As promised, here are some more before and after shots of our house painting project. Colors were selected to be complimentary and appropriate for the Mediterranean architectural style of the house.
The first room I tackled was the entry foyer. Going for that classic Frank Lloyd Wright approach to movement through spaces, I liked the idea of entering into a small, richly-colored darker space that opens out into a bright, open, airy one. It makes for a dramatic entry.
Here is our living room, before the paint make-over. The room gets wonderful light flooding the space, but with the stark white walls against the wood floors and dark brown beams, it just was too contrasty. This room was screaming for a color infusion. So after much taping, we got to work.
We chose a golden tone called Bryant Gold (with just a smidge more white than the normal formula). The room changes its character depending upon the time of day: bright cheerful golden yellow during the daytime, and more subdued, rich, cozy yellow ochre in the evening. The change reflects how the space is used, and the atmosphere desired, kind of like a chameleon.
Here's a peek into the room after our furniture finally came.
I need to take a better shot of this when the lighting is better, but here's how the colors transition from our entry into the dining room and back into the kitchen. We keep this foyer door closed so guests move through the spaces more organically. Don't want to give away all the surprises at once, you know?
This is our dining room, before we made it all warm and cozy with color. A nice space, but lacking in personality with bland white walls.We went with a lovely pumpkin tone called Amber. Now, if only we could figure out a way to hang artwork on those fragile stucco walls! They just crumble when you try to put screws or nails in them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Moving onto the kitchen with the rather dark cabinets, and totally inadequate lighting. The windows certainly helped open up the space, but this kitchen doesn't get much light throughout the day. If it had been my kitchen, I would have torn it out and started from scratch, or at the very least refinished the cabinet faces. But since we are renting, we had to make due with paint alone.
The yellow certainly helped brighten it up (especially since there is no direct sunlight through the greenhouse windows).
Moving onto the hallway....
Here's our hallway leading to the upstairs rooms. The white appeared gray and dismal in the shadows, and really needed a change.
Just to show you that sometimes it takes a couple of tried before you really nail a color. I started out with my vision of a neutral brown tone to transition from the warm brights downstairs to the softer tones upstairs. What I had hoped would be a warm brown (called Roxbury Caramel) turned out way too pinky, and in certain lights, looked rather mauve. Even though it was the hardest room in the house to paint, I absolutely couldn't stand how it looked, and resigned myself to repainting the stairwell. I opted for what appeared, on the paint chip, to be a grayer brown (Wilmington Tan). Bingo! Once it was up on the wall, we got the desired effect of a soft brown. In this photo, it looks yellow, but it's really a neutral brown. It's amazing how much lighting can affect a color.
Here's another shot of the hallway, peaking into the study (on the left) and the bedroom (on the right). (After shots of these rooms to come once I clean up a little!)
Most people assume that painting a space white will open it up, make it feel bigger and light. Here's proof that this theory doesn't always work. This narrow, dark little basement guest bedroom space was dingy and depressing, even painted white.
My husband (and toughest client ever!) liked my suggestion of a soft, glowing apricot color and took it quite literally, fighting very hard for Seville Orange (all Benjamin Moore Aura paint). A lovely shade of orange, but way too bright. I warned him that colors look MUCH brighter once you get them up on the walls, but he was insistent. So, I let him learn the hard way:
I give you, orange so bright the walls made the carpet glow orange at night. Yikes! Might be hard to see in this picture, but take my word for it.
When hubbie finally understood what I was trying to explain, we repainted it Tuscon Tan, a light brown with a significantly peachy undertone, and came out with a much more successful effect. When in doubt over the brightness factor, go for a tone more subdued.
Oh, here's a really useful tip for touch-ups. Take your left-over paint, fill small canning jars with each color, and label the lids with a dab of the color, name or code for the paint, and location of where you used it. Voila, instant touch-up access without the hassle of unidentifiable, messy gallon cans!