Hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner.
I've been a little pre-occupied with plans for the halloween party this year - 
2nd Annual Black Hat Society party

Last year was so fun - I've been deciding what decorations to use
What food to serve.
What treats to give-away...

 I will be hoping for some inspiration at Rogers Gardens next week.

Can't wait for Halloween!!!  Can you?


Hi Claudine, I came across your blog and was reviewing your suggestions for colors.  I am re-painting our house and deciding on the right color.  Our brick is light however the house is painted a darker grey.  

I would like to change the color to complement our brick and was thinking of a taupe color.  I have looked at Sherwin Williams and am debating on using Studio Taupe. 

 I was also looking at Behr colors however did not find anything quite right.  I'm attaching a few pictures of the house for your reference.  We are also replacing the roof so I feel it's the perfect time to change the overall colors.  I would greatly appreciate your suggestions.  Thank you!  

A Midwestern girl looking for help

Vanessa Lloyd

Hi Vanessa and a shout out to the Midwest!  Thanks so much for reading.  
Your brick has a very warm tone, and it may be hard to find the right color that will compliment it - which will be your task to paint the samples and hold them up there to see the effect.  Gray is actually the most popular accent to use with the orange toned brick. Not sure taupe is the way to go as it can have a bit of a purple undertone.  Possibly a beige with a gray undertone. On the other hand, a blue gray, or blue-green gray would be a perfect compliment to your house color - maybe for an accent color? or a door? -

 but here are a few colors to try:

try Benjamin Moore Raccoon Hollow

try Benjamin Moore Brandon Beige


try BenjaminMoore LOUISBURG GREY

BM Louisburg Gray
Personally, I'm kind of in love with the painted brick look for updating a home these days - so I've included a couple examples of that - just because they look so awesome.  I just spend a week in Utah working with a homeowner who just purchased a red brick house.  

There are a gazillion red brick homes in her town, and the only way to update this look is to paint the brick.  However, you may be very fond of your brick - so this is just a suggestion!  Good Luck!

Hi Claudine,
I was hoping you could help me out. I am really dissatisfied with the color of the walls in my library. 

All the paint in the room is by Benjamin Moore. The walls are Pale Oak, the built-in bookshelf is Revere Pewter, and the trim is Catalina Blue. It is a large room with high ceilings and two walls of very large windows, facing East and North (and one window facing West). It goes without saying the room has a lot of natural light, mostly unobstructed, since we live on the ocean. My original idea was to keep the paint mostly neutral, because the room has a lot of artifacts and texture. I chose the trim to be brighter, shooting for the sea glass hues. I love everything in my library, except for the walls (besides, the wall paint would be the easiest thing to change) -- and for the life of me, I cannot figure out what other color might work. There is so much light in the room, that the color of the bookshelves ends up blending with the wall color. I'm thinking something warmer than Pale Oak might work, as long as there is enough contrast in the bright light. What would you suggest?
Thank you so much,

Hi Natalia,
I think you are so blessed to live on the Ocean.  The room is simply lacking contrast.  I know you said you get tons of light, but a room without contrast can get a little 'meh', and I think that's what you are feeling.  The wall and bookcase are too close.  It needs freshening with some soft white. 

Benjamin Moore REVERE PEWTER with white.

 Revere Pewter looks amazing with white.  Try Benjamin Moore DOVE WHITE on the walls, and you could bring that sea glass trim color as an accent wall - Benjamin Moore BEACH GLASS - in your wall niche 
Benjamin Moore BEACH GLASS
and maybe even at the back of the bookcase, similar to this:

Good Luck!

Hi Claudine,

I found your website while searching for ideas on exteriors for brick homes. I saw your write up on Curb Appeal where you discovered white wash for brick homes.

Our home is half orange ugly brick and the other half is white siding, black shutters, black front door, white double garage door, and dark grey shingle roof.

I really like the idea of white wash but because of the ugly orange brick I think it would be better to either paint, lime wash or German Schmear. I also like the taupe and possibly a darker taupe for the shutters and the question would be what to do for the siding and what color and what technique do you recommend.

I have attached some pictures. Let me know if you need other pictures. Ive also attached pictures of homes that I like.

Thank you,
Carmen Carver

You are absolutely right.  A white wash over the orange could leave you with peachy pink - and I agree that paint in a taupe or gray would be an amazing look for this home.  I would consider a charcoal or navy for the accent color (shutters, etc.) and for a true update, paint the siding the same color as the brick, as the two toned look is more dated.  Here are some examples of color, and the treatment mentioned above.

 Good luck!  Contact me again once  you have decided what look you like if you need specific recommendations for colors.



I took a much needed 'girls day out' a few weeks ago with some friends.
I've had such a busy season that I jumped at the chance when Linda suggested we take the train south to Solana Beach for some fun.  That's Southern California coast to those of you who dwell in other parts!

It had been ages since I'd been on the train.  Not since my son was a pre-schooler and we decided it would be fun to take Amtrak down to San Diego and go to the zoo.  Which, by the way, was fun.

Back then it was the old silver and red single level train.  It is no longer red and has graduated to a double decker.   Now you can sit on the upper story and have ocean views all the way.

The train was very pleasant!  The hour long ride 'flew' by.

I didn't realize the town of Solana Beach was so small.  In fact I'm pretty sure I had it confused with Carlsbad... but we did find a little shopping area on Cedros Street and found an adorable store there called Ta Dah!.

They were kind enough to let me take some photos to share with you - be sure to visit them whenever you are in the area.  They have lots of lovely treasures - like the corbel wall lamps below - so cool, right?

So many cute things! And fun, creative displays.  Kristy has found something, too!

I loved the eclectic mix of old and new
 I brought home a starfish topped bottle for my collection and the most amazing smelling candle....

After shopping, we had lunch at Claire's on Cedros.  Honestly, the food was so good - another must if you are in the area!

So, I'm apologizing again for being too busy to get to reader questions in a timely fashion.  I'm really, really behind. I've been busy!  Not complaining, mind you.

So today is catch up day and I'm devoting this entire post (another thing I haven't been keeping up on) to answering questions from my valued readers!!

First - a question from Lynn:

Hello to you! I have been reading some of your posts and thought I would ask your suggestion for a paint color. I am wanting to update our small bathroom and am undecided on which approach I am needing. While I am wanting an updated color choice, I am also looking to create a spacious appearance. The major holdback for me is the fixed element in the room, being ceramic wall tile. Since it would be cost prohibitive to remove it, I have opted for the alternative for the time being. The border outline trim of the tile is probably a muted warm brown (think of cinnamon w/o the orange cast).

The field tile is a light creamy "butter" color, with specks of the brown color throughout. It is not a full fledged yellow, but more of a soft buttery cream color. I will be painting the wall surface above the tile,
as well as the vanity in the room. There is only one very small window for the room, and it lends very 
minimal light to the room, faces northwest direction.  Would I need a darker color, or should I be 
focusing on a basic light color choice? Will the vanity need to be painted the same color as the new 
color going on the wall or a color of its own ? I've been tempted to try something in the brown-grey 
category as you describe in your post about How to Pick the Perfect Wall Color. The only things that 
will be painted are the vanity and walls..possibly the two doors...and for now the floor will remain. I plan
on using a rug to camouflage it for now. The light bar will be replaced, and the window valance has 
already been removed. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated...many thanks! Lynn

Ah...the outdated bathroom dilemma.  Lucky you!  Lol!
Two possibilities come to mind.  A gray, or greige, as you mentioned - however, with the warm tone of 
the tile, you may need to go more gray.  A cooler contrast will probably look better.  In fact the second possiblity was a gray with a blue-ish undertone - I think that will play nicely against the cinnamon.
Have a look at these color combinations and see if you like that look.
 Sherwin Williams PEACOCK PLUME may be a little dark...so try something softer, like RAINWASHED or SEA SALT.
 Try Behr PRELUDE for this look.
Benjamin Moore SMOKE or PALE SMOKE

These are a couple of suggestions - but again - you will have to be the best judge as you see the 
samples of the colors in the actual room.   Good Luck!

Hi. I was online looking for help with paint colors last night and ran into some of your work. We had a room addition put on our house and I don't know where to begin. .. we have honey oak hard wood in our existing kitchen so we will continue it through out our new room with a large area rug.  Our furniture is dark brown leather sectional with oak trim around the windows. We will be ready to paint in two weeks,  there is also a small living room on the other side of the kitchen!  Excuse the mess. Thanks so much, frances 

Hi Frances..... Will you be applying a backsplash in the kitchen, or are you painting this area? I'm looking at colors that are neutral to combine the two rooms and that will not darken this space further.  Here are two colors that go very well with grays (counter top), and the pine and oak woods you have in the home.

Sherwin Williams:  ACCESSIBLE BEIGE 

Elite Staging and Redesign

Sherwin Williams:  WORLDLY GRAY


Worldly Gray is one of my favorite, calm soothing colors - easy on the eye and has a warm beige undertone.  Accessible Beige is a cool beige color that goes with everything.  Both are neutral wall colors, so you can bring in any color in cushions, fabrics, and accessories that you desire and it will look great.  In addition, I would paint the oak trim white.  It needs to be a background, not a feature and oak has a way of jumping into the forefront.

Good luck!
(I did hear back from Frances that she was going to use a subway tile backsplash in her kitchen... sounds great!)SaveSave


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