Monday, February 23, 2015

Entry Hall Color: Choosing the Right Red

After settling on red as the color for our entry hall, it was time to decide exactly what shade of red we wanted. Did we want a brick red? A Pompeian red as Eastlake described? Something with orange undertones, like a vermilion? Or something with magenta undertones, like a garnet? We knew this could be a tricky decision. Obviously, red is a bold color choice that requires a certain level of commitment. If we select a shade of red, paint the entry hall, and later decide it's not quite right, changing the paint to another color could be quite an endeavor.

To help narrow down the type of red we would use, I fiddled around with Benjamin Moore's virtual room painting tool. The Benjamin Moore tool is incredibly helpful; I found it intuitive, easy-to-use, and versatile. Several other paint companies offer similar tools. Admittedly, these online tools have their limitations: they can't account for things like changing lighting conditions and the colors are likely to appear different depending on one's monitor settings. However, the Benjamin Moore tool is useful for determining things like "Do I want a red that has magenta undertones or orange undertones?"

After playing around with the online tool, we decided that a vermilion red would be our best bet. This is our entry hall, virtually "painted" in Benjamin Moore's Cochineal Red from the Williamsburg collection. We're considering green paint for the dining room and used Benjamin Moore's Colonial Verdigris in this image to simulate the color combo. So, the goal is for our entry hall to look something like this: 


Once it was time to purchase paint samples, I picked up a quart of Codman Claret, a deep and elegant red from the Victorian Collection of Historic Colors of America. I like HCA paints because each color is researched and authenticated in collaboration with Historic New England. Historic New England describes itself as "the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization" in the United States. In other words, I trust their info.  Several other paint companies also have historic color collections, but thus far, we've used exclusively HCA paints since we appreciate their collaboration with Historic New England and their focus on authenticating actual historic colors.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Entry Hall Color: What Would the Victorians Have Done?

As we settle into our new home and tackle the projects on our three month "to do" list, I've noticed a shift in priorities.  My next order of business should be to sand, prime and paint the ceiling in the guest room.  I ought to finish one room before moving on to the next, right?  But now that the guest room is more or less presentable, I find myself less and less motivated to keep working on it.  I suppose "presentable" is a relative term; the guest room clearly still needs a lot of work.  But in comparison to the rest of the house, it looks pretty gosh darn good.  And so, I'm more compelled to spend my time working in the areas that we use everyday, but that drive me crazy in their current half-finished condition.  The entry hall and the bathroom are two such spaces.

Our entry hall

The entry hall is quite lovely, and it's one of my favorite spaces in the house.  The hall is relatively modest in size, but it nonetheless feels elegant thanks to the beautiful millwork on the moldings, the newel post, and the balustrade.  In the early afternoon, soft light filters through the 8-foot double doors, creating a warm and welcoming space.  However, at the present time, the entry way feels haphazard.  The previous owner applied a coat of primer to the walls, but they were otherwise bare when we moved in.  Then, I had the brilliant idea to use the entry hall to test paint samples. Not just for the entry way -- which would make sense -- but for other rooms in the house, too.  There are currently seven shades of paint in the foyer, and my husband is starting to worry that I might be considering a career in modern art.  Since we walk through the entry hall several times a day, it seems like it ought to be one of the first areas where we focus our attention.

View of the entry hall, from the living room

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine's Day Decor

I've never been one to get too caught up in the sentiment of Valentine's Day.  When push comes to shove, I'm just not a very romantic person.  Don't get me wrong -- I have nothing against the holiday. And before I come off as a cold pragmatist, I should confess that I like a sappy, far-fetched Rom-Com just as much as the next gal.  I could watch Love Actually or You've Got Mail on repeat, and I doubt I'd even get bored (in fact, I did watch You've Got Mail every Friday during 7th grade.  What can I say?  It was middle school).  But in my own, everyday life?  I'm not one to swoon over Valentine's standbys like flowers, chocolate, poems, or love notes.  Just not my thing, I guess.

However, I embrace any reason to decorate our home for the holidays.  So even though I'm not the lovey-dovey type, our home suggests otherwise.  Red and pink heart-shaped items are peeking out from every corner:

This was a DIY heart garland that I created a few years ago out of cardstock, scrapbook paper, and baker's twine.  Sometimes I forget that I used to have a lot more time on my hands before we started renovating a historic home...
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