almost done and those walls are gray, not white. No, really.

September 1, 2009 |  Category:   home


Soooo…..since the moment we came back from the North Fork last weekend, Mark and I have been painting, reorganizing, painting, going to Ikea, putting together Ikea furniture, painting, and going to Ikea again (3 freaking times in a week!). We’re almost done, however, and we can put Home Improvement Fest 2009 to rest. We ended up not only painting the living room and the girls room, but the front area of the apartment as well as the hallway (not planned). The only rooms unpainted are ours and the new office.

So you know how people say to paint a swatch of paint on the wall before committing. Yeah, do it. Seriously. And let me repeat it again. Do a sample swatch. I did initially paint a swatch for the livingroom and the gray I chose was too dark for what I had in mind so I went lighter (BM Silver Satin), but when it finally went on the wall, it was way too light. Like it read *white*. Do you know how disappointing it is to want (no, no, no, PINE) for gray walls all these years and then commit, only to find that it just looks white? Pretty freaking disappointing. But wait…in certain light it does look like a pale gray. It makes the room, softer, warmer, but…craaaap, it might as well be…white! I actually like the lightness of the color and I like how airy the room still is with the light reflecting in all different ways throughout the day, but that so didn’t get the gray out of my system.

To compensate, we decided to paint the front part of the apartment a slightly darker gray. Our living space is one big room – the kitchen, the living room and the dining area, but the front area by the elevator door which opens into our apartment juts out a bit so it’s very easy to delineate it with a different color. I also had the genius idea (bwahaha) to paint the hallway to the bedrooms an even darker gray, like an accent wall, so off to the hardware store we went. Without a swatch test, I picked a medium gray that I thought would work. We brought it home and started painting. Craaaap! It just read really dull, green and awful. So at this point we were out $40 in paint, but I did mix some of the awful gray in with the Silver Satin from the living room to make a slightly darker gray and voila! It worked beautifully, especially in combination with painting all the trim and the front stairwell door a bright white (also unplanned).

And that hallway? After much going back and forth, we decided to just cover it with chalkboard paint. In order for it to have worked, I realized that it needed to be dark. We have one narrow wall in that color that separates the living area from the kitchen so I felt like it balanced it out somehow and framed the kitchen area. Black walls are definitely not for the faint of heart and we’re still getting used to it, but I think it will be ok (oh and how much did I love Claudine’s casual reaction to the wall when getting up this morning? She walks out of her room, glances briefly at the wall and saids” oh, black” without stopping or much else).

Which brings us to the girls’ room. The bunk bed is in (from Room and Board). It wasn’t cheap so it was a major investment and as you can see, a pretty big piece of furniture for this size room. I was worried about Claudine climbing up on the top bunk so I liked that the ends of the bed were completely closed off, but it does create a wall right when you walk into the room. I’ve put a bookshelf on the end of the bed so it actually creates a little cozy nook and it seems to be working. We painted their walls with BM’s Oyster which is the palest pinky lavender, but as you can see, reads much like white (what is with that???) but it has a very rosy glow. There are some times in the day where it reads more pink, but after my initial disappointment (again), I actually like it. The girls have transitioned easily to the bed – no drama, no fuss, and after 10 days of not sleeping in a crib when we were away, it was just plain strange to put her back in her crib when we got back, so she is happy.

And so…there you have it. I wallpaper the kitchen backsplash today. I’ll try to post some more photos, but we are in the middle of discussions with some design blogs about possibly doing a house tour, so not sure how much I will put up. Besides, I think we are both really tired of thinking about the apartment. We still have a few things to do like find a living room rug (hard!), but we’re ready to move on.

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  • rifferaff September 1, 2009 at 10:59 am

    those are the best looking bunk beds i’ve ever seen

  • Jenna September 1, 2009 at 11:19 am

    they are really nice, but it’s hard to get a really good pic of it because it is so big in the room and not much space to frame the photo, so this isn’t such a nice photo of it.

  • Lara September 1, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I love the bed! I also love seeing a photo of the two of them playing together in their room. Sigh.

  • paige September 1, 2009 at 11:26 am

    You have inspired me to stop the pining and get painting. I have wanted to paint my living room taupe for about 4 years and I can never seem to find the time. But commitment, here I come. Thanks.

  • Lani September 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

    What a great story. I almost was there with you as I read it. Can’t wait to see it all. I love C’s reaction to the black wall. What a little imp.

  • Margarita September 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    The best grey paint colour I found was Ralph Lauren’s EXPOSED. A perfect grey colour – not too dark, not too light, not blue/green/yellow tinged, just perfect. I used it all over our loft.

  • patricia September 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I love, love those bunk beds!

    I have the opposite problem with paint. I always go too bright and I think that’s probably worse. We need to get some major painting done around here but committing to a color is the hardest thing for me. I’m all about neutrals and my husband is all about ‘real’ colors- bleh.

  • jennifer September 2, 2009 at 6:22 am

    looks good, can’t wait to see more. we’re painting soon and I’m looking at the BM revere pewter that a few people mentioned…will definitely do a paint swatch first as per your suggestion!

  • emeline September 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait to see the house tour!

  • Nicole September 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I love the bunk beds they look really good. can’t wait to see what else you have in store. in our last home we painted one wall of our living room chalk board paint and it does make the wall pop in a really cool way.

  • Lecia September 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Catching up on your blog after being gone. Love the bunkbed and your idea of chalkboard paint is brilliant. I’ve said it before – you have such a great sense of style – I hope someday you can help me make my home a bit less stark 🙂

  • Polprav October 11, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Hello from Russia)