I recently discovered P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm, 

and his show,
and his magazine

and his home, 

and his acreage, 

and his garden,

 and his view... 

and his barn,

and his chickens.  


I love everything.  I want to live there. He's my new favorite thing.   And who knew Arkansas was so gorgeous?

If I were starting out again, and knew what I know now, I would love to have a venue like this for special events - (and the money to go with it to keep it in pristine shape and pay those people who would be taking care of the garden and the barn and the chickens, and the food, 
and the sheep.) 

 Did I mention he has sheep? 

 I'm a little addicted to his show, too. (OK, a lot addicted).  The Hubs has even caught the bug - I made him sit through the 'ghost bubble' episode and he thought it was so cool, he promptly changed the DVR to make sure the recording would be kept until such time as we asked it to be erased. 

I've since done that with nearly every episode.  

You should check him out - we see him on PBS here in Orange County - google his show 
"P. Allen Smith Garden Home'.


Dear Claudine, I hope you are doing fantastic. I found your blog while searching the net for grey hues to go with maple floors and cabinets. OMG, I was so thrilled to read your blog posts. I got so much inspiration. I hope you do not mind me asking a color related design question. I will try to keep it short to one question (which might be impossible). But if you only answer one, I will understand and still appreciate your input. 

I AM doing fantastic, thank you very much!

We are in the process of purchasing our first home (YAAY!) and while the layout is something I am ok with for now (I have plans to change it in the future), I desperately need help with choosing colors to give a facelift to the inside of the house. We are in a really, really tight budget as the house was 50K higher than our intended budget. So, I will try to do everything myself right after closing. 

Congratulations!  Good luck with making your new home your very own!

Kitchen is where I need the most help. I did my research regarding picking the right colors. I've been looking at tons and tons of photos. Here is what I have in mind (even though it feels like I have no idea what I am doing):

I thought about staining the shelves, but I gave up on the idea because I want to keep the cabinets the same color (but I will change the hardware). The only thing I want to do to these cabinets for this time around, is to install a crown molding on them to make them look longer. 

The cabinets look to be in good condition!  Hopefully they can match the wood when they add the crown molding.  It will give it all a more finished look.

While I like bolder warm colors, this not me at all. 

Since I decided to keep the cabinets the maple color they are (plus I like maple floors for now), I thought it would be imperative for me to change the color of the wall from burnt orange to either Sherwin Willams - Anonymous or Dovetail grey. The kitchen does get fair amount of light. But I don't want it to be too dark or to washed out. What do you think? One of these colors will also be present throughout dining area. 

Yes, definitely bring in a gray tone.  It will really bring the beauty of your cabinets out.

I like the Dovetail 
cnb homes
and the Anonymous Gray (which has a bit of a green undertone).
Here is a kitchen done in Anonymous by Sherwin Williams, and you can see it really looks nice with the wood toned cabinets.  I think you have adequate light to handle these colors.

All Things G&D

 From here I really want the color to transition into something softer for the family living room area. I am thinking Sherwin Williams Comfort Grey. 

Here I may disagree with you.  Comfort Grey, while being a perfectly lovely color, does not really compliment either Anonymous or Dovetail.

Comfort Gray

 Instead, I would go softer by going up the paint strip a couple of notches.  That will be a color in the same family, and will allow the color story to flow from room to room.  Too big a contrast and your eye will stop and start and rooms will feel smaller.

Anonymous will pair beautifully with Amazing Gray - a soft and serene color just a couple of notches up on the paint strip from Anonymous, and one of my favorite colors.

Mindful Gray
Mindful Gray is a good companion for Dovetail and will flow nicely as it is just a couple of colors up the strip from Dovetail.

 The ceiling here is not very high. Along with using Comfort Grey here, I am also thinking of adding crown molding. I just don't know what size to chose so that it is not overwhelming but at the same time gives nice visual length to the walls. I also do not have any idea of what to do with the open area/windows on top of the would be TV stand. Another reason why I think Comfort Grey might work well is that my family room furniture is vintage white color. What do you think? Can also bring in an oriental looking area rugs (reddish and dark brown hues) to pull together everything? 

Crown molding will actually raise the eye and make your ceilings feel taller.  I wouldn't go less than 5" on a crown molding on an 8 foot ceiling.

As soon as you step in to the house, you are in a guest living area ?

Few homes these days have a proper entry, and we have to try to create one.  

I don't know what furniture you have, but two chairs with a higher round occasional table in-between can create a mini entry, even though the guest may see the backs of the chairs. 

You can do the same thing with a sofa table if your sofa backs to the door, or create a division with a folding screen or a console.
Martha Moments

Room-Decorating Ideas

You can see the kitchen from here and any color I will paint the kitchen and surrounding areas, will impact the color of this place, too. 

I am thinking painting this area Sherwin Williams Driftwood. I just don't know if I should paint the whole area, including the staircase or if I should combo with different colors, creating certain visual blocks (?) 

Unfortunately I think that Sherwin Williams Driftwood is an exterior stain color.  I think it is also a little dark for this area. But a similar color would be nice - and I would stay on the cool side of the spectrum for this room.  Try Accessible Beige (a cool neutral beige) or Agreeable Gray, both by Sherwin Williams.  These have a lighter feel, with Agreeable Gray being a little grayer and cooler.  Both look great with nearly any color.    

SW Accessible Beige

Restyling Home by Kelly
SW Agreeable Gray

SW Agreeable Gray

I would do all the walls and the stairwalls the same.  There are no particular architectural features that I would highlight.  Colors you bring into the room with your furnishings and accessories will stand out and the walls will be a soothing background.  Trim should be in a fresh but not stark white.

I also have no idea with what to do with the windows, lol. I love curtains, but what type of curtains would I chose? I am not very design savvy. But I am so, so eager to learn and make a great nest for my family. I really hope you can help me out. I guess once I get done with the paint and some sort of a crown molding (?) around the living area. I can start thinking about pulling the design pieces together. 

Yes to crown molding!  I like a simple curtain, and I would suggest a simple tailored curtain - something like this...
Memorable Decor

SP Townhome

For the windows that flank the fireplace, I would use shutters or blinds.
That's all I can answer now.  I know you have more questions and I will email you with information on my e-design services.

Best of luck!




Something I have found to be an interesting truth...
not everyone thinks they deserve to have a beautiful home.
Some people believe they have the right to remain - mediocre
Its something I struggle to understand.

Even if I felt that I was somehow unworthy of a pretty place to live,
I would believe with all my heart that my boys deserved a lovely home
and I would do my best to create that for them.

Some beauty you create
then again, some places in this world are just naturally beautiful.

Norway, for example

via Pinterest
My boy took a little trip there this year - 

via Pinterest
It was quite an adventure.  From the photos he took, I'm convinced its one of the beautiful places... Norway

and New Zealand.  
via Pinterest
I can't think of a single inch of NZ that isn't beautiful.
via Pinterest

I had the great privilege of living and working in this lovely country
for a few years....

via Pinterest



Those not privileged to live there, have to travel to experience that much beauty....
or attempt to create a little piece of Eden on our own.
I have been trying to do that in my yard in the midst of a drought...
talk about a losing battle.
Today I noticed all the brown patches on the front patch of lawn had been torn up -
creating even more brown ugliness -
we think raccoons are to blame.
They made quite a mess of things.

California is well into several years of drought and requiring water cutbacks.
As I watch the grass grow browner and browner
and the potted plants droop and die where flowers used to bloom...
I  realize Eden doesn't always work out as planned.

The lush garden of my dreams will have to wait until the drought ends.
For now, we will tidy, seek drought friendly alternatives,
live with brown grass, and pray for rain.

Here are some tips for curb appeal in the midst of a drought...

1.  Shrubs require less water than grass.
Lawns need lots of water.  Shrubs require much less.
Reduce the size of your lawn by widening the planting borders

Plant drought tolerant shrubs and plants
You will be surprised which plants are hardy and can handle less water.
Perennials tend be more drought tolerant than annuals, but there are some annuals that will be able to handle less water.  Check with your local nursery for native plants and drought tolerant annuals and perennials.

This colorful border (above) is also drought tolerant.

2.  Add a little more hardscape

Who could resist this little seating area in a corner of their garden?
 Gravel between the pavers or flagstone makes your patio water permeable.

Reduce the size of your lawn by adding a patio.

no more lawn here - plants, gravel and a fountain charm their way to the front door

Pavers are engineered so that water is able to go through to the soil beneath and back into the ground waters below.  A dry creek serves the same purpose and can add a focal point.

3.  Replace the Lawn
Choosing a drought tolerant ground cover will greatly reduce your watering needs, although all young plants require enough water to get their roots established.  The above green carpet is creeping thyme.  The same ground cover blooms below, providing a carpet of color.

Trailing Rosemary (below) - also drought tolerant

So, create your  Eden.  Just make it more drought friendly!



Hi Claudine,  I stumbled upon your blog and other sites while searching Pinterest for color ideas for my home.  I was recently given a code violation by the City of Baltimore for peeling paint on my house and have been given 30 days to get it taken care of or face some hefty fines. I have spent most of my morning today admiring your blogs/websites and see that you have offered others suggestions for paint colors.  This is a photo of my house and I would be so grateful if you could help me or point me in the right direction for colors that would complement the brick.  
I have been admiring a house not too far from me that has been painted SW Outerspace (it looks dark blue/grey in the sun) with white trim, not sure if it would be too dark with the brick.
Sherwin Williams OUTERSPACE
 It is not brick but some sort of siding so the entire house is that color.  I think I would like something in the blue/grey or even colonial blue family but am open to any pallet or suggestions from someone who does this for a living. I look forward to any ideas that might have.  Thanks, Joan.
Hi Joan!   You've hit on a good color to go with the reddish brick on your home.  A nice cool tone is a good compliment.  The blue/gray color family as well as the gray color family would be good choices for your brick.  I don't think Outerspace would be too strong a color, but it may make your home look small.  Sometimes intense deep colors can do that. Here are some alternatives.  I'm also throwing in a gray or two.
Benjamin Moore BLUE NOTE
This may be a better choice for your home.  Not as intense.  See the reddish brick on the foundation and how they compliment each other.
Benjamin Moore MINERAL ALLOY
Sherwin Williams SLATE TILE

 There is a little of the red brick on this next picture to help you picture the color next to it.

Sherwin Williams GRANITE PEAK
Sherwin Williams STORM CLOUD
I would definitely keep the white trim, and I'd add a distinct door color so that the white trim pops and the door says 'welcome'!
Good luck!

I am attaching a picture of my home that we will be painting soon. I have
tried Several colors and we are having a hard time deciding on a good base
color, but we know we will be using a lighter color for the trim and off-black
Shutters. We want to stay away from anything with pink, flesh tones.

Here is my question: Can you suggest a Sherwin Williams color (or colors)
you would use to make the house look better and tie in the stone, front door
and Roof better?
I am desperate at this point.
Thank you so much!
Marietta, Georgia

Laura, to dispel the pinky fleshy tones - find a color with a gray undertone - which will also be the perfect tones to tie in the stone and roof colors.

I can show you palettes and give you suggestions, but you will ultimately have to hold samples up to your home, against the stone, etc. to see which best fits your light and the existing materials.

Sherwin Williams DORIAN GRAY

Sherwin Williams COPLEY GRAY

Benjamin Moore ROCKPORT GRAY

 A lighter color would make the stone stand out more.  

 Darker hues will make it blend in more.

Choose 2 or 3 of these to paint onto white foam core board and carry them outside to see how they look in the sunlight, and next to the stone, etc.
Benjamin Moore GRAY HUSKIE

Benjamin Moore CHELSEA GRAY

Benjamin Moore COPLEY GRAY


link within

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