A Cozy Color Palette & Construction Update
Warm neutrals and natural finishes + pops of navy and teal = swoon!
The sun hasn't been out too much here in MA lately, which wasn't helping my quest to select paint colors for our updated space. So this weekend when the sun finally peeked out, I jumped at the chance to gather some of the materials I'm working with and check out some paint samples.
The 15 or so very full blue and gray paint sample pots left over from the basement paint explorations of 2020 feel quite wasteful (and make me want to come up with a project for all of them!). For this endeavor I was determined to minimize the pots purchased, and later collecting dust in my basement. Through my favorite color education blog, Kylie M Interiors, I learned about Samplize so I've been using their extremely helpful 9x14" real paint samples until I narrowed down my choices enough to buy just a few sample pots. Bonus: I can still evaluate colors without having any actual walls to paint right now!
"So, where are those walls anyway?" you may be asking right about now. We've been in a little bit of a holding pattern for the past couple of weeks while the rough plumbing and electrical work, and their respective inspections, wrapped up. With the recent super cold New England weather, the plumbers had a bit of a delay while they handled a lot of emergency calls - including one at our house. A few Fridays ago we realized that the boiler had stopped working and the house was already at 32 degrees inside. Yikes!! (I think we found the one-and-only downside of not living on site during the construction.) Thankfully the plumber was able to come out at 6pm on a Friday (God bless him!) and with a relatively quick fix of a failed thermocouple the house started to warm up again before any pipes could freeze. Phew! Since then we passed both rough inspections. Fingers crossed the rough building inspection happens as quickly, and goes as well, and we'll be on our way to insulation and drywall!
In the meantime, I've been busy making approximately 7 million decisions about all the little finish details. Everything from light fixtures to smart dimmer switches to wallpaper and, of course, paint colors.
Back to that Cozy Color Palette
“What are we actually looking at here?” you might be asking. This might help:
These are some of the key elements I'm working with in our renovation. As I mentioned before when talking about our countertop selections, we're using two different cabinet colors, Repose Gray and white oak. The oak has a very light custom stain (I'll post the color name if I get it). In general, the Repose cabinets will be topped with Bianco Carrara marble counters, and the oak cabinets will be topped with soapstone. Behind the marble countertop will be the custom mosaic backsplash from Mercury Mosaics. I’m SO excited about this centerpiece of the new kitchen! It’s modeled after the one in Heartbeet Kitchen, which is was inspired by the one in Construction2Style’s kitchen.
I knew I wanted pops of navy and teal in my kitchen design - small bursts of color as accents rather than large components like cabinets or walls. The mosaic tile is the perfect way to bring in the colors I love without overwhelming the space. Using the Heartbeet Kitchen backsplash as a starting point, I changed out a few of the colors to bring in my navy, teal and gray accent colors.
I intentionally chose a type of marble for the counter under this backsplash with swaths of light gray running through it, almost like watercolor, which will coordinate with the gray tiles in the mosaic backsplash. I didn't want a stark white marble next to the colorful backsplash. Since the mosaic backsplash is a focal point, I wanted the backsplash above our soapstone counters to be much more understated. That’s where the marble tile comes in. I chose a Carrara marble with less gray detail, keeping it very neutral.
To bring in another navy element, I chose these chairs from Restoration Hardware for the island. When you sit in them, you’ll be looking right at the colorful backsplash. They bring a little French bistro vibe into the space, which was an angle I was originally favoring quite heavily. While it has taken a more subtle stance, I'm also incorporating my Crate & Barrel French marble table, and some hanging shelves anchored with iron and brass to bring in a few more French-bistro-inspired touches.
Other Natural Finishes
To top off the area (literally) I chose a hood in weathered copper. This was originally quite the conundrum because I had envisioned a wood hood to coordinate with the floating shelves that will also be on this wall. But building code dictates that a combustible material must be 36 inches off the cooking surface. The manufacturer specifications for both my range and vent dictate that the vent shouldn’t be any more than 30 inches from the range top. Considering that one of the things I’m most looking forward to having for the 1st TIME IN MY LIFE is a hood vent that REALLY WORKS, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice any functionality there. That meant I had to shift gears to a non-combustible hood material. The standard is stainless steel, which has a commercial-kitchen quality that I considered, but our aesthetic is leaning more “modern farmhouse” and a stainless hood didn‘t feel right. Side note: The stainless range and fridge will be surrounded by gray cabinets, so I’m more confident that those will blend in. The dishwasher is a different story set into the oak cabinetry, but we're not getting a new one so it'll have to do. Back to the hood, I wanted one with more rustic warmth for the focal wall above the special backsplash, and I found that in the weathered copper finish at World Coppersmith. I chose an angled shape that gives me that farmhouse vibe.
The other metal element we're in the process of selecting is the cabinet handles. I found the amazing bronze Ashley Norton box cup pulls back in October and got ahold of a sample. I had my heart set on them, not knowing that finish was about to be discontinued. Ugh!! It coordinates perfectly with my color palette so I'm trying to finagle my way into enough pulls and handles to outfit the main part of the kitchen. The back pantry hallway will likely be something a little more sleek, like these new Emtek Select pulls knurled satin copper. A little touch of modern!
Paint to Bring it All Together
Identifying a single paint color that will flow seamlessly around all of these materials was quite challenging. I leaned heavily on all of the phenomenal information provided by Kylie M Interiors. The color reviews, videos, and detailed explanations about WHY colors work (or don’t) are so helpful! I also learned a ton from Erinn V. Design, which I'll definitely talk about in another post about the evolution of the design of this space. With lots of tips, ideas, and color theory swirling around in my head, I ordered a whole bunch of those Samplize sheets and waited for the sun to shine.
I'm waiting for my dining room wallpaper to arrive (Here's a sneak peak!) so I can't 100% confirm the kitchen/dining room/foyer/hallway paint color (yes, all of those spaces touch each other) but I'm leaning toward Benjamin Moore White Dove. I hope it really is as friendly as it seems with all of the elements I've selected. Since the living room is also open to the kitchen and dining room, I'm considering extending White Dove into there as well but anchoring it with the darker color in the photo, Edgecomb Gray, on the wallboard that runs around the bottom of the room. Despite it's name, I've learned that Edgecomb Gray isn't really gray so much as a warm taupe paint color. If you'd asked me at the beginning of this project, I certainly wouldn't have said I've be using any taupe paint colors, but it's just the right warm neutral to help ground our double height, extra bright living room.
There will be more paint selections for the office, library, and the feature accent wall I'm planning in the foyer, but I'll save those for another post.