Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Rookie Painting Mistake

True confessions: This week I let my painters match a Benjamin Moore color to Sherwin Williams paint.  Sherwin Williams is their paint of choice; so why not?  
Paint is paint, right?  
And all of their "secret" formulas are linked together by one magical paint program?  
I thought they could simply access the BM formula and out comes my perfect color. 
Sadly. . .  it's just not so.

You, my savvy readers, are probably way ahead of me and shaking your heads at my rookie mistake. 
But this one if for those of you who, like me, need a little paint match 101.
Here's what happened:
I had my heart set on Benjamin Moore's "Classic Grey" as seen in this gorgeous room:
And for the trim: Benjamin Moore's "Simply White" as captured so beautifully here on In the Fields:

Unfortunately, this is what we got after Sherwin Williams did a "color match" through the computer:
 Not completely awful - but it read pink in some lights and more on the beige side of greige than I had hoped in others.  
Hardly any gray was coming through.
The "white" trim was where it really started to become obvious.  It's not so bad in the light of this picture; but at first glance, our gorgeous molding was a funny yellowish-green.  

And on the doors to our pantry, it seems so dark and dingy.  Not at all the clean and bright white I had hoped for. 

So back to the paint store we went.  Not to fuss at them for any mistake; but just to get some clarification on what had gone wrong.  

{Truthfully, Michael didn't believe that it was really off.  So a little tiny part of me needed to prove to myself and to him that I wasn't color blind and/or crazy.  I don't think we've ruled crazy out; but thankfully I can still see colors correctly.}

Without boring you completely with all of the things that went wrong with OUR paint, I wanted to pass along some tricks of the trade that we learned from sweet Victor (the poor man who stayed late on a Sunday to explain why paint doesn't translate across manufacturers. 

I give you:

Why You Can't Always Rely on Color Matching:

1.  Each paint manufacturer starts with a different paint BASE color.  Though at a glance they may all seem similar, they are actually very different and can greatly alter the final color.
For example Sherwin Williams uses a true, bright white as a base; while Benjamin Moore may use more of a pastel colored base.  When your starting point is different, your end result is as well. 
So even if you have the same formula, it will read differently in the end.

2. Sometimes formulas are outdated or incorrect. Though it is true that Benjamin Moore's paints might be in the Sherwin Williams (or Home Depot/Lowe's) computer system, the paint formulas may have changed or even been incorrect to begin with.  Obviously this leaves you with a completely different hue (and sometimes a few tears.)

3.  The "magic paint matching machine" (the one you use to match a chip you like) can sometimes be temperamental. 
Since the formula in the computer was incorrect and/or the base color was off, we decided to have Victor match the color from a board we had painted.  Easy right?  Again, I was wrong. 
He matched it.  And then he matched it again.  And again.  Three times the computer came up with a different formula.  One had more yellow in it.  Another time, there was more raw umber; and finally the last one had an extra shot of black.  Who knew colors were so intricate?

So what's the solution?

 If your painter prefers a certain manufacturer and you can't seem to get it just right, don't stress.
Here are three take-away tips which we hope can save you from buying 20 gallons and then returning it like we did:
-Ask for a match using a color chip (don't blindly trust the formula)
-Dry this match in the store and compare under all kinds of lights.  Walk outside if you need to. 
-Analyze both the paint and the formula on the can: too yellow? too blue?  Ask them to modify.
-When you find a color you love, GO FOR IT.  Don't be so tied to the original color that you can't appreciate the unique color they make for you.  After all, this color will be uniquely yours!
-Take your unique sample home and TEST, TEST, TEST in all rooms in all kinds of light.

Color really is an amazing and intricate thing.  Hopefully soon I'll be back to show you pictures of the second attempt at painting our home.
Until then....
Cheers to custom color mixes and lessons learned!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Next Big Thing for Hardwoods

We are two weeks away from move-in and I am just now finding the time to finalize our hardwood floor finish. 
Ultimate procrastinator...obviously.
If you've been a long-time reader you know that our floors have been ever-evolving since we first got married.

Here's the narrative so far:
Get Married: Live with orange shag carpet for exactly ONE day. 
We return from honeymoon and rip it up. 
(I was expecting we'd put in hardwoods. Right? Wrong.)
Michael tells me that it's not in the budget quite yet. 

Easy solution: paint the plywood floors (see article here: DIY North Carolina Home)
Save up some money.  Install re purposed hardwoods from a local factory.
Stain them ebony.  Love them!

Embark on our next big renovation.
Take off the roof.  Naturally we had the biggest rainstorm of the summer that very night.
The hardwoods can't be saved.  
Find similar wide-plank white oak at first sight. 

Enter: Rubio Monocoat
To be absolutely clear, this is in no way a sponsored post.  I just love sharing things with you that I love and THIS is one of my favorites for you. 
I stumbled across the genius product by chance, really.  I was researching stains that would allow us to keep the naturally beautiful color of the white oak without the usual yellowing that a poly often leaves behind. 

Nothing seemed to be a good fit.  UNTIL I struck up a conversation with a friendly man at the local hardware store.  He suggested I try mixing Rubio to get my own custom color. 
Nothing new, right? We all mix stains to get a custom color; but the options are limited. Not so with Monocoat.  You really can mix a gazillion different colors (truly, a scientific fact!)
Giving you a unique floor like no one else! (This product would be especially helpful for all of my readers who are often looking for a grey stain for hardwoods.)

Next step: I bought a few samples and started mixing.  I stayed up way past midnight channeling my inner alchemist and finally found a mix that we love. 
(More later on what we chose.)

Here are just a few sample boards to give you a better idea of the looks you can create:

As you can see from Rubio's website, there are endless color choices:

Adding to the fun even more, you can add a product called 'Fumed' to your boards to create even more unique looks with Oak or Ash floors. We found that the 'fumed' instantly darkened our floors and allowed more of the wood grain to come through.  For example the 5% Smoke is a very light color; however when you apply the fumed first, you get this:

As if all of this creativity wasn't enough, there are several other HUGE benefits for Rubio Monocoat:
1.  As the name suggests, you really and truly only need ONE COAT!  No sealer, no poly!  It goes on fast and cures within 36 hours.  (Much faster than the typical 3 coat system of stain and poly)
In their own words:
“Monocoat adheres with the first microns of wood by molecular bonding… because of molecular bonding, no surface film can form, and no variable saturation can occur. Not only is a second coat not required, the finished wood will not accept a second coat.”

2.  There are zero fumes! VOC free!  It honestly smells like flowers when you apply it.  A big plus for us with our house full of little ones.

3.  Long lasting and durable.  Unlike traditional stains, you can spot repair.  The wood will only take one coat of this; SO when you need to touch up a board or two in your home, you won't need to re-sand the entire area.  Just buff on the affected area and you're good to go.

4.  A gorgeous, natural looking matte finish.  It really does make your new boards look old.
**Hint, hint: for all of my lovely readers that inquire about how to age wood.  You're going to love it for projects all over the house as well!

These hardwoods get their Rubio Monocoat makeover next week:

I can't wait to show you the final product and reveal the winning combination!
Have you tried it? What were your experiences?
I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

5 Affordable Tile Selections

Since it's tile install day at our house, I thought I'd give you some of my favorite go-to sources for affordable tile!  
{All of which you'll soon find in our home}

1.  Montauk Blue Slate Tile
{cut to 8x8 for a herringbone pattern}
$3.65/sq. ft.

You should have seen our installer's face when I asked him if he could do a herringbone pattern on the diagonal in our mudroom.  
Let's just say he was less than pleased with me. 
The details make the house.  
The slate alone would have been wonderful; but putting just a little bit more thought & time into it to will make it memorable.

Thankfully, he complied after a bit of coaxing.
Here is the beginning of our floor today.  I'll update later with the pretty "after" picture.

2.  Carrara Marble Wall Tile
$7.86 sq/ft.
We'll use this in our showers and on our tub surround:

I can't wait to show you how it turns out!

3.  Marble Hexagon Tile
$9.97 sq. ft
We'll use this for the shower floors.

4. Marble Subway

$6.86 sq. ft.
These beauties MAY end up as our kitchen and butler's pantry backsplash; but it all depends on how well they pair with our marble countertops.
Fingers crossed it's a match made in marble heaven.

And last but not least....

5. Porcelain Tile for Kids Bath

$1.99 sq. ft
I'll be honest- I wanted to use the marble hexagon tile in the kids bath so badly! 
BUT this was a close second and we saved a big chunk of change going this route.
Maybe we'll upgrade later; but for now, I think this is a great kid-friendly option that will timeless and easy to clean!

 {As you can see, Elle is just about as happy as I am about the house FINALLY coming together}

So that's our tile update!
Check back soon for a kitchen cabinet install.

How about you?
Any tile selections that you're loving?
{There's always time for last minute changes} 
Wink wink ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Great Sofa Search

New house means new sofas, right? Initially Michael didn't completely agree; but after seeing the dire state of our current couch, he was convinced.  Crayons, coffee stains, and crumbs....OH MY!
For the record, there will be a new rule in the new house: no food goes past the kitchen island.
{I give it six three weeks.  It is football season, after all.}
Obviously I'm in love with everything Restoration Hardware has to offer in the sofa department. Well, all departments really.  But with the ever-growing cost of a home renovation, splurging on a sofa just isn't an option right now.

Enter: Spectra Home
The Halston Sofa

The Sloane Sofa

Marilyn Sofa

The high end look without the price tag!  
(Insider Scoop: many other retailers buy them in bulk, and put their tag on them to sell at double the price.)  Not sure how or if this is legal; but it's a thing. 

So if you're in the Charlotte area and interested, email me and I'll give you a contact name of a retailer near us who has been wonderful to work with!
Otherwise, you can search for one near you.
The only down side that I see is their lack of fabric selections.  This is how they keep the cost down. But all in all, a high quality, comfortable and AFFORDABLE sofa!

Now I just can't wait to see them in our new living room. 
We've ordered two of the Sloanes to sit right here on these gorgeous new hardwoods:

Goodness gracious, will these floors have stories to tell one day!

And it all began right here.
Freezing this sweet moment in my heart...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Drywall Day!

It really is more exciting than any birthday party around here... We've. Got. Walls!

And I must I the only one who loves the color of drywall? 
I swear, it's the perfect greige!
Living room and stairwell

 View of the soon to be week I'll be able to show you cabinets and an ISLAND!

Future home of the dining room.

Master bath and the closet way back there.

The laundry room with a view!
Maybe I'll do more laundry? 
Doubtful but hopeful!

We have a PLAYROOM!

Elle is checking out the upstairs landing and her room:

Beckham's fun little room.
He didn't get a lake view but he got some pretty darn cool ceilings.

We're back downstairs - in the future office.

And off to the morning room:
{Side note: I'm in love with that base trim.  A great way to add a sense of luxury to your home without breaking the bank.}

Oh no! Elle can let herself out of the house now - we're in TROUBLE!

Still a BIT too early to decorate the house; but decorating brownies is ALWAYS a good idea!
Gotta grab a celebration when you can. 
Am I right? 

CHEERS to progress!