Designing a Custom Home – Part 8 – Paint: Dream in Color

For the knitters that follow my blog, they’ll recognize the title as a popular brand of yarn. However, this post is about literally dreaming in color. When we started building our home, I would fall asleep “walking” through the house in my mind, picturing where furniture would go, or pictures on the wall, etc. But it wasn’t until recently that I started seeing the paint colors on the wall, so I knew it was getting close to having to make those hard decisions.

Some people say paint is easy. If you don’t like it, just repaint. Well, first off, that’s true, but it’s also wasteful and can get expensive. Second, we’ve got some seriously high ceilings in a couple of rooms, plus a stairwell that would be downright treacherous if we tried to repaint it. That means we’d have to hire professionals, so I’d like to get it right the first time. I’m not saying we’ll never repaint years down the road, but for now, these need to be colors I can live with. (Fortunately, Robert is color blind, so he won’t mind what I pick, LOL.)

So how did I choose our palette?

First off, as with the rest of the house design, I looked at a lot of inspiration photos on Houzz, Pinterest, and the blogs I read. I knew I wanted the interior to have a beach cottage feel even though we’re in the Midwest, so that eliminated several color options. I also knew I wanted cooler undertones, and that my interpretation of beachy colors may not be everyone’s first thoughts. I also invested in a fan deck of all of the Benjamin Moore paint colors (the brand recommended by our painter).

My favorite kitchen on Houzz had this wonderful grey paint on the walls – Benjamin Moore Storm. Without remembering the name, I managed to pick that exact grey as my first choice for the kitchen.

But when I put samples up on our walls, Storm didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. It was too dark in some spots and too blue-grey in others.

Originally we’d thought that the family room would be a lovely ice blue, much like this photo from Houzz.

However, I had a hard time with the transition into the master suite, so we’re opting to go grey in the family room now. The mudroom and connecting hall are right off of the kitchen, so they’ll be grey as well as well as the foyer, the stairwell, and the upstairs landing.

Since we’d already picked the tile for our master bathroom shower, that paint color needed to work with the tile in there. I originally opted for BM Pale Sea Mist, which I thought played perfectly off of the green in the shower. But once on the walls, that color got the most reviled reactions from friends and family, so I had to buy some more samples.  The winner is Fernwood Green, bottom row, second from left, which is right below Pale Sea Mist.


With the master bathroom green, I needed to connect it to the master bedroom, which connects to the family room grey.  I also wanted our bedroom to be darker and moodier than the rest of the house, so we opted for Buckland Blue. With the white woodwork and dark bamboo floors, I think it will give that British Colonial feel I’m looking for.


Since blue and yellow are the two main colors that dogs can distinguish, and the laundry room/dog’s bedroom is right off of our master, I opted for blue in there as well. I went two shades lighter on the color card and selected Cape Blue.


One thing to consider when choosing paint colors is to limit your palette. Pick a strong neutral – in my case, grey – and then 3-4 coordinating colors. Not every room has to be different, and it’s actually more budget friendly to repeat colors in other parts of the house, which also lends to the cohesiveness of your color scheme.

Therefore, since the upstairs will have grey carrying through to the landing, we’re repeating Cape Blue in the guest room and office, and Fernwood Green in the guest bathroom.

That leaves the powder room and the sunroom, plus the interior of the closets. The powder room was easy. I put several color cards in the ceramic sink we ordered from Maui and the winner was BM Slate Teal.


For the sunroom, I wanted something light and airy, but it also had to work with our red furniture. Knowing we would also have a Cambria countertop in this room, I used the Paint Selection tool on their website which suggested either Meditation or Revere Pewter. However, those colors were either too brown or too grey for what I was thinking, and remembering one of my favorite Houzz photos I decided to use BM Windsor Cream, which on the walls looks like a really pale yellow. I’ll also have my office, which is right off of the grey kitchen, painted in Windsor Cream.

But it’s not just a matter of picking the colors from the fan deck. You’ve got to pony up and get samples and then get them on the walls. Put swatches on different walls in each room because the light and shadows will hit them differently. And last, check them out at different times of the day when the light changes.


After painting our swatches, I wondered if Storm was actually a little too dark still, so we had additional samples mixed at 60% and 80% intensities. I figured if I liked either one I was good, or I’d know if it had to be in between the shades I had mixed. I also thought I was going to use Storm as the interior of the closets and the garage, but at a much lighter intensity, so this helped a lot. Of course, then it turned out that Storm didn’t work in any intensity, and that’s when I selected Gray Huskie. For the garage and the closets, I went a couple shades down on the color card to Silver Chain, and think that will work very well.

I can’t wait to see the colors up on the walls now!

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Cabinets – Part 2

Continuing the cabinet tour, we head to the mudroom. We have a short bench to collect things as we come in the door from the garage, along with a tower cabinet where we’ll store some pet supplies. There’s storage in the drawers under the bench as well as the super cubbies up top.


In the sunroom, I’ve got a cabinet for our sink which will give me counter space for dyeing yarn.  But the lower left cabinet will house our video equipment keeping wires and cords out of sight.  Thank goodness for RF (radio frequency) technology.



The bathrooms are pretty basic, but still very nicely done.  This is the guest bathroom.


And this is the master bath.  I like that both Robert and I will have our own set of drawers.


In the master bedroom, we added built in’s around the window for shelving, seating, and storage.  Fred is going to love sleeping in that window.


Our laundry room is also very efficient.  Lots of cabinet storage for cleaning supplies as well as dog food and such, as this is Jed and Cory’s room as well.


We’ve got a short hanging rack (all we ever drip dry is Robert’s Hawaiian shirts) and shelves to store the clothes baskets, with additional closed cabinets up top for extra storage.  And why are these units not all the way to the floor?  Because underneath are the doggie condos.  Jed and Cory will both have a bed in one of the cubbies to give them a safe and comfortable place to sleep.  After all, they’re family, too.


Last is my office.  It’s a small room but I tried to maximize every square inch.  The desk spans the width of the room, with storage for yarn and fiber on each side.


I have access to the deep corners of the end cabinets, and some display space in the uppers for my Disney and St. Louis Cardinals collections.


It’s so exciting to see them installed and come together like we imagined!  This week they’ll be measured for the countertops.  We’re getting closer and closer to being finished!


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Kitchen Cabinets

The day I left for Chicago, and Robert was already out of town, we got the message that our cabinets were being installed.  It’s a good thing we both had fun weekends, because otherwise I think we would have gone crazy waiting to see what had been done.

I’ve posted before about things to consider when designing your cabinetry and you can read about those options here.  But now that they’re installed, let’s take a tour.  There are so many that this post is dedicated to the kitchen, and I’ll do a separate post on the rest of the house.

First up is the beverage station.  These cabinets will hold our Keurig, tea maker, and assortment of coffees and teas, as well as a beverage fridge underneath for waters and such (no alcohol in our house, LOL).


We included some shallow drawers to make sweeteners and tea bags more readily accessible.


The main kitchen has the built in surround for the refrigerator, which I love, and surprisingly a lot of storage space.


We opted to keep our big corner cabinet available for taller and larger items like crock pots, so no lazy Susan here.


This cabinet has an in-door spice rack.


The island is perfect for us.  Just enough counter space for making peanut brittle, along with a skinny custom cabinet to store my special board my dad made for me.


We’ve also got dowel rods in the bottom drawer to help organize pans and lids.



And don’t forget the hidden trash cans!


I’ve always wanted bookshelves wrapped around an entryway.  This is one of those things that makes this our dream house.  I know the photo is dark, but with no lights in the house yet, we’re limited to what daylight we can get.


Did I miss anything?  Don’t tell me, LOL!  All in all, we’re very pleased we went with the custom route.

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If you’d asked me years ago what my dream house would look like, it was always red brick with white trim and black shutters.  Classic.  As my dad always said, “There’s nothing prettier than a red brick house.”

But when started this process, because Robert had his heart set on so many energy efficient items, I realized that having my all brick house was likely going to be cost-prohibitive.  Insert sad face here.  Working with Stitt Energy to design our house, they recommended a less expensive option of concrete siding.  It’s still very strong, but not entirely maintenance free.  So that was our original plan.

However, when we first met with Melvin, Contractor-of-Awesomeness, he asked us, “Are you guys completely sold on the concrete siding?  Is there a reason you’re not considering brick?”  “Well,” we replied, “We didn’t think we could afford brick with everything else we’re doing.”  Melvin then explained that if he were building our house in northwest Arkansas where Stitt is located (and where they get their pricing estimates from), or even about an hour northeast of us, that it wouldn’t be feasible with our budget.  But apparently, there’s a small radius in southwest Missouri where brick is not only a more affordable option, it’s preferred.  Guess where we live?  I’ll pause now while you watch the clouds roll back and let the angels sing.  J

So with very little cost difference between the siding and the brick, we’re going with all brick!  What color?  Red, of course!  But not just any red.

This red is too orange-y.



This red is too burgundy.


I want red.  Like, this house.


So Melvin, the Dream-Maker-Masonry-Guru, did what anyone would do.  He drove to the house I liked, got out, and talked to the owners to find out who built their house so he could track down the exact same brick.  Not just a brick like it – the. exact. same. brick.  It turns out that this brick actually is made – guess where? Northwest Arkansas, LOL!  But the cost was right on point with our budget, so now, our brick has been delivered and they’ve started putting it up.



There’s nothing prettier than a red brick house.  Thanks for the inspiration, Daddy.


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Michigan Fiber Festival

It’s becoming a tradition for some of the Springfield knitting gang to make an excursion to Chicagoland both to see our friend Adrienne, as well as take in an area fiber festival.  Ginger and I have gone to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Arts Fest, and Ginger, Christa, and I have all gone to Stitches Midwest as well.  This year we’d planned to return to Stitches, when the thought came to try something new – and thus plans were hatched to trek to the Michigan Fiber Festival at the Allegan County Fairgrounds.

A says that this is her favorite event, so of course we needed to do our own research.  We drove to our base camp, aka A’s house, where we were joined by two other dear knitting friends, Ellie and Dana.  Seriously – we could not ask for a better group of ladies to have fun with!  (A doesn’t usually look so crazy, LOL, but this was the only picture I got of Dana during the weekend!)



Saturday morning we were up at oh-dark-thirty and hit the road.  It’s approximately a 3-hour drive from A’s house to the fairgrounds, but there’s that pesky time zone change that caused us to lose an hour getting there.  But we made it, and fun and hijinks ensued.


We saw favorite vendors like Skaska Designs . . .


We met new vendors like Bare Naked Wools, Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, and Studio June                                     . . .


We saw sheep and sheep dogs . . .


And Annie convinced me to bring my fleeces to the Ohio Wool Mill to have them processed, because, let’s face it; I was never going to get to do it by hand.  I did keep a little of the raw fleece back for hand processing, but it was minimal.

Christa and I both entered the handspun competition and won ribbons! Christa won first place in her class (intermediate) for her chain-plyed yarn, and I won two second place ribbons in the singles and multi-ply category, and a third place ribbon for my two-ply yarn in the advanced class (there were a bazillion entries in the two-ply category).



Finally it was time to say goodbye and hit the road back to Illinois, and after a day of relaxing and knitting, back to Missouri where Christa had a little trouble switching out needles for a project.


What did we buy?  Check out Episodes 187 and 188 of my podcast, The Proverbial Knitter, to find out!

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