It’s About Darn Time

It was January when we painted three test swatches of gray on our dining room walls.

It took us just days to pick the color but apparently took us, yeah, um, FOUR MONTHS to finally paint the room.

I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing – our painting laziness or my rockin’ farmer’s tan. Anyway, I searched my brain for some sort of an excuse for the dining room paint delay. Maybe we were too tired at the end of the day in January that we spent painting the living room and hallway the same color? Or we were too distracted by completing the guest room for Sherry’s mom’s February visit? Or we were too consumed with patio and party prep to take it on before Clara’s birthday? Maybe. Or we just like to bounce around randomly and come back to projects after months of dormancy. Probably that. Either way, something got into us, and the room (finally) went from this:

To this:

I know, I know. It’s not a huuuuge difference. Heck it might not look different at all online. But the soft gray definitely feels a lot more polished. And ding dong, the witch swatches are dead! The color is the same gray that we used in the living room and the hallway (Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine which we color matched to Olympic Premium No-VOC paint) so we already had the paint on hand (we got three gallons of it a while back in anticipation). You may recall that we wanted to paint these rooms all the same color to connect and unify the spaces (and then the kitchen, which is in the middle of all of them, will have a bit more color on the walls for interest). Maybe looking at the unpainted and then painted room shots side by side will demonstrate how even a subtle coat of paint can help things like crown molding and trim have a bit more emphasis. The room definitely reads a lot more crisp now that it’s painted:

It still amazes us how much a coat of paint can do to make a room look finished – or, in our mostly furniture-less version, at least make it look a little less forgotten. Especially when it’s covering up test swatches that have been there so long that we didn’t even notice them anymore until friends would say “which color did you pick?” and we’d say “oh yeah… those” (it was the bottom one, btw).

Even this subtle addition of color to the walls has helped us notice a few things. For example, we didn’t even realize how beefy the crown molding was in here until we painted (it’s about twice as thick as any other room in the house). And the soft gray looks nice with the built-ins on the back wall. It lets them “be the star” (as Sherry would say) but still adds that light I’m-in-a-cloud vibe and makes the room feel polished and complete. Well, as complete as it can feel without curtains, art, entryway furniture, etc.

Since this room didn’t have pesky wood-toned-molding that needed a bunch of coats of white paint (like the living room), it was MUCH faster to finish (the living room also called for beam painting, which we’re thankful this room also didn’t involve). So by comparison, this project was cake. We did one coat together during Clara’s morning nap (Sherry cuts in while I roll) and then did our second coat in shifts after the three of us ate lunch (since one of us was on Clara duty while the other painted the day away). It was so relaxed that it further underscored how crazy it was for us to put it off for so long. Sherry even snuck in a phone date with her Katie B (her blogger BFF) at one point.

Oh and see those white tags in the photo above? Allow me to explain. Sherry’s “painting clothes” may look like an ordinary black sweatsuit (yes, she’s from Jersey and proud of it) from a distance, but take a closer look. It’s an inside-out black sweatsuit. Otherwise known as her pajamas when worn the right way. What Not To Wear, here we come!

We also took – and then promptly deleted – a PG-13 version of the photo below. Let’s just say I was putting the “moon” in “Moonshine by Benjamin Moore” (and my butt is whiter than my upper arms). Go ahead, I’ll give you a few seconds to picture that calamity.

Ok now stop, you’re creeping me out.

All tomfoolery aside, we’re just glad to live in a test-swatch free home. But of course, now having paint on the walls is giving us the itch to do more in there. I mean, it’d be a shame to leave these nice blank-canvas grey walls totally blank for too long, right? Especially since we’re dying to knock out a huge opening to the kitchen and hang curtains and add art and dye those off-white chair slipcovers…

Eh. Maybe we’ll get around to it in a month or two… or four. You know how we roll. Have you guys painted anything recently? Are you a fan of inside-out-pajamas as painting clothes? Have you had swatches on your walls for over four months? Tell us we’re not the only ones…

Psst- When it comes to how we paint, this post and this post and the video in this post will hopefully help you out.

Psst again- We’re over on BabyCenter sharing how we made some swanky looking photo books for our moms (late Mother’s Day gifts are ok when you’re waiting on a book to be “published” right?).


  1. says

    LOVE the grey! And Sherry, I ALWAYS rock the inside out clothes when painting or crafting… you still wanna wear something cute/comfy and NOT previously crusted in paint!

    • says

      You’re not the only one. Inside out is really the best idea ever. No “painting clothes” and “regular clothes . . . they’re one and the same!

  2. debbie says

    Love the paint-looks great! John are you that tall you don’t need a ladder to paint or are your ceilings low??

    • says

      We have standard 8′ ceilings but John is 6′ tall (and with his long arms he can usually roll to the top except for above doors and windows). For those areas he uses a small stepladder (which I use to do all the cutting in up top). We have learned that taping off the ceiling is easier to get a clean line since I prefer cutting in without tape on things I can easily reach (but the ceiling is such a stretch that it’s easier to just tape it off and swipe paint along the tape up top). Tip: remove tape right away after the last coat for the crispest line.


  3. says

    This looks beautiful – my favorite photo is the one of your table and newly slip-covered chairs with the built-ins in the background…very magazine-ish :) We haven’t started painting yet, but when we do, I’d love to give the no-VOC paint a try.

  4. says

    I can’t believe you don’t use ANY drop cloths! I thought I was good just using one and scooting it around. When I don’t use a drop cloth I always seem to find little spots of paint from off-spray of the roller.

    Looks great!

    • says

      We’re crazy when it comes to wood floors. We’ve learned it just wipes right off if it’s wet (and can be “popped” off if it’s dry) so we just watch for drips along the way and wipe them as we go. Carpeted rooms are another story though!


  5. beth in dc says

    are you thinking of taking the same color into the office, or is that too much of it? I actually like continuity, or a slightly deeper shade in adjoining spaces. Like Moonshine boosted 25%?

  6. Aimee says

    This looks great! It must be great to have those rooms flow together now like you envisioned.

    So glad you did a painting post today. I just wanted to drop in an say thank you! I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months while we worked very hard to get a place to call our own (we had been renting up to this point). We FINALLY closed on Friday after 5 months of heartache. And the big DIYers that we are – we were at the paint store buying 15 Gallons of paint on Sunday. Thats right we just jumped right in.

    Now I am a painting rookie – never cut in before… but I went to Sherwin Williams and bought 3 of the 2″ tight spot brushes while telling my husband – we neeeeed them – Sherry says they are the best. And they are amazing! I was cutting in like a pro. After 20 minutes marveling at my straight lines I was saying things like tape – I don’t need no stinking tape!

    Thanks for the inspiration and tips of the trade! :-)

    • says

      LOVE this because we painted the inside of a closet (all the shelves fell down- perfect time to paint) and I used the same brush and I was SO excited about how easy it was! Congrats on the new house, Aimee! :)

    • says

      After I paint in them I’m usually a sweaty mess so I toss them into the hamper and by the time they get washed and I wear them again they’re not crunch or anything. Man I can’t believe John spilled my weird inside-out secret.


    • says

      I was wondering the same thing….mystery solved! Sherry also looks like a much neater painter than I am…I can barely tell the original color of my paint “outfit”.

      The dining room looks fantastic!

  7. says

    Love the subtleness. We tackled a painting project over the holiday, too! It took us what felt like no time at all. But I think it’s because we are used to dealing with a lot of other things (like you two) except ours involve facing my fear of heights and cutting in our vaulted ceilings. So painting our family room was a cinch! We went with the same color as the majority of our first floor living space (Ben’s Cape Hatteras Sand) and our accent wall we are calling “Modern Family Blue” because we were totally inspired by that show. We love the characters and we freakin’ LOVE their homes. Behr’s Waterscape did the trick. Check it out:

  8. says

    super happy for you all to get something else to, well, some stage of completion. We’re repainting as soon as I get done with work for the summer- can’t wait! This kind of post makes me even more excited to get started. :)

  9. Monica says

    4 months, please. You guys are rookies! I had a swatch painted in my kitchen for at least 5 YEARS! STILL haven’t painted the kitchen, but I did paint a new swatch last month! LOL! Indecision is a BEAST!

    The living room looks great. The whole house is pulling together so nicely. Just love your overall style. And while you keep talking about this house having colors that are so much more saturated and risky than the old house, I still get that crisp, light, and airy vibe that I loved from the old house.

  10. Meagan says

    I have been anxiously awaiting the dining room paint job!! Unfortunately my monitor is one where I can barely tell the difference, but I am excited none the less. I can’t wait for those slip covers to have some color and see what y’all do for curtains. Am I remembering correctly that y’all are planning to re-do your office chairs? I have been anxiously awaiting that as well.

    • says

      Yes! We’re both sitting on those as I type this and we can’t wait to get to them. I think we’re waiting to see what curtain fabric we go with in the dining room and office since we might use that as inspiration for the chair color and fabric choices.


    • Meagan says

      Yay! Sounds great. I can’t wait to see it, I want to find a chair to re-do but I haven’t found what I am looking for yet. Maybe by the time I find one y’all will have a great tutorial up!

  11. mo says

    so is that the “the dog with the smashed in head”???!!
    did I miss something?
    he looks a different color?
    maybe you have 2 such dogs?
    somehow his head doesn’t look smashed?

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