Grey Paint and Gray Paint and Gallery Walls {barn owl primitives giveaway!}

You might remember the debacle that became known as Pick A Gray That Is Actually GRAY 2014 around here.

First of all, I tried to love my white walls.  I did.  I know it’s the In Thing right now.

Mostly, I wanted to love it because I hate, hate, hatey, hate painting.  So liking my walls was something I was very deeply wanting to do.  I had a vested interest in loving white walls.

But alas, it wasn’t happening.  Try as I might, I just felt like this house wasn’t really ours.  It was almost like we were renting.  Sure, that was our furniture, but it wasn’t quite right.  (Nothing wrong with renting…it’s just that we did it for so many years, I wanted this house to feel very much ours.  If that makes sense.)

I had my heart set on grey walls.  I had tan walls in my last house for the last 6 years, so I wanted a change up, and I wanted something neutral and light that wouldn’t compete at all with all of the happy natural light that came in through the windows.

Turns out, gray isn’t really a color at all, (nor does it have an official spelling so I’m just taking turns between grAy and grEy), and is really just a mash up of all the other colors in the rainbow.  Which, would explain why photographers use a gray card to set their camera colors.

So a grey that looked perfectly gray in the store, suddenly looked downright BLUE once I got it slathered on my wall.  Or green.  Or even lavender.  Like, butterflies and kitty cats lavender.  Or they were too dark.  Or too brown.  Or too ANYTHING BUT WHAT I ACTUALLY WANTED.

I bought 8 paint samples.  I asked for color names on my Facebook page, scrawled them on the back of an envelope and spent an embarrassing amount of time in the paint department.

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Finally, I just bit the bullet.  It looked a little purple to me, but I was so over it I didn’t even care anymore.

Burnished Clay by Behr.  In case you were wondering.

And as I brushed the paint on, not only did the grey look LILAC, but oddly enough, my “white” walls started looking downright buttery.  Like a big ol’ tub of Country Crock margarine.  I was sweating.  The gray was looking awful.  But I was too far down the rabbit trail to stop.  Plus, I had bought a gallon.  Seemed wasteful to stop now.  Which, really, is illogical, but let’s continue.

Turns out, grey picks up on all the colors around it and it’s basically impossible to know what it will really look like until you get rid of all the current color.



Okay, so it’s ultra hard to tell the difference in the wall color in these pics.  Please hold.  You’ll see in a bit.

That being said, I also decided to pull down the blinds in exchange for graphic print drapes.  The blinds were big and heavy and would go all cattywompus when you tried to open and close them.  I’d be sweating by the time I finally got them up or down without being at a 45 degree diagonal.

Now I can quickly swing even just a few of the curtains easily and filter out the harshest hours of sun.

Here’s another before:



And an after:

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The color contrast in the before/after pics here is also minimal…whatever.  I swear you’ll see it.  Cameras and color and computer monitors are tricky beasts.

BUT, what you can see is my FIREPLACE TRANSFORMATION.

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Bright white paint on the mantel and I even spraypainted the gold metal accent pieces on the fireplace black.


I’d like to also pull off that fake printed slate look tile and do a creamy travertine, but I’m not there yet.  Give it time.

Also, GRAY.  See it now?  It’s really pale and subtle, which is totally what I wanted.  I wanted neutral that would work with whatever random colors I was feeling.  Happy sunshiney colors in the spring and summer.  Greens and reds in the winter.  Jeweltones in the Fall.  It’ll all go.

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Simple.  Subtle.  But white trim now pops.


You can see the difference in wall colors here.  Gray walls and look in that cut out through to the hallway gallery wall.  That’s the color the living room used to be.  Buttery cream that I thought was white.

Eventually, I’ll run the grey through the hallways, but painting is not my favorite.  So I need a break.


I’m loving these little gallery walls here.  I think I’ve finally figured out how to incorporate non-photos into them to give more interest.

I know the gold frame is still empty.  STOP PRESSURING ME OKAY?


Did you spy with your little eye this little domino that basically COMPLETES THE WHOLE DANGED WALL?

And did you die from the cuteness?

And did you put together that it’s not just a random domino but 2 + 4…get it?  2 parents…4 kids.

Dead on the floor now, amiright?


Dominoes are extra special to me because it’s totally a Portuguese old man game and my grandpa who passed away 5 years ago from ALS (yes, the same ALS of ice bucket fame) was an avid domino player.  So it’s like this full circle piece for me.  A gentle reminder of my grandpa and a representation of my little family.

I dig it.  A lot.

And if you dig it, the ever so talented Miss Kristi of Barn Owl Primitives fame (I have two other pieces by her and they are always conversation starters.  You can see them HERE and HERE.), I get to give one custom domino sign away!  Just follow the rafflecopter prompts below for your chance to win one!

If you don’t win, you can should order your own HERE.


See?  That’s a fun post, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was given a domino sign in exchange for this blog post.  But it’s whatevs, because I woulda anyway, it’s so dang fun.

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    darn it. If I lived on the West Coast (as opposed to my current home being on the East Coast), I would totally come paint for you because I love to paint (oh yes I really do) and because I’d snag that gorgeous flower/iron/glass lamp from you. It is BEAUTIMOUS!

  2. 2

    I would totally paint for you. I’m easily purchased with paint and beer.

    And ALS. Yes. That’s another conversation and an email.


  3. 3

    Is there any way to enter the giveaway without facebook? I recently left the facebook world…

  4. 4

    I love the color and the fireplace transformation is fantastic, makes me want to start working on mine again! Looks great!

  5. 5

    Gorgeous! I just love how it all looks. You’ve done such an amazing job thus far.

  6. 6
    Jessica B. says:

    I love the curtains. I’ve been looking for some for our living room. Do you know where they are from?

  7. 7

    Ah, the saga of gray/grey. I came upon a gallon of a gray that was rejected as my dad’s house. Turns out; I loved it. Painted most of my house in the “rejected” color.

    Looks beautiful!

  8. 8

    I have been SUPER busy and I couldn’t enter right away so I’ve been saving the Email in my inbox for this WHOLE TIME. I made it back with UNDER TWO HOURS TO SPARE!

    I need a domino. for my new living room.

    And also your paint color. Because I’ve been looking for that color gray. I want my white trim to pop but my walls to be so barely gray you’re not sure that they ARE gray.