Shannon’s Kitchen Shenanigans

Three times…..THREE. This is how many times I painted my kitchen in an eight week period. Why, you ask? Well, I’m not completely sure, except to say I was having a hard time finding the right shade of neutral. I’m still not sure, after twelve months of Sherwin Williams Modern Gray, that I have it right (a tidbit I have yet to share with my husband. . or my son, who is also my painter).

I love working with color but color can be a tricky thing. The kind of thing no one can really predict. No one knows how a color will feel until it’s out of the can and on the walls. No matter who it is; a designer, a color consultant, an architect, your next-door neighbor, or me- we’re all guessing. Some of us may have more experience guessing, but we’re still guessing. This is because so many factors play into how color comes across in a room. 

For me, natural light– where it’s originating from and where it’s landing in the room- is the biggest factor when choosing a paint color. I am going to go ahead and blame my less than stellar guessing skills, along with my lack of understanding of natural light, as the reason my kitchen is soon to be on paint color number four. You see, when we decided to move back to the Peoria area 18 months ago and moved into our current home, I assured my husband I wouldn’t need to do any updating after we moved in. Weeellllllll, I did not have an understanding of how little natural light this home actually gets during the day. The one and only window in my kitchen faces mostly east in a neighborhood with some of the biggest oak trees I’ve ever seen. For this reason, my kitchen does not get much natural light.  Add to it my dark cabinets, dark floors, and bad lighting, and you have a recipe for a kitchen remodel!! YIPPPEEEEE!!! 

I love a project. I must admit, I did not notice Frank (my hubby) dancing the Happy Dance as vigorously as myself. I have included some before and after pictures. Roecker’s did all of the cabinetry & trim in our home and we turned to them to help us with the remodel. They were amazing and our kitchen remodel was started & finished in six weeks. 

My first attempt at painting the kitchen happened before our cabinetry was painted. As you can see in the pictures, the cabinetry was dark. There was a “lovely” dark green glaze which you can’t see in the pictures, that made things even stranger. We had no pendant lighting- only cans and little natural light. I chose Agreeable Gray first. This is a color I have used in the past and it had a soft, cozy feeling in my previous home. I loved it then, so it seemed like a no-brainer. How different could it look? Well, it looked very different. It looked very bad. Awful. I know from growing up in an older home (think early 1900’s) that gray does not play well with heavy, dark stained, wood trim. One of the reasons my Mom has never used gray in her home of 62 years. It did not play well with my wood cabinetry either. I’m sure my Mom wanted to say, “I told you so,” but being my warm-hearted Mom, she kept that to herself. 

The second attempt, after the kitchen remodel had been completed, was Worldly Gray. I was taken aback by how much a new cabinet color and a mushroom glaze impacted the overall feel of the kitchen. It was a huge transformation for the better, and I was in love. Worldly Gray has more earth tone to it, but it was still too dark. I was afraid to tell Frank color number two wasn’t quite the right fit either. Luckily, my son works for Sherwin Williams & passes along his “Friends & Family” discount to his indecisive mom. Even though he has started making up fake rooms in my Sherwin Williams profile at work because he’s embarrassed by how many times I’m painting the same room. 

Worldly Gray has an LRV (Light Reflective Value) of 57, which I thought would be light enough but it wasn’t. The higher the LRV the more light the color reflects back into the room, rather than absorbing the light. LRV values are an in depth discussion for another day. . stay tuned.

So, we moved on to color three- Modern Gray. I don’t dislike it, but it still feels too cool with the warm tones that are throughout my home. If you have visited Leah & Mack, you’ve experienced the vibe that I’m working towards in my home. I love the warm, cozy, light, neutral, easy vibe. I call it comfortably elegant. When I decided to paint for the third time, I didn’t even tell Frank. We went on vacation for a week and my son came in and painted, AGAIN. We came home, it was done and Frank did not even notice. Not sure that he knows to this day. Men. . they aren’t really noticers and sometimes that’s a good thing.

My point in sharing all of this is, color can be tricky and we all make mistakes. Some of us have made three in one room, in eight weeks. The good news is, the rest of my home was much easier for me because I took my time, painted different colors on poster board and hung them in different places all over my house. This is key. Don’t rush. Honestly, this kitchen was the only time I’ve had these kinds of issues with choosing color. Typically, it comes pretty easily to me but I rushed the process and now I’m experiencing the consequences. Now, Sherwin Williams even has stick-on paint squares you can buy and stick to your walls. Personally, I haven’t used them because I need instant gratification and I can’t stand the few days of waiting for UPS to deliver my samples.

If you are feeling the need for a room refresh, as many of us do in the spring, but feel overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to stop into Leah & Mack. Take pictures of your space, your furniture, your art and let’s chat. I love this kind of thing and would love to help you design a room that feels like home. I’m also available for in-home consultations. Whatever you need, the staff at Leah & Mack are here to help.