Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Strangest Decorating Adventure So Far

If you've ever painted a room, you've probably been disappointed a time or two, because the little paint chip looked fine in the store but different on your wall. And, you know the impossibility of matching a color in an inspiration picture. Those things have happened to me, too. A lot. But in all my years of decorating, I've never been in a situation--or a room--where paint looked different in every part of the space.

True, the iPhone's pictures seemed veiled and dim, but they also revealed the mysterious light problem in the master bath.
The curtains and one mirror were removed, and that helped (couldn't lift the heavy, round mirrors). So I painted SW's Macadamia next to the tub, where the tile is beige 
and muted.
Because of the rusty, orange tiles on the floor and the smaller bits in the tile surround, I was afraid that Macadamia would turn pink. But it didn't. Macadamia looked like a perfect match. 

I painted a swatch next to the vanity, and a bit of Thatch Brown on the mirror's frame:

I also painted Thatch Brown on a wooden panel, so I could move it around the room (I was thinking Thatch could be used as a glaze on the cabinets, or even as a base color).

Then I painted swatches on other walls.

Macadamia began to turn slightly gray.
Bandwidth was the first to notice.

I backed up and took a picture from the master bedroom, trying to get a wider view.
Okay, not bad from a distance.
This is the master, by the way--the walls are deep beige.

In the bathroom, Bandwidth held up the Thatch Brown sample to see how the cabinets would look if they were painted that color.

The poor quality photos make everything look gauzy. But in person, something felt off to Bandy. If he noticed, it had to be bad.

Most bothersome was the junction where Macadamia 
met the shower area. I don't believe that paint has to MATCH exactly, just as long as it looks well overall. But I had a little extra time for a change, and I looked at other paint chips. When I got into the deeper, redder beiges, colors that worked with the orange-rust tile, I knew the paint colors would be trouble.
Pink trouble.

The iPhone makes it look better.
Do you see where two color combos going on--
the soft, beige tiles and the orange-streaked things?

Across the room, the paint was turning grayer and grayer.
Macadamia is a pretty color, and I wasn't ready to give up.

The problem was the busy patterns!
I spread a white curtain over the granite counter.

 Much better! Calmer.

From a distance, I'm liking Macadamia, but the yellow walls could be bringing out the warm tones in the tile. Or maybe not.
What do you think? 

I took several pictures before the light faded.
To complicate matters, some parts of the tile floor are more neutral.

I should mention that Thatch Brown looks much lighter on the wooden panel. It's very, very dark on the wall:

The walls on RH's inspiration picture are a warmer beige, with some red pigment (probably). But I must work with the elements in my room, so I've got to be flexible.

What's your honest opinion?
I am really wanting the Restoration Hardware look for this bath, and while I know my room won't be a copy, the project is  starting to look out of reach. 

Source: Restoration Hardware
I can't remove the tiles. But the counters and cabinets can be removed. The layout of the bathroom is a bit strange, as Quintessential Magpie noticed. It's just not symmetrical, and I need symmetry. 

Paint Colors I've Tried and Eliminated:
SW Creamy
SW Moderate White
BM Palladian Blue
SW Caviar
Would you mind answering a few questions?
1. What do you think about Macadamia? 
2. Any suggestions?
3. Would you leave the cabinets alone?
4. Would you glaze them with Thatch Brown?
5.. Paint the vanity Thatch Brown?
6. Think about getting new granite?
7. Think about removing the cabinets and buying the RH vanity?
8. Rework the present vanity to have 2 sinks and rework the vanity on the opposite wall--add an armoire
9. Paint and accessorize: art, white orchid, a slipcovered chair, etc.
(I'll use a sample board before I attempt any monumental and irreversible paint job, of course).
Thank you so much for looking through these grainy, blurry photos, and bless you for brainstorming with me.  

A Metamorphosis Monday Contribution.

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  1. Your bath is just beautiful, Micheal Lee. I adore the tile. Best wishes with your redecorating. I'll bet you are really looking forward to moving into your new home.
    Blessings, Beth

  2. no matter what you choose I am sure it will be wonderful! I can't wait to see it finished!

  3. I know that computer monitors are all different, but from my monitor I would go the Thatch brown on the walls. I think by going lighter you getting different hues. I think a more pigmented paint will look better. The Restoration Hardware look has a different finish than just flat paint on the walls, that is part of the soft look, but with your tile that would not be a good choice. I would go darker. IMHO

  4. Thatch Brown came out much lighter on the wooden panel--a perfect color. But it's very dark on the walls. Not sure how it will react beside the tub, with the paler tile. I'll paint a swatch and see what happens. This room is unpredictable--Thatch could be perfect. I'm hoping I don't have to do a custom mix. That will be hair-pulling time.

    Tootsie--so glad to see you, girl!
    Beth, thanks for your sweet words.

  5. Over the years I've come to realize that countertops can confuse a situation. You have a granite countertop, a tile floor and the two combined with the Macadamia I don't think will work. But I think what you did when you covered your countertop shows you the color can work but you have to change the countertop. Because the paint with the countertop texture and the tile floor texture (too much). I'm glad you're considering getting the round mirrors out. And is it me or is there also a wash texture on the bathroom photo you're trying to achieve. Because if you do a wash over your Macadamia and change your mirrors and countertops, I'm guessing you'd be close. And I'm no expert but I've just updated my bedroom and bath and boy did I learn a few things about colors.

  6. Carol, it does look like a wash on the RH picture. I am ordering one mirror from RH--the same on in the picture--to see how it works. I'm also ordering one sconce. Both are on sale right now. Maybe if I see these similar elements in place, I'll have an epiphany.:-)

  7. I've loved coming along on this adventure so far. The room's shape is such a challenge. You haven't said anything about the knobs on the cabinet, are you planning on changing them as well. I'm wondering if a wash on the walls might work as well. Monitors can be pretty deceiving, in the one picture it almost takes on a lavender look. I'm sure that isn't the look you're going for. Cannot wait to see what you decide. Looking forward to seeing some of your new lighting and what choice you finally make. hugs ~lynne ~

  8. Lynne, I'm open to changing the knobs. In person, the Macadamia looks beige next to the tub and gray-beige everywhere else. When I do a take-down of the mirrors and paint over the yellow, the color might straighten out. I know one person who does colorwashes, but she tends to be baroque. I was looking at a kit at Home Depot, and I'm willing to try it on one wall. So glad to see you, Lynne!!!

  9. In some of your Restoration pics they almost look like they have a glaze on them. I've done several rooms in the past, easy peasy! Can give a room more depth. Everything you do is gorgeous I know this will turn out that way too! hugs ~lynne ~

  10. I can do a glaze!! :-) Lynne, I'm aiming for a more relaxed style in this house, something that will be easy for me and my husband. I'm 59, and he's 61. We sure don't want to repaint for a long time. I thought changing out accessories would be easier for us, long term. But I am really stumped on this bathroom. I wish I could gut it, replace it with white and natural wood--but I cannot. It's a challenge to work with the angles and color tones.

  11. I'm not crazy about the suggested paint colors just seems to me too much gray, tan, beige going on with the paint, tiles, counters and cabinets. I have to admit it helped to cover the counters with a white sheet. Maybe you should change the countertop color. Did you think of going with white paint? I'm sure you will pick something you will love. What a huge bathroom. You are so lucky to have it.

  12. I agree with Carol mattingly- keep the cabs, keep the tile (know you must,) but as much as I love granite I think THAT is the main problem - it was shocking how a light solid countertop made all the difference - just one too many things competing for attention, and not a relaxing place to rest one's eyes.

    Good luck, what fun- even though difficult- it sure is awesome in the end. You will do just fine. I love where you're going with everything.

  13. Mrs. Magpie emailed a note and suggested a rug--that will help tremendously to tone down that floor!

  14. Michele, if we lose the granite, it can go in another bathroom or even the laundry room. I could also repurpose the pretty cabinets, if I make the big leap to buy one that looks more like "furniture." But I'm hoping it will all come together with Plan A, design tricks, like different lighting, knobs, a rug, pretty art, and wall-glazing.

  15. The paint in the RH example has more of a plaster look than yours does. There are also windows above the sink and from where the light is coming from on the right side there seems to be another window. All of those would make the paint look different. You could do a wall treatment to get that look. The countertop needs to be solid white, like in RH. Are you planning on changing the mirror and the wall sconces? Also a glazing on the cabinet in the color you have chosen is perfect! Above all have fun, you have a beautiful room to redecorate!!

  16. OOPPS, those are mirrors not windows above the sink as I previously thought. :-)

  17. After much thought on this MLee I was wondering if you could consider colors other than brown tones for for the master bath. Maybe a pretty blue or green to compliment the master bedroom, that way you could keep the granite, tile and major elements already going on in that space. I know you are shooting for more neutrals in this home but sometimes the right blue or green can be very soothing, it might also be a good choice so as not to compete with what you have going on now. Another option could be chocolate brown with bright white trim and shutters, white mirrors and beautiful bronze hardware and bath fixtures. Bring in touches of lime green (for accent) or navy to compliment the navy in the tile (towels, etc).
    Good luck, it will all come together soon and you will love how it turns out.

    Mary L

  18. Mary, I love your ideas. I have two chocolate rooms in my present home, and I love them. The paint colors are Chocolate Candy by Porter Paints and Canoe by Eddie Bauer. I paired them with blue. Love chocolate with green (and pink). The darker color on the Moderate White strip is Thatch Brown. It's chocolatey in person. I plan to paint a swatch. I meant to do this yesterday but ran out of time. Thanks again for thinking about me and my project--I am grateful. xxoo

  19. I've told you about me refinishing/painting DD2's kitchen cabinets. I haven't revealed yet, as counters are to change, so backsplash is not done and floors need to be changed. Anyway, the uppers are a cream, the lowers are gray. I painted over the builder's grade oak with a tinted primer, then brown paint, sanded, then gray paint, sanded, then wiped on burnt umber glaze, sanded.

    Yes, it was a loooong process, but the look is the old, washed look she wanted (and was in her budget). I'll email you a picture. Even if you don't want the same color as her, you can see the textured finish.

  20. I know it will be gorgeous, Allison. And what a great idea!

  21. You are very welcome, sometimes choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Can't wait to see what you decide on, it will be lovely I am sure.

    xxoo right back at cha

    Mary L

  22. I love all of the suggestions from the comments. I think it would be a great idea to re-purpose the granite, and do a glaze on the cabinets. Frankly you have more patience than I, I cannot stand picking paint colors.

    Good luck, Elizabeth

  23. Love that Restoration Hardware bathroom. Maybe a wall color that is a neutral bone color with the cabinets glazed. It will look good when you are finished, I am sure.

  24. Hi, I'll give my two cents since I ran into this w/my sister. I think you should look at the color wheel, the opposite of the orange is green. Sooo, how about a green based white,BM Halo or something on that chip,even a green based beige.That might calm down the colors of the tile. I don't know how to get to the RH look since it doesn't have all the colors your bath has. Also the shades on your light fixtures are adding color.jd

  25. Hi! You are so kind to let us go along on this journey with you. I have to say I think I totally misdirected you on the darker mirror. I'm so sorry! I think what's off is that tones of the mirror and the cabinets do not match each other as they do in RH photos. So, with that being said I think that whatever you choose to do with your cabinets your mirror should be the same. I personally love the color of the cabinets as they are but think maybe adding more glaze would give them the finish as in the pictures. Then you need only decide what color glaze to use. LOL! As for the wall color I am wondering is there a lighter shade on the swatch with the macadamia that you could bump up to? I looked at some of my SW swatches and wondered how you might like either Muslin or Antique White? Also I love the blue cabinet in the photo of your last post. Could you pick that color up in your bathroom accents (drapery maybe) and it might bring in those blue tiles without having to change them. I love your granite as is but agree it would look better to go with a lighter choice if you go with darker cabinetry. Regardless of what you choose I just cannot wait to see it because I know it's going to be beautiful. Your home always is. Thanks for letting us all chyme in. Have a great day!

  26. I looked over the RH vanity again and again and it is lovely with the lamps and mirrors. Will you really be happy with your cabinets even if you paint them? The style is so different from the RH vanity. It's you master bath. You will use it daily. Sometimes living with a compromise is just annoying. If you decided to go with all new furniture you could use a large rug to cover the tile floor. Just thinking out loud. Certainly not an expert. Only you know what makes you sing! Thanks for sharing.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  27. I would love to tell you exactly what to do If only I knew, I am trying to get a start on my are way farther ahead of the rh bathrooms..the wall color next to the tile looks a little green, hard to tell from photos...good luck...using RH as your inspiration tells me you have great go forward

  28. I think you are dealing with a few problems here. It looks like you have light coming in from two different directions and the like from north is much different from sunlight from the west. Also color on all surfaces is affected by the adjoining colors(that includeds your current wall color). So the color of the counter is "changing" the color of your wall because the light is bouncing off of the counter and on to the wall. Also you need to make sure all of your light bulbs and glass covers are the same.
    Once you find a color that you like you can use the other colors on that chip or add a pure white to lighten it. Texture make a difference too again because shiny surfaces cause light to bounce (onto adjoining surfaces) and matte rough surfaces absorb the light.
    Your tile and your counters contain multiple colors you just need to find the one that they have in common. Start with the things you don't want to change.
    I have been wanting to do a post on this exact problem and I am sick today so I have the time. Can I use your project on my site. I will teach you how to pick out the color. Let me know.

  29. Michael Lee, I don't think you should go to the expense of tearing up your bathroom. There's got to be a solution.

    You eliminated some of the distractions.

    The RH color on the walls does look like it's been glazed or had a paint technique applied. So you have that option on the walls and on the cabinets. But will that add yet another element? Or would it pull both colors needed to tie the other colors together?

    I don't know that you need another vanity or sink. You can tie them together with mirrors. The shapes can be popped over to the other wall, too. And again, the floor can be helped by a large area rug.

    It is so hard for us to tell from the pictures. Trust your instincts.

    Can you look at a tealy blue-green (you know, one of those colors that you can't tell whether it's blue or geen... like the water), a color that is a wisp of a color as opposed to the more saturated Palladian? I'm just thinking if you could hit on a color across the wheel, you might draw attention away from the conflicting shades of the masonry that are close but no cigar. And maybe that would settle the room down. Then with your complimentary and symmetricl mirrors and your rug, you will settle it more.

    Just a thought.


  30. Your bathroom is just lovely and I can see what you see in the RH inspiration pic. There are so many things that affect the how the color looks on a wall and how it looks with other colors.
    I have been wanting to write a series of post on how to pick paint colors to go with existing features.
    I think that SW Cardboard and Craftpaper might tone down the orange look of the tile. Let me know if they work for you.
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment.

  31. Why don't you consider using Annie Sloane's Old Ochre or Coco for the cabinets? Once you have chosen a chalk paint for the cabinets the wall selection may become easier for you. If you are brave enough you can mix your own color. I tend to mix my own but usually have something specific in mind when I am mixing. Good luck!

  32. Your bathroom looks amazing at this stage. So nice to have inspiration, but in the end what you create will be amazing! Having just finished our guest bath remodel, I know it is a stressful process...Can't wait to see it!

  33. You may want to read Maria Killam's blog She does workshops on paint colors and I remember several posts about beige being a nightmare to work with. She dislikes pinks in beige paint. I also remember a post about working with granite countertops. Maybe she is the expert you need to solve the problem. Good luck!