Gray Area

Hi everyone! As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m back to show you the results of a room that was begging  to be painted (as least in my mind).  As a preface, we moved into our freshly painted house in April, 2011. Besides some Dr. Seuss stencils in our guest room, nothing was begging for a paint job.  In fact, the professionally painted house had me feeling guilty about wanting to change anything at all, despite the fact that most of the colors are not ones I would have picked on my own.  So, with that mindset, I had been telling myself that tackling another painting project (after the guest room and downstairs half bath) was unnecessary.

Then, I reached my breaking point (I know, a little dramatic. It really was more of a realization point). Since we had some free time over the holidays, I decided to repaint the room that has been annoying me since day 1:

The dining room! Here’s a very literal “day one” picture…we had just moved in and hadn’t even built our dining room table yet.  You’ll notice the lovely mustard color on the walls.

No, can’t see it very well? How about this?

Another early picture.  Notice the sheen coming off the semi-gloss yellowy walls.  Yikes.  Here’s one more:

As you can tell, it photographs in weird ways depending on the time of day.  I might be making it out to be a little worse than it really was, but I certainly was never a fan, and it had to go.  But, what color to use?  Luckily, Pinterest usually knows what I like even if (subconsciously) I don’t notice a pattern.  I started looking through rooms I had pinned (saved, for those of you not on Pinterest yet…get on it!) and started noticing some similarities: 

(Edit: I was totally surprised to hear that Bryan received many questions after I posted this picture. Let me just state for the blog record that NO I am not pregnant! Believe me, when that day comes – in the far and distant future –  I won’t be trying to subtly let everyone know in some cryptic way via one inspiration picture on our blog. Promise.)

Apparently I like gray rooms? Who knew?

So, after running the idea by Bryan and getting the go-ahead, I spent the better part of New Year’s Eve day running around town picking up paint chips:


…and taping them up around the room in different places to get an idea of what looked best:




After narrowing it down, we decided on “Galveston Gray” by Benjamin Moore, which is the bottom color in the picture above:

The chip was a little darker than I was originally thinking, but Bryan thought a darker, bolder gray  would look good so I picked up a gallon in an eggshell finish.

(Disclaimer: I once said that we would be using semi-gloss paint throughout the house, since it’s already on most of the walls.  I take that back.  It works in bathrooms and smaller spaces but as you could see in the “before” pictures, the dining room gets a lot of sun and semi-gloss paint creates a super shiny situation…not good!)

Before getting to the “after” shots, I wanted to share a little tip that I picked up on another blog (I can’t remember where I saw this but I’ll come back and let you know if I ever find it again!) Our house has a couple arched doorways, and one is the entrance to the dining room:


Very cool architecturally, but a pain to paint since there are no sharp corners or molding to create a crisp paint line.  My main concern is that we’d have a lot of yellow paint showing through, so I carried over some of the tan (from the entryway and staircase) into the dining room:


That way, any paint that doesn’t get covered by the gray will be the same color as the entryway…make sense?  I still didn’t get the sharpest line (the walls are all curved…arggggggg!!!!!), but at least there’s no awkward yellow spots. I’m not too worried about it – it wasn’t the best looking line before, and the pros did it:


Anyways – you’re probably ready to actually see the new room, so here ya go!





Sorry the room is still pretty naked…I’m thinking about switching up some of the wall decor and don’t want to rush it…pictures will come eventually! But overall we’re really happy with the new color, especially how it plays off the finish we used on the buffet (read about that project here) and the liquor cabinet (and read about that project here!)

Hope everyone likes it! Did anyone think we were crazy for painting a room gray?  I definitely had fears that it would look like a cave (or jail cell).  Comments are always welcome!



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11 responses to “Gray Area

  1. Kelli Martin

    Oh my gosh I LOVE IT gray!! Great choice!

  2. Laura

    Gray is very “in”. Very nice.

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  4. Siobhan

    Katie, your home belongs in a magazine! It’s so beautiful and I love reading about the things you are doing – they totally inspire me!

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  6. Larry

    Nice job. You’re not going to get perfect lines on your archways because your walls have a texture to them. You can only get a line as straight as the edge is. As a professional painter this drives me nuts on a daily basis. Sometimes a little sanding of the edge helps, but still, not perfect. You did well for what you had to work with.

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  9. I saw your comment on my dining room’s better after feature and wanted to say thanks! I also wanted to say that although some people commented that the mustard yellow before was better (??) apparently you and I know better! Your room is gorgeous as well! I’m so envious of the arched doorways. Thanks again for the comment:)
    Katie-Amazing Grays

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