Oct 13, 2015


Here's what you told me:
I'm just tired of the brown walls and stained wood mantle for starters. I like design that still feels traditional but comfortable. I like pottery barn and Ballard designs. 
It's such an open space that the design would have to flow into other spaces."

Hi Sheryl,

Lets start with wall color, because that will change your life you know!  I'm going to recommend a cooler tone, to lift that brown color off of your shoulders.  Warm tones tend to come towards you, making a room feel closer, heavier, darker, warmer.  Cool tones will recede from you, will feel calm, will add space, will be a great background to whatever other colors you add as accent.  We can pull these neutrals into the other visible living areas.

So for starters in the living room, look at these neutral colors.   Your homework will be to paint a sample on a posterboard - two coats just like on a wall - and leave about a 3 inch border around it, because that brown on your walls is going to distort the new color if its right against it.

Another funny thing about color is that your light - inside and out - affects it.   So, move those posterboards around the room and look at it at different times of the day, because your paint will change with your light.  These colors generally look great anytime of day, but if you have a southern light coming in the room it will look different than if you have a northern light... so... homework because your eye is the one I am trying to please.

One more caution, don't rely on these photos - computer images are not reliable.  Try them out first.




 I know they look similar, but some will be more gray, and some will be more beige, and there may be undertones that show up in your light - so I'm giving you 4 to try.    Most loved of these tend to be Amazing Gray and Accessible Beige.   Accessible Beige is quite light, but still shows up against white moldings, etc.

NEXT IS THE WOODWORK.   You are tired of stained wood and you like Ballard and PB, so I need to ask if you want white painted woodwork, or a more Ballard look like Deep dark brown, charcoal or black?

Painting out this beautiful fireplace will give it a whole new feel.  I would recommend you paint it white because the rest of your trim is white. But I would have the bannister and posts stained very dark brown (a paint treatment with a gel stain over the top) or painted dark brown.
(paint any heat or a/c registers the same color as the wall - to make them disappear)

Here are some photos to help you visualize the changes.

It gives you an idea, although its not exactly the same.
And the bannister -

Long term, down the road, I think the fireplace is way too high.  I would remove the top panel section.    However, I would need to see an additional photo showing that area before I decide for sure.  I'd also like to see the windows (take at night) so I can get a feeling for their height.

Trying to decide what is happening on the entry ceiling.  Is that painted?  I would paint over it - it appears to be flat.  Even if it has molding, I would paint the brown spots the same color as the ceiling.

Also down the road, I would paint the front door black, but keep the side window molding in white.
Kind of like this..

To furnish this area, I think an area rug is important to anchor the seating area.  I would do two neutral sofas or a sectional in front of the tv area.  I would place a sofa table at the back - so that you have a place to put accessories or lamps (is there a plug in the floor? or only on the wall?)

I would add two club chairs or occasional chairs in front of the windows, with a small
table between, and a lamp on the table.

The final stages would be to add the fabrics and accessories.
You will need to do some more homework here - tell me what colors you love
and what type of patterns you like.

Definitely need curtains to soften and frame those gorgeous windows.!

Your turn,
tell me what you think about these suggestions.  Share your thoughts.



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!