My Woodlawn Blue Dining Room

I am finally done obsessing over this project.  I did all the painting myself and am very tired.  I am going to share too many pictures and then never mention it again!

When I was looking for a color for this room, I knew I didn’t want a neutral because I have those everywhere else in my house.  I wanted the house to feel cohesive, so I copied a color scheme I saw in this blog post.  I had plenty of brown and beige, and decided to add navy blue, colonial blue, and burgundy to give the house some life.  I thought burgundy would be too intense, and navy too dark, so colonial blue was what I chose to paint this room.

What is colonial blue you ask?  I don’t know.  But Woodlawn Blue was pretty, not too crazy looking, and had a colonial name.  Good enough for me!  (I am making this choice sound very casual but it was, shall we say….not.)

Woodlawn Blue is one of Benjamin Moore’s historical colors, which all seem to be a little bit gray to keep them from looking overly modern.  (Which, as it turns out is not really accurate, as 18th century paint colors were actually very vibrant.  Anyway.)  As an avowed color-fearer, something with a little gray was what I wanted.

This room faces northeast and northwest, so it gets light early in the morning and late in the afternoon in the summer.  In winter it gets some afternoon light but is mostly shadowed.   Woodlawn Blue looks like a pretty, calm blue gray when there is no direct light:

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When there is direct sun, it warms up the color to more of a blue-green, and the gray seems to disappear:

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The white I chose for the bottom half is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, one their whitest whites, with no gray.  I would typically go for a warmer white, but I wanted something that would brighten up the gloom of this room and not look dull or dirty in the shadows.  And Chantilly Lace is obviously a beautiful name and must be obeyed.  It doesn’t match my existing trim at all.  I will repaint that trim when I work up the energy, probably when the garden is done.

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In the background is a throw pillow I made this spring (three of them in total), and it matches!  As does the ocean painting above the bench.  Color scheme success.

Now it needs some burgundy.  I ordered this tablecloth, which should arrive next week.  Will it look right?  I think so.  Was it way too expensive for a house with three kids, one of whom eats hot sauce on everything?  Yes.

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I have some burgundy flowers timed to bloom shortly as well.  (The sunflowers here are called Procut Plum, so are not quite right.)

And now I promise not to talk about paint colors until 2019.

 

 


The Power of Paint Color Names

Since I am searching for a paint color for my dining room, I have entered the strange internet world of choosing a paint color.  There is a lot of obsessing and not a lot of actual information.  Photographs do not accurately portray colors at all, and descriptions are fairly useless. These are facts that everyone knows but no one can accept. I am endlessly searching for real life pictures of colors I am interested in, just to find that they all look totally different from each other and from the paint chip.

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But an odd thing that I’ve noticed myself doing is latching on to a color I have read about and wanting it to work in my room. This, my friends, is an example of good marketing.  A consumer being attracted to something and deciding it is “them”, having it take hold in their mind, and finally making them want to buy it.

And what is so powerful about certain colors that they appeal to me when I haven’t even seen what they look like? The name.

Isn’t that totally absurd? Here are some names that I think express my inner self: Kensington Blue, Homestead Green, Jamestown Blue. I guess I am a colonist, in some type of elegant plantation home, or maybe just the owner of a British estate. There are similar colors called Del Mar Blue and Scenic Drive, but those names don’t work for me.

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Here are some other good ones from Benjamin Moore: Collingwood, Edgecomb Gray, Heritage red, Hale navy. What’s interesting about these names is that they aren’t terribly descriptive.  I read an article about named paint colors, and the namer said that they are always looking for descriptive names, like foods. The example given was strawberry parfait because everyone can picture what that color will be. A lie, or just bad marketing. The best color names don’t describe, they evoke.

When we painted the nursery I had picked out a beautiful soft yellow called Windham Cream. My husband took it to Lowe’s and found that it matched, pretty much exactly, a color Lilting Lily. Now that name is okay. But I had the name Windham Cream in my mind and I have never loved the color since. Lilting lily is just not the same feel. It does not say British country house.

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Sherwin Williams is abysmal at naming colors. Our builder uses Sherwin Williams and we were allowed to pick a grand total of one color for every wall in the house. I wanted a linen/ oatmeal neural that would look good with white or gray, not too cold but not too warm. What fit the bill was Accessible Beige, a grayed down beige. That name though. Terrible. They have a few other colors that are pretty with awful names. Livable green, a beautiful shade I want to paint my girls’ room. Hate the name. I also like the beige/ gray/ green tones of Techno Gray and… get this….Chat Room. No.

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So to cure my discontent over Accessible Beige, I have renamed it in my mind. (This is totally insane.)  It is very close to a Benjamin Moore color called York Gray. Now that works for me. Even better, it’s part of the Williamsburg Collection. Yes.  I like it better now, and that is the sad truth.

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By the way, I starting painting my dining room. It’s Woodlawn Blue, and the color looks beautiful so far. Even the butler agrees.