Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitchen Paint Progress...It Hit A Glitch

I was happily painting along (I do love to paint!), when something happened. An optical illusion disappeared.


What on earth am I talking about?!

Once the dark paint covered the walls the room visually changed, and not just from a color standpoint. All of a sudden, cabinetry that looked beautiful and higher end, suddenly looked of the "out of the box" variety. Previously, with the cabinetry, blacksplash and walls all having a similar tone, they blended in and created an optical illusion that the cabinetry extended further up towards the ceiling, while appearing more expansive along the walls.


Once the dark color was up, however, the cabinets suddenly looked "squat" with the different sections of the upper cabinets appearing as "choppy" boxes on the wall. SO WEIRD! See the difference below:

(photo prior to the island being painted and the fabric covered pendants being hung,
see those projects by clicking on the links)

A lesson in leaving well enough alone?

I love the gray/blue color, but it simply isn't working in terms of allowing the overall design and look of the kitchen to rise to its highest potential.

I'm feeling grumpy about the whole thing, and the wasted time...though perhaps not completely wasted because I certainly learned something. But grumpy because I need to repaint. Yes, I've decided to return to the lighter, original color. Seriously.


But before just flat out painting a layer of Sherwin Williams Universal Khaki over the gray, I'm going to start with a wash, just to see if there is any hope of taking advantage of the effort extended in painting the room gray. That may prove to be a mess, we'll see. I'll keep you posted.

So, learn from me! Prior to tackling any painting projects yourself, first consider any optical illusions that may be altered with your color choices.

93 comments :

  1. I never would have thought about that, but I can totally what you're talking about.

    But I must say, I do love that color! Can it work somewhere elsein your home? DO you have a space in your home that is untouched?!!

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  2. Sad, but I have to agree. I think part of it (at least in the photos) has to do with the lighting - not the pendants but just the amount/color of the light.

    Good luck with the washing - such a bummer to do all that work and not have it turn out how you imagined!

    Last day of my giveaway!
    http://helloloverofbeautifulthings.blogspot.com/2012/01/shabby-apple-giveaway.html

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  3. Awe...I feel for you! But, I'd have to agree...the lighter color truly makes the kitchen "shine" to it's full potential.
    I'll be thinking of you...hang in there. It'll be worth it.
    Hug,
    Jen

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  4. It really is amazing the effect that color has on a room. I chose a color I thought would be great in my son's room that looked terrible, and I'm just now (after a year) correcting that- I know what you mean about grumpy!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this. It's really insightful. I know , for a fact, that you have just saved me from a mistake too. Hopefully the glazing or painting will go well - reward yourself with a bottle of wine when it's over.

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  6. You just proved the impact of paint. It does more than just change the color of the walls. And a paint chip will never relay that.
    I'm sorry you went to all that trouble. But at least you hadn't paid someone to paint your kitchen for you.

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  7. Yes, the power of paint, good and...sometimes bad! Regardless of the light, late at night or during a sunny bright day, it just doesn't work. I have the paint and brushes sitting there waiting for me....in the meantime I get to look at the error of my ways! :)

    Janell

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  8. Oh dear! This could easily have been me! I do like the original color, and think it also looks better w/ the roman shade you have. Good luck w/ the new idea!

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  9. Ouch! But a good lesson learned....I hope the wash works out, it could be a nice, rich alternative. Think of your efforts this way, while you have spent time on this project, you have saved time on others due to the lessons learned. And, you have made the rest of us think in a new light about the colors we choose. Thanks for keeping it real and the help!
    Cathy

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  10. OMG. The same thing happened to me...all of a sudden my cabinets became squatty and my ceilings seemed lower! I tried to live with it for a few days, but couldn't! so sorry...I tried a light grey instead of the old pale khaki and that was a nice change...Good Luck!

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  11. Its definitely a learning process. Perhaps you can do a single wall?


    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

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  12. I never would have thought of that, Janell! Seeing your pictures though I can see that I am more drawn to your kitchen with the original color you had. It's too bad you have to repaint. It is definitely true that you can get the most impact with paint even if we don't always like the end result.

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  13. That is a shame because I was loving that color! But you are right... the cabinets did not look as hi end as they did before. Maybe you can find a happy medium in the future! {hugs}

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  14. wow, you are so right when you see the comparison side by side. What a waste of your effort, uggh! You're smart to fix it right away while you're still into it. I left my awful kitchen color up for almost 2 years because I didn't want to bother repainting immediately and hoping it would grow on me. It never did. Curious to see how the layered affect looks!

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  15. What the? While I am LOVING that color, your optical illusion comment is spot on. What a bummer!

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  16. Colors and paints. Sometimes when you wanted to take risks, it goes both ways, for better or worse. At least you have learned something from the process. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

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  17. I see what you mean...the upper cabinets beside the stove look like they are floating. As I always say, you learn something with every job. I must keep this in mind. Thank you the valuable lesson. Sorry you have to paint twice.

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  18. I think I am totally the opposite of a decorator, because I love the gray! I see what you mean about the cabinets, but I think it is just lovely! The lighter color is pretty, but I love the boldness of the darker color!

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  19. I definitely wouldn't have thought of that, so that's something to consider. I see what you mean though. I like the lighter color as well. By the way, has anyone ever told you it's strange that you LIKE to paint? : )

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  20. I completely get what you're saying. I do love the dark color that you chose, but I do agree that the original color made the whole kitchen look more high end. Perhaps you could use the darker color as an accent wall?

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  21. Oh no, that is no fun! I hate painting things over again. A lighter color will definitely do the trick!

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  22. Ha, ha, YES, Jennifer, you're not the first. I do like to paint, I find it kind of "meditative"...:)

    Janell

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  23. Oh that's interesting! You can really see a difference in the two pictures. Too bad because that paint was a gorgeous color in the kitchen otherwise.

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  24. Oh no! I hate when a paint color doesn't turn out the way you expected it to. Bummer, that's a really great color, but I can see what you mean!

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  25. I'd be cranky too Janell. All to often I know I've made a mistake & it takes me months to rectify; purely from lack of enthusiasm to re-paint. I wish I had only chronciled how much painting I've done in my lifetime. Well...maybe not?!!

    I will never look @ cabinets and wall colour the same way again. Good lesson to learn, thank you!

    Happy New Year : )

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  26. This is the exact reason I painted my kitchen a lighter color with white cabinets during my update. It's great that you're able to stopa and reevaluate. It's OK to go back to the original color if you don't love the change!

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  27. I have to "see" something to know if it's going to work or not. We did the same thing in our great room, master bedroom and bath. A whole room of it, in all the shades of light, throughout the day -- it was shockingly clear we had to change it. today not weeks down the road! Did the exact same process with the great room on Sunday -- rearranged everything and ended up going back to what we had because it's the best way to arrange that room. DID discover, however, lots of changes we could make in the smaller items and it made a huge difference in the feel of the room. Fortunately, my husband could watch his football throughout this 3 hour, oh, let's just move the couch, and see what it looks like. . . . .

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  28. Totally see what you are saying. The lighter color makes everythign blend in easily. The wash idea sound promising. I'm thinking the lighter tone will work. Keeping the fingers crossed. Good Luck!

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  29. oh no, i'm so sorry, i feel for you. but thank you for sharing this lesson with us, just sorry you had to experience it,
    xo,
    Lulu

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  30. I've been there...and its so frustrating! I had painters REPaint the entire front of my house years ago because I got the color wrong. Once the second color went up (the next day)-it was such a relief. All your effort will be worth it in the end. Good luck-

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  31. It is amazing what it did to the lines of the cabinets. I am with you. I LOVE painting but never easy when it's all for not. My sister just chose the wrong color for the inside of her entire house and paid twice to have it painted. But good for you for not trying to talk yourself into it.

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  32. oh that bites! i hate doing things twice! but the grey was a pretty color but i do see how it makes the cabinets shorter...but hey as i tell folks, design is also about taking risks and the inherent failure that comes along.

    but on the flip side, if you can spread the word, i am doing a give away on the blog this week https://courtneyoutloud.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/pier-1-imports-gift-card-give-away/

    good luck with repainting

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  33. Wow, you are so right! That colour is gorgeous but it just isn't right in there. I have to say, I really liked the island black before too.

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  34. What a bummer! I do love that shade of blue, but I understand the effect the right or not-so-right paint can have on a room. Best of luck with the re-paint. :)

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  35. I totally agree with you -- I hate it when that happens (not the agreeing, the paint-not-working). Oh well, it's just paint and it's easily fixed - that's my favorite part about decorating. :) Looking forward to seeing if you're able to salvage some of the color with a wash...

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  36. So interesting! I remember noticing this happen to me years ago when I painted my kitchen in a deep cabernet colour - suddenly the cupboards seemed to be floating. Love the colour you chose but I have to agree - the illusion really is a bit disappointing.

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  37. Oh I have done that same thing before, and then found that it really didn't work. Paint is a really weird thing, it always amazes me how good or bad it can look. I really like the lighter gray color. Looks fabulous. Hugs, Marty

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  38. Oh no! What a bummer. I can see what you mean in the photos, but I do love the darker blue-gray color. I hate repainting.

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  39. Wow, what a difference. Sorry that this happened to you but I have to say that you will forever change the way I consider colours in the kitchen in my consultations. My future clients thank you:)

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  40. I agree 100% it is a beutiful color, but the original does so much more for the room, especially the cabinets! Bummer about the wasted time! You have such a beutiful kitchen! We are in the last week of construction of our first home. Our subway back splash is similiar to yours! We are using Adex Hampton Sand Beveled 6x3.

    Whitney
    www.cerniks.wordpress.com

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  41. I agree. I'm not loving the way that color makes the cabinets look. Maybe if you wanted a change you could paint the kitchen a different lighter color. I'm going to be painting my kitchen in a few days and am really hoping that the color I chose will look ok. Now I'm worried. I HATE painting.

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  42. Bummer! But I agree original paint color was the way to go. New color is nice but not beautiful....

    ~Mandy

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  43. just stumbled on here...and I have a colour "compromise" that might work...grays have either a warm or cool base, and warm is harder to find. I a;most went with the fog one you tried....but its too blue (tho the colour value was about right) so I went to brown based grays rather then blue. try checking out "bay waves" from lowes/valspar. :)

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  44. What a dramatic change...for your walls to appear shorter I guess, instead of when their a darker color.

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  45. Ah bummer! It does feel like a waste of time, but at least you now know what the color you really wanted actually looks like. And, at least you have pretty moldings on your door frames!

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  46. That is a bummer. It happened to me too! over the summer we painted our house what was supposed to be a charcoal gray. We chose Sherwin Williams "Cyberspace", after long debate and I was so disappointed when a friend came over and said he liked my "yankee blue" house! So crazy! I think neutral colors are the toughest to choose sometimes. I was actually thinking of posting about how to find the best neutral paint color...the outcome of your kitchen looks so great though!

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  47. We've all done it, I'm sure. There's a few rooms in our house that I've tried to experiment with color, hated it and had to repaint! I'm in the process of picking out paint for our entire downstairs and am considering the way it will effect the look of our new cabinets! Kind of nerve wracking!

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  48. I love the new color--and the high contrast! And I like how it highlights the architectural structure of the cabinets and (I'm assuming here) your range hood too--celebrating the various elements instead of blending them. I think this is a case where you could consider wrapping the color up onto the ceiling, and it would amp up the sophistication factor back up again.

    Honestly--if it was me--I'd give it a few days/weeks and see how I perceive it after I've adjusted to it.

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  49. Your post reminds me of the time I decided to paint the columns separating our dining room from our living room dark brown so that they would stand out from the cafe au lait color on the walls. Instantly the dining room shrunk to a fraction of its previous size. I felt as if I was suffocating when sitting at the dining room table, so after giving it a week I painted them back to the original color. I look back at it as a learning experience!

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  50. WOW. I loved the moody color but you are right it does not make your kitchen look like the high end version of itself! Humbling to know that even YOU make mistakes! ;) The wash technique sounds interesting, hopefully it works out, some added depth on the walls might be interesting!

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  51. My thought when you first posted on the repint thought was that the granite's undertones went better with the original paint. I'm definitely sticking by that, so I'd say just bite the bullet and paint it back!
    I think the darker contrast made the cabinets look too white, a mistake one often sees in trim when the undertones don't match. It ends up looking like cheap chidren's furniture.
    Oh well, I can definitly relate to repainting. It makes me feel a bit better reading these comments to see I'm not the only one. Good luck. Whatever you decide will be beautiful. Good for you on recognizing a mistake and choosing to fix it right away.
    Teresa

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  52. I love your honesty! And I have been there myself friend! I have painted and repainted rooms before! just paint and forget!

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  53. I agree with you on this one. Interested to see how the wash turns out.

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  54. I love the new wall color but yes...it makes your cabinets stand out more and the dark color makes the area above them more noticeable. How about doing like The Lettered Cottage did and make your cabinets taller and to the ceiling?

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  55. Oh no! So sorry- I didn't see that one coming!

    Jenna

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  56. That stinks...I hate the feeling of wasted work and time but now you know.

    Also, think it's so cool you shared this - it's nice to know that someone with you design eye even has to redo things every now and again!

    Can't wait to see the wash!!

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  57. Totally agree! The lighter is way better. The cabinetry feels so much more custom. Sorry for the wasted energy. At least you like to paint - I do not! M.

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  58. Wow, thanks for sharing that. A definite lesson learned. At least you didn't pay a painter to do it or it wasn't at a clients.

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  59. Oh darn, I've had that grump, wish I didn't try it out feeling before and I know it just stinks. But ya know, you had to try it! I actually don't think the dark color is all that bad, but you have to go with what makes you smile. I recently stenciled a wall, hated it and painted over it in a matter of minutes!

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  60. The other nasty thing that can happen with white cabinetry and paint colors is that the reflected color from the walls can make the color of the cabinets look off. I once saw a kitchen with red walls, and cabinetry that ended up looking pink.

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  61. I never would have thought of that, but when you show the before and after pix, I absolutely see what you're talking about.

    You have great style and taste. I do love that dark color! Hopefully you can find a spot for it.

    I noticed your beautiful floors. Could you tell me what kind/color? We are researching floors right now and I could use any info I can get.
    thanks!

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  62. Our floors are from: http://kentwoodfloors.com/

    Ours are the cooper birch, engineered, if I were the one who had built the house I would have selected a solid hardwood. However, these being "distressed" they have taken a beating (kids and dog) and don't really show the wear.

    My favorite flooring is simple oak, stained a mid tone walnut, timeless and gorgeous.

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  63. I love the blue grey color though... what if you went with a really light bluish grey instead of a dark one?

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  64. I agree, lighter is better. I'm going to be trimming out and painting just one small wall next to my kitchen in the same white as my cabinets to make my kitchen look wider... just posted about it. It's weird how things work, and can make a huge difference.

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  65. Woah, when I saw the color I was saying to myself how beautiful it was. I even loved the photo where you had already painted the one wall. But then I saw the before picture and I totally know what you are saying, what a weird thing the paint did!

    Sorry for your glitch, I hate it when those happen!

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  66. It is a color you need to hold on to for someplace else..it is quite stunning and would probably have an amazing effect like in the passageway in Christopher Peacock's home - I like the contrast against the white.

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  67. and this is why you are the best design blogger around!! thank you for how every post helps train my not-intuitively-stylish eye. :)

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  68. Oh No!! I feel so badly for you. I do love the original color. I am not sure that helps make you feel any better, but your call is right the dark gray/blue did not work as well as your neutral. I just hate that you already did all that work!! You are a trooper, Janell! xo Kathysue

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  69. Thank you! This is a terrific insight into a problem many of us have faced - whether it's light cupboards against dark walls or dark cupboards against light walls (which is where I'm at now). Sometimes the cupboards do look like floating boxes - now I know why.

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  70. Thank you! This is a terrific insight into a problem many of us have faced - whether it's light cupboards against dark walls or dark cupboards against light walls (which is where I'm at now). Sometimes the cupboards do look like floating boxes - now I know why.

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  71. What a bummer to get hyped up about a project, start it, and then realize it's a flop. Waah-waah. But I did have to comment on your door and window trim. It's the same as ours. I can't stand the trim in most new homes. One of the reasons I was unhappy at our old house was because of the blah trim and baseboards!

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  72. I am torn on this one Janell. While I do love the darker color...I understand what you are saying. Of course I can open a whole can of worms by wondering if lifting a few cabinets up higher would help??? Then you could put a shelf under the cabinet? I have thought of this in my own kitchen. I really don't want to take them down and put up shelves but I am thinking to just raise them with a shelf under that I could make "cute"......Oh well...it's always something huh????

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  73. Actually, I love the color itself, but I see what you mean about the visual effect that's being created due to the contrast. However, have you thought about putting indirect lighting above the cabinets, right behind the crown molding? The dark paint is creating a more pronounced 'cave' effect, and lighting the area might help.

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