...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.


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.}





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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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



Have you mentioned yet where you got those coat hooks from? I’ve been searching for something like those! The paint is great.

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Hi Dana, I was in an Ace this weekend and I was looking for the chip of Besalt to see what it really looked like (monitors not being great for color fidelity and all) and I could not find it! Is there number on the chip or anything you can tell me? I did pull a few other colors that looked, to me, like what your room looks like on screen, which is a very dark gray with a teal undertone…like Renaissance (D40-7) or is it more like Coal Dust (D37-7).

Any advice on finding the color is appreciated. I have a home office that could use a little zing.

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replied on February 25th, 2013

The number for Besalt is D36-7. It’s an Ace Paint color. They have swatches for it at my local Ace. Hope that helps!

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What did you use for the wainscotting in the ‘everything room’? I love it and would love to try filling a wall with it or a hallway in my casa. Great job on the room and love the the new color it totally ties it all in and looks like it ‘just belongs’.

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replied on February 25th, 2013

We found the pine tongue-and-groove at Home Emporium near Cincy.

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Go big. Go bold. Neutral doesn’t have to be boring! I love your color palette. That striking dark wall color is dramatic, yet warm and earthy. I am going to run out for a sample of Besalt right now because I see that paint in my future! I admire how you paired it with classic white on the lower walls and on the woodwork with touches of black, and the various shades of burlap like beiges. The pops of stained wood on the fauxdenza, on some of the picture frames, on the counter in your laundry nook, and on the dining table are brilliant. Too much brown stained wood in a room always depresses me, but a room is sometimes sterile without a touch of it. While I always prefer white moldings, cabinetry and built-ins in room, I also detest rooms that are too “mod” or worse too “precious.” I think you found the perfect antidote between either of those two extremes. It’s a high style hotel chic mixed with a Victorian era ageless chic. I find something so appealing about the feminine glamour of white marrying the masculinity of more sturdy pieces. Plus, there is something satisfying with metal or iron elements in a room too. As to the area between the wardrobe, I love your window treatment solution. I don’t find it too fussy. That mini-settee is masterful in that nook. Although if you are shooting for something you could actually enjoying sitting in to read a book (and don’t want any sort of built-in mentioned above), I would replace it with a taller settee or bench that has back that will go to the window. I bet you are totally clever enough to find something perfectly affordable to upcycle for that space too! Brava!

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Can you give a link to the chairs you have around the table?

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replied on August 5th, 2013

They are tulip chairs from Overstock!

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Hi there! I came across this web page while searching for paint color inspirations and I absolutely love your ideas and decor!

One question where can I find the hanging light fixture it is very unique and has a vintage industrial look to it that I really like!


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replied on September 3rd, 2013

Crate & Barrel!

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Do you think a color like this would work in a darker room that still had a good amount of white (think a galley kitchen with no windows but white cabinets)?

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replied on October 29th, 2013

I think it depends on the type of room. If you were talking about a powder room, I would say go for it. But for a kitchen that is used more often, I would want good natural light so it didn’t feel like I was cooking in a cave. Of course, I have no idea what your kitchen looks like so if you’re considering dark walls, paint a section and see how you like it. It’s just paint!

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[…] back when I painted the mudroom (for the third time), I had the inclination to DIY a magnetic display wall in this deficient hall. […]


I LOVE the color!
One question….Like you, I love the “I can touch through you” flat paint. I currently painted with the Valspar flat, which was rated good, but unfortunately when I even lightly brush the wall it leaves a mark. Even worse, after attempting to remove the mark, it only makes it worse. Have you noticed any similar issues with your dark paint, as I think I’ll try to re-paint my room with the Clark and Kensington if it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

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replied on March 17th, 2014

I haven’t noticed any problems with the walls showing marks. But maybe the tongue-and-groove wainscoting helps? Even so (and you are the first to know…), I plan on painting my sons’ room this same color soon! They have been asking me for a black room ever since I repainted the mudroom. I’m giving in.

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