...because home doesn't happen overnight.

This post is brought to you by Ace Hardware. I was given a gallon of paint from the Clark + Kensington line to use and review at my leisure. Clark + Kensington recently outperformed other big name paint brands in a Consumer Reports evaluation. All labor and opinions are my own.

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After a few teaser shots, here’s the real deal. A fully detailed post entirely dedicated to recent events in the mudroom/dining room/laundry nook {i.e., the Everything Room which a reader creatively suggested we call the “mudding nook” – I like it!} that involved a paint brush, paint rollers, Frog Tape and a gallon of goodness. I repainted the Everything Room for the THIRD time. In a little over a year. Sure, it would have been easier, quicker and cheaper to have gotten it right the first time but sometimes I need to make flubs. Finding out what doesn’t work is just as helpful as figuring out what does work. In the end, victory is that much sweeter. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself to keep from feeling like a complete failure.

First, a quick 360° around the room to help you get your bearings. {FYI – I took these pics on an overcast winter morning so the lighting isn’t the best but I didn’t have the patience to wait for a sunny day which, realistically, might not happen here in Ohio for weeks. Boo gray days.}

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Sweet, sweet victory.

The color is Besalt by Ace Paint, color-matched in Clark + Kensington primer + paint in one. {Ironic, I would have named it Bepepper.} I chose a flat finish for a deep, flawless look. On the walls, it’s deep and dramatic. When I look at it, I feel like I’m looking into outer space. It tricks me into thinking I can extend my arm and magically reach beyond the wall. I can’t.

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With three kids nipping at my heels and HH working overtime, it took me an entire day to paint out the room. Many of you ask how I get projects like this done with kids in the house. I don’t have a babysitter. I don’t have a nanny. I don’t have a magic answer.

I have to psych myself up for DIY when my kids are present and my HH is not. I put on my inside-out painting clothes and tell myself I’m not getting out of them until I’m done. Usually, the hardest part for me is getting started.

I prepared as much as possible in the early morning while Mabrey was awake and Layne and Everett weren’t getting on each other’s nerves yet. I taped off the chair rail, removed items from the walls, moved decor and furniture to the center of the room and got all of my painting supplies ready. That way, when I put Mabrey down for her morning nap and turned on a movie for the boys {Kung Fu Panda in case you’re wondering} all I had to do was get my paint on.

After Mabrey woke up from her morning nap and the boys’ movie was over, I took a lunch break to feed the kids and myself. I wrapped my paint brush and roller in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out while I was sidetracked. After lunchtime and playtime was over – about 2 hours later – it was time for Mabrey’s afternoon nap. I laid her down and turned on another movie for the boys. {The Incredibles this time} It bought me enough time to finish one coat on the walls. I had to touchup and cleanup with all three kids whining for dinner which was pretty stressful but I was in the home stretch and just wanted to get it done. We ate dinner at 7:30 p.m. Typically, I don’t let my kids watch 4+ hours of TV in one week – let alone one day – so when I do resort to it on special DIY occasions, I try to sequester the mommy guilt. I don’t always succeed. And that’s how painting with three kids and no babysitter goes at my house.

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This primer + paint in one means business. Usually you’re looking at 2+ coats when you paint a color this dark over a really light color. I only needed one full coat and a little touching up. That saved me precious time and kept my kids from starving – hehe. I’ve used all different brands of paint and this stuff claims a spot at the top of my list. It has a great consistency {not too thick, not too thin}, outstanding coverage, virtually no odor and is less expensive than other big brands that boast similar properties. Awesome.

But enough talk of kids, mommy guilt and good paint. Let’s get back to the room.

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Some of you worried that I had dismantled the gallery wall.

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I assure you. It’s still kicking. I was smart lazy and painted around the 3M adhesive strips that are stuck to the wall. With the frames in place, you can’t even tell.

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I did take down the abstract art {see it leaning on the chair rail?} and remove the two smaller frames that were above it. That section was feeling a little top heavy. The abstract art is staying and I’ll be adding some new frames to the wall.

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When the walls were lighter in color, I wasn’t feeling some of the prints and fabric scraps that I added to the frames last minute for The Tile Shop shoot. But with this new deep charcoal, almost black, I actually don’t mind them.

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I also cheated around the wardrobes and window. The wardrobes are secured to the wall with anti-toppling hardware. I had no time/patience/muscles to remove them. I painted around them with a 1.5″ angled trim brush and small foam roller. You’d never know unless I told you. Wait a minute.

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I did remove the curtains to cut in around the window but I didn’t take down the woven blinds. Unless you came to my house and took the blinds down yourself, you would never know there’s a light bald spot behind them. Along with scheduled naps and screen time, I also cut corners whilst painting a room with three kids in the house. I never said I was perfect.

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I can’t talk about the Everything Room without mentioning the laundry nook. Before I painted this time around, the nook wall was an accent wall the same color as Mabrey’s room. I liked the dark contrast and that’s what made me decide to continue a dark color around the entire room. But I thought a grayer, blacker color would work better because the Everything Room is fairly open to our black and white kitchen. {The paint in Mabrey’s room has more of a navy, green undertone.} There’s a short wide hall that connects the two spaces.

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I owe you a big post all about the nook. It’s coming. I promise.

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For now, just know that the nook fits into the room better with the rest of the walls painted dark too. It feels more like a part of the room – as it should.

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Next to the nook is where the kids hang their outerwear and bags. I added a modest bench for putting on and taking off shoes. Normally, this area is chock full of stuff but at the time these pics were taken, the boys were at school so imagine more pint-sized coats and backpacks. This image does a good job of showing the true color of the new paint.

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We painted the french doors Benjamin Moore White Dove {same as the wainscoting and all the trim in our house} back before The Tile Shop shoot. I like how they contrast with the new moody paint but could see a bright poppy red working too. I think I used up all my big girl cajones painting the room dark so I may need to grow another pair before I brave colorful doors.

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So, yeah, this new color is “the one.” It makes the white horizontal planking on the walls look crisp. It complements the travertine tile. It brings out the black hardware in the room. It plays nice with our adjoining black and white kitchen. It’s masculine and dramatic.

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With the right wall color in place, I’m excited to step it up a notch in here. You may have noticed that I brought in a cowhide rug. It’s from IKEA and I bought it almost two years ago. It was hanging out in the boys’ bedroom but it wasn’t working. I think it’s found its new home. I picked up four sheepskin throws to toss on the dining chairs. They’re also from IKEA. We remove them when we eat. They’re working out really well. They hide messes on the removable seat cushions in between washings.

I wouldn’t consider these images “afters” by any means. Things left to do:

*expand and tweak the gallery wall

*possibly add curtains that fall to one side of the french doors

*do something about the space between the two wardrobes. Currently, there’s a petite sofa living there. I DIYed a slipcover for it but it was a disaster. Turns out I can sew pillows, curtains, clothing – NOT slipcovers. For the photo shoot, I pinned and ironed the heck out of it to make it presentable but as soon as the shoot was over, I removed it. That’s how bad it was. Not sure if a built-in bench is my style. I’m kind of leaning towards a free-standing chaise or shelling out to have the little sofa reupholstered. Thoughts?

*work on styling. There’s nothing in that silver bowl on the table for crying out loud! I didn’t style anything for these pictures. This is how the rooms looks right now. I can’t wait to have fun decorating. And this room needs a little pattern wouldn’t you say?

*find a lamp for the fauxdenza

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How do you feel about the new wall color? Love it? Hate it? At least tell me you’ve repainted a room three times in less than two years.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

134 Comments

21.February.2013

I adore this color and the room looks amazing. I want to find a spot in my house where I can use a similar color now!

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I have to admit, I was a little iffy on this room. I LOVE the rest of your house, but this room was lacking. The new wall color completely MAKES the room! The travertine looks richer, the accessories pop. Everything just goes. Beautiful work!

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21.February.2013

Love it, love it, love it! All the white and neutral pieces completely pop, the gallery wall looks amazing, and it looks like it feels cozy now!!

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21.February.2013

I love this room. The darker colour makes everything pop so well. There is one thing that bothers me and I feel snarky for even mentioning it. The curtain panels that you have covering the washer and dryer…I would adore them if they were back tabbed so that you couldn’t see the gap between them and the counter top. You could even just clip the hangers to the back to force a pleated effect! :)

We bought a major fixer upper at the same time you did and for pretty much the same price that also required a complete gut job…I’ve loved seeing your progress along the way!

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replied on February 21st, 2013

The gap bothers me too! I was saving that complaint for the laundry nook post but since you mentioned it… I definitely think some tweaking of the curtains needs to happen.

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21.February.2013

I love the new color so much more. I think it really adds some character to the room and makes it less stale. Now it looks like a room that you’d want to hang out in. Also, amazing job on making it a multipurpose room while still stylish and fun!

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I’m am LOVING the way this color turned out. It’s exactly what the room needed to pop and lose some of its neutrality.

Thoughts on the “between the wardrobes” area, full disclosure: From the first pictures you posted — with the mini-sofa and blinds and drapes and wardrobes — I liked all of the pieces individually, but together I felt it was pretty crowded and cramped. I honesty think that the curtains are the main issue; I’d love to see the area without them, just to see. Color- and pattern-wise, they really aren’t doing anything for the room, and I think the blinds might be enough. It just looks very “heavy” over there, and seeing it without drapes might be a good start.

As for the sofa, I say have it reupholstered! Something with color and pattern, maybe. Perhaps a subtle feminine print to contrast with the clean, masculine lines/colors of the rest of the room? I dunno. It’d be worth searching for inspiration on this one.

I think that long curtains on both sides of the French doors would look wonderful. Even just one side could look really nice. It would pull some of that “heaviness” to the back wall and away from the wardrobe wall. Maybe solid-colored curtains, of a hue that’s pulled from your [future] patterned sofa? :)

Love this room. So many possibilities and you’ve picked wonderful pieces for it. I’m excited to see it evolve!

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replied on February 21st, 2013

That area is tricky. Without the curtains, the window is noticeably off-center between the wardrobes. {It’s off-center on the wall.} The curtains also disguise the gap at the back of the wardrobes due to the chair rail. When you’re in the room, they help to balance out the curtains hanging in the laundry nook. They also soften the not-so-pretty view of the side of our neighbor’s house. I agree, the curtains aren’t perfect but I do like having them for the reasons I just listed. Maybe things would look better if I had lighter, gauzier curtains there? Or maybe if I hemmed the current curtains to the windowsill that would help?

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replied on February 22nd, 2013

I think the curtains are great as is. Can you move the bench out about 4 inches further from the wall? I think it only looks a little “off” because the bench is pushing into the curtains.

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replied on February 22nd, 2013

Dana — Yep! Those are definitely solid reasons not to move them! Obviously they’re working, because I didn’t even realize those were issues.

I think Melissa is right — maybe the couch should be pulled out a bit. It was mostly the fact that the curtains were bunching at the bottom that made the area look cramped. It could also be that the blinds/curtains/couch are a bit monochromatic, so maybe a little color would lighten things up? I don’t know. It might take some experimenting. :)

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21.February.2013

Your third attempt was a charm! Love the color and how everything else came together.
Great job! :)

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21.February.2013

And HH’s reaction to new room, et al? ;)

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replied on February 21st, 2013

HH came home from work late the night I repainted. I hadn’t mentioned repainting the room to him beforehand. He said, “whoa.” The next day he said, “I really like it.” After 10+ years of marriage, he knows to expect the unexpected with me.

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replied on February 21st, 2013

Great to have such a supportive guy :)

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21.February.2013

I agree with Megan. I wasn’t a fan of this room compared to the rest of the house, but this new color is perfect. It really makes all the textures POP!! The room is warm and has so much life and interest now. Good pick!!

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21.February.2013

i’m in love!! so beautiful. it really looks finished. as for between the wardrobes, how about something fun like this?

http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Retro-Orange-Wool-Bench/6971988/product.html

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replied on February 21st, 2013

LOVE that bench! The area between the wardrobes is ~60″ wide so I’m afraid this bench might be a little too small?

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replied on February 22nd, 2013

oh no! i was afraid that might be the case. centered it would leave 10 inches on either side. perhaps fuller curtains? anyway, i just loved the pop of poppy in the tote bag hanging by the laundry nook. it’d be great to incorporate that color over by the wardrobes, too!

such a lovely job. you must be sooooo excited!

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21.February.2013

It’s gorgeous!

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21.February.2013

Wow! That first shot is straight off the pages of a magazine. Nice work.

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21.February.2013

Great choice! I love that color in this space.

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21.February.2013

That color is transformational! The room looks fantastic! I’m glad you mentioned the area between the wardrobes – I’ve not been a fan of the little sofa – maybe because of the long curtains behind it – but i’m leaning toward built in bench with shorter curtains.

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21.February.2013

Amazing!!! I love love love it!! I just bought 2 wardrobes just like that and am trying to find the right piece for in between. You may have inspired my dark side

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21.February.2013

Love the new color!

Maybe you can take advantage of the space under the window with some more storage like this:

http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/550x/0c/44/35/0c4435f6f4e63525e83630d9c71c18db.jpg

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21.February.2013

I love the new paint color. It makes the flooring look great! Since you kinda asked, I am not a fan of the cowhide on the floor. Just my two cents…but the wall color is amazing! Great work!

Love your blog!

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replied on February 21st, 2013

HH mentioned a larger, more colorful rug. It would totally work!

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21.February.2013

LOVE it! And yes, I’ve painted my living room 5 times in the 8 years we’ve lived here. I finally have it right: a (discontinued) Martha Stewart color called Bird Bath Grey.

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21.February.2013

Very nice! Much more bold than my comfort zone – but I really like it with the white wood below.

I agree with Stacy that there seems to be too much going on between the wardrobes – I’d remove the curtains. If the little sofa is comfortable and well made I’d consider reupholstering it rather than buying something new – might not be much difference in price. I’d do something colorful and patterned – my husband would probably want a big colorful floral.

Not sure I’d do any sort of curtain around the french doors – I’d be concerned that they would always be getting caught in the doors.

Can’t wait to see what you do next!

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replied on February 21st, 2013

If I do hang curtains at the doors, I will hang the rod wider than the actual doors so that the curtain panels will fall to the side and not impede traffic through the doors. Since the shoe bench and hooks are on the right side of the doors, I’d probably slide the panels to the other {left} side of the doors. It’s okay if they overlap the left-hand door a little because the primary door is the one on the right. We have to open the right-hand door before we can open the left…if that makes any sense.

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21.February.2013

The color is glorious. I love when people use dark/black paint! Such a statement. Though I agree with Sabrina about that curtain. The gap jumped out at me. I did something similar at my old house to create a closet. I used Ikea’s wire curtain hanging system and clips. I gathered some fabric before clipping it, and clipped about an inch down from where it was gathered so it had a little tufted look. Kind of hard to describe. But at the end it looked like extra long expensive custom drapes and not some Ikea clips and sheets. :)

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21.February.2013

I think the contrast is amazing!!! I have never seen such a cool, moody laundry room. I would love to see some awesome color on the French doors!

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21.February.2013

Just recently stumbled across your blog and added it to my reader, and one of this reasons why is because I absolutely LOVE your style. I think it’s very similar to mine. I adore this room and I’m a total sucker for gray in any room, and I think this color looks great on your walls. You definitely have a balance of light and dark in here and it works really well. I love the idea of painting the doors a red color. Perfect pop of color! And who doesn’t love red?! I also spotted a gold Nate Berkus bowl in your last picture that I JUST picked up today on clearance for $4.00! That must mean something :)

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21.February.2013

I love the new wall color! It totally makes the room.

I also appreciated your honesty in this post, especially how you get DIY projects done with three kids at home. I have always wondered how you lovely ladies in blog land get it all done, so thanks for giving us a behind the scenes look.

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21.February.2013

Love this color so much. Love everything you are doing with you house!

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LOVE! lovelovelovelovelovelovelove. Stunning!

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21.February.2013

the new wall color is fantastic!! Love it! good choice

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21.February.2013

Ok. Love the wall color, love the table and chairs, love the fauxdenza… I am just not getting the sheepskin chair throws and cowhide rug…With the horns on the fauxdenza it looks a bit prehistoric meets modern. I love the wood in the laundry nook and the mirror, but something about the curtains or the line of pictures looks too cluttered. Honestly, I usually love your choices. Just not getting this room yet. You have great vision…. Looking forward to seeing it continue to evolve.

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21.February.2013

l o v e the color.
l o v e your mudding nook.
{i have friends who have a a dinebrary – equally awesome}

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Oh my goodness the dark color is PERFECT! It makes everything else in the room pop. I bet you’re glad you took the plunge and painted again!

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21.February.2013

Hey Dana – first I have to say I’ve totally painted a room three times in a row to finally get it right, our powder room, and ironically the final – perfect – color is black as well :) I LOVE everything you’ve done with your house, it’s truly amazing the transformation that’s happened and it totally makes me want to move right in to a carbon copy for my family :) Mabrey’s room is my absolute favorite and the ‘everything’ room is a close second for sure, with the kitchen an even closer third…. But if I’m being honest it’s just all amazing. I’m learning so much through your experience and I’m so grateful that you’ve put yourself out there to share your story. Just wanted to share some kudos, you guys have done an incredible job, truly. Thanks for being you and sharing with all of us :)

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21.February.2013

LOVE it! I can’t believe that just changing the paint like that can make that room come together so beautifully.

And I”ll try to remember your can-do attitude for projects around here where there’s a “helpful” two-and-a-half year old. “If Dana can do it with three kids…”

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21.February.2013

I love everything about this color! Although, it makes me think of caviar (not that I eat that sort of thing – too pricey for me). This is so beautiful, but I do agree that the room is now ready for little pops of color. Great job, Dana!

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21.February.2013

I LOVE it!! Everything about it is perfect! The mix of colors and textures, the depth of the wall color. It all has come together so well! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! I want to find a room to paint now!

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21.February.2013

Dana, you’ve done a remarkable job on this room! It is so beautifully designed. Kudos!

ps – i totally vote for the red doors ;) I had the thought of a big pop of glossy-orangy-red before I even read your part about that.

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I absolutely love this…like I’m giddy it looks so good! I was going to ask how HH liked it but I see you already answered that question. YAY!!!

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21.February.2013

Love it. I am a paint-a-holic….and a move-furniture-a-holic….if I must be honest :)

I must say…in response to your comment about how things look first off – I have always liked everything that you have put together…then you get to tweaking and I realize how much more I like things as you progress.

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21.February.2013

Omg I’m so in love with this color. You did an amazing job. I just love the contrast. I actually love the orange backup hanging on the wall. I think that would be an amazing accent color. I like your idea about painting the doors a bright poppy color. Between the bookcases I would do a built in window seat. It would be awesome storage which is always nice. Great job!!! Like always.

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Gosh Dana it’s gorgeous! The dark colour looks so nice with the black and white photos, wood tones and crisp white. Totally worth doing three times over. And to be honest, I’m glad you did. Makes me feel better about not always getting it right the first time, and it certainly fits with your blog name :)

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21.February.2013

Your ‘tweaking’ continues to amaze me! I saw this post pop up on my Facebook feed as my fiancé and I drove to dinner reservations. I get car sick if I read in the car (especially on an iPhone) and my fiancé gave me a hard time about trying to read it on my way to dinner. After we got home from dinner I went right to the computer to read your post. Kudos to you…!!! Keep up the amazing and inspiring work- I just need to find the time to start my own blog :)

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22.February.2013

My goodness, you have talent. I don’t comment regularly but have to tell you I love your blog. Keep it up.

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22.February.2013

Love the color in that room! And I do love the area between the wardrobes but maybe if you got a settee with no arms in graphic or colorful design it might pop more. And I think crown moulding on the tops of the wardrobes would look great too. Once you find the color of the sofa then match curtains to them. Hope this helps. Love your blog, never stop writing :)

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22.February.2013

I am in LOVE with this paint color in that room! Looks amazing! I caught a glimpse of the old color in the last post and was instantly shocked at how much more dramatic the new color looks and sets off all the white cabinets and wainscoting. This room looks looks absolutely amazing now….I’m jealous! Can I move in ;-) Nice choice!

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22.February.2013

The sneak peek had me drooling and now I pretty much need a full on adult bib! I LOVE the color in this room! LOVE! I would totally transplant this room into my house if I could. Great job!

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22.February.2013

GOOD JOB !! This color is stunning … the few things that caught my eye have already been mentioned (the space between the wardrobe being too busy, the gap between the butcher block and the curtains in the laundry nook, the amount of “prehistoric meets modern” stuff) but those are details since I could totally picture myself living there !! I love the color palette you’ve put together in that room, the different kinds of material and textures. For the petite sofa, I would either have it reupholstered with some nice texture/pattern or go the built-in bench route.
On another topic, I currently have my 7 1/2 yo and 3 1/2 yo nephews home (I don’t have kids myself) and I’m also in the middle of redoing the tile floor in the kitchen. Needless to say that they’ve watched a few movies BUT they’ve also volunteered to help me :) I ended up assigning them to hand me the little plastic crosses you need to put in between the tiles … Keep up with the good work and the guilt-free movie sessions for the boys ! Take care !

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22.February.2013

Love the new paint color! Definitely the best color and totally worth the third paint job. I understand not loving a perfectly acceptable paint choice. I am on the repaint until its right for YOU bandwagon. Wall color sets the look and feel of a room. It’s a personal choice, and sometimes you won’t know until you make some not great or even terrible color choices.

Of course, that being said, I have yet to convince my partner we should repaint the dinning room…after six (6!!) coats of a light yellow over a very light mint green (until we started painting we thought the walls were white!), I doubt I will get my chance to see what a different color would do for the room. We used Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Home Depot even gave us a free gallon since it took so many coats for a 9’X10′ room. So yes, great job choosing the perfect bepepper color! :)

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Hi Dana! The color is definitely a winner! I looooove dark walls and actually one of my favorite rooms in my house has black walls. I love the way your room is coming together. The cowhide is a great addition and should stay for sure. And it took us 3 times in less than a year to finally get the color right in our kitchen and family room. Sometimes thats just how it goes down. As far as the space in front of the window, I think youve done a great job to mask the off centered-ness and awkwardness of the window. Since that’s a feature that can’t be changed, I say detract and distract. Keep the actual window as simple as subtle as possible. I think youve done a great job of that by keeping the window treatments neutral and clean. I like the idea of the settee, but have you considered somthing with a higher back? Maybe even something tufted to bring a tad bit of softness and a bit of a more feminine element into the space. A really substantial piece with great details like a higher back and interesting fabric could work to draw attention away from the window even more. Thanks so much for sharing!

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22.February.2013

This room is simply stunning, you have such a great vision for colour! I love how such a functional room can also be so stylish…

Unlike some of the others above, I really like the curtains between the two wardrobes – I think it adds a needed softness to the area and makes it seem more inviting. However, my two cents is that I’m not convinced by the sofa. Maybe if it was a more interesting colour/print? But to me it just looks as if it’s never used? I’d be tempter to have a little reading nook there – a padded bench with storage underneath for books a la http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/before-after-boring-ikea-billy-bookshelf-to-rad-reading-benchall-things-campbell-184395, or maybe a desk?

But of course it totally depends how you and your family use the space as to what would suit. Love all the changes so far!

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replied on February 22nd, 2013

Jenny, you were reading my mind! {pun intended} I could totally see that space as a reading nook. I’ve been envisioning something plump and cushy in between the wardrobes maybe with a sconce or two?? I’m having a hard time with that sofa because it’s not really lounge-worthy. It sits very upright and is firm. But it does fit the space perfectly. I’m letting it simmer…

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22.February.2013

Dana, LOVE the color. And to make you feel better, I painted one room 3 times in a week! Seriously. After work, with 3 kids, 3 times. But like you said once you get geared up and started you’ve got to make it happen!

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22.February.2013

I LOVE the colour…it really pops against the white, and it really brings out the gallery wall.I wish I was more adventurous with paint colour. This does give me inspiration to be little more daring!

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22.February.2013

I have painted our dining room twice so far and will be doing a switcharo of colors in living room and master all within months:) with three kiddos!

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