Interior paint shortlist

I’ve been stalking everyone’s homes in the last month or two, keeping my eye out for the perfect shade of grey for the interior walls of House By The Water.  And whenever I’ve seen something I like, I’ve pounced!  “Excuse me.  What colour is your wall?”  The internet is great like that.

Here are some lovely walls:

Wattyl "Snowdonia" 3/4 strength in Josh and Jenna's bedroom.

Wattyl “Snowdonia” 3/4 strength in Josh and Jenna’s bedroom on The Block.

Wattyl "Kid Leather" at Finlay Homes.

Wattyl “Kid Leather” at Finlay Homes.

Pictured above:  Lovely, beachy new home.  Details kindly shared by TBrown on HomeOne Forum.

I know I’ve posted on interior paint colours before, but firstly that post looks a bit drippy (ha ha!) since I changed my blog’s format, and secondly, it was based on a paint brochure.  I’m far wiser now.  I’ve realised just how different colours can look on a screen and in different light.  Thus, my internet stalking for real-life examples.  Of course, nothing compares to testing it out for yourself, and so I have a plan!

While my husband is in Mandurah (HBTW’s location) next week for meetings, I want to him to buy a few sample pots of paint, paint up some boards and leave them there for the interior designer to study in situ.  So I need a short list.  I want a cool grey.  Light, but definitely not white.

My Solver Paint shortlist.

  • Soft Apparition
  • Feather dawn
  • Kitty Grey
  • Southwards
  • Crystal Ball
  • Scribbly Gum


  • Soft Apparition – looking the least like a “greige” on my screen.
  • Feather dawn – I’ve been using this in all my digital mood boards, but I think it’s going to look white in reality.
  • Kitty grey – based on photos of good looking display homes.
  • Southwards – wooed by The Islander (see below).
  • Crystal ball – my favourite on paper.
  • Scribbly Gum – looking too green on my screen but perfectly lovely in The Etesian (see below).

Solver Paints are utterly hopeless when it comes to showcasing their paints online.   Get with it Solver!   Webb and Brown-Neaves use Solver Paints as standard for the interiors of their homes and our paint is included in our building contract.  Fortunately, W&BN have some lovely display homes that show Solver Paints so you can get a real idea of some of the paint colours.  (Dale Alcock have also used a lot of Solver Paints, in case any one else is trying to choose from these paints.)

Solver Southward at The Islander by Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Solver Southward at The Islander by Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Solver's Scribbly Gum can be seen at The Etesian, by WBN.

Solver’s Scribbly Gum can be seen at The Etesian, by WBN.  (Note to self:  Scribbly Gum looks a bit green in sample circle, but not  in The Etesian.  I saw it with my own eyes!)

Solver Creamy Coffee at The Bayfield.

Solver Creamy Coffee at The Bayfield.

Solver Kitty Grey as seen in home by Dale Alcock.

Solver Kitty Grey as seen in home by Dale Alcock.

Has anyone used any of the paints on my shortlist?

Or ruled them out after testing?

Got a light, cool grey that you love?

And what about the 1/2, 1/4 strength can of worms?  Should I go there?

You’ll find more named paints in my Pinterest file, if you are keen.

Painted feature walls.

Dear Reader,  

Thank you for suggesting I write about the topic “Feature walls, Yay or Nay?”  I was wondering the same thing.  It is with pleasure that I present to you my entirely unqualified opinion on the matter.  

Yours sincerely,

Johanne at House By The Water.

Yay or Nay?

5 rooms that definitely say “Yay”:

The colour adds mood, without drowning the whole room.  Source:  Lonny.

The colour adds mood, without drowning the whole room. Source: Lonny.

Black wall adds depth.  Source:

Black wall adds depth and definition. Source: Home Adore.

Framing a view, creating a division of space.  Source:

Framing a view, creating a division of space. Source:  Home Adore.

Background colour highlights the pendant and fire.    Source:  Cote Maison.

Background colour highlights the pendant and fire. Source: Cote Maison.

Grey wall frames art.  Source: Lux Interior Design.

Grey wall frames art. Source: Lux Interior Design.

When to use a feature wall:

  • to create mood, without intruding on the feeling of space and light.
  • to frame a feature such as a view, painting, fireplace, special piece of furniture, architectural detail.
  • to create depth and interest.

Simple, hey?

Wrong.  I’ll use my dilemma area as an example.  Our fireplace.

Display home version of our fireplace.  By Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Display home version of our fireplace. By Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Firstly, I can’t decide whether or not our fireplace wall should be “a feature”.  Giving it a colour of its own, would highlight the fire and provide a nice back ground to a large pendant light that will hang in the room.  On the other hand, we’ll already have the canal view as a feature (at least in the day time) and I have plans for a big piece of art for the large bare wall, shown on the left side of  the photo above.  Is that too many features?

Secondly, for every beautiful feature wall I’ve seen, there is an equally beautiful room that is elegant in its simplicity.  (Plain in the left column, “feature” walls on the right.)

Photos sources:  1. Zusss.  2. The Style Files. 3.  Remodelista.  4. Plastolux.  5. Zuster. 6. Contemporist.  7. Milk Magazine. 8.  Nixon Tulloch Fortey.

Thirdly, try searching “feature wall” on Google or Pinterest.  You’ll find all kinds of “nay” happening there.  Pulling off a feature wall takes confidence and skill.  A feature wall, well, features in a room, so you’d better love whatever colour you choose.

In the case of our fireplace, I don’t think we can go wrong.  The easy answer is “no feature paint” but I don’t want to miss an opportunity.  With the double height wall, painting it  later would be a saga.  At this point, most people would buy a couple of sample pots and paint a wall to make a decision “on the ground”.  We don’t have this option right now.  The next time I see House By The Water will be for the “Practical Completion Inspection”, when the interior walls will have long since been painted by the builders.

To resolve the issue (again), I turned to my new favourite time-wasting activity, mood board creation.

Open living at House By The Water.

No “feature wall” in our open living area.  Kitchen, living and dining all in one.

So for our fireplace, I’m saying “Nay” to a painted feature wall.   An additional block of colour seems to detract from the rest.

I also considered a painted feature wall for my son’s bedroom.  We are going for an industrial/coastal style there.  (There’s a new combo for you!)  A charcoal colour would go nicely, but there was the question of which wall to paint. In the end I’ve decided it’s all or nothing.   (Another post, another day.)

Of course, there are alternatives to painting a feature wall.  Wallpaper is big right now.  But if you think I have commitment issues with painting a feature wall, I am down-right scared of wallpaper.  I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the time we removed the old wallpaper in our first house.  It was not fun and it went on for days.  Timber panelling, exposed brick, raw concrete and stone are all high-commitment options for feature walls.   Although they usually require thought in the planning stage of a build, I consider some of them to be low risk options.  Rarely do I see a stone or timber wall that I don’t like.

And, for the complete “feature wall” chicken, here are some gorgeous wall hangings that I love:

These are from Restoration Hardware in the United States.  Unfortunately, they don’t ship to Australia.

So, dear reader.  Are you still there?  I’m voting “yay” for feature walls, but not always.

Your turn:

Are you planning a feature wall?

Have you painted a feature wall that you lived to regret?

How about one you love to bits?

Has anyone tested out the new so-called “removable wallpaper”?




Colour therapy and paint

Interior painting is included in our house contract.  We won’t need to select paints for a while, but it’s a relaxing way to spend time while I am waiting for construction to start.  In particular I want to get the double-height living room right because repainting it will involve scaffolding, an exercise I hope to avoid for many years.
Although I find rich, moody colours so tempting, the overall look we are going for with HBTW is light and natural.  My plan is to use just one colour for most walls in the house.  Here’s my shortlist:

Snow White, Feather dawn, Soft Apparition, Crystal Ball, Scribbly gum, Paper White.
I know it is absolutely necessary to test these on site because the colours online, in photos, in someone else’s room, in different light, etc, all look different.  Take Scribbly Gum as an example.  Based on the swatch above, it looks beige to me, rather than a light grey that I’m aiming for.  But check out how it looks in this bedroom:

Scribbly gum paint.  Source:   MS Mega Home Lottery.

Scribbly gum paint. Source: MS Mega Home Lottery.

More grey, don’t you think?
One of my blog readers, who just moved into her Webb & Brown-Neaves home, painted boards with her sample pots of paint, so she could move them from room to room, and see how the paints looked in different spaces.  Clever.
I am contemplating a different colour for two areas of the house.  The first is the fireplace/chimney wall:

I played around on Polyvore with some different colour options:

I do like the striking black, but I’m pretty sure my husband will say no.  And, when I envision one dark coloured column in the whole open living area (kitchen, dining and living room), it seems isolated and wrong.  My current preference is the grey, darker than the other walls, but not shouting for attention.  On the other hand, here are a couple of spaces that I love, that manage to have a “feature wall” without it over-featuring:

Photo sources:  1.  Lisa Petrole via Houzz, 2.  Archnew.
Oh, the indecision!
The second area in contention for a variation in colour is the library.  Originally, I assumed we’d stick to white/slightly grey, but my husband has other ideas and I could be persuaded.  I’m going to save that discussion for another time.  In the mean time, if you are craving colour, take a look at a few of my favourite places on the web for brave and wonderful use of colour:

(You can buy paint from them too if you are feeling adventurous.)