...because home doesn't happen overnight.

What did we do on New Year’s Day to celebrate a fresh start? Why, slap some fresh paint on the Underdog of course. After sampling several different paint colors on foam board and moving them around the house for a few days, I decided on a color scheme…with Handy Hubby’s approval.

  • BM Tapestry Beige – great room {family room & kitchen}, hallway to bedrooms, master bedroom, master bathroom
  • BM White Dove – trim, ceilings {including the great room}, interior doors
  • SW Contented – boys’ bedroom
  • BM Camouflage – mudroom/dining room, laundry nook, nursery

{Word is still out on the kid/guest bathroom…either Tapestry Beige or White Dove. I’m waiting until the claw foot tub is painted to decide.}

The collage comes across as pretty ‘blah’ but the colors are light and airy with gray undertones in real life. In fact, now that I’m looking at the collage none of the colors look true to life. Still, hopefully, you get the idea and at least have a reference for what’s to come. When choosing paint colors, it’s easy to want to pick a different color for each room but I’ve found that makes me feel like I’m living in a schizophrenic home. Homes – especially smaller ones like our Underdog – flow better and feel better to me when there are slight variations of color throughout. I know how difficult it can be to limit your palette when there are so many great colors to choose from but, for me, it works.

We’ve tried many different brands of paint in the past and decided to have all paint colors matched at Home Depot with Behr’s low VOC primer and paint in one. Since the majority of the interior walls/ceilings are new absorbent drywall, we thought going with the primer and paint in one would help cut down on the number of coats we’d need.

As I mentioned weeks ago, HH was away on business for three straight weeks leading up to the holidays. Things were slow going. Luckily, HH has had the past two weeks off from work and has spent every single day {minus Christmas…the boys were so excited their Dada didn’t have to work on the house Christmas Day…they kept asking ‘Do you have to go work on the new house?’} prepping, priming and painting. First up was the great room ceiling. If you’ll remember it was pine tongue and groove and we decided to paint it {which went against a lot of friends’ and family members’ opinions}. We liked the raw pine but felt it wouldn’t have looked right once medium-dark hardwood floors, black and white cabinetry and other finishes were installed. Over the years, HH and I have realized that going against popular opinion is sometimes necessary {albeit a tad disconcerting} when it comes to making a house really feel like our home.

So once that was decided, HH did a bunch of research on priming/painting raw pine. Turns out those natural knots can cause bleeding problems down the road if not sealed and primed correctly. HH ended up using Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer. HH brushed a single coat of the shellac primer into the grooves and knots of the pine then rolled it onto the flatter surfaces. {The primer dried waaaay too fast for HH to spray it on using his new paint sprayer.} He wore a respirator while applying it.

HH applied one coat of BM White Dove in a satin finish to the primed tongue and groove ceiling, two coats of BM Tapestry Beige in an eggshell finish to the great room’s walls and one coat of BM White Dove in a flat finish to all other ceilings using the paint sprayer. He wore a respirator and painter’s suit while using the paint sprayer. Of course, this small paragraph totally undermines the amount of time that all this took. For instance, it took HH one whole day just to prep the areas to be sprayed…wipe down, tape off, move drop cloths around, etc. Painting is the easy part. It’s the prepping and clean up that take for.ev.er.

This is what the great room looks like now…

{I finally scraped off the homemade soot-removing recipe of baking powder + dish soap from the mantel. It still needs more drying time and probably more rinsing but I think it worked well enough for what we’ll need. And HH and I agreed that even if it doesn’t clean up spotlessly, we sort of like a taste of the used look…imperfect perfection. We’ve decided to leave the mantel unpainted and in its original condition because we like the contrast. Should we tire of it later, we can always paint it.}

The great room gets so much natural light during daylight hours that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the white ceiling and ivory-gray walls. {In photos, it reads all white.} I was a little nervous about going all white in the great room because we have kids but most of my inspiration photos are white-on-white rooms. So, I compromised and decided to go with the ivory-gray Tapestry Beige. It’s not pure white but it’s still very much light and airy. If you’re not diggin’ the light envelope of the room, please don’t write it off just yet. Remember we still have medium-dark hardwood flooring and black and white kitchen cabinets to add to the mix…along with many other contrasting furnishings.

Here’s a better image of the contrast between the ceiling and walls…

At night under artificial light, the walls have a warmer feel. The white ceiling is my favorite. I know it’s not for everyone but I love it. I can’t stop looking up when I’m in the room. Layne described it best. He said it looks like a cottage. While the white paint gives the tongue and groove a fresh look, there are all these little nooks and crannies that run throughout the ceiling that give it more of that imperfect perfection we like.

HH and I discussed what color to paint the ridge beam. We decided on white {BM White Dove} but HH forgot during his painting escapades and painted it the same color as the walls {BM Tapestry Beige}. I would have preferred it white but I don’t detest the mess-up and HH was not repainting, so it’s staying as is. No biggie.

Can’t wait to install some modern ceiling fans and track lighting along the beam!

HH and I tackled the trim last week {we still have some to add after the flooring install} and HH knocked out the hallway. The walls are requiring two coats of the primer and paint in one.

Painting a house with no flooring is pretty sweet. We don’t have to put down drop cloths or worry about little drips on the floor here and there. We removed all the interior doors prior to painting the trim and walls. You may have noticed them leaning against a wall in the great room above. The plan is to paint the doors the same as the trim. Nope, we’re not getting new doors.

Here’s an image of what BM Tapestry Beige looks like under artificial lighting…in this case, under shop lights…

That’s the view from the master bedroom looking into the hallway. Today HH and I knocked out the master bedroom and bathroom – figuratively speaking – and various closets. The ivory-gray looks much different in the north facing bedroom versus the bright great room which we knew it would.

It feels cozier. It’s amazing what paint can do for old, dingy walls. I did feel a wee bit sad painting over one particular wall…

I know it looks awful but this wall had been stained over the years with the previous homeowner’s various art paints. {The previous owner was an artist. We bought two of her paintings at the estate sale to keep with the house.} From what we can tell, the owner/painter used this bedroom as her studio. There was no bed in this room…just stacks and stacks of original canvas paintings.

{No maternity painting clothes here! The bump cannot be contained.}

My pregnancy emotions got the best of me when I rolled this wall and all I could think was that I was getting rid of a part of the woman’s life…a woman who is now deceased. For someone who enjoys all things design, this wall told a great story and I covered it up. But, let’s be honest, it had to be repainted.

Where were the boys while all of this was going on? If you scroll up to the first pic of the painted great room, you’ll seem them hanging out in the bottom right corner. I set them up with blankets, snacks and a movie on the Mac.

Well, movies plural, I guess. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was Layne’s choice and Spiderman was Everett’s. That should give you a good idea of how different our two boys are. After weeks of racing around for various Christmas parties {we had five Christmases over a span of three days, yikes!}, they were happy to chill out in front of the computer for an afternoon…with old clothes on in case they decided to brush up against any freshly painted walls…which did happen with Everett.

The boys and I took off around 6:00 p.m. to head back to the apartment for dinner and baths. HH stayed behind to finish up one coat on the boys’ bedroom. I saw one wall complete before I left and loved it. That means only the mudroom/dining room and nursery remain unpainted. We’re getting there!

And after paint comes flooring. I think that’s going to be one of the biggest improvements we make.

FYI – I was not compensated in any way to mention the products we used above. I just love sharing good stuff!

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



How excited are you that it looks like a house! Yay!


Wow. Love the ceiling. Love the colors and feel of the great room even without flooring and furniture.


You have been so busy! your house is going to be amazing and it is so neat seeing the progress!


awe.so.me !! I love the colors, I love the ceiling painted (I was in the paint-it gang from the very beginning !) and I can even picture the whole thing with the hardwood floor. Should just be fantastic ! Happy new year Miller family ! take care !
ps : well, I did work hard on my bathroom during xmas break. It’s not done but it’s closest than ever !


Wow it all looks amazing. It is really starting to come together now. I love the tones of the paint you have chosen – in our little house I am just coming to realise that we should use the same tones of colours throughout rather than individual rooms. I agree with you on painting the ceiling it will look great once the flooring has been done. I can’t believe how excited I am to watch this renovation – thank you for sharing!


Finally.. Paint! Love your choices! It’s coming together to nicely. The ceiling looks incredible!


My living room is Tapestry Beige and all my trim is White Dove! Love them.


Oh, and I would have painted the ceiling, too. I think it looks great!


I love white dove! We have it in our home and I don’t think I will ever use another color for trim. It is perfect! Can’t wait to see more!


I just love the ceiling painted..I agree with Layne, it does have a cottage look, my favorite!
All the colors flow beautifully from room to room..


I LOVE the painted ceiling! It is all coming together in such a beautiful way! I cannot wait to see more updates. You both should be so proud of such a lovely home!

Dana I swear I didn’t read your post before I wrote mine.

We LOVE your ceiling! Nice paint picks too!


Wow! Its coming out beautifully!


Lovin the painted ceiling!!!!


The Underdog is looking awesome! Everything looks so fresh and crisp! Y’all are going to be so thrilled when you move in and can look back at all of the progress you made. Your story is so inspiring. How blessed you are to be fulfilling dream life! Keep us posted!


I think I was one of the few people who was all gung ho in favor of painting the ceiling and it looks GREAT!! That house is going to be completely unrecognizable when you guys are done with it. I can’t wait to see with the floors installed. Great choices!


It is looking great! Love the white ceiling :-) Congrats for making so much progress.


I love your blog and new home. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Especially the gray paint colors. They are extremely hard to choose. I’m doing something similar with downsizing to a smaller home for budget reasons, so I really enjoy your blog.


Hi Dana, I love the look of the new paint! You may have already though this through, but I wanted to share with you something about your ceiling fans and track lighting along your beam. My parents had a similar beam installed in their home and also placed ceiling fans and lighting along it. However, the lights are placed above the fans such that when the fans are going and the lights are on, it creates a strobe light effect within the room. Obviously that wasn’t their intent, and a different layout could have prevented this. Just wanted to share so you can avoid a similar problem. Happy new year! :)


It looks so good! I love the ceiling and the contrast of the fireplace as well.


Looks awesome! So happy for you that you’ve made so much progress! Paint always makes a big difference. I love your colors… very light and airy and I like that there are differences but not enough to make you stop and think, “yikes”. Great job!

Love the ceiling! It looks great!


I LOVE your wall colors! They are similar to the ones we chose for our home that we are renovating! I’m glad you said you are painting the old doors because we are too (no budget for doors right now). Painting takes FOREVER! We are done painting the walls (on the main floor only) but I decided to paint all of our trim too (luckily it’s almost done). So much work but so worth it! The ceiling is amazing, I would have painted that bad boy white too. Thank you for updating us!


It looks fantastic! I’m so happy you went w/ a semi-gloss on the ceiling. I love the way it reflects the light! Beautiful. Can’t wait to see it with the flooring in! You have made such amazing progress in such a short time! Happy New Year, and thanks for sharing!


Great choice on the ceiling paint – such inspiring progress throughout the Underdog!


Elizabeth – We have thought the beam fan/lighting situation out with the help of our electrician. While the track lighting will be placed above the fans, the lights will shine so that they don’t shine directly down onto the great room. Instead, they will shine light along the ceiling for more of an ambient feel. We’re also installing high quality lighting above and below our upper kitchen cabinets for more indirect lighting as well. Thanks for looking out for us!


John – I guess a new year does = new paint!!


love the ceiling! we gutted a 125 year old house several years ago. I remember how exciting it was to get paint on the new sheetrock. you’ll be saving a bundle by reusing the doors. there’s so much you can do to old doors with paint and simple moulding. enjoying seeing everything come together.


I love the painted ceiling and following the progress you guys are making.


Can you share the recipe you found to remove the soot? I think it did a great job on your brick fireplace!


It looks amazing – I’m so happy for you guys. Also excited to see you aren’t painting the fireplace – I haven’t painted mine either and I love it. Oddly enough, I was in favor of your plan to paint the ceiling. Isn’t it funny how some things we will or won’t paint? My brick fireplace matches the brick half-wall on the front of my home, so I thought it tied together nicely with the outside and yours does as well!


Love it! Your color scheme is so calming, and the paneled ceilings adds great character.


It looks amazing!!! The ceiling painted whit looks really great too — although I like the idea of unpainted wood on the ceiling, the white makes the room feel a lot bigger and more airy.

So do you guys have a move-in date figured out yet? Seems like it is getting close (well if you ignore the no toliet or kitchen thing hehe). It is funny how paint instantly turns a place from a contruction site to a home. :)

I think the painted ceiling is incredible! Great choice!


Khanh – I used the dish soap + baking soda recipe I found here. Since it was my job to remove the soot and I’m pregnant, I didn’t want to use any chemicals that could be potentially harmful to me or baby…so no TSP, no acids, etc. The soap + soda recipe worked well enough for what we needed. I’ll write up a post about all the details!


It’s really looking good! I even showed it to my husband, but what he found more interesting was the green jacket hanging on the scaffolding. He works in a steel mill, and says those greens are only used in steel or aluminum plants- just wondered if your husband works in one of those?


Peggy – The green jacket is actually mine! Haha! And, no, I don’t work in a steel mill on the side. ;)


Good call on the ceiling paint. It looks great!


I tried out Tapestry Beige today and it was too tan for me. Does it look tan to you in the underdog or does it end up looking gray? I ended up returning it and getting more Bonsi. But now I wonder if I’m going to end up loving what you do with Tapestry Beige and want to change it…Darn you Dana…LOL.


Mandi – The same paint colors can look very different in different homes and lighting. In fact, the Tapestry Beige in the great room looks nearly white/off white during the day but in our north-facing master bedroom it takes on a grayer hue all day long. So, there you go, one paint color that looks totally different even in two rooms of the same house. But we like the way it looks in each room, so that’s why we chose it. If you feel it’s too beige for you, then by all means, try some other options until you find one you like!


Thanks for the link to the soot removal recipe. I’m looking forward to your post! I look forward to all your posts :)


I’m so glad you mentioned color matching. So many people do not know this is an option. I’ve matched everything from fancy Ralph Lauren & Martha Stewart to good old Behr at a fraction of the price. They even have a scanner at HD that will match a swatch of fabric. I’m also glad to know I am not the only one walking around with large pieces of foam board. Enjoy your new colors!


I love your blog and your style so much, so when I saw your paint choices I knew I had to use one of them for our home! You just have such great taste. I just bought a sample of the tapestry beige for our kitchen and I LOVE it! Thank you again!


[…] and painting…we’ll be using the same Zinsser B-I-N shellac base primer that we used on the tongue and groove ceiling┬áto seal the knots. Then a few coats of Benjamin Moore white dove mixed in Clark + […]



I love your painted ceilings and can’t wait to do ours. You mentioned that you used a satin sheen on the planked ceiling, what finish did you use on the other surfaces? Did you use flat on the non-plank ceiling and semi-gloss on the doors and trim?

Thank you,


We used eggshell on the walls, semigloss on the trim & fireplace surround & horizontal planks in the mudroom, flat on all other ceilings.