Here’s The Story, Of A Lovely Napkin

Please tell me you sung that title to the tune of the Brady Bunch? If not I’ll give you a minute to get to it. Feel free to play the video below if you prefer some back-up vocals like I do.

Now that we have that out of the way, I thought I’d share our inspiration command center when it comes to the new house. It’s this napkin that we scored on clearance from Crate & Barrel (which you might recognize from this post of yore).

I kid you not. That napkin is like the Sue Sylvester of Casa Petersik when it comes to picking colors and pinning down that ever elusive whole-house-color-scheme. She’s loud. She’s totally in charge. And she’s fun to watch. Thankfully no bullhorn though. That wouldn’t go over well with Burger.

When it came time to choose a color for the back of the built-in bookcases, Ms. Napkin was the inspiration. Same with the master bedroom walls and the artichokey green color that we’re thinking about in the kitchen. We literally pull swatches, hang them on the wall in each room to see what we like, decide on a favorite, and then make sure that they look nice next to El Napkin before running to the store to get paint. We definitely haven’t been holding swatches up to the napkin to find a perfect match to every color or anything (we’re picking based on what looks best on the wall in each room, and then just making sure it “goes” with Sue). Look, here we have some of our favorite swatches with her:

Not all of the swatches are reading exactly as they look on the wall (which of course is par for the course, so always hold something up to the wall in your space to see how it looks depending on the lighting sitch), but the top swatch is our blue-green-gray bedroom swatch (looking quite tame next to all that color and pattern): Catalina Crescent Roll Carolina Inn Club Aqua by Valspar (get that joke here). The second swatch (which is reading less dark and moody in this pic) is the color that we used on the back of the bookcases (Dragonfly from Benjamin Moore’s Affinity line). The third one is the color we’re contemplating for the kitchen walls… when we finally work up the momentum to tackle that room (Agave from Benjamin Moore’s Affinity line). The fourth one is a deep aubergine plummy tone with chocolate undertones (Caponata from Benjamin Moore’s Affinity line) that we’d love to work in somewhere when I put on my big girl pants and grow some cojones). And the bottom swatch is a super layered and moody deep teal (the photo does its depth of color no justice) that I’m working up the guts to use in the hall bathroom (Benjamin Moore’s Teal Ocean). Yeah, it should be interesting to say the least…

What is it about that napkin that speaks to us? We have no idea. Other than the fact that we like the colors and we like how they look together. So if they can work on a square of fabric why shouldn’t they work in a house? It might be a foolish plan of attack, but we intend to see it through either way. And it’s so easy to pop Sue in my purse and keep her with us when we’re out shopping. Because even though our colors don’t match her to a T, they definitely “go.” So if we see something that goes with El Napkin, it probably will go with our house. Look, it even looks good with my Christmas teapot from the hubs. Nicely done Mr. Petersik.

Who really knows where we’ll end up. We’re just taking things one day at a time and are definitely dedicated to taking more risks with bold color and pattern than we did in our first house. Especially with the bambino around. We’re just feeling the more-playful-splashes-of-color approach over the whole beachy-airy-neutral thing that we did last time. Should be fun.


  1. says

    I love the napkin idea. Especially because all of the colors look good together, but they’re really different so you’re not going to end up in a house of blues (literal and figurative).

  2. katie b. says

    We bought that napkin recently too and love it. It’s a great pop of color and really invites in all these new colors. My vote is for the teal on for you guys. I love the bookshelves so much!! Great job.

  3. Sophie says

    That’s funny!
    When my friends ask me about which color they should use in their kitchen, bedroom or whatever (and that happens very often) , my first advice is to pick a pillow, or a piece of curtain or wallpaper with 4 colors or more so they won’t be in trouble with harmony issues.
    Good work with Sue. Can’t wait to see your kitchen painted with this agave green. And the aubergine swatch you’ve picked is a beauty and allows infinite color combo.

  4. Peg says

    I really love the napkin colors, but I feel as though you NEED the napkin to “get” the whole picture. I’m wondering how you are going to achieve the feel of continuity you loved about your old house? It seemed like those old colors “went together” in a more obvious way, and these colors, while lovely on their own, are a bit more jarring. I’m just asking because it seems like that color continuity was something you really strove for in your old house. In this house, will you keep the decor consistent, and do up all the floors in a similar way and that will be enough? Or keep a napkin in each room (hehe)?

    • says

      Hey Peg,

      We plan to use some of the colors in a variety of places (like the color on the back of the bookcase might go on a bathroom vanity and on the kitchen island cabinetry). Bold curtains and accessories in those colors throughout will hopefully tie things together too. We’ll have to see how it all goes down, but of course we’ll share every development as it occurs!


  5. Donna says

    Your BOLD color palette is truly inspiring! I can’t wait for the kitchen transformation. Have you decided on a color for the cabinets yet?
    Kitchens are my fav space most probably due to my italian heritage. BTW…Precious Clara is a bambina!

    • says

      Hey Donna,

      We have considered painting the cabs every bold color in the book but love the idea of classic white with bold walls and maybe even a deep teal colored island.


  6. says

    Wow, I can’t wait to see what you come up with – I love that napkin and your tear sheets. Perhaps the reasoning behind your light and airy feel for the first house was because of its size? I know with my small house, I’m afraid to go with the darker, bolder colors, even though I love them, for fear of making the space look smaller. With your bigger house and bigger rooms, you can get away with bolder colors and have it still look great! :)

    • says

      Hey Harper,

      Yes! We totally think it was the small size overall and the modestly sized rooms. Plus we think we were subconsciously trying to decorate “like adults” to break out of the college aesthetic, and now we’re embracing more bold patterns and colors since we have a little girl to spark our sense of adventure again!


  7. says

    Love it! We’re going bold with paint in our dining room–a rich, deep green with lots of white accents to brighten it up a little. It’s just paint, right? Totally fixable if it turns out to be a little too much! (Although of course I’m hoping it won’t need fixing!)

  8. angela says

    Love the new color scheme! If you are thinking of green for your kitchen, you have to check out Sassy Green by Sherwin Williams… LOVE IT!!!

    • says

      Hey Claudia,

      We’re not sure. We were thinking it could go goldy green in there like the comforter leaves (we’ll be bringing in more of that color in accessories). Who knows!


  9. says

    Hysterical, I repainted one of kitchen walls based on the color of a Crate and Barrel dishtowel. (the darjeeling dishtowel with all the teapots – right up Sherry’s alley)..

    The blue we had (BM New York State of Mind)was a bit too bright, I went more muted with Ralph Lauren Canyon Blue bc it more closely matched the dishtowel… Love that I’m not alone

  10. Angela says

    On the second inspiration sheet the mirror looks so similar to the one in your bathroom! Was that on purpose or just a happy coincidence? I LOVE the cloud picture hanging above the couch in the 1st pic… any idea where I could find it? (or something similar…)

  11. Tiffany says

    Come on, Sherry! How many times have you guys pointed out that it’s just paint? How many times did you guys paint the old house? Just go for it! At worst, you paint over it. At best, you get a fabulous, moody, teal bathroom! Look how well the bookcases worked out and dive in.

  12. Tracey Jones says

    Is your Bedroom Color Carolina Inn Club Aqua from BM (as stated) or Valspar (which I thought you mentioned before)? Just wanted to make sure that there weren’t 2 versions of this color that I NEED to check out….can’t imagine two companies coming up with the same tongue twister name.

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