The opening of the Kips Bay Show House has me feeling nostalgic. There's a particular artistic abandon I associate with show house work, which I attribute to the hyper-creative whirlwind pace these projects adhere to. Re-creating the energy level and professional camaraderie in any other circumstance is nearly impossible, but here on my orderly painting project I'm managing to get close! Having a crew of professional painters standing at the ready, with brushes in hand, leaves me little time to dilly-dally on color and design decisions. My careful planning notwithstanding, it’s exhilarating to yield to an instinctive, "on the fly" decisiveness, sort of show house style. All this week I've been offering up a shrinking gallon of black paint, and so far, the results are nothing short of marvelous!
Andy, the extraordinarily methodical and logical painting contractor I have working with me here, is just the sort of creative ally Show House projects are teeming with. We decided together that, yes, the foyer ceiling would be fabulous painted Bonne Nuit AF-635 and so it is.
before and after
When I declared my new breakfast room bead board would also be black (Stone Cutter 2135-20) Andy took over rolling out the middle hall.
At the staircase, before Dan the carpenter had even finished installing the new trim, Andy and I had tested the Exotic Bloom CC-551 and Green Briar Beige HC-79 that I ordered up as an option for the stair. I'm certain I'll use these colors somewhere, but I think the green looked too wild below the new trim, and decided this area needed a color with more visual weight. Visual weight means dark, or mid-tone at the very least. I liked the Green Briar Beige HC-79 very much, and it is a weighty color for sure, but pleasing enough for the upper hall walls, which is where it wound up.
When I handed Andy the dwindling gallon of Stone Cutter 2135-20 he was all smiles. Men really like black walls, but painting walls black can be tricky. In the sunlight, every speck of dust is visible on a wall painted black, especially if it’s glossy. The dust is less obvious, or not obvious at all, if the finish is matte or flat.
The collaborative nature of the help I'm surrounded by on this project is exceptional, but I'll leave the critique of my choices to those of you who are keeping tabs on my progress! Knowing that my ambition is to have my 200-year-old house, feeling 200 years old, the wisdom of all this black paint seems logical. So while I can't account for how an ordinary idea becomes an original or inventive paint solution, I can report that something happens on a project when the energy is right. And that same energy is the reason I was able to knock out this hip, edgy, and (I think), pretty darn fabulous black+white brushed plaid, while Andy was off having his lunch!
Now the walk from the entry foyer through the new breakfast room, tip-tapping down the hall and up the stair, ends as I imagined; dramatically (at the most quiet place in the house--the second floor back hall, all decked out in an American mural!). Having reclaimed every inch of useful space between the wall framing and under the stair, I've carved out two bookcases, closets, a niche for wood storage, and a sitting area.
Now that the halls are complete, I'm confident my decision to link each of my six rooms together, using black+white as a core or bridge color, will really change the atmosphere in the house for the better. The black calls attention to the floors, reduces the length of the upstairs hall, and adds architectural intrigue to the house by virtue of its heft.
The finished halls will offer me a relevant color reference, too, when I set out to finalize my plans for the adjoining five rooms. In the spirit of a Kips Bay Show house-style collaboration, I'll give you the inside scoop on how I did all the painted techniques in the halls in my next post, including a few insider tricks for making samples in imaginative color combinations.