Wednesday, October 9, 2013

50 Shades of Grey

And no I'm not getting sexy over here....we're going to talk about paint.

I'll admit it, I'm an interior designer who is scared of color. Honestly, most of us are, and here's why... we look at this stuff ALL day so the last thing we are going to do is paint a whole room some color that is the "it thing" only to hate it a year later. Committing to a color for an interior designer is like a play boy settling down - we'd much rather find our fun with color in the non-permanent and easy to replace things (ie: pillows, drapes, or a vase).

The funny thing is that I'm not at all scared of color for my clients - I can pick colors all day long for my clients, and frankly I often do it in like 5 minutes flat (likely because I don't have to continue to look at it daily). For myself though it's a sweat it out....sleep over it... sleep over it again... poll my other designer friends type of decision.

Therefore this summer marked a BIG milestone for us. We got paint! After weeks of swatches being pinned up around the house, I committed to GREY, or is it gray?


Here's the deal, our house is a very open plan, so I knew I needed to find a good classic color to run through most of the house.  I needed something light enough because it will be in shadow during part of the day, yet dark enough because it will be in direct sunlight at times too. Also, you never want some really dark color to run though your house. I also knew I wanted a grey versus a beige and cool versus warmer; so then it was the quest to find the perfect one. After much internal turmoil I finally landed on......

Benjamin Moore's Stonington Grey HC-170

I have to say I'm really happy with it. Like any gray it changes during the course of the day and this one tends to lean to the cooler blue side, but for the most part it is just solid tried and true gray with cooler undertones.

Here is a pictures of it going up... 

Stonington Grey HC-170

This color runs from my entry through the kitchen, living room, and as you can see in the photo it also goes up the stairs and down the 2nd floor hallway. See what I mean about it needing to look good in a lot of different situations? 

Oh I forgot to mention I did add a fun little "pop" in my dining area...
BOOM! Oh yeah baby.

What is this? It's just a little bit of Kendall Charcoal HC-166. Hottttt.
Obviously these photos are all progress shots but stay tuned for final photos in the very near future (I just need to take some).

So since I've spent way too much time looking at way more than 50 shades of grey I thought I'd give you my top 10 grey picks  from my boy Benjamin Moore and my 2 cents about them.

For what it's worth, here we go....

1551 La Paloma Gray
This is a beautiful warm grey in a medium tone.  Since it's warmer it can sometimes have brownish/stone undertones (not too "purple" though, which warm grays can turn) in certain lights, but if you have a good balance of white with this paint then it's the perfect warm grey. One of my best friends has this in her living room offset with a lot of white (including some built-in's) and big picture windows, and people are always asking what color it is - crowd pleaser!
HC-172 Revere Pewter
This is one of those grays that everyone loves. It's warm and cozy and really what I would define as a "greige" or a gray-beige. If you need something easy on the eye that will work with every palette and you won't have to re-paint when you put your house on the market, this is your ticket. 
OC-52 Gray Owl
This one has just a touch of grey. It's a cool grey, but it's a very light tone so you can use this comfortably in a room that does not get a lot of natural light. Again, this is a good option for resale too. 

1549 Balboa Mist
Much like Gray Owl this paint has just a touch of gray, but unlike Gray Owl, Balboa Mist is warm in tone.  I'd classify this one as a greige in certain lights. It's not too intense in tone, so be sure to pair this one with white trim so that it pops.
AF-685 Thunder
You'll find this paint in the Ben. Moore Affinity Color Collection....so it's not in their "normal" fan-decks as it was part of a special 144 color collection released a few years back. This is a soft grey with no real undertones. 

2108-50 Silver Fox
This is very much a warm French gray with a cement/stone undertone. Be forewarned,  it can almost look taupe at times (not that, that is a bad thing).  This one is relaxed and understated color, yet very classic.
HC-165 Boothbay Gray
I love, love, LOVE this color. I find a way to sneak it into a lot of my palette's at work for corporate clients, but I also painted my bedroom at the old house this color and loved it so much that I did it again at the new house. It's grey, it's blue, it's slate, it's part of the Historical Colors Collection....really you can't go wrong.  I find it to be really scene and a perfect choice for a bedroom or bath.   
HC-166 Kendall Charcoal
Obsessed with this color, seriously. It is dramatic and bold. Even though it's a super dark charcoal it still has warmth. A little Kendall goes a long way, but damn is this a good one.  I'm not a huge fan of accent walls, but you would have to be daring to do an enclosed room of this color; but it's the perfect choice for above a chair-rail.  This has become another go-to for my corporate clients too.   
HC-169 Coventry Gray
Coventry is a cooler grey with a touch of blue. As a frame of reference it has less blue tone than Boothbay Gray, but is definitely more blue than Stonington Gray.  I would call this one a medium to dark tone.  I painted Ian's Nursery this color and found it to be the perfect tone for that room... soothing yet contemporary. 
 Stonington Gray HC-170
Well, I painted a lot of my house this color, so I better really like it. It's a cool grey with a hint of blue at certain times of the day when the light hits it. I love that it's a medium tone so you can use this all over without worry that it's going to be too dark or close you in. There is something airy and chic about this color.  I have found that this color blends beautifully with cooler & warmer grey tones, beiges, browns, and taupes - an excellent neutral gray.  

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