3 Signs You Should Invest in Choosing the Right Paint Color

So I hate the Sutton Place gray paint.  I mean I really HATE it.   It looks nothing like I thought it would.  At that point, I really didn’t know what to do.  I went back to the drawing board (pinterest) and looked at more colors.  I also went to Sherman Williams, Benjamin Moore, Ace Hardware and PPG.    I looked at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and Farrow and Ball color palettes.  My head was spinning and I was seeing gray spots in front of my eyes by the end of this process.  I found an article on a great design website Houzz.com  titled Pick-A-Paint Color: How to Quit Procrastinating on Color Choice.

It was very helpful in explaining the different tones in color and how there are warm and cool undertones to different colors.  After I read it I kind of felt like I failed Color 101 back in Kindergarten!

I decided that it was time to call in the big guns and seek professional help.  I remembered my friend Dawn talking about an interior designer she had hired to come over for a few hours and help her stage and decorate her apartment.  So I decided to call her and see what she had to say.

3 Signs You Should Invest in Choosing the Right Paint Color:     

1.  You have been to every hardware store and you have nowhere else to go.

2.  You can’t see the color gray without feeling nauseous.

3.   After hours of browsing you now hate pinterest.

The 911 Paint Consultation

I began prepping the cabinets and drawers by emptying and washing them down  and  then wiping them down with a liquid deglosser to remove the shine.  This was a great opportunity to clean out 13 years of spices in a top cabinet I never use and also lots of packaged food long past the expiration date.  I basically ended up with salt, pepper and garlic powder when the dust cleared.    I then took my teeny tiny  electric screwdriver ( it kind of looks like a glue gun) and laboriously removed every drawer and cabinet and numbered them with corresponding ziploc bags of the screws and hinges to go with each cabinet.  I even created a schematic on my whiteboard of the cabinet setup. I was so impressed with myself.  You would have thought this would insure I didn’t lose any screws or get them mixed up.  If you believe that you clearly don’t  know me well yet.

Once I got everything set up I began to paint.  I have a confession to make, for the  most part, I hate painting.  Several years ago I painted my living room, dining room, sun room and hallway.  It took a whole summer to complete.  I can still see the drips and  paint spots on the ceiling.  So as I set out to paint the cabinets, I forgot all about my love/hate relationship with painting.  I used a roller and brush and began to apply the paint.  The paint kept squishing over and it looked all drippy. No matter what I did it looked uneven and generally crappy, to use a technical term.   After an emergency phone conversation with my father, who is my DIY 911 consultant, I learned I was using too much paint on the roller.  So, i tried again, but i never seemed to get the hang of it with the first coat.  I vowed I would do better with the second coat.


Gratuitous pic of Abby

Once I painted one side, i put them down on sheets on the floor.  This was immediately a bad decision, because my dog Abby decided to step on one of the cabinets and I had to stop and remove the paint from her paw.   Abby is a 14 year old Jack Russell Terrier who owns the house.  She is the kind of dog who immediately lies down on top of freshly folded laundry, the outfit I just laid out to wear to work, the remote control or any papers that I might be working on at the time.

By the time I put the second coat on I had gotten the hang of going back over the drips and sort of smoothing it all out.  I came home after work one day and looked at the completed two coats.  I realized two things, first it needed a third coat and second I hated the color.  It was too beige and just looked blah.  The more I looked at it the more I hated it. Now what was I going to do?



50 Shades of Gray?

Once I decided to paint the cabinets, it was time to decide on a color.  To me, picking colors is a very stressful process.  I have this weird thing where I can’t see the undertones in color.  So if someone says this color has more blue or red in it, all I see is the color.  I often feel like I am missing something when looking at colors.  It’s like I am half color-blind!

So the color of the moment is gray.  All you have to do is open up a magazine, watch a HGTV show or check out pinterest and its everywhere.  In spite of its popularity, I really love it and have decided to use it.  I can only hope it doesn’t go the way of chevron prints and we all get sick of it sooner rather than later.  I feel like its crossing the line from trendy to being regarded as a neutral color that plays well with others.

Gray paint colors

So i jumped right in and started looking at gray kitchen cabinets on pinterest.  Did you know that 1000’s of people have painted their kitchen cabinets gray?  Neither did I but the evidence is there, in gray.  The challenge is that there are cool tones and warm tones. There are thousands of pins titled “The Best Gray Paints” by all the brands and after a while they all start to look alike.

So I came up with a few colors I liked and went back to HD to get samples.  After a lot of hand wringing, I decided the winner was a Behr color called Sutton Place Gray!  Sutton Place Gray

I’m sure for those of you who know me, you will not be surprised to find that this is not the end of the color journey.



My Kitchen Cabinet Conundrum

So today i’m going to share with you the beginning adventure of the kitchen cabinet makeover. After i got the HD quote and picked myself up off the kitchen floor, I naively decided I could paint and update my cabinets my self. I lurk on all the awesome DIY blogs like John and Sherry Petersik at Young House Love, Katie Bower at Bower Power  and on and on. They make this stuff look so easy. Guess what? It’s not!

So I started by obsessively pinning every kitchen cabinet post on pinterest until my eyes lost focus. By the end of this pinning frenzy I was more confused than ever..Do i use chalk paint, milk paint,latex paint or even stain?

Who in the world was Miss Mustardseed and what did she have to do with paint? I thought she killed Colonel Mustard in the dining room.   For those of you who have also never hmilkpainteard of her Miss Mustardseed makes a fabulous line of milk paint.

After an houbenmoorer discussion with the nicest, most patient Home Depot paint pro I decided to just use good old latex paint.  She also told me i could use a product called deglosser and not have to sand the cabinets.  This was awesome news because I had been dreading having to sand my cabinets.  I hate sanding and the mess it makes.

My cabinets are your basic builder-grade budget cabinets in a maple stain from the 80’s complete with that super mod look of no hardware, so you have to open the cabinets by pulling the sides with your fingers.  They are also missing two drawers completely and they look a little like a mouth with missing teeth.  They are definitely going to be a challenge for me as I work on them in the coming weeks.   Next up is the overwhelming task of choosing paint color.


DIY Disaster to Divine


Hardwoods vs. carpet


Ugly builder grade cabinets

Who am I and why a blog?

I’m Mary Ellen and like many of you i’m obsessed with DIY blogs and ideas.   My enthusiasm however, does not make up for my lack of skills.  Join me as I learn from my disasters during this process.    I can ‘t promise it will be divine but it will definitely be entertaining. 

It All Started With the Floor…

I have lived in the same condo for 13 years and it has been a while since I have done much updating. Several years ago I had a huge flood in my bedroom and ended up putting down laminate hardwoods after I couldn’t find matching carpet anywhere.

I decided over the summer that next winter I was going to replace the yucky taupe fake Berber with laminate hardwoods. I got several estimates and decided that I would also get a quote to have the kitchen cabinets refaced. I called Home Depot for a quote and after picking myself up off the floor ($10k for less than 200 sq ft!), I naively decided I would do it myself. More on this soon.

The laminate in my bedroom is from Floor and Decor and is called Cannes French Bleed and it’s a brownish color with wide planks, I absolutely love it. My design plan is to build everything around this flooring from redoing the kitchen to a new couch and updated accessories.  Hope to see you here next week…