What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fun With Paint

When we moved here last year we knew right off the bat that both bathrooms would need complete gutting and there would a kitchen renovation to fit our appliances, replace the countertop and backsplash and while not replacing the cabinets the cabinet doors and hardware would likely be replaced. So inside we knew we were facing some rather expensive changes. But what about the other rooms? Upstairs while gorgeous had very dated wallpaper in dirty taupe tones. The larger upper bedroom had deep rose with metallic gold floral wallpaper I actually like but according to everyone else it looks like a bordello. The smaller upper bedroom was poorly painted in two tone faux feather method. The dominant feature throughout the house is wood and lots of it with the family room and kitchen having wood wainscotting and wood beamed ceilings. The stairwell is wood. Aside of wood the next dominant feature in the family room is a floor to ceiling fieldstone fireplace. The challenge would be to keep the cottage feel while highlighting the wood and because of the design of the house keep the colours flowing nicely.

Freshening up the look of a room or giving it a whole new look is oh so easy and inexpensive with paint. It is the ultimate DIY project. If you don't like the results simply repaint. Online tools make it easy to choose paint colours and mood as well as coordinate your colours. You can even use your own photographs to see what the colours will look like in your room. The best part is you can do this all from the comforts of your home, tweaking until you get just the right look. Then print off the worksheet and head to your local paint store.

My Colour Scheme

We have a beautiful water view that changes daily taking on a life of its own. I really wanted the indoor colours to reflect that. Taking from the colour in the old wallpaper I settled on Country Mist from Behr, the lightest of the bluish greens on the paint chip card. The original colour was chose from paint chips at Home Depot. Home Depot has a computerized colour tool called ColorSmart for Behr paint. ColorSmart can be found online on the Behr website. Using the online version is nice because you can choose and co-ordinate your colours from the comfort of your home. You can try the colours on your own rooms $4.95 (one year subscription) or use generic rooms to get an idea of how the colours will look. If you are doing a lot of decorating, the one year subscription is well worth it since you will see how the colours look on your own rooms.

The first colour, Country Mist was used on the lower level family room walls, kitchen wall, and upper level games room. I used the medium green, Tide Pools on the deep windows sills and patio surround on the lower level and on the five smaller walls of the connecting entry/landing. I painted the entry door with the darkest green, Marina Isle. And there is where everything stopped.

Preparing Main Landing Wall

Technically the side entry that connects the upper level to the lower level is the only room on this level. It isn't calculated in with square footage something I don't understand. The walk-in pantry on the lower level is under the landing. The dark wood wainscotting on the walls go down the stairs and continues in the lower family room and connecting kitchen wall. The family room and kitchen have to be treated as one because of the design. The heavy bannister is a nice accent tying in the upper and lower levels. When we painted the lower level walls in Country Mist we did not have an actual colour picked out for the large upper room directly off the upper stains and to the right. Only the upper wall of this room above the landing is shown. I really wanted an accent mural on the large wall to the left done in muted tones sort of fantasy water themed. This room is actually supposed to be the good livingroom but we are really leaning towards putting a custom made pool table in there. I knew I didn't want the same greens but whatever colour I chose for that room had to flow into the connecting games room and the landing. So there it sat unfinished and undecided for about 6 months.

I searched unsuccessfully for a mural for the large wall of the landing. Then I got lucky and as posted in a previous entry, I had a break through when I found the perfect border that not only had all the colours that would work in the rooms but also had the nautical theme. Once the border was up in the lower level, we liked it enough to paint the large landing wall in Country Mist and trim the entire landing with the border to unify both levels. Unifying is important because the landing is quite visible from the lower level.

Large Wall Finished

Pictured here is one view of the landing showing the finished large wall and two of the smaller walls. The end of the bannister to the right (not shown) opens onto the end of large room where the games room joins. So the landing while being quite visible from the lower level is even more visible from the games room and large possible pool room to the left (not shown). The colour for the large room is Cumberland Fog, shown on the wall over landing. Choosing this colour was very simple using the border and the ColorSmart tool.

I went to the Behr site and started the ColorSmart tool then chose "select by Color name/number". I typed in the name Country Mist which took me to the next step where I could add colours from the names on the paint chips. Once all three colours were selected I chose which colour was the dominant colour and clicked select to coordinate. This brought up suggestions for a fourth coordinating colour. To get an idea of how the colours would look on the wall, I clicked on preview. As simple as clicking on the desired colour the clicking where I wanted it on the picture gave a good visual of how the room would look. From there I saved the project online (need to register) and printed a copy that shows the paint chips, colour names/numbers and picture of the project.

Comments for Using ColorSmart: This online tool and I'm sure there are others can save you a lot of time and headaches. It gives you a way to try on the colour in your own rooms with the only investment of a small subscription fee that for many is less that a trip to the store. At the same time you aren't playing around with actual paint samples so you save there. I should point out that you can buy small paint samples to try as well but this allows you to narrow down your choices before buying even the samples. Another advantage is being able to save your work online so you can modify as often as you want and unlike being in the store you have the room right ready to help make the decisions. If using your own photos be sure to take several of the room in different light. If the room will have mainly natural light that is what you want to work with. Take your time to get good photos to work with.

Another View

This view is from the end of the bannister on the upper level looking down onto the landing. I'm rather pleased with the effects of three shades of green in the landing with the Cumberland blue (top and to left) from the upper room to the left flowing nicely into the landing. The remaining element in the landing to be changed is the floor itself. We have decided on ceramic tile but have not decided on a colour yet. I'm impressed that the two rooms came together so fast once I gave up on finding a mural and going with repeating the border.

The online tool is something I will be using throughout the house. It really makes coordinating the paint colours from one room to the next almost fool proof. I'm now working on the colours for the two upper bedrooms that are connected to the large possible pool room via a spacious almost square hall. Through the double French door entrance to the hall from left to right is a large bedroom, bathroom, small bedroom and linen closet. The colour needs to be a connector as well. Using the ColorSmart tool, Pearl Drops looks to be a good choice.

So don't be afraid to experiment with colour. The online tools will let you do it easily with little cost. Who knows you may discover a whole new look for your room very different from what you were thinking. Have fun!

Garden Gnome
© 2007


Ultra Cool Mama said...

Wow!! Really love what you did to this room. Love the colours!

Christine said...

Your room turned out lovely! I recently added some color to our very drab family room - what a difference! Enjoyed my visit to your blog!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi ultra cool mama! Thanks so much for your lovely compliment.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Christine, thanks for visiting and thank-you for your compliment. Colour can make a huge difference and sometimes it doesn't take much to make that difference.