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  • Susanne

Trying something new: painting trim and being a bit more adventurous in your design choices!

Aye, 2024 is here, and although I did not make any specific New Year's resolutions - it is the year I am going to do something I have been thinking about doing for so soo sooo many years - drumroll... writing a blog!  Ok, that was obvious but my first blog writing sentence needed some pizazz. 

I have always enjoyed writing but never considered myself a writer. It wasn't until a classroom at a local community college in Hawaii where I took a journalism class in my early 20s to improve my English after moving to the US from Europe, that my writing received positive feedback. My final feature article was voted best in class and I remember the feeling of surprise and the boost of confidence. Until some outside validation came along, I would have never thought of being a "writer" especially since English is not my first language. I went on to write lengthy Art History research papers at university and slowly became more confident in the English language. I ultimately went to design school and started my own business but the creativity of writing something at some point about something I care about has always lingered at the back of my mind. But I always thought, there are so many better writers, and funnier bloggers out there, so why even try?

But as time goes by, you care less and less what people think and focus more on what brings you joy. So at the end of last year, I said to myself, what the heck -  why not? Why not do something just because I want to try it, because it's something fun and also challenging?  Even if nobody reads it, I get my busy mind a bit uncluttered. And with this sentiment, I am going into the new year 2024... 

When we bought our "forever" house in sunny North Carolina in the summer of 2022 after living on the West Coast for 14 years, I started to think about how to make it my home. For years I wanted this feeling of having a forever home, designing for it feels so much more exciting. But now that the moment had come, I felt the pressure. But with everything you start with what you know to be true and then go figure it out. One thing I knew, I wanted it to feel unique, charming, not too construed - organic in a way. Inspired by the laissez-faire feel of charming and slightly chaotic period movie sets - especially Brisith ones - I found my inspiration. I noticed that a lot of historical homes have a colored trim, a sort of signature color that really highlights the baseboard, window, and door frames, and crown molding - the trim package and everything that is included just goes on and on. I was intrigued


Before: our kitchen

Painting is really the first and easiest thing you can do in between larger projects and still get a sense of change and accomplishment. A newly painted room feels so different, fresh, and clean. I wanted my house to look unique but unfortunately, our house was anything but. While the exterior was charming, a white farmhouse surrounded by magnolias and sweet gum trees, the inside was rather boring and well, early 90's style - ugh...

But the ceiling was 9 feet, the windows were sized well adorned with plantation shutters and they had pretty views - there was potential.

For weeks I poured over images and tried out different hues for the trim. I was stuck between a grey-blue reminiscent of houses in the south of France or a darker shade of taupe for a more subtle tone-on-tone look. I loved them all and couldn't decide until I saw THE picture of a kitchen with green French doors by Russell Taylor Architects that had major "Paris in the Spring" vibes and that was it. After considering every sage green color on the face of the earth, which all seemed too green, too yellow, or too something, I stumbled upon French Grey No. 18 by Farrow and Ball.

The color didn't seem exciting on the paint swatch ( maybe it was the name - I am a sucker for beautiful paint names) (hence me not even considering it before) but I ended up trying it and immediately knew it was the one. The hue was soothing but fresh and neutral enough to go with all the colors I liked. I tried a few different sheens and ended up going with a semi-gloss. The glossiness added an interesting juxtaposition to the muted tone - a combination that is both neutral and fresh at the same time.

Feeling adventurous with the sense that I had just discovered the answer to all my questions, I started painting the trim in the kitchen - still thinking of it as a one-room experiment. But I wasn't sure if I wanted the green trim in the whole house. Would it work everywhere? Would it limit me when it comes to tile selection in the bathrooms or Christmas decor? A bit of doubt set in, and then I realized that I had window shutters in the kitchen - duh. Beautiful wooden plantation shutters, the ones I always wanted. It dawned on me, they needed to be part of the trim color and professionally spray painted. I paused and after a few days mustering up some courage, I hired the painter. It was sort of a committing all-in moment - sage green shutters - and I went for it. After a few months now, and slowly painting room after room, I do marvel at how easily painted trim can transform the feel of the space. I don't think my house looks boring anymore, the sage green gives it a real British cottage feel, and the gray-green - a cooler hue - goes beautifully with warmer tones of the worn oak flooring and the antique brass door hardware.

So here is to doing something new this year and being adventurous with your design choices.

Cheers to 2024 and more sage green shutter moments !!!

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