I returned to an old favorite for this edition of flowers of the week. Some might call them Spider Mums, but I prefer the arachnophobic name Fuji Mums. They're usually a cheap find at the grocer, but are one of my favorite flowers to have in my home because they are beautiful and they last forever. It's been quite a week and it cheers me up when I see this vase of spiky petals as I walk in the door.
I've been checking out my paint swatches in various lighting and in different locations throughout the room and have finally picked what I hope is the winner.
The first photo shows the sample swatches on the wall. Unfortunately, I can't seem to color correct it to match reality, so you'll have to take my word on which color worked best in my kitchen.
Have I said how Olympics obsessed I am? Yeah, that is a dorky, makeshift paint podium you see there in photo number two.
Here are the standings (all colors from Benjamin Moore).
In Bronze we have Florida Aqua. It's a great color, but has a distinct hint of green, which won't work well with the chartreuse pendant lamp that I plan to hang over my dining table or any lime accents I might want to use in the kitchen.
Tropicana Cabana picked up the Silver. Again, a lovely color, but a bit too bold for my kitchen and dining nook. I might use up the rest of the sample can to paint the walls in the back of my kitchen cabinets.
Next up is the dreaded task of removing the remaining wallpaper backing. I hate this chore, but I'm hoping making the color selection will help me find the motivation to get it over with. Especially now that I'll have an Olympics-shaped hole in my heart and schedule to fill.
No, I still haven't gotten around to stripping the wallpaper backing from my walls, so I again tried these out on tag board. The benefit to this is I can more easily try out a whole bunch of colors. This is especially important when you are picky like me and choosing a potentially difficult color like aqua.
You can buy Benjamin Moore paint samples online, but I'd recommend finding a retailer near you. There's something to be said for getting that in-person attention and advice. Hirshfield's didn't ask me to write this, but their Uptown location was one of my first stops after I closed on my house. I had done my research online, but the folks at the shop were great at helping me choose the tools I needed to get my home painted properly with the paints I chose. I bought a lot of paint that first day and they recommended their Color Club so that I could get discounts. They also keep track of my color choices in their computer so that if I ever needed to touch it up, I could always find out just what shade of pink I used in my bedroom.
OK, back to the paint samples. I think I have a winner in this bunch. Tropicana Cabana is very appealing, as you can see in this cute kitchen. However, it might be too much POW with my not updated kitchen cabinetry, so I'm currently leaning toward either Jamaican Aqua or Florida Aqua. The other two were too baby blue for my liking. My next step is to get rid of the wallpaper backing and then sample the contenders on the wall.
The downside of this choice is that experience tells me that blue can be a really difficult color to get right. I tried to help my sister pick out a blue for her apartment. I don't even know how many samples she went through before she found the perfect one. Luckily, here's where I had some help step in.
Marsha from Hirshfield's had read how happy I was with the Devine Color paint I had purchased from Hirshfield's for my bedroom and offered me some free, no strings attached, Devine Color samples in their new pint size cans. Hurrah for big sample cans! Paint chips are handy, but they don't compare to color on a wall, and with the larger samples, I'll be able to try the paint in multiple areas of the room so that I know I can make a choice that will work no matter the wall or lighting.
I visited my usual paint store -- Hirshfield's Uptown (aka Lathrop Paint) and left with four samples from the Devine Color line. Two are in the blue family, one is a green I thought might work as an accent, and the last, a very light grey that could be a fall back in case I chicken out on aqua all together.
So, I have this fabulous paint that I can spread in large swaths across my walls. Only problem is, right now my kitchen walls still look like this (and this is one of the good ones).
The solution for now is to test out all of the paint on tagboard. Then I'll take the most promising candidates and slap them up on the wall.
The four Devine Color samples I chose from left to right are:
I like all of the colors but right now, Reef is the only one that seems like a possibility for the kitchen. I'm looking forward to trying that one on the wall. Pistachio Lime Beans is fun, but my kitchen is awkwardly shaped and I don't know that an accent wall would be appropriate. Foam is lovely, but too greyed down for this project. Frost is a very subtle grey that might be exactly perfect on my bathroom walls.
I also have numerous samples of blues from Benjamin Moore and my sister's rejected blues that I'll be trying out next.Fun!
My Sunday New York Times arrived today for the first time without me having to file a complaint!
In the background you can see my flowers of the week. I sort of skipped last week because the forsythia took bloom and looked gorgeous for a very long time. There were still a few blooms on the branches when I finally threw them away yesterday. These green Fuji Mums from the grocer aren't my favorite color for this flower, but for $5 I won't complain.
A recap of last weekend and a wee little update about the house.
Friday's night with the girls was a lot of fun. I was at work all day, so I decided to try a new recipe in my crock pot. I made Boeuf Bourguignon (using organic ingredients where possible). It turned out really well and the leftovers the next night were really tasty. What made the night though, was the karaoke machine. I think that gadget has been my favorite home purchase so far. We had so much fun screaming out old pop songs and show tunes. Photos were taken, but I'd better not see any of them posted on the internet or there will be trouble!
On Saturday, I spent the day at a Product Management conference. It is usually my day for getting things done around the house. I missed having that time, but I met some cool people and learned a lot. There was a great a demo for a new tool called MileMarker. It's meant for business use, but I'm thinking it would also be good for planning and prioritizing home improvement and design projects. I could also see interior designers, contractors or architects using it as an idea generation and management tool with their clients. The beta is currently free, so check it out!
Sunday is usually spent with my family, but there was some time to do one quick project before I headed out to visit them.
I finally hung one of the bamboo blinds I ordered for my kitchen and living room! They don't afford as much evening privacy as I'd hoped, so I will be adding curtains that I can pull across when I don't feel like giving my neighbors a free show. I'm very happy with the way the bamboo contrasts and complements the vintage trim in my home.
Next up for the kitchen will be playing around with the paint samples I got courtesy of Hirshfield's. I think choosing a wall color will help inspire me to get that old wallpaper scraped away.
I was sitting in my dining nook tonight and had an epiphany that the country kitchen oak cupboards that I can't replace right now read as orange in the evening light and really, do I want more of that? So I've changed my mind and I'm thinking I'll flip flop the colors around and do aqua as my wall color with orange and green as my accents. I think the aqua will look really fresh and will help balance the warmth of my cupboards and better complement the lovely grey I chose for my living room. I have the perfect green lamp for over my dining table, but I'll need to pick up a few orange accents. I guess I have a good excuse to start collecting Le Creuset in their traditional (and my favorite) shade of flame orange.
I'm picking up paint samples tomorrow. Wish me luck!
I saw these forsythia branches and thought they'd be perfect for my flowers of the week. This shot was snapped the morning after I bought them and after following directions, I've since forced a few more blossoms out of them. Even better, last week's flowers are still going strong, so my meh kitchen has some nice touches of color.
Once again, you can see the still partially papered walls in the background. I'm taking Friday off and I'm hoping to complete the heinous task of stripping the old wallpaper so that on Saturday I can play with paint samples.
Well, I haven't quite attacked the wallpaper like I should, but I'll give you a sneak peek at my plans for my kitchen and dining area. First off, let's look at the before.
I'm not going to snark too much because I know the kitchen was a labor of love by the son of the woman who bought the home in 1954. It just needs to be given a dose of things that will make me happy.
The room will be getting a basic facelift courtesy of fresh paint, hardware and window treatments. The cupboards, floors, appliances and counters aren't going anywhere for now. I'm trying to keep costs down because I do plan to eventually renovate the kitchen and let's face it, you spend a lot of money when you first buy a house and I have to stretch my dollars where I can.
Here's a collage I put together to show off how I plan to freshen up the space.
Window Treatments - Yes, I did take down those ruffled blue country kitchen curtains. In their place will be bamboo shades from Overstock. I've picked these shades as the base layer for all of the windows in the kitchen, dining nook and living room. I'll also be adding curtains of some sort for more privacy and to make the room look more finished.
Hardware - There are currently 37 brass knobs glaring at me from the oak cupboards. I found some inexpensive satin nickel finish knobs from e knobs and pulls that will hopefully be a slight improvement.
Rug - This is another Overstock find. The ceramic tile floor is very cold and it needed a rug to warm the room and help distinguish the dining area from the kitchen. I chose an indoor/outdoor rug because I figured that if I hated it I could always use it in the laundry area or even outside. I was quite pleased with it when it arrived. It's soft underfoot and I think the black will add a nice accent to the room.
And now, the fun part -- paint! I'm hoping I can find a crisp, clear orange that will work well with the Benjamin Moore Abalone I'm using in my living room that adjoins this space. As a backup, I'm also going to test out some whites from Devine . To give the room more of a mid-century flair, I'm using turquoise and lime as accents. Here's a kitchen I found on flickr (maybe via Retro Renovation?) that inspired me a lot color-wise.
There are four shades of orange I'm currently considering. I'm sure more will be added to the list once I pick out some samples and more color chips. And, knowing me, and depending on what I find at the paint store, I may
change my mind all together and flip things around and paint the room
aqua and use orange and lime as my accents.
So, that's the plan as it sits right now. Next, I need to find the time to get these last remnants of wallpaper and glue off these walls. Somehow that isn't as fun as dreaming about paint colors and window treatments.