Sherwin-Williams graciously sponsored this post! We are so lucky to have them pitching in to help support our super summer of painting. If I haven’t already made it very clear, I’m eager to lose all of this beige.
We learned pretty fast that our new house, despite having ginormous picture windows and great views, is a very shaded little hideaway. Henceforth, there will be lots of poorly lit bloggy photos, but that’s real life. Maybe someday I’ll get all fancy with a light diffuser and some faux-glow, but I’d rather buy a couch first, and after that I’ll probably want to buy a bed, and a new bathroom. Sunny days are our friends–the sun forces just through the trees just enough to naturally light up our rooms–but when it’s overcast, or rainy, or sunset, or early in la manana, this place is downright dark.
We attribute the shadiness of the home to a few things:
- Holy cow, there are a lot of leaves on the trees. The first few times we toured the house before closing, the trees were totally naked. The sunlight flooded in, or at least in my memory, it did. If I’m right, that bodes well for the quality of my winter/early spring posts.
- Deep eaves. The eaves around the house provide 36″ of overhang + 6″ of gutters. Deep eaves are a generous design detail, one that we really love, especially when we’re trying to scurry around the perimeter of the house in a rainstorm, but considering that it’s a single-story ranch, the eaves really do shade the sunlight when it’s overhead in the sky.
- Privacy plants. I don’t know how else to refer to the fact that there are trees and bushes planted in front of every single window in the house, like in the above picture. The idea of removing them pains us because they’re pretty, and because we just found out that we turn to mush at the idea of trashing a half-dead houseplant because it’s still also still half-alive (who knew we were such tree huggers) but we are starting to weigh the options for transplanting or removal so that we can do what we can to get a little more natural light up in here. Doing so would also improve our views into the property surrounding us.
- Flat matte paint. I can’t go as far as to say the dark house is a factor of the walls being dark colors (beige-beige-beige, light yellow, and light blue are not dark) but all of the paint in the house (save for the bathroom which is appropriately a semi-gloss) are painted in the flattest of flat matte paint. Matte paint limits, or completely decimates, any opportunity for natural light to bounce around a room and brighten it up. There’s no glimmer of reflection, it’s all light absorption happening up in here.
So with all of that put out there, we knew that we would want to change up the color palette and the paint finish. It’s one of those things that would have been really nice to do before we moved in, but we also wanted to live with the space a little bit and observe how the natural light shifted through the windows over the course of the day (learnings: it barely does). When I bought my last house, I had the paint palette picked out even before I moved in, and then had the whole house had been repainted within the first few weeks of living there. Obviously I’ve proven myself to be an eager little bee, but this home is a bit different, as I’ve said before, and we’re taking our time making decisions and also going in a different direction as our tastes together are different, and I like to think I’ve evolved and learned a bit in the last few years. Also unlike the last house, painting is a bigger investment–both financially and in time thanks to the extra 700 sq. ft.–and sponsorship with Sherwin-Williams aside, we will still be making some investments and sacrifices to get the job done. After all, it’s not just the walls, we’ll have to get to the trim and the baseboard systems, and switch and outlet covers as well, as they’ve all been painted flat-matte-matte-flat.
What makes this new-palette-process easy, however, is that we’ve agreed to adopt white. Are we a total bore fest, or are you going to be excited to see how this place comes together over the next few months/years? Because we have a good vision in mind, and white is the basis for this plan. And if for no other reason, going with a white satin will help to illuminate the rooms in a different way, hopefully helping to brighten things up in here. Maybe down the road we’ll want to add wall color, but for now we’ll settle in and try and brighten the space up as much as we can.
I started off this whole undertaking at Sherwin-Williams, where I studied its Whites and Lights booklet, and bought myself three samples: Extra White (SW 7006 which is actually just paint straight out of the can, surprise!), Snowbound (SW 7004, a “cool” white), and Alabaster (SW 7008, a “warm” white). And OMG, don’t they all look beige here? They’re color samples from the website, I did not try and photograph my chip book.
I started putting the colors on the walls over the weekend, desperately hoping that they wouldn’t look so beige in application. All photos following are in the Extra White-Snowbound-Alabaster order, and we’ve been trying to decide between the three. There is a clear difference between the warm and the cool in person, though subtle, and seeing both of them makes me like the plain white out of the can a little less (feels flat or almost too neutral in its own way, I know, I know, it all looks white).
The photos really begin to evidence how dark this home is during the daytime; I was functioning on a very high ISO and an incredibly slow shutter speed, so let there be noise and blur. Also, let me find time to hook up a TV in this house. Three weeks in and we’ve had zero screen time.
I’ve been reading blog posts and reviewing photos that use any one of these shades of white in mass; peeps either like and hate the warm or cool whites, there are definitely strongly worded reviews of the three shades out there. They almost look the same to me, and I’ll be honest, if you came in here and painted a whole room for me, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell which color you chose… the three selected are that close.
I think the bedroom will benefit a lot from a fresh coat. The light blue is still dark enough to make this space feel like a cave at lunchtime.
The “warmer” white on the far right of each of these photos is compelling too though, even if it is the closest relative of the warm beige I’m retiring.
And I think I can dismiss the Extra “straight outta the can” White, even though I’ve used it for years (on all trim and in my old kitchen, for example) in this instance it seems a little lacking. But again, paint a whole room with it and I probably wouldn’t know the difference.
The patches of paint throughout the house already help to demonstrate how much reflection and natural light glow we’ll glean from a glossier, lighter paint finish. Whichever color we decide upon, we know that going in any direction is going to help this place immensely.
Has anyone out there used any of these shades?