May 13, 2015


It was nice talking to you Carolyn.
When I first posted this we were just looking for colors, but I realized after speaking with you that you are anticipating some big changes.  I know you are pressed for time as your work is so busy right now, so if you would like me to, I can help you make all those difficult decisions.

As promised, I'm posting some information about countertops that mimic or resemble carrera marble for the kitchen.

First the real gorgeous thing:
 and here are the mimics - far more suitable to a kitchen 


(see below for Lemon juice test)..

(Some of these are new, so call to see if they have a sample you can see)
CALACUTTA NUVO (Caeserstone)

Caesarstone's new line (FROSTY CARRINA (left) and CAMBRIA TORQUAY (right))

And there are several gorgeous granites that resemble marble.





 Remember that granite and quartzite are natural stone - so they will vary in striation and in intensity of movement.  Some will be darker, some lighter, and some may have veins of other color.  Once you have an idea of what you like, you will need to go on a hunt for the perfect slab.

There are some good ideas for fireplace walls, kitchens, master ensuites, etc. on my Pinterest boards and on my blog.  But let me know if you want some personal help - I can give you a customized plan of action and recommendations for the areas you are contemplating changes in and take away some of that stress.  Please also fill me in on what you have chosen for flooring or anything being replaced in the rooms where I recommended colors.


Hi Carolyn and Brian. 
Thank you for sending the pictures so I could get a feel for your home and your style.

I know what you are going through. 
 I am at the end of a long renovation following a slab leak... 
one thing just seems to lead to another... doesn't it?

I love all the wonderful natural light you have -
and I can see you have tried a few colors... ha!

You said you painted a bathroom in Silver Dollar?  Was that Olympic paint?
I have recommended some Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams colors, but they should be able to color match if you would rather use the Olympic paint.

Generally speaking, I try not to change colors too much in an open space.  Staying with one color in all the rooms that are visible to one another creates flow and continuity.  Adding contrast creates the interest and the beauty.  That being said, I recommend one wall color for these rooms, but some changes elsewhere....

I would use a soft white on the ceiling, in a flat sheen, including the beam ( although I would recommend a satin or semi-gloss for the wooden beam )  The same white satin or semi-gloss should be used on any trim or doors, (door casings, crown and base moldings, window casings, etc.

For the walls I recommend a beige that has a gray undertone (or a gray with a beige undertone) which will make your room feel calm and cool and the color will go with nearly everything. 
 I think it will be lovely in these rooms.
I also think there is a lot of 'one-tone' going on in your home right now, 
so I would recommend adding some contrast!
Based on what you told me about the bathroom, I think some dark grays would be the best solution.
I would paint the bar cabinets and bottom area a dark/medium gray,
 and I would do the same to this brick wall and fireplace.

Since this is a long room, the dark color at the end will provide a focal point, add a little drama
and update this look.  If you are able, I would also add a big chunky wooden mantle.

Visuals always help - here are some accent walls and fireplace walls in dark gray:

To further delineate your cozy seating area, I would add a seagrass rug (because its dog friendly, and adds texture and will make a world of difference there - and its inexpensive too).
seagrass rug

seagrass rug

link here

 If you find it in the budget, adding crown molding and framing the windows with trim will make a huge difference and create a more custom look.

I'm familiar with where you live and I want to make your home feel as 'cool' as possible... so no colors that are too warm.  In the kitchen I'm recommending a white for the upper cabinets and the same darker gray for the bottom cabinets and island.  The white on top will keep it from feeling cave like, and the dark on the bottom will ground it and pull in the other grays in the home.  You mentioned you were replacing the countertops, and I don't know if you have selected a material you like.  I know you like the carerra marble look, which I wouldn't recommend for a kitchen.  However, there are now quartz or man made countertops that mimic the carerra marble and that would be gorgeous with the colors I'm recommending.  There are also some beautiful white granites that have gray and beige tones in the pattern that would be beautiful.
To help you visualize, here is some kitchen inspiration in similar colors:

Now, back to this photo for a minute...
I would include the bookcase built-in at the back of the room in the paint process,
and paint it the dark gray.  It will be amazing!


Ceiling:  Benjamin Moore WHITE DOVE in flat
Walls:  (I'm recommending two colors - you need to test them to see which looks best in your space).
Sherwin Williams ACCESSIBLE BEIGE (my clients' all time favorite) (lighter than it appears here)


Benjamin Moore REVERE PEWTER (my all time favorite - I have this on my own walls)
Revere Pewter

you can also try
Olympic Paints QUILL

Fireplace Accent Wall: (Flat)

Kitchen Cabinets - Uppers:  (and the rest of the wood trim)
 Benjamin Moore WHITE DOVE in Semi-Gloss

Kitchen Cabinets - Lowers, Bar, Built-In Bookcase:  
Benjamin Moore CHELSEA GRAY in Semi-Gloss

Chelsea Gray

So, this is a great neutral background.  I actually can't think of a color that doesn't work well with these colors, be it reds, greens, blues, yellows, or purples.  So you can add color with your fabrics and accessories and change it up whenever you like, and your neutral background will still work.

The light in your home, your ceiling height, the size of your room, even the geographical area you live in - all effect color.  That is why it is so hard to choose wall color.  So make sure you test it first to make sure it goes okay in your house - and if it doesn't for some reason - I will suggest some other colors for you to try.

I probably gave you more information than you asked for - can't get me to shut up once I get started! Ha!  If you have any other questions, please call or email or text me.

Good luck!

Mar 25, 2015


Hi Kathleen,

I will be answering and commenting below in blue.

I am trying to rehab a 2nd home from a distance and a bit challenged by the daunting task of selecting colors from afar! How far away is your beach home?  You say South from Michigan......

The good news - is that we sold a condo along with most of its furnishings and purchased this larger townhome.  So there are only a few pieces of furniture that I would like considered .  As we live in Michigan full time and only get south a few times over the winter -- my theme for now is Coastal Living/Beach casual.  One of my favorite looks!

This is another home in the development-- I like the neutrality and beachy theme. 
 I love the old barn wood walls
Liked this - for TV treatment

This is another home in the development-- I like the neutrality and beachy theme.  
OK, good information.

Great room -- # 1 priority. 
Southern Exposure. 
Will most likely add plantation shutters to 4 corner windows.
  • Need the color in the Great room to work with this PotteryBarn Pearce sectional in Oat.  It looked great with BM 2153-50 Desert Tan in the smaller condo (this wall untainted) and had indirect exposure so I tried it in the new Great room and it looks too yellow with the Southern exposure and huge walls.  I would like to also use the pics.
I can see a soft cool light gray here making this look fabulous.  
I love the coastal vibe with the look neutral color against white trim and moldings. 

This first gray may be too light in the light saturated greatroom.
You should do a swatch to see how it plays out with your lighting.

SW Amazing Gray

 Storm may work better in the great room, and tan of the sofa will look beautiful against it, 
as well as the sea life pictures
Benjamin Moore STORM

Here is an example of a tan/oat colored sofa against a gray wall.

Here are pics of PB sofa in new place and a few places where I tried the BM desert tan on walls. 
I agree that's way too warm.  That would make your room feel like it is closing in around you.

I do like the idea of plantation shutters on the 4 windows in the corner.

If you decide on Storm, and if you want a stronger color for the TV wall, try BM Cinder.  It is from the same family as Storm and will be complimentary.

Benjamin Moore CINDER

As a general rule, I don't believe in changing wall color in an open floor plan. 
 It interrupts the flow.  
I like to carry a continuous color through in an open floor plan so that the color flows and creates a spacious feeling.
This space has so many color changes it is a little jarring. (above) 
It is going to look fantastic when you have your new colors in place.!

This is the 4th bedroom- Not our furnishings / planned to keep as a study with Desk(Pottery Barn White) / Sleeper sofa. Soft blue /gray.

Try Benjamin Moore SOLITUDE
it looks more gray here, but has a blue undertone
and your light may bring that out more

or Benjamin Moore TRANQUILITY
nice soft color - great with whites
Dining Room -- Adding crown and new base moldings. 

No dining room furniture at this time- northern exposure - indirect light. 
Would like it to compliment - Great Room.
Another view from Dining Room into Great Room. Kitchen on the right.

 I would keep with the same color in the dining room as the great room.  Or a color that is very similar, such as BM Baltic Gray.  With the walls closer and it being set off from the rest of the area, the color will look different without actually causing an interruption in color flow. 

BM Baltic Gray

Kitchen - Southern Exposure. 
Not our furnishings- Has been demo'd - removed cabinets and shelves on wall - keeping floor. Cabinets will be white- haven't picked out counter top yet !

You can go with a the Great Room color in here (Storm), if you like.
Or one of these...


Sherwin Williams REQUISITE GRAY


This the MBR - NOT our furnishings.
Adding Crown moldings, will have a King White Sleigh bed- thinking greenish(SW sea salt) or

Sherwin Williams SEA SALT

Sea Salt is a gorgeous color for the bedroom.  I think you can go a little darker in the bathroom because of all the white

Master Bath -- adding crown moldings and it will be demo'd next year -- just need a compliment to MBR color.
Master Bath again.

Both of these colors are in the same family as Sea Salt.
Sherwin Williams COMFORT GRAY

Sherwin Williams OYSTER BAY

3rd bedroom - Upstairs -empty at this time

 A light neutral gray would work perfectly for whatever you decide to use this for in the future.
Sherwin Williams AMAZING GRAY

2nd bedroom- Upstairs -- will have wicker(dark) queen set. 
Dont laugh - keeping the hand painted wall-- for now . 
Thinking about blue-gray.

I love this blue/gray from Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore SUMMER SHOWER

To Summarize:

Great Room & Dining Room
Amazing Gray (SW)
Storm (BM)
Baltic Gray (BM)
Accent Wall
Cinder (BM)
Storm (BM) or
Ashes (Behr)
Master Bed/Bath
Sea Salt (SW)
Oyster Bay (SW) or
Comfort Gray (SW)
Bedroom #2
Summer Shower (BM)
Bedroom #3
Amazing Gray (SW)
Bedroom #4/Study
Solitude (BM) or
Tranquility (BM)

Next Step:  
Look over the colors, try them on your walls, and report back!
We will work on this until you love all the choices!