August 24, 2015

Where we left off, I made my best attempt to get you on board with our living room being dark gray, well, pretty much black. I also explained I would paint all the trim the same, dark color. What I was not too precise about was defining “all the trim” since this room has a fireplace, beams, and built-in bookshelves.

The truth is I was not being precise because I was not yet sure myself! Our plan is to paint in stages and reassess the look one piece at a time before deciding to go on. Make no mistake though, it is definitely realistic everything will end up painted – shelves, mantel, brick, etc. That is the monochromatic look I am going for.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-7

The parts we do know are staying wood are the beams and crown molding. The door frame to the kitchen will too because it has a pocket door I think should be the same as its frame. Toss in the sliding door as well because it is intricate and I do not want to mess with it for now.


This leaves the chair rails, baseboards, and door frame to the entry to be painted the wall color. And then the whole conglomeration of all the built-ins and fireplace is a firm maybe.

We started by using two coats of Kilz Premium to prime the chair rail and door frame. I ended up having to wait on the baseboards because this carpet is a thick shag and I can do it much more easily while we are down to the subfloor when David is laying the hardwoods.


The color we chose is Ralph Lauren’s Chalk Stripe and I must take a brief detour to talk about color matching. We did test pots in Ralph Lauren and Behr Pro paint of supposedly the same color. Chalk Stripe is from the Ralph Lauren line, but I wanted to see if I could get it matched well in Behr Pro, which I think is the best value for the paint quality. (In my area, it is $19 a gallon versus Ralph Lauren’s $35.)

They color matched the exact Ralph Lauren paint chip into Behr Pro and even tweaked it three times. They are not the same. This is not a diss to my Home Depot guy because he worked really hard to get it the best he could. Color matching can get close, but if you care about the precision of your color, the technology is just not there yet.


In my opinion, you must buy the brand the paint chip was in. Maybe lighter tones match better for some people, but my several recent projects with medium or dark shades did not line up well. I think you have to go into paint matching with a critical eye and do not automatically trust what is mixed up will look the same from brand to brand.

Back to the living room, the backs of the built-ins are drywall, not wood, so we painted those in the first go too. After a few hours on a Friday night, there it was! All up on the walls! And then the horrible feeling hit. When you finish painting the whole room and once it is there for you to really, fully see for the first time you realize: the color is not right.


So disappointing. I was totally sick about having to tell David the next morning. My goal was for it to look black, so to make it not crazy intense, I chose a dark charcoal thinking once it was on all four walls in a not very well lit room it would appear black. Well, it did not. It looks very gray and actually, oddly blue as well. You can do the test pots, but you still will not know for sure until it is done!

The relief is I do really like this color, it is just not what I am going for in here. And, the room is still a lot better. We have about a gallon left, so I think I can cut our loss and make use of the it for the master bedroom.

Seeing this has affirmed to me the cabinets and shelves must get paint as well. Painting wood! Feels scary! Do not send me hate mail!

We will not paint the built-ins until we are sure we have the color on the walls just right. Then, do we paint the brick? Do we paint the mantel? The fireplace door? I do not want to make any firm decisions because going from a white carpet to a medium wood floor will definitely change the coloring and how everything feels. My prediction: all will be painted except fireplace door, but to be continued.

My New Cookbook



  • Sara

    Dear Rachel,
    I am a great grandma, and I have always loved re-decorating projects and craft DIY jobs too. I had a good belly laugh about your best white paint dilemma. Have been there too! Keep sharing. I love it!!

  • Paige

    Maybe paint the fireplace brick white or gray? The original brick has got to be painted to complete the modernization of the room in my opinion. Love your new house!

    • Rachel Schultz

      You are right. I need this encouragement to go for it!

  • Katie

    I’m with Adam, paint it all!!!!

    • I’m glad I have support here, Katie!

      I’ll come and help re-paint if you don’t love it. I also think you should paint the interior of the sun porch the same color to give the room one open concept during the few summer months, I just had a vision and am VERY into it.

  • I think you will end up paIntint everything including the doors, wood, fireplace, beams and ceiling. Commit to the vision.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Brave words

  • For what it’s worth, I think this color looks FANTASTIC! The room looks SO much more inviting and cozy. Can’t wait to see the continued evolution!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Grace! It is a good color, just not sure if its what I want here! : ) You know how that goes

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