I see a red room and I want it painted grey

What happens when The Modern Gal has to work intermittently all weekend and therefore becomes fairly antisocial? This:

Exciting, no?

The hundred-year-old house that the Modern Love Machine and I bought a few months ago is blessed/cursed with dark-wood trim EVERYWHERE. Blessed because it’s beautiful, old and in great shape. Cursed because dark wood is a huge challenge when it comes to paint choices, furniture colors and lighting. It’s like a fussy old lady — you might want to dismiss it, but it’s loud enough you can’t ignore it. Sure, I could paint it white and make it easier to work with, but even though it’s our house I can’t bring myself to do it. It just seems, I don’t know, disrespectful to the house?

I won’t say every room in the house needed painting, but a few of the color choices were curious in that they were totally dismissive of this beautiful wood. Take, for instance, the room that’s become our home office.

The wood isn’t quite as orangey as it looks there (I couldn’t get around using overhead lighting for this shot), but it definitely has some orange undertones. The floors are even orange-ier. Orangyier? Orangier? Red is great and all, but being in this room made me itchy.

The MLM and I have had a hard time agreeing on paint colors. He likes BRIGHT colors, regardless of the house style. I like bright colors too, but they don’t all work in this house. Red is his favorite color. The room in question is my home office, therefore I won on this project.

So we moved everything into the living room.

And we primed.

And then we painted.

The color is Benjamin Moore’s Marina Grey,** and despite having every trick in the book to try to light this photo properly fail me, it’s gorgeous. A little bluer than I’d expected despite sampling it for a week, but I love it just the same. It’s soothing. It makes the wood trim sing. It works with the red couch. It allowed me to buy the World Market curtains I’d been lusting after for a while. And despite office = work, this room has become my favorite room in the house.

The room doesn’t have any crown molding along the ceiling. The intersection of the 100-year-old, nine-foot plaster walls and ceiling are incredibly uneven. Taping would have been futile. So would one of those edging devices. The only method I could figure out that would work was cutting in, ie. freestyling. Let me assure you, freestyling the top of a nine-foot wall is a BITCH.

I suppose it’s all worth it now that it’s just cool enough for me to throw open the windows and let the breeze do this to entertain me:

Or watch Pennypup do this:

**Read my thoughts on Benjamin Moore’s VOC-free Natura paint at The Greenists.

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6 Responses to I see a red room and I want it painted grey

  1. Chrissy says:

    Those curtains are just so peaceful! I’m a fan of grey, too. I had a charcoal grey bathroom in my old house, with white trim and white spa towels…and this beautiful Marimekko charcoal and white Crate and Barrel shower curtain…felt like a perfect masculine/feminine peaceful place.

  2. courtney says:

    Loooove the gray. I can’t wait to see more of your home improvement projects!

  3. Emily says:

    Gorgeous! I’ve been thinking about grey too but worry in a city that rainy and dreary so much of the year whether it would be too much – what do you think?

  4. katelin says:

    oh i love that gray, definitely a good change.

  5. Jessica says:

    If you guys are looking for travel and more painting fun, seriously, come over to my place. I was just talking to my dad about needing to paint my place bigtime.

  6. Julianne says:

    Looks great! I want to do grey in my place, but it won’t fit into the general color scheme of the house.

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