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 its picture windows and great views, is a very shaded little hideaway. Sunny days are our friends, but when it’s overcast, or rainy, or sunset, 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 they really shield the sunlight when it’s overhead.
- 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, but doing so would also improve our views and increase natural daylight.
- Flat matte paint. All of the paint (save for the bathroom which is appropriately a semi-gloss) is the flattest of flat matte paint. Matte paint limits 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 and observe how the natural light felt. 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. I’ve said before, we’re taking our time making decisions and also going in a different direction. Also, 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 excited? 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.
Finding the Right White
I started off this whole undertaking at Sherwin-Williams, where I studied its Whites and Lights booklet. I 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. 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.
The photos really begin to show how dark this home is during the daytime. I was shooting 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. 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.
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 White (straight out of 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.
You can see the next post in this series here. Spoiler alert: We chose Sherwin Williams Snowbound!