Month: October 2011

Designing a Bedroom in the Basement

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween everyone! I told you about our big move into our new condo recently. One of the conditions on finding a place was that we needed to figure out a space for our 20 year old son Kyle, that still lives at home with us. Main issue: Privacy. For him as well as my husband and I!

So we designed my son’s new bedroom in the basement where there was plenty of private space.  This is how it looked before:


My husband could have built room himself (he is very handy like that), but time was a crucial issue- we wanted Kyle in his own space as soon as possible! So we had a carpenter come in and sheet rock the walls and install a ceiling:



The more we worked on it, the more I wish it was my room! Great natural  lighting (which he does not even appreciate), a place for a sofa (nap time!) and plenty of room to spread out. I had Kyle pick the color out of the Ben Moore fandeck and he choose Stillwater 1650:

A beautiful blue. It took us most of the weekend to finish painting the walls and trim. I choose Cloud White for the trim color because it looks so fresh and clean next to the dark blue wall color:


What a great room this is turning out to be! I think I especially love it because of all the sunlight in the room. Maybe you have an area in your basement that would make a great space just for you??

Before painting:


And after:


I had to stage it a little! haha



He already told me thanks but no thanks on helping him decorate the room. He will do it all himself. OK then. (Actually I am glad he wants to do himself!) He did not like that I had staged the picture on his pillows for my photos. But it’s for the good of the blog Kyle!

Have you tackled any painting projects lately?

If you need help designing your space, contact me today. Thanks for dropping by! I have to go get ready for the trick-or-treaters now!!

Top Five Tips to Understanding Beige Undertones

October 26, 2011

Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O’Hara Interiors

1) Determine the undertone. All beige colors have either a red/pink, yellow, green or orange undertone. Period. That’s all you have to understand and learn. The color examples I have chosen below have very obvious undertones to help you ‘see’ the color underneath.


stonehouse 1039  red undertones         shelburne buff hc-28 yellow undertones


orange undertones                      manchester tan hc-81  green undertones

2) Remember to Compare. The easiest way to see the undertones in beige is by comparing the color to another beige that you know the undertone is either red, yellow, green or orange. Illustrated above are good examples of the undertones. Pick up a sample of each and carry them with you to help you compare to each other.

3) Understand the color red. The most difficult beige undertone to work with is:


Red. Those red undertones just do not play well with others! Especially pinky beige with yellow beige because the yellow beige ends up looking ‘dirty’ next to the pinky beige. I have found the best colors to work with a red/pink beige are browns, cream and dark blues.

House Beautiful

4) Know which undertones to mix to create a unified room. To create the best put together, coordinated look when mixing undertones is to keep the red undertones with red undertones, yellow with yellow, green with green and orange with orange undertones.


5) Practice makes perfect! The good news is that after you learn what is not working in a room with the undertones, you will be able to correct the mistake. Take a look at your carpet (is it a pinky beige?) and compare it to the beautiful Powell Buff that you painted your walls. Now that you have learned that pinky beige and yellow beige do not work together you can easily ‘fix’ the whole rooms looks by changing the wall color to a pinky beige also, such as shaker beige hc-45.

So I hope this helped you understand beige colors and their undertones better. If you want to be a color superstar like me, 🙂 you have to take Maria’s True Color Expert workshop!


Benjamin Moore’s Top Searched Colors

October 20, 2011

This week on Benjamin Moore’s facebook page, they posted a collection of colors that are the most online searched. And the winner is…..

Shaker Beige HC-45:

House Beautiful

This list from Benjamin Moore is again a list full of neutrals. In my post Top 20 Selling BM Paint Colors for 2010, I noticed the list was all whites and neutrals. It really surprised me until someone pointed out that it probably was paint that was bought for trim and doors. That makes sense. I’ve also listed the entire list of runner up colors with photos below. Are any of them surprising to you?

linen white 912:

Marzia620: Home - Bedroom in Linen White and Cream - bedroom, white, cream, linen decorpad

  • manchester tan HC-81:


Don’t you love to be able to actually “see” photos of the rooms painted before you make your decision on which color to choose?

  • monroe bisque HC-26 :


                white dove OC-17:

Benjamin Moore Natural Cream Walls, Trim is White Dove- houzz

  • bleeker beige HC-80:


  • revere pewter HC-172:

C.B.I.D. Home Decor & Design

  • navajo white 947:


  • lenox tan HC-44:


  • hawthorne yellow HC-4:

Are these some of the colors you have searched lately? Just be aware of the undertones my decorating friends!

And Benjamin Moore’s 2012 Color of the Year:


wythe blue HC-143.  Such a beautiful color.

If you need help with choosing paint colors for your home, contact me today.

Related Topics You May Enjoy:

West Elm And Ben

Benjamin Moore’s Best Seller Blues

Inspiring Benjamin Moore Rooms

Rooms Painted in Ben Moore Paint Colors

Best Wall Colors for Stained Trim

October 17, 2011

[pinterest]                                                                                                                                                                                      source

I was recently asked this decorating question by one of my readers: “I am looking for paint colors that would look good with my walnut stained woodwork and doors. Most everything I see now has white woodwork and doors. Do you have any suggestions?”


It’s true. A majority of the interior design photos you see now are all in white including the trim and doors. I personally do not like the look of a bright white color for the walls with stained trim. Nor do I like this look below of wood doors with white trim:


Instead of a stark white to work with stained woodwork, I always suggest using a beiger, creamier white because it does not make the woodwork stand out and scream.  Look at the photo below which is mascarpone af-20:


I think the color is too ‘clean’ and bright with the wood. Now take a look at the below image that features showing with harmony af-90, which has more beige in it, with the dark stain wood:


Just remember that pure, bright white colors look best paired with ‘clean’ bright colors and off-whites and creamier colors look best with browns and beige.

I also am not a fan of the lighter paint colors with the wood trim:

I think the woodwork is sticking out to obviously in this above photo. Wouldn’t you agree that the trim would work better in the room if it was painted a pure, clean white?

What I do really love is the look of the stained wood trim together with medium to dark colors on the wall:


House Beautiful

So gorgeous!


So my advice on choosing wall colors for dark trim? If you are looking for a soft, fresher look, I suggest using creamy or beige off-white colors instead of a pure white hues. Or, if you are looking for a bolder and more contemporary look, I would suggest using a medium to darker color for the walls which will work beautifully together with the stained wood trim. I love! medium to deeper shades of grays, blues and greens with the darker woodwork.

You can see more inspirational photos of painted rooms with stained trim here.

Comments? Please? All photos used are from pinterest. If you have not visited pinterest yet, go there immediately! You will love it.

If you need help choosing paint colors for your home or office, contact me today!



Before & After Annie Sloan Transformations

October 13, 2011


Today I have a great guest post from the lovely and talented Nancy Chace, owner and operator of Sea Rose Cottage in Bristol, RI.

Kelly thanks for this opportunity to guest blog! I enjoyed your posts about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and your own restyling project you did in Annie’s new French Linen color. Love it!


Hi there, my name is Nancy. I am the owner of Sea Rose Cottage in Bristol, Rhode Island. We are the first New England Stockist of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Sea Rose Cottage is a combination workshop and retail space where we carry the full line of Annie Sloan paints, waxes and related products. You can learn more here.


When I first heard about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I thought it was made especially for me –no need to prime or prepare! With an old house full of projects, I’ve had my fill of prep work! I got my hands on some paint and loved the product so much that I became Stockist in May. It has been a whirlwind since then. I’ve opened my workshop to the public carving out some retail space and launched an online shop in August. I also have a Facebook Page where people can share their work and pass the creative spark.

One recent highlight for me was meeting Annie Sloan at the International Decorative Artisans League Expo (IDAL) and seeing her beautifully transform a piece of furniture first hand.


 While I was watching so attentively, I forgot to snap a “before” picture of the vanity, but here are the “after” photos.



Annie is unbelievably talented and a wonderful inspiration. I love her work! What a great place to start talking about working with her paint.

Kelly, you covered so much great information about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and the wax in an earlier post– I think you hit on all the basics! The product is so easy to use and the versatility of the paint allows you to be creative with all the combinations of colors and finishes. For those who want to take the plunge, a good place to start is with Annie’s Quick & Easy Paint Transformations Book. It includes 50 step-by-step projects using the paint and the wax.


If you have the opportunity, visit an Annie Sloan Retailer near you so you can see the colors firsthand. For a full list of Stockists go to . Most Stockists offer fun workshops and also carry Annie’s book and related products. If you don’t live near one, no worries –you can purchase the paint and a hand painted color card online.

October is a great month to discover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. If you are anything like me you have some old furniture lurking down the basement or in the garage just waiting to be given new life! Fall is a great time to unearth those long forgotten projects!

Thanks to Annie Sloan Chalk paint, my dusty old sideboard has finally seen the light of day!

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I found some color inspiration here and decided to use my favorite color – Provence with a coat of clear and dark wax.

First I cleaned the sideboard and then I started painting. After two coats, I was tempted to change my original plan and just use the clear wax…..


Like Kelly, I just could not resist using the dark wax—I love the depth and antiqued effect that the dark wax lends to the finished piece.




I also restyled an old brass chandelier with ASCP in Paris Grey with a bit of Rub ‘n Buff for some gold highlights.


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Now I’m scouting out some vintage prisms to dress her up a bit!

This thrift shop mirror is sporting a new look with a wash of Provence mixed with some Old White.


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I might need to keep this one!

Kelly, thanks again for this great opportunity to share with your readers. I for one am always in the restyling mode and love to use your blog as a resource! I would love to answer any questions your readers have and encourage those who are interested in trying the Chalk Paint to reach out to a Stockist near you. Happy painting!

Thank you so much Nancy!! Amazing transformations. Thanks for sharing. I hope you convinced even more people to try the Annie Sloan Chalk paint! Be sure to check out the photos where Nancy found her inspiration above. Love it!

If you need help updating your home and furniture, contact me today!


Return of the Pumpkin People

October 10, 2011

One of my favorite activities in the Fall is following the local map guide and finding all the decorated ‘Pumpkin People’ in Jackson NH.

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 Eagle Mountain House

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  This fun tradition is in it’s 24th year. This year there were 48! entries of Pumpkin People to be judged.

pumpkin people 032J-Town Deli & Country Store

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 Quite a few of the entries were from favorite story books and movies:

pumpkin people

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I know that is Snow White on the right, but who is that supposed to be on the left? hehe

pumpkin people 048Covered Bridge House

pumpkin people 029101 Dalmatians  Inn at Ellis River

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 How cute!  There were movie stars and rock stars:

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pumpkin people 062The Wentworth Country Inn

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Whitney’s Inn at Jackson

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And my two favorites:

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Look at what a great job on the little details:

pumpkin people 019Snowflake Inn

And just look at the work done on this Storyland scene:

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Isn’t it amazing? Have you ever been to visit the Pumpkin People? I give their creators so much credit for their hard work and imagination. Very creative, very cool!

Another of my favorite things to do:

Taking pictures at sunrise. Not quite peak yet in the valley but it is changing really fast! It is just breath-taking gorgeous!

Comments? Anyone else love New Hampshire?