Benjamin Moore Paint

Kitchen Renovation Phase 3 - benjamin moore white dove painted kitchen cabinets and absolute black honed granite counters

Kitchen Reno-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate

It’s like I’ve got this music in my mind…

Happy Fall Ya’ll.  That’s what I would say if I were from here, but I’m not, so I would say Happy Fall You Guys, or if I was on my blog I would say nothing.  For two months.  Can someone be my accountability keeper?   I’ll speed up the kitchen stuff since who cares anymore about every little step. Unless they’re Cobalt’s little steps, then I care about them.  They’re cute and they go tick tick tick tick tick tick tick on the wood floors as he trots to you.  Hey, who’s still reading this? Here’s our white kitchen…

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

And here’s our new window!!

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

And here’s a mini dachshund!

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

That’s Nick.
kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

I promise I’ll take better pictures, but these are all old and terrible. Things started moving pretty quickly once the kitchen was painted.  We went back and forth between Benjamin Moore White Dove and Benjamin Moore Simply White, but I ultimately liked the slight softer tone to White Dove.  It felt less stark.  What didn’t move quickly was my decision-making.  I’ll pause and let everyone be surprised and confused.

The counters made my brain freeze up the most because I envisioned white in my head all along – either marble or something that looked like that.  Well, guess what? Marble is expensive and high maintenance, and I guess between me and Cobalt there are enough high maintenance things in our house.  The most durable and cost-friendly option was granite, but all the white granite options had too many other colors speckled in them, or they just seemed more beige/grey than white.

I liked a couple of the white quartz options, but those were a lot more expensive than granite, and seemed almost too plain. Basically granite was too busy and quartz was too clean/modern looking for me.  So, I switched gears completely and considered black for a contrast against everything else white in our kitchen.  I didn’t like the shiny/sparkly factor to the black granite though, so I started considering soapstone…also more expensive.

Then, finally, after hours and hours of neglecting my loved ones and being a slave to and on my ipad, I found a new option!  Honed granite. Basically the polishing process stops before the buffing stage and you get a matte finish instead of a slick shiny one.  So I went and looked at some slabs again, and loved it!

absolute black honed granite

Done. Phew. Then there was the hardware to choose.  Which meant there was a lot of this.

benjamin moore white dove subway tile and honed granite

But, what does it look like in the sunlight?

benjamin moore white dove subway tile absolute black honed granite

This went on for many hours. I had narrowed it down to black or brushed nickel.  Black to match the counters and brushed nickel to match the appliances. (I was also trying out a light blue wall color in that photo, and you can also see the quartz sample on the right.)

This seemingly small decision was by far the hardest to make.  I called my friend and got her husband, one-year-old, and lab-doxie involved, and we were basically split down the middle.  So naturally, I polled Cobalt and Miles.  You can see the results here:

Cobalt helped, and Miles was pretty pissed that I was clearly trying to feed him metal instead of food.

Ultimately, I chose…….

the brushed nickel!  Not what I originally thought I would choose.  Actually, my first pick was a more aged finish that didn’t even make the final two because it just didn’t work with the rest of the materials.  I thought the black hardware would pop out a little too much in the small space, and I liked how the nickel ones added some more shine and matched the appliances.

Our next challenge was to find a kitchen faucet.  We knew we wanted a pull down sprayer, but most of those come with the goose-neck style faucet which would impede our new kitchen window. It was actually fairly painless to find a shorter one at a decent price, and the good news is that Cobalt really liked it.

delta cassidy kitchen faucet

delta cassidy pull down kitchen faucetIt’s Delta’s Cassidy faucet if you’re curious.

delta cassidy kitchen faucet

Nick liked it too.

fireman likes delta cassidy kitchen faucet

Now that we have that covered, if you’re wondering where I’ve been for two months, the answer is all of the places. Beaufort, Orlando, Ocean City, Charlotte, and Folly Beach – where we looked at wedding spots!!  I’ll share that with you next time once I sort out how much of the wedding planning  I want to write about.  A. I don’t want to give it all away, but I do want to share the process.  B. It will be a small wedding so I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings who’s not invited, but I do want to share it with the people I love, all of whom we may not be able to invite.  and C. I hate to even mention it, because I don’t like to ever recognize or talk about it, but I know there are plenty of not nice people out there wanting to hate, hate, hate.  And I don’t want to share it with those people.  Any suggestions?  Please comment your advice so I can sort this out. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep cruisin…


In honor of Cobalt’s 6th bufday a couple days ago, here are all the toys, which are all his.  Not anyone else’s.

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his yellow long dog

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his pumpkin long dog

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his green long dog


It’s Amazing What A Fresh Coat of Paint and Some Firemen Can Do

Oh hey.  Um, I kept procrastinating got busy?  In reality, I started this at the same time that I started a new book I’m really into, and a goal of going  to the gym more often, plus I still go and do work at a place that pays me money during the day.   I also like to watch shows with Nick, play with Cobalt, try new recipes, and various other things in the evening time.  OK, I know this is where my mom-friends probably get furious, but for now this is the only reality I know, so how on earth do people do all the things they want AND work long hours?  Do you know how amazing I could be at life if I had more free time?  Don’t get me wrong, jobs are good, just maybe like ten more free hours a week would be nice.  Instead, I spend about that much time driving.  Maybe I need to find a way to work out and blog while driving.  I’ve figured out how to do plenty of other things while driving (apply make-up, talk on the phone, check my email at red lights, practice defensive driving, wear a seatbelt, and a helmet, and whatever else makes a firefighter who’s seen way too many bad things feel better.)  Anyway, I’m back now.  Let’s talk indecision.

Technically, I am pretty good at making decisions.  After I consider countless options, narrow them down, throw in some more options I didn’t consider the first time, narrow those down, and then test those options in many different scenarios and talk them through with various people who don’t care.   That’s pretty much how picking paint colors for the house went down.  In a shmillion simple steps this is how I did it:

  1. Searched incessantly for inspiration online – thanks to blogs like the one’s I’ll reference later, not to mention Houzz, on which I have spent way too many hours of my young life.
  2. Pulled out my stock of paint chips, and then realized my taste has changed somewhat in a relatively short period of time.  I hate that.  It makes me think anything I decide I love today I’ll hate in two years.
  3. Took a trip to Benjamin Moore, Lowes, and Home Depot to make sure I didn’t miss out on the perfect color that might be hiding at any one of those locations.  (Am I the only one who’s impressed that I only went to 3 places?  Sherwin Williams and a few others almost got added to the list but my head was spinning enough).
  4. Threw away any colors that I used in my last house.  The reason is two-fold.  One, I shared that house with someone else. There, glad that band aid is ripped off blog style.  And two, it would be really boring.  New house, new life, new colors.
  5. Decided on a basic color for the main living space like either grey, blue, off-white, yellow….I knew pretty quickly that I was drawn to a nice airy, beachy grey.   I wanted something that would complement anything I decided to change later on, and something that didn’t feel too dark or bold, or beige.
  6. Decided on complimentary colors for the bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen.  I wanted to make sure there was a nice flow room-to-room without too many different colors or tones going on.

Pete, the nice man at Benjamin Moore, noticed my growing confusion as I switched around dozens of different combinations of swatches on the table in his store.  So he brought me a piece of white paper and taped one swatch from each color family to it (about 4 colors) and said here’s your pallet.  Aside from switching two of them  to a slightly lighter/muddier shade, he pretty much nailed it.  He even talked me down off of my crazy ledge (Nick appreciated this especially) and convinced me to buy about half as many samples as I originally wanted to.  Pete is pretty much the best ever.  He even came in on a weekend when the store was closed because I called his cell phone with a “paint emergency”.  Those exist right?  I mean, no one forced him to give me his cell phone number…

Here I am practicing Pete’s paper palette (hello alliteration) method for another two hours later that night just to be sure.

Banjamin Moore paint chips
I managed to get the colors narrowed down to no more than 4 per room and tested them on 3-4 walls of each room to see them in different lighting and shadows.
Testing paint swatches on wall Paint swatches on living room wall 

The living room choices were:

Gray Owl

Benjamin Moore Gray OwlThank you Emily Henderson‘s blog for the inspiration and the Ryan Gosling photos

Wickham Gray

Patriotic White

Light or Revere Pewter

The Turquoise Home Revere Pewter Benjamin Moore

The Turquoise Home

If you are scouring the internet for gray paint colors like I was, I suggest visiting this page and this page as well.

The Bedroom & Kitchen choices were……

Woodlawn Blue

A Pop of Pretty Woodlawn Blue Benjamin Moore

A Pop of Pretty

Palladian Blue

Bower Power Palladian Blue Benjamin Moore

Bower Power

Nelson Blue

Nelson Blue Benjamin Moore Young House Love

Young House Love


Alas, the moment no one’s been waiting for!  I made a decision.  See, decision-maker.

The living room, stairs, and upstairs hallway ………


Gray Owl!  

gray owl benjamin moore living room

Before & After Living Room

Reminder, I took crap phone photos when we were first moving in.  Also, I don’t want to show too much of the walls because I don’t want to give away other projects that are coming up, so, random living room corner it is!



Woodlawn Blue!

woodlawn blue benjamin moore

Master Bedroom Before & After


Nelson Blue!

But you can’t see that before and after yet 😉  We’ll talk about that…on another time.


I was right with my gut on the owl gray and woodlawn blue, but the last one surprised me.  I thought for sure I wanted palladian, but it was just a little too bold for the size of the kitchen. Nelson blue was lighter, toned down, and flowed better into Owl Gray.

I suppose, to match this erratic post and go completely out of order, I should mention that I had already painted ALL the trim in the house before purchasing final paint colors.  I skipped that step because I forgot/didn’t think there was any reason why I would need to take pictures of it at the time.  Basically, after we bought the house we had a couple weekends to go over there to paint and get new carpet installed before moving in because we still had our old apartment rented out for another month.

Well, one of those weekends Nick was gone teaching.  So that means I got to paint a whole house of trim for two whole days of a weekend!  In an empty house that I just met.  With no heat.  Oh sorry, Cobalt says he was there too and did most of the work…then he grumbled and rolled his eyes over.  BUT, I did get to listen to obnoxious Christmas, 90’s, and whatever other music I pleased while trying not to fling to much paint as I danced around like a lunatic.


I can’t complain too much because after all the trim was painted and the paint colors picked out, I didn’t have to lift a brush or roller on the rest of the house. Here’s a quick pro/con list to dating a firefighter for those of you keeping track:


  • Saves lives
  • Comes with group of other firemen willing to do labor & take pride in their work…not sure the pro list needs much more than that but…
  • Captain cleanliness anyone?
  • They also have really neat outfits like turnout gear and badges and class A uniforms
  • I’ll stop.


  • Super safety patrol about everything, especially driving (maybe that’s like half a con)
  • Leaves at any given moment for unknown lengths of time (for example, in the middle of the night, or during our favorite shows that I CAN’T CONTINUE WATCHING WITHOUT HIM, etc. etc.)
  • I said I wouldn’t complain too much 🙂

Here are a couple snapshots they managed to get of the firefighter painting party…..

firefighters painting house 

Firemen paint party

 Firefighters painting house

Thank you CFD xoxoxo

There’s nothing like being told later “we decided to go ahead and pry the mantel off with a Halligan bar”…

Firefighter Halligan bar handy work

 And naturally, as soon as the paint dried…

Firemen hang tv

But, they DID refuse to leave behind our Christmas tree,which I loved…

Christmas Tree

I also love even more that they helped paint after they already helped us move.  Seriously, nothing like em.


Ok, glad we’re all caught up.  Next time I’ll have to talk about decorating the living room and address one of my favorite projects, making pallet shelves, which I actually did at the old apartment, RIP, so I can show you more of the walls. I should have added “very handy, comes with many tools” to the pro list.  So, I will see you there, or I will see you on another time.


Don’t fowget me.  I’ll just wait heohw in the box that says wittle stuff.

Cobalt mini dachshund sleeping in moving box