paint chip instagram

I’m a hard-core believer that paint colors have to be tested on the wall before selection, but unfortunately that’s not possible for our house in Doha. I’m actually ecstatic that we can paint at all as our house in Japan was covered in an off-white textured wallpaper that could not be changed. And better yet, we have just discovered that there is Benjamin Moore to be had in Qatar! So if I can give my husband the paint color names and numbers in the next day or so, he can leave the paint for the painters in each room and that is what will go up on the walls in lieu of the ugly yellowish beige they would normally paint.

I always tend to choose a cool color palette for my own projects – it’s just my instinctual nature – and my plan for the house is to have it be a seamless assortment of pale grays, with a bit of pigment in some rooms where a color is called for. Gray is by far the most difficult tone to get right and there are thousands of posts and even entire blogs devoted to the color. Since I have such limited time, I’ve constrained my search to my own tried and true colors and decorator favorites. I routinely recommend Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC 172 and more recently Balboa Mist OC-27 to others, but I never use them for myself as they are warm grays, not cool. After quite a bit of deliberation, I’m positive I don’t want cool blue tones in the living room/dining room or in the entry and hallways, so I am pushing myself to use the light and warm gray Balboa Mist. These kind of warm grays look awful to me on the chip – very beige which you know is like a four letter word to me – but lovely on the walls.

Balboa Mist OC27 BM

This is the photo that inspired the use Balboa Mist in my Chicago client’s living room…

Balboa Mist Buckingham Interiors

…and it has been a great success. The room is still in progress and quite neutral, but we are finding that it can handle any color thrown at it.

kathleen LR

And the most important decision for my new place is how the color will serve as a backdrop to my silver leaf and pine byobu and the rich color of my bamboo altar table?

my screen

Inspiration photos reveal it to be a wonderful gray with greens and medium toned woods.

Balboa Mist via Apartment Therapy

HB0611 Reid Balboa Mist

So I have convinced myself and it will be the main color in the house.  Wish me luck as this would be my largest mistake if it is wrong!

The den will get much of my existing living room furniture and rugs so it should ideally be a blue-green gray. I’m going with Nate Berkus’s favorite Pale Smoke 1584, which is very close to the now discontinued Benjamin Moore color (from three color wheels ago – I’m dating myself!) that my New York living room was historically painted.

Pale Smoke 1584 BM

It is best known for his use of it in Katie Lee Joel’s Manhattan townhouse.

Pale Smoke Nate Berkus Joel

That’s not to say that I’m not still considering going dark and dreamy in the TV room, using something like Farrow & Ball‘s Hague Blue like I wrote about here, or even F & B‘s Claydon Blue, but those kinds of decisions will have to wait until I’m there.

F & B Hague BlueF & B Claydon Blue

My bedroom has been an easy pick – Harbor Gray AC 25 – and my only struggle is that I almost want to change the living room and dining room to this purer gray. In my heart I know it’s not the right thing to do, but this is the kind of gray I like best. It nudged out Stonington Gray HC-170 by a small margin as the Stonington has a touch more blue.

Harbor Gray BMAC25

I just happened to stop by and visit our tenants in our New York City apartment yesterday where the master bedroom is still painted my (also discontinued) dream gray, a color by Sherwin Williams called Windham Gray. I dug up old photos of our bedroom there for you (you’ll recognize much of the furniture from our Tokyo place here and here) and I was able to match the paint chips to the wall. I’m feeling impressed with myself that the Harbor Gray I had chosen before going there was as close to an exact match as could be!

bedroom1 bedroom3

My elder daughter is lucky enough to be having her room entirely re-conceptualized and re-done when we get there. Blue is her unquestionable favorite color so I am going with a favorite of designers Steven Gambrel and Vincente Wolf called Iceberg 2122-50. This is the first digital chip that doesn’t do a good job of representing the color – it is much bluer and less seafoam than it looks here.

Iceberg BM 2122-50

And I am cheating here as I don’t know for sure that this Jeffrey Bilhuber bedroom is actually Iceberg, but I can’t resist using it as it has some of the ideas we are planning on, including tons of one textile and accents of black. For more of her ideas for her room, she has started a Pinterest board here.

Blue Bedroom J Billhuher pc Simon Upton

My younger daughter is getting a consolidated group of her things and her older sister’s including that divine painted armoire. For her room we are choosing a soft French green called Silver Crest 1583.

Silver crest BM1583

It has a very shimmery quality. She will also have deep raspberry as an accent color, but I couldn’t find any inspiration photos with that kind of colorway.

Silver Crest BM1583 Atlanta Homes Mag

I’m also planning on using this wonderful wedding noren, which is less blue in person, as a bed hanging on a four-poster.

wedding noren

The guest bedroom needs a twinge of a yellow-green so it will either be November Rain OC-50…

November Rain BM OC 50

November Rain via design Sponge

…or Silken Pine 2144-50. I’m worried that the November Rain is too putty and the Silken Pine to literally green.

Silken Pine BM 2144-50 Silken Pine BM 2144-50

The color needs to set off these antiques – an old Tabriz and a lacquer tansu.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 9.32.17 PM

The bed is white iron and the bedding is all white, with a bolster made from and antique velvet pelmet.

vintage milk glass fixture in guest room

And I think I am going to paint the office Gray Owl OC-52 just because I love the color and I want to see it on the wall. It’s a gray with quite a bit of green in it, which is why it wasn’t quite right for elsewhere.

Gray Owl OC-52

Joan used it in her kitchen and I love it and everything she does.

Gray Owl For the Love of a House

It’s an option if the Balboa Mist turns out to be a fail and looks beige, which is my secret fear. This room is so seductive because it reminds me of the arched entryway into our new living room.

Gray Owl Colleen Connor Grusecki

But I’m sticking with my Balboa Mist as my gut says it is the right choice. Opinions? I know you have them! I figure if I even get 50% of the rooms correct, then it is well worth it to just have it be done before the container arrives and the unpacking begins!

Image credits: All paint Benjamin Moore paint chips via Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball chips via House Beautiful, 3. Buckingham Interiors, 6.via Apartment Therapy, 7. Lindsay Reid in House Beautiful June 2011, photo credit: Amy Neunsinger, 9. Nate Berkus, photo credit: Evan Joseph, 15. Jeffrey Bilhuber in Elle Decor, photo credit: Simon Upton, 17. Beth Elsey in Atlanta Homes Magazine, photo credit: Mali Azima, 20. via Design Sponge, 22. via Decorpad, 26, via For the Love of a House, 27. via CCG Interiors. All other photos mine.