Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Secret Diary of a Paint Sleuth

If you are obsessed with paint colors, you may study shelter magazines, looking at walls, ceilings, and trim, searching for that perfect shade of (you fill in the blank). One afternoon in 1988, while I read Veranda, I saw the softest, prettiest shade of yellow. I flipped to the end pages and scanned the resources, only to see the word "mixed." 
No, wait, I told the magazine. Aren't you going to give a hint? A jumping off point? Why taunt and tease me? On that long ago day, a paint sleuth was born. Unfortunately, I lacked the ability to detect undertones, which means I'm a loser sleuth. 
That doesn't stop my obsession.
                (Image Source: Houzz

Today, I'm sleuthing colors in a Florida cottage. Even if you aren't T.P.O. (Totally Paint Obsessed), I hope you'll come along.

The designers call this style "Bahamian." It has a low roof and large operable shutters (they are painted a deep green--Charleston Green?--and shutters around the entry are brown (stained or painted). The exterior is white stucco.
The house is sprawling, with garages at one end and ample guest parking.

Luckily, in the living room, no detective work was required to learn the paint colors. According to comments on Houzz, the walls are BM White Dove, and the ceiling is ICI (Glidden) Cloud Nine.

Let's do a little gumshoeing and look at the swatches. 

According to the comments on Houzz, RH's Silver Sage may be a close match to Cloud Nine.

It pairs well with Benjamin Moore's White Dove.

BM White Dove

It's possible that BM White Dove was continued in the navy and white dining room.

A closer look.

But a mystery develops when we step into the kitchen.

Is it safe to assume that the cabinets were painted BM White Dove?  In this kitchen, warm Calcutta Gold marble was chosen for the counters and backsplash, so my vote goes to White Dove. It's warm, with a touch of gray. But since no official color was listed for this room, it's a cliffhanger.

Let's move into the hearth room. No paint color was listed for this charming space, but when the walls and ceiling colors were mentioned on Houzz, the designer left a note, saying the color was "Benjamin Moore's Super White," but she didn't specify what went where. I wonder if Super White went on the ceiling, and, in keeping with the rest of the house, the planked walls were painted BM's White Dove?

BM Super White has a reputation for being very white. It performs beautifully in spaces that have an abundance of natural light (but pouts in darker areas). It gives a clean look. No yellow undertones. This color is a popular choice as a background for modern decor. But it looks warm and cozy in this eclectic den. Of course, the planked walls lend a sense of history, and the beams add architectural interest (and they're gorgeous). Accessories add warmth and break up the white.

I have a feeling this color was chosen for the room, perhaps to make certain that nothing competes with the view.

Here's a different angle of the sitting room. Does it look like the same paint color was used on the walls and trim? Or two colors? The mantel seems whiter...but I just don't know. Light is such a tricky thing.

Shall we look at the bedroom? Creamy, planked walls. Green and cream fabric. An abundance of natural light. When many designers choose a trim color, they run it through the whole house for continuity. So I'm guessing that the walls were painted BM White Dove...but was the trim painted BM Super White? The ceiling is a mysterious, muted green.

Another part of the room. The white-white mirror hangs on a creamier wall. 

I can't begin to guess the exterior color. It remains a whodunnit.
But don't you love the windows and golden lights?

A Few Unsolved Mysteries....

An unknown paint color, a rich navy.

The blue walls in an oceanfront condominium merge with the setting...but the paint color is an enigma.

Love this unknown color in a guest room. Could this be a mix of BM's Wythe Blue and Palladian Blue? Or one of Sherwin Williams's pale aquas? Something else? Who knows.

A pretty, unknown pale lime in a guest room.

I will leave you with a few solved mysteries:

The peachy pink in this bedroom is SW Mellow Coral.

 I'll return with more paint mysteries. Thanks for sleuthing with me today!
A Metamorphosis Monday  contribution.
Sources: Interior Design by L.K. DeFrances and Associates via Houzz.


  1. I just watched a class on photography lighting and it was talking about color contamination. I applied what I learned to some of these photos. It worked!

    1. That's amazing! So many times I have made choices based on an iPhone photo. Argh.

  2. What makes paint sleuthing even more difficult is that color is not accurately represented in photos. When it comes to whIte i am astonished how many there are.

    1. I agree. And undertones can derail a room.

  3. Even though I am an artist and can mix just about any color on my palette, wall colors are so difficult~a room can look so different every hour of the day because of the light and the weather and the time of year~ whites are the hardest...I wish you luck and say follow your heart and your first instinct and don't over think it! I would love to visit the Bahamian house, gorgeous!

    1. I do love how paint changes with weather and time of day/year.

  4. I was noticing the various gray samples in your kitchen. We landed on Behr's Graceful Gray in our bathroom and will carry it into our bedroom when we begin to revamp it. The pick a room feature on Behr's website was helpful to me, letting me imagine what it might look like. Good luck with your choices and happy hunting!

  5. A lot of time a room is painted ALL the same color, but different finish. Because of this the case a different color in light. I painted my walls clay beige in egg shell finish while I painted my doors and trim in oil base or you can you gloss if oil is not for you.