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. Elizabeth says

    I have had paint swatches on my bedroom wall for at least four or five months…oops. And the worst thing is…now that I have time and energy to paint (since my Lightning are out of the NHL Playoffs…SOB!) I think I have changed my mind about the color choice…BUT I ALREADY BOUGHT THE PAINT IN ONE OF THE OTHER COLORS! Hmmmm…will now have to decide which I like more…money or style…LOL!

    And I usually paint in old sports giveaway t-shirts. My favorite at the moment is a shirt given in honor of one of the Tampa Bay Rays pitchers, David Price, and on the night of a free Vanilla Ice concert…it says “Price Price, Baby!”


  2. Marti says

    Now that you’ve lived with Moonshine for several months, have you noticed any non-gray undertones? I’ll be painting our new apartment Moonshine next month, but want to be certain that it’s a pure gray with no hint of blue or purple. I’d really appreciate your opinion. Thank you!

    • says

      No undertones at all but soft gray. It’s like platinum. So pretty! Although I have to warn you- our perfect gray might not be yours (it could have purple undertones or yellow ones in your space- it all depends how much light you get and what direction your house faces and all that stuff). Lighting conditions can change how paint looks in every house, so be sure to bring home swatches and see what looks the most gray to you! Good luck!


  3. says

    my bestie & family moved into their new house thanksgiving 2009 and we put up paint swatches in her kitchen that weekend. . . . they are still there! other projects have been tackled (like gutting and remodeling a bathroom, turning the attic space into a closet) but the easy paint the kitchen task still undone. so you are not alone :)

  4. says

    Four months?! Wow, it’s almost hard to believe you guys have been there only four months with all of the things you’ve already managed to accomplish while living there!

    I love the colour you chose. It’s subtle enough to not be overpowering, but still noticeable enough that you can tell it’s bringing the whole room together. Love it!

    • says

      Aw thanks Monica! We’ve actually been here over 5 months, but we painted those swatches about a month after moving in, and then they just sat and sat. So glad we got back to it eventually though! It really does make a difference!


  5. says

    I love the grey. I totally understand what you mean about working on your house taking a long time. I still having tiled my bathroom floor though I have all the things I need… silly realy

  6. Debby says

    Have you thought about painting the ceilings the same color as the walls and that would make the crown molding really pop.

    • says

      Yeah we’re actually huge fans of painted ceilings (either the wall color or a halftone of it or even something complementary if we’re feeling playful) but we haven’t tackled the ceilings in any rooms yet. I guess we’ll have to work up to those. Haha.


  7. says

    I don’t have swatches painted on the walls but I’ve had paint chips hung up on various walls for months. I also have had the paint bought for over a year for my front door. Then there’s the paint that will be used in my living room that I’ve had for months…. so now I just need to get my butt in gear!!! :) Love the light gray – I might use that color for a future room project!

  8. says

    A) Painting in inside-out clothes is brilliant!
    B) It didn’t look all that dramatic/different in the first photo but I still love it. Our guest room is a similar shade and I would bet a soft gray couldn’t go wrong in anyone’s house.
    C) As I scrolled though the provided photos it IS amazingly different. I didn’t even notice the moulding around the hallway doorway before. And, I loved the off-white slipcovers before but with the paint, not really. Green will be awesome. I get it now, lol. I’m so excited for you guys. I feel so lucky that we get to see your vision come together. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Tash says

    I can’t wait to see what all this will look like when you dye the chairs and stain the floors. I am still so in love with the color on the bookcases.

    Any plans to change the hardware on the doors? That’s probably a minimal concern but the current ones take away from the modern look of the room.

    • says

      We actually already changed them out a while back (from the first pic where they’re bronze to the pics on the bottom you might be able to tell that they’re a fun yellow color). We liked how they popped like some of the yellow items in the bookcase and how they don’t take themselves too seriously (since a big wall of built-ins can read as “fancy” and we want the room to feel casual and inviting).


    • Tash says

      Oh yes, I recall that post. I actually meant the front hall closet door (assuming that is a closet). :-)

  10. says

    Looks great! Our house reno has been going on for almost 3 years, and we have a lot of projects hanging in the balance — including leaving lines of painter’s tape on the bathroom wall (for months on end) marking where I want to put shelves (when I get around to making them). But we always come back to those projects when we need a break from OTHER projects, so they’ll get done in due course!

    The biggest embarrassing undone project is a small swath of primer still showing in our otherwise-painted upstairs hallway (which is a similar shade of grey to your walls). It’s the spot next to the ceiling over the stairwell, and we need a big ol’ ladder to reach it. We have the paint, and we have a big ol’ ladder, but no one wants to climb up there and do it…

    I guess since I’m pregnant, hubby is drawing the short straw this time because it’s on the list of things to finish before our little girl arrives!

  11. says

    Sherry, I think that picture of you on the phone is adorable, haha. Not to sound creepy or anything. I think it’s just the face you’re making.

    I may not have swatches on my wall or anything that have been there for four months… but for two months I’ve been meaning to put some posters in my game room and they’re STILL sitting on the floor. I think my cats believe that they’re permanent floor fixtures under which to hide at this point…

    All this aside, I think that even that subtle difference the paint made is fantastic. It was kind of bland before (though I’m not very fond of plain white walls to begin with), but the trim definitely shows more significantly now, and the paint sets a nice mood. I love the contrast between the dark blue background of the built-in cabinets, the crown molding, and the walls themselves! Wow!

    Okay I’ll stop being creepy and blathering on now.

  12. says

    LOVE the gray! You have inspired me to paint my bathroom the same color. I was going for blue (I also have 3 paint swatches on my wall) but it doesn’t feel right.

    Love reading your stories!

    Jessi @ Life

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