a painted ceiling. I know not everyone understands it, but they don’t call it the 5th wall of the room for nothing! 🙂

We loved the way this color looked. We loved the drama of it and were a little nervous going with such a light stripe. But by Saturday morning, we had already gone to Lowe’s to pick up a gallon of our new stripe color and were hard at work taping out some lines.

Our ceilings are 9 feet tall, so to keep things simple, we did twelve 9-inch stripes. We are planning on adding crown molding to this room at some point, so I just measured from floor to ceiling. Our top stripe will eventually be cut in half or so by crown molding and our bottom stripe is currently cut in half by our baseboards. I didn’t want to try to estimate the width of our future crown molding, or have to live with a too large top stripe for years if we don’t install it right away.

As for measuring method, I know there are a lot of tutorials out there. We had a plan, but we didn’t stick to it. In the end we went with what worked for us. Mike ended up doing all of the taping. He said I was too neurotic and taking too long, though he wasn’t much better with the OCD. But thank goodness for him, he did such an amazing job, never once lost his patience and kept at it for hours and hours. Such a keeper!

Here is how we measured:

1. We started at the top and measured 9 inches down from the ceiling and made a mark about every foot or so across.

2. We then took a level, lined up the marks until they were level and drew a line with a pencil to connect them (usually about 3 feet long at a time, see photo above)

3. We lined the tape up to that line and stuck it to the wall

I did a lot of research before striping to make sure we’d get the best result possible. We took every single recommendation and precaution ever listed on the internet.

Extra steps for clean lines:

1. We used Frog Tape (and loads of it, about 50 feet!)

2. We flattened any bubbles in the tape with a credit card

3. We brushed some of the base color over the tape to “seal” any potential bleed through points

One thing we were not prepared for was the amount of time it would take to tape stripes. It took us all day Saturday. And by all day, I mean it took us about 10 hours to do. Granted, every single line in our office is perfectly level and 9 inches wide. At one point Mike told me he wished we weren’t such perfectionists, and he’s right, it would have been much faster to just wing it!

By 10pm Saturday night, we were ready to start painting our stripes.

We were nervous about painting over such a dark color. Mike thought we needed primer, but I was worried that multiple coats of paint wouldn’t allow for us to pull of the tape while the paint was still wet. So we took a risk and just put a very thick coat of the Olympic Gray Ghost. We worked fast, doing just one stripe at a time then removing the tape. The reveal part was extremely nerve wrecking.

See that line??? Clean as a whistle!! We were estatic at this point and quickly finished painting the stripes and removing the tape, probably in just a little more than an hour.

We had just a few touch up areas and we’re not sure why. In about 3 spots, the tape actually removed the drywall paper.

Maybe we used a little too much muscle with that credit card method! But these were much easier to fix than bleed through on every line. We just put a layer of spackle on them and sanded them down.

We painted them with a coat of the lighter color yesterday. Today we just re-taped the small area along the line, painted the darker color again and it was good as new!

And now for the before and after shots!

Before:

AFTER!!

Tonight we shampooed the carpet and brought our Expedit bookcase back into the room. We are definitely looking forward to some organizing and accessorizing this room this week! We’re so excited about how this turned out and we’re back on an office kick now 🙂

I’m sharing this little how-to at the Lettered Cottage’s link party. They also have awesome horizontal stripes so check them out!

Striped Walls

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Posted by Rebecca, February 17th, 2011

I couldn’t think of a good title today.

Since we moved in, I’ve had striped walls on my mind. Originally, I thought of doing a light tone on tone horizontal stripe in our bedroom. I’m not sure where I got this idea, since I had it in my head long before I discovered house blogs. Probably some show on HGTV! I was thinking something like this…

(via Apartment Therapy)

Our bedroom is large and I knew the walls needed something, but I was too intimidated to try a stencil or wallpaper. If I ever made the bed and took a picture, I could show you a decent angle. And I’d rather not show you the uber embarassing kitten conference, unmade bed, pants on the ground picture again. So here’s an equally awful and creepy picture of the wall behind our bed, taken from our sitting room which has no light fixture in it (hence the ghostly looking cat…)

I just couldn’t imagine stripes in here, but it was the easy solution. Then I decided to man up and attempt a stencil.. attempt still pending.

So I diverted my need for stripes to another room after seeing this must-have inspiration photo from Elle Decor…

(via Elle Decor)

I fell in love with the dramatic contrast and figured the perfect place for something so bold would be the powder room. Until one day recently when I was analyzing the powder room and I realized my beloved stripes wouldn’t look good in there.

The ceilings are pretty high..

And the door is actually at an angle, so the room isn’t a perfect square.

At this point I figured that maybe I’d just use my dark brown stripes in our future basement. Note: our basement is no where near finished. By the time we finish it, I’ll probably think of something else. I have no clue why it took me so long to think of this, since this was my original, original idea, but the office could use some stripes.

Way back when we were buying office furniture and all gung-ho office, I wanted to do stripes but knew the bedroom needed a fancy wall paint more and I didn’t want to be the stripe house. We’ve lost some motivation in the office, since it needs so much organizing and I was having a hard time visualizing the finished space. We went with the furniture we could afford and I wanted to balance the Ikea modern with some more traditional elements to keep it classy. I think the stripes will do just that.

To reassure myself, I download Google SketchUp last night and played with it for just a half hour or so. Awesome program. I just fiddled and wasn’t aiming for perfection, but this is what I got…

The walls on the sides are the same color as the darker stripe, SketchUp just does a 2D shadow type thing. The room is missing the bay window on that left wall and the gallery wall would be on the right wall. The white line at the top is crown molding we’d eventually like to do. We’ve been eyeing up these white chairs from Staples and that’s as far as I got last night. I didn’t rotate that one chair, but then I realized it was kind of funny to keep it like that because we will probably never push our chairs under anyway! The paint color is the Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster we’ve had in mind since we moved in, though we’ll have to throw a little sample on the wall before deciding. The color in this SketchUp is far more purple than the actual color. Here’s a little image from the Benajamin Moore site…

We’d probably pair the Smoked Oyster with the Elephant Gray or Portland Gray. Smoked Oyster definitely has some purple tones (to make my purple loving self happy) but falls into the brown/gray family as well. That is the only reason why Mike agreed to it as well, I even gave him the option of a green!

Anyway I’m super excited about my new area to put some stripes. Now maybe the office will make some progress soon 🙂

Paint Color Trial Run

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Posted by Rebecca, February 1st, 2011

Okay so I told you last week that I had pretty much decided on the Oatlands Subtle Taupe for our master and the Smoked Oyster (Valspar rendition) for the sitting room. When we had most of our downstairs painted before we moved in, we chose three Benjamin Moore colors- Wedgewood Gray for the kitchen/family room, Waynesboro Taupe for the living/dining room and 2 shades lighter than Waynesboro Taupe, Himalayan Trek for the entryway. The Wedgewood Gray was more blue than we had wanted and the Himalayan Trek was a little too gray. Since the entryway is two stories and we had to hire someone to paint it, we knew changing it wasn’t an option. I do like it though, it’s just not what I had pictured.

While we’re on the topic, I’ve been meaning to do a ‘how I choose paint colors’ post since I started this blog. Outside of the blog, it is probably the #1 question I am asked. I’ve gone paint shopping or have visit quite a few people’s homes to help them choose colors, though they don’t always listen to me or they end up not painting at all! I know this is a very poor business model, I won’t be quitting my day job for this one. But the moral of the story is, I don’t think anyone has a fool proof method of choosing paint. It is all a bunch of trial and error that depends on so many variables. Our Wedgewood Gray is a little blue because we overestimated the amount of light the room would get and went one shade darker than we were going to go. But it’s okay, because it’s still pretty close to what we wanted. In fact, I was watching HGTV a few nights ago and commented that I liked a wall color on one of the shows. Mike pointed out that it was our exact family room color, as evidenced by the fact that the TV is mounted on the wall color itself for a side by side comparison. Whoops. But we seem to get the blue/gray feel we were going for more at night than during the day.

So for the bedroom, we decided to take the extra step and pick up some testers. We headed to Lowe’s and paid $2 and change for these things…

Then I pulled out my brush and got to painting! And can I tell you, even a little dabble felt great. I cannot wait to actually paint. I added the two new colors to the old failed Waynesboro Taupe trial area

The big giant light one is the Oatlands Subtle Taupe.  The top dark one is the ruled out Waynesboro Taupe and the bottom one is the Valspar Smoked Oyster. Not having enough evidence, I added the Oatlands to another wall…

And the Smoked Oyster to the sitting room (where it would go)…

(Please ignore the cats’ scratching post and playhouse. Yes that is a Crate and Barrel box and they love it…)

The verdict? Love the lighter Oatlands, but the Smoked Oyster is too purple. Which is ironic because the Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster IS purple but this Valspar one looks more brown on the swatch.

The Smoked Oyster on the right is the one on the sitting room wall, doesn’t it look completely different??

For a second opinion, I called upon my always present sidekick, Macky.

“HmMmMM!”

“No like!!”

I’m going to try one more option, Olympic’s slightly more gray versions of these colors. I like the Oatlands Subtle Taupe, but I get nervous when trying to do two different shades between different brands/swatches. I’ve made that mistake before and though they may look like they go well together, it’s tricky to match the undertones. Plus, I want to use Olympic paint regardless, without a doubt. I asked the worker at Lowe’s to color match the Valspar color to Olympic and she told me they couldn’t. I’m pretty sure she was lying. But we might as well try the pre-existing Olympic colors first. The no VOC aspect is huge to us since a) the room is our bedroom and I’d rather not sleep on the couch for a week while the stench leaves b) it’s winter and we can’t open any windows while painting and c) Macky has seizures and we try to keep him away from any and all possible triggers- chemicals being one. We had our downstairs areas painted long before we moved in and in the spring, so we dodged that bullet. But from now on, I’m sticking to no VOC, and I’m thankful Olympic has provided an easily accessible and affordable option!

Back to the drawing board!

Smoked Oysters

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Posted by Rebecca, January 27th, 2011

Remember that funny paint swatch we put on the wall a few weeks back? Well we’re working on finding a light taupe color for the master bedroom. I mentioned in my walk-in closet post that I liked the color in the closet, but I didn’t remember what color it was. Well I was looking in my drawer full ‘o swatches for some ideas when I figured out why I thought I no longer had that closet swatch…

On the left is Benjamin Moore’s Smoked Oyster. We used this color in our condo bathroom and loved it, so we’re planning to use it for our office. It’s a nice purpley/gray color. On the right is Valspar’s Smoked Oyster, it is a taupe color and we used the color one shade lighter for our walk-in. So when I looked for the closet color, I spotted this Smoked Oyster and assumed it was the old bathroom color. I even looked at it and was like wow! It looks so much more brown than purple in the new house! Then I found the other Oyster and realized. How weird is that?

Anyway, here’s a sampling of my taupe swatches…

I am still leaning towards the closet color, which is the center swatch, center color. It is called Oatlands Subtle Taupe by Valspar.

I’ve learned, mostly the hard way, that neutral beige type colors have either a pink, gold or gray undertone to them when they get light. Our first painting attempt in our condo resulted in a pinkish beige hallway. Our second painting attempt resulted in a goldish beige hallway. Then we moved here and wanted taupe and well, we ended up with a silvery hallway. Which is fine because even though it’s not what I imagined, I like it anyway. And gray is like the new brown right now!

Not following me? Here are some more pictures and how I narrowed the colors down…

My other potential front runner was Gray Beige, the middle color in that middle swatch there. But looking at the colors surrounding it, the Gravel and the Stonington, it’s reading a little peachy to me. I still want to stay in the taupe family.

Here are some more Benjamin Moore colors which were actually contenders for the living/dining room and entryway. I even wrote “get sample” on two colors way back when.  I’d probably go with the second one down for the bedroom, the Cedar Key, and it’s just not rubbing me the right way.

For a little perspective and to make sure these colors were more of a taupe than our hallway turned out, I taped them against one of those walls. The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Himalayan Trek…

Sorry about that shadow, that’s my noggin in the way. But now are you seeing the peachyness of the swatches on the far left and far right? (Sorry I wasn’t consistent with my arrangments!) Once again, my first choice is on the center swatch (the one with the little squares cut out) and the center color.

And just for good measure, I hung these on the dining room wall. I love this taupe color and wanted to see how these colors measured up. It is Benjamin Moore’s Waynesboro Taupe…

I moved my favorite one again! But its on the right (with the little cut out squares still). This definitely reassures me that the Oatlands Subtle Taupe is the way to go. I’m thinking of doing our little sitting room area a darker more dramatic shade, so I think the ooother Smoked Oyster may just be it!

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