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We picked up this giant elk photo alongside the hutch at The Brown Elephant, and although I was originally going to share it as a score earlier this week, I ultimately broke it into a separate post because 1) it’s not for the kitchen (we don’t think?) and 2) once I did a little Googling around, we were all whoa!

Let me explain.

It’s a 20″ x 30″ signed photographic print, and it was hung all very nonchalant-like by the restrooms. It caught my eye because it was cute, it was an actual signed photo (not an art print) and it was huge! We didn’t take it off the wall, but not able to find a price, we asked a sales associate, and after a quick hmm, he replied with $25.

The last thing we need is more art, but Scott was on board, and I thought, would I buy this for $25 if I saw this at an art fair? Yes! And so it came home with us. The frame, while nice, is more traditional than we’d lean, but with a clean white mat and an equally clean white frame, this print would really shine! You know we’re complete suckers for animal art in general, so really, no one should be surprised that we’ve added more animals to our repertoire. See that stud in the bottom left corner licking his lips? I love that guy.


The surprise came the next day, however, when we took a look at the back of the frame and saw an artist statement from Thomas D. Mangelsen, a well respected nature photographer (and all around good guy, really!). Our photo, titled Winter Herd – Elk, is edition 32/950, and, um, you can buy it right here for the price of one month’s rent (maybe a small box in Chicago, but still).

I had a flashback to this movie (if you’re an art lover, it’s a fun flick) and then I thought, hmm. Why would someone give this away? I’m an overly nostalgic person, and it always makes me feel a bit weepy to see discarded artwork (I just think of those long nights I spent cooped up with classmates in our college-day drawing studio). Regardless of what the photo is worth, we love it, and we just feel so lucky that we totally scored.

Has anyone else found art while thrifting and come home with something that was worth much (much) more? Art, furniture or otherwise? (And on a side note, I swear I had a poster of Mangelsen’s snugglefest polar bears as a child. Didn’t we all?)

PS… We’re sharing a round-up of kitchen ideas on Bali Blinds today – with a lot of them coming straight from your own experience and input over the last month! You can check it out right here.

  • Katie - January 15, 2015 - 6:55 AM

    Whaaa?! Congratulations on winning the lottery and bringing such a beautiful and soulful piece of artwork into your home!ReplyCancel

  • Kyley & Ammo the Dachshund - January 15, 2015 - 7:19 AM

    my late grandmother had picked up this old/dirty landscape painting at a yard sale years and years ago. She was always collecting “treasures” most of which we always thought was junk. Over the years the painting didn’t survive well – it even had a hole punched through the front of it at one point. Years later my grandmother was at an auction house trying to find out if any of her “antiques” were worth anything. With no luck on the way out the door she mentions the painting with a hole in the front. Intrigued, the appraiser wanted to see it. Needless to say it ended up being valued at $30,000 – convincing my grandmother to sell it was a whole other challenge (as she needed $ to live off of)! It was a nice little surprise and goes to show you one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 7:26 AM

      Wow, how awesome! Do you know or remember the name of the artist?ReplyCancel

  • Theresa - January 15, 2015 - 8:14 AM

    Holy cow! uh, maybe it should be holy elk!ReplyCancel

    • Sarah - January 15, 2015 - 11:11 AM

      Those elk without antlers (the females) are called cows, so “holy cow” works too :-)ReplyCancel

      • Theresa - January 16, 2015 - 11:23 AM

        Then I stand by my original comment. Holy cow! :)ReplyCancel

  • Trish - January 15, 2015 - 8:15 AM

    I’m a fellow Chicagoan and I love The Brown Elephant for treasures. While I’m a fan of the piece I am not so keen on the matting and framing. You have such good taste I think it will be great to see how you reimagine this piece in your space.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 8:29 AM

      You’re right – the frame and mat combo isn’t our style, but that’s an easy fix!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - January 15, 2015 - 8:49 AM

    You’re like the “Google-it” version of Antiques Roadshow! Except this isn’t an antique really. I wonder how donated items are assessed when they come into a thrift store – like do employees have time to do any kind of internet search on the value of an item, or is it just “all men’s pants: $1″ kind of generalization?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 4:51 PM

      I think for some items, they would HAVE to google, right? This one slipped through the cracks!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - January 15, 2015 - 9:56 AM

    I love how much you two love animal art haha. This was such a great find! This is going to look great in your home.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 10:09 AM

      We’re like 2 moths to a flame. What is wrong with us?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - January 15, 2015 - 10:23 AM

    WOW. Great find! It already has so much character. And with white matting, it will be incredible!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - January 15, 2015 - 10:23 AM

    WOW! That’s so awesome! We want this exact experience, but with an Ansel Adams (a girl can dream, right?)

    I feel similarly about discarded art, BUT I think it’s really art looking for a new person to love it. We recently purchased a piece at an antique mall. It’s a relief print that appears to be an early work of a St Louis artist. It’s signed and numbered (two things we’ve decided we’re sticklers about when building our collection) I emailed the artist hoping to get some more details, which I’ll post if we get them.

    I think the biggest score we’ve had is our couch, which we think is by a famous mid century furniture designer (and therefore worth WAY more than we paid even after the reupholstery) but we haven’t been able to confirm yet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 10:28 AM

      Aw, yeah, I really like the way you put it! Our friend asked us if we were going to sell it, and we were like, no way! We love it. I guess it was looking for us? :) Is it too much to ask for this experience again, but maybe for a Diane Arbus? Or maybe a Richard Avedon?

      So cool about your relief print!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - January 15, 2015 - 10:53 AM

    A Mangelson PHOTO for $25?!?!? That is a major score!! I love his work, but I only have a signed poster of his that I got back in the mid-90’s that I framed and still have hanging on the wall in the guest bedroom. Its his famous grizzly bear snagging a salmon mid-air shot that I just LOVE!! Great find!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 11:08 AM

      Yes! Love that shot (and hungry bear)!ReplyCancel

  • Alison G - January 15, 2015 - 11:04 AM

    Wow if that isn’t a find. Good for you. You have a big house with lots of walls to fill, of course you needed it.ReplyCancel

  • GreenCanary - January 15, 2015 - 11:06 AM

    I once found a 1973 screenprint entitled “Telephone Poles in Yellow” at a thrift store that I really liked. I got it home, did some research, found the artist (Arnold Mesches), and struck up a great email conversation with him! He was excited to hear how his artwork had traveled out into the world and found its way to my grubby little hands :-)

    ALSO! I once found a beautiful Danish modern rocking chair in the garbage. Turned out to be a Frank Reenskaug Model 182 rocking chair, designed for Brahmin Mobler in 1958. It’s my prized possession.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 15, 2015 - 11:08 AM

      Awesome!! Garbage finds are sometimes the best finds. People don’t know what they have…ReplyCancel

  • Monika - January 15, 2015 - 11:23 AM

    Whoa, you’re right, big time score! Good for you. Knowing your affinity for critters, this is an even better acquisition. Well done. Mangelson used to live in my home state of Colorado and is especially well regarded around these parts. You guys are soooo lucky! Big time congrats. Enjoy those elk wherever they may roam in your Chicago home. :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily P - January 15, 2015 - 11:28 AM

    I knew that was a Mangelsen photo when it popped up in my feed! My husband would die if he knew you found a Thomas Mangelsen piece in a thift store. Thomas Mangelsen is his favorite photographer, and we always peruse his art galleries when we’re in Denver and Omaha. Unfortunately, we can’t afford anything, but we pick our favorites and imagine what we would buy if we ever won the lottery. I hope you enjoy the picture! His work truly is lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - January 15, 2015 - 11:39 AM

    That’s the dream right there! It’s a really cool photograph as wellReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - January 15, 2015 - 4:41 PM

    I totally love it and would have bought it too. Can’t believe what a steal!ReplyCancel

  • alexis - January 15, 2015 - 11:26 PM

    I was with my mom at the salvation army on a 50% off day, she’s has an amazing eye and found a beautiful Pacific Clay tall urn in great condition for $30. We got it home, did a little research and the urn is worth more than $1,000. It’s crazy, I’m just mad I didn’t spot it first!ReplyCancel

  • ryan - January 16, 2015 - 1:36 PM

    I have a little painting that I picked up at the thrift store up the street from my house. Its one if those “all sweaters are $2″ kind if places. The painting is in framed and I don’t know enough to know if its acrylic or oil. The subject of the painting is a farm landscape with a big tree and a barn. The notes on the back lead me to discover that it was mist likely painted by a patient in a government run hospital in wyoming for soldiers suffering PTSD, or battle fatigue/shell shock as it was then called. This particular man would have served in WWI and based on census records had been at the hospital for near 20 years.

    I love this little painting that I picked up for $1 two summers ago. I like to think about why he painted it, and what it was like living in an institution in the 1930s.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 16, 2015 - 1:46 PM

      Wow, what an interesting story! It’s sort of how I like to look back at all those vintage photos and wonder about the people in them. Curious minds… ;)ReplyCancel

  • Brandi - January 16, 2015 - 2:39 PM

    Great post, and score!
    Question: Do you ever just pull out your phone and google the artist while you’re contemplating on whether or not to buy it? I find that I do that more often than not. Either way, if you love it, I suppose it doesn’t matter if it is a famous artist or not. I have actually taken a picture of the picture, and noted the name, gone home to “research” it on the internet, then returned to find it was gone. Can’t wait to see what it looks like reframed.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 16, 2015 - 2:50 PM

      Oh, yes, we definitely do that! We didn’t do that for this print for some reason, but we’ll quickly google any maker marks on furniture, etc. Regardless of what we find out, we’ll still only buy if we love it – not because of a name. I’m always trying to declutter around here, and we’re still making our way through furniture from the old home that we can’t quite seem to find a place for in this house!ReplyCancel

  • Julianne - January 16, 2015 - 7:49 PM

    I bought an Atlantic coffee table book by photographer Jake Rajs for $20 at the used book store still in the plastic. Inside was a signed photo print that goes for $175 on his site and the book itself goes for $75. I was just happy to get the book because it is huge and the pictures are beautiful but the signed photo was a nice bonus.ReplyCancel

  • Nadia - January 19, 2015 - 2:07 AM

    The lips-licking fella stands out so much. =DReplyCancel

  • Our principles for buying art | - February 11, 2015 - 11:08 AM

    […] we were happy to tote this piece home with us. (Although if we ever run across an awesome, piece like Yellow Brick Home did, I’ll do a seriously nerdy, white girl happy dance in the middle of the store.) It […]ReplyCancel


It’s mid-January, and we thought we were going to be eyeballs deep in kitchen renovations and drywall dust – but nope. We’re not surprised (eh, it’s to be expected and there have already been a few minor setbacks), but we are off to a slower start than we would have liked. The contractors will actually begin their work at the end of this week – moving electrical, gas lines and installing a pocket door! – which means that this coming weekend, Scott and I will begin our drywall patch and repair work! I can’t say we’re excited about that, exactly, but we are excited to move forward. Onward!

While we had hoped work would begin last week, we took it as a sign to relish every minute of this past weekend and relax (somewhat), you know, before this kitchen takes over our lives. Instead of our usual monumental to-do list, we did normal, everyday things – cleaned the house, watched a movie, and slept in – but we also spent a day tile shopping and thrifting (the best way to spend a day, we think!).

We came home feeling inspired and excited for what’s to come, and better yet, our wagon was loaded up with this:


Our new kitchen layout will allow for a skinny island in the center of the room, and to the right of our soon-to-be wall of windows, we’ll have space for a small hutch! We’ve been on the online hunt for a while now, but a sporadic stop into The Brown Elephant (during a 50% off sale, no less!) had us hauling home this tiny cutie for all of $62. $62! It’s super petite at 34″ wide and maybe 5′ tall; in other words, it was made for our kitchen.


Now, it’s going to need work. The finish is too orange for our tastes, but we want to warm things up by keeping the wood alive with a really thorough refinishing job. Up close, we can tell that it was already someone’s project at one point, as there are telltale drips of polyurethane and door pulls that are just ever-so-slightly crooked. This will be a test in patience, for sure, but I’m going to attempt to strip the poly and re-stain.

The inside of the hutch is a bizarre two-toned finish, the glass panels are chipped and the drawer knobs look as though they were installed a half inch above the original knobs (what?). If we don’t forgo the glass altogether, we’ll have new panels cut, and we’re thinking of smoothing out those zebra stripes with paint – but only on the inside shelving! The whole thing will get finished off with new hardware, and whew!, are we excited to see what a difference that’ll make.

kitchen-hutch-03 kitchen-hutch-05

In other ‘Things’ news, we got ourselves a kitchen runner! With a lot of our finishes being white and gray, we wanted to bring in saturated color with a vintage rug, and after making the eBay rounds (like, every day) for months, we fell in love with this beauty. She was so, so pretty online, but my goodness. In person? She is drop. Dead.

kitchen-rug-06 kitchen-rug-07

It’s 2’x10′, which will run perfectly along our sink wall, and while we know that there are two sides to the whole rug-in-a-kitchen thing, well, we’re willing to take that chance. Plus – it’s red! It’ll hide our two favorite foods: pasta sauce and wine. (I mean, right?) It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep her folded up in storage, but the day she sees the light will be a happy one.

As for our tile shopping, we have fallen in love with matte white subway tile, and although we like the look of a classic install, I may or may not be trying to convince Scott to throw in a framed pattern above the sink. We will see! We have time to noodle on that, but it was thrilling nonetheless to land on a look we’ll love for the long haul. And about that countertop debate? We’ve collected a few more estimates on other options, but at the very least, we are now leaning towards a white/gray stone, so, we consider that huge progress.

Baby steps, people. That is, until it all starts crashing down. Yeah, kitchen!

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias - January 13, 2015 - 9:08 AM

    Oh, man, that rug is great! I have a rug in our kitchen, and I have to shake it out every few days to get rid of crumbs, but I woudn’t have it any other way. And I’m excited to see what you do with the hutch!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - January 13, 2015 - 10:15 AM

    Oh, I just love that rug! Great find.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - January 13, 2015 - 10:21 AM

    Ahhh, I love that hutch! I’ve been on the daily Craigslist hunt for a buffet/dresser with a similar shape. You guys got it at a great price. I can’t wait to see its makeover!

    We got a kitchen rug this year and my bf was so sure it would be gross, but I actually love it! It makes the kitchen feel warm and comfortable and its gotten me in the habit of vacuuming every 2-3 days, which is great. The whole kitchen area feels cleaner now. I’m going to try and just take it out once or twice a year when it gets warmer to beat it and maybe spot wash/dry it a bit? We’ll see!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 13, 2015 - 10:58 AM

      Glad to hear! We have a rug cleaner place we like that’s not too pricey, so it could get a thorough cleaning every year or so, but a vacuum and shake should be sufficient in-between!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - January 13, 2015 - 10:34 AM

    Love the vintage rug! We’re rug-shopping for our kitchen right now too. But ours has to be both food-friendly and kid-friendly, so I’m looking for an indoor-outdoor version that can stand up to dirt and my cooking mayhem. ;) Maybe not as design-y as I’d like, but maybe I can find something pretty AND durable. Definitely getting something colorful like yours – great at hiding stains!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 13, 2015 - 10:58 AM

      The good news is that outdoor rugs have come a long way. So many of them are pretty!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - January 13, 2015 - 10:53 AM

    That rug is beautiful. Mind sharing the source? I’m constantly browsing ebay for rugs, and it’s always nice to have a recommended seller.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 13, 2015 - 10:59 AM

      The seller is orientgoods. Love a lot of his inventory, everything arrives super clean from the get-go, and his prices are reasonable!ReplyCancel

      • Megan - January 13, 2015 - 1:08 PM


  • Emily P - January 13, 2015 - 1:05 PM

    We did matte white subway tile for our backsplash as well! I think the matte looks so much better than shiny – the shiny subway tiles tend to make me think of a bathroom. Not ideal.

    What was your search for finding that beautiful rug? I need to find a runner that size for my upstairs hallway. Thanks for sharing your progress!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 13, 2015 - 1:24 PM

      What color grout did you go with? We’re on the fence.

      When we search, I start by searching for ‘rug runner’, then I select antiques, then I sort by price low-high OR just “buy it now” options, since I hate the bidding game! I’ve found some favorite sellers that way, and I bookmark for them later and check in all the time.ReplyCancel

      • Emily P - January 13, 2015 - 2:41 PM

        Thanks for the ebay advice! Buying on Ebay intimidates me, but my husband is a pro at it (he loves vintage Culver glassware). As for grout color, we did a light gray (maybe an oyster gray?). I think it provides enough contrast to highlight the tile without being distracting. I found that the darker grays were too distracting. Our countertop is light as well (a gray-white granite) and I think the grout marries well with the light countertop. Plus, we have tile to the ceiling on one wall and I think a darker grout would’ve felt overwhelming. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

      • Emily P - January 13, 2015 - 2:43 PM

        Not sure if my other comment published, but I’ll summarize: we did a light gray (probably oyster gray). I think anything darker would be overwhelming or potentially be too heavy for a lighter countertop (ours is gray-white granite). Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 13, 2015 - 2:58 PM

          Thanks, just saw your comment stuck in the spam filter! We’re toying with a medium gray, but ours will just be backsplash. So happy you’re satisfied with the matte white subway tile. Thank you for the input!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - January 13, 2015 - 3:28 PM

    Oh my gosh that rug!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kyley & Ammo the Dachshund - January 14, 2015 - 8:15 AM

    exciting your kitchen will start soon! We just finalized drawings with out cabinet maker on Monday. We have to get a start on our demo soon & will be drywall patching too! We also finally picked out our countertops which will be a stone grey Quartz (with white cabinets). I originally wanted something more white with swirls of grey but the husband was dead set on grey. Which I think will still look just as nice. Can’t wait to see how yours progresses as we’re in the same boat! Although our cabinet maker is booked up until maybe April so ours might take a bit longer. The wait is killer! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 14, 2015 - 9:16 AM

      Eh, I guarantee ours will somehow take just as long. We’re already jumping through hoops and we’ve barely broke ground…ReplyCancel

  • amanda - January 14, 2015 - 11:36 AM

    Beautiful rug! Randon – but I think your rugs are the reason I rediscovered how much I love pops of red. It’s not a color I see a lot on blogs. It’s going to look great with your neutral color scheme for the kitchen. And I am happy that you’re making progress with your countertops!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 14, 2015 - 11:43 AM

      It’s funny, because red is not a color we love to use in our home, and yet that first rug in the living room sort of started the whole thing! With our navy couch and other touches of navy throughout, however, we are now staying away from too much yellow to avoid the overly-primary-color look.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - January 14, 2015 - 12:03 PM

    That hutch is so sweet! I’m glad you’re going to restore it’s former glory.ReplyCancel

  • ashley @ - January 15, 2015 - 2:27 PM

    i lurve the brown elephant! you can really find some hidden gems there :)

    when i volunteered there once, i was amazed by their “in-take” area in the back – mounds and mounds of stuff that they have no time to get through because the place is literally run by volunteers so sometimes there are only a handful of people that are putting stuff out!ReplyCancel

  • Karla - January 17, 2015 - 7:56 AM

    I’ve wanted to put a cool vintage rug in front of my sink but gave up on that years ago as all my previously fairly standard kitchen rug choices turned into something else that always needed cleaning. I’m on the hunt for one I absolutely love and plan to spray it down with that water proofing/protecting stuff you can find in the camping section of most stores; I figure since it’s worked so well at keeping my upholstered dining chair seats easy to clean and stain free maybe it’ll work on a rug. :)ReplyCancel

  • Design News / A Hutch Makeover, Well Worth It - February 13, 2015 - 6:02 PM

    […] – that beast of a hutch is done! And it’s so cute […]ReplyCancel

  • […] to stretch those dollars in the areas that aren’t as permanent – such as a our vintage hutch, antique rug and now, our kitchen island! You Read Full Article […]ReplyCancel


Aside from the pocket door, one of the things we really wanted to hash out over the holiday break was deciding on paint colors for the kitchen walls and cabinets – and sticking to them! When it comes to paint, I’m truly a waffler, never really trusting my own gut and changing my mind daily. I spent an embarrassing amount of time cutting out swatches, holding them against our current walls, squinting at them at arm’s length and nixing those that were too blue, too green or too pink.


We’ve mentioned that our intention with the kitchen is too keep things feeling classic and clean, and we really want to brighten things up with the big back door and all white cabinetry. The walls will be painted in a super pale shade of warm gray (I think we’ve got a winner picked out!), and we’ll continue that same color into the living room – finally repainting the walls that have consistently felt too cold. (We always say, it’s just paint! You can do it again!, and while it’s a pain to ‘fess up, it’ll really be worth it.)

But back to those white cabinets! Our cabinet maker has already taken down our existing uppers to begin the refacing process, and everything else will be rebuilt. We thought we could salvage one or two of the lowers, but as he began to take them apart, they were in sad shape; we’ve been watching the budget go up (as is par for the course), but for a long haul kitchen, we want to do it right. After deciding on simple shaker style cabinets, pull out lowers and all those nit picky upgrades, our only job was to choose the white. I mean, we don’t even have to paint them ourselves! This is the easiest cabinet upgrade ever!

Well, that is, until we hunkered down and really started sifting through whites. It’s no secret that choosing white paint is an art form, and we began by looking at swatches that are consistently the most popular for cabinets and trim (Simply White and White Dove, and moving forward, all colors are Ben Moore). It wasn’t long before we spiraled, and found ourselves considering everything from Decorators White to Vanilla Milkshake, Cotton Balls and Chantilly Lace. To name a very select few.

BUT. Our white appliances are ever-so-slightly cool, and they’ll dictate the direction we go so that the room palette stays cohesive. In the end, we picked up four samples to test: White Dove, Distant Gray, Super White and White. (Which, by the way, did you know that such a color existed? It quite literally is named White!)


We brought these colors home, and using Julia’s tip, painted them on foam core. This would give us the mobility to move the whites around the room, hold them up against our appliances and watch them change in the natural light throughout the course of the day, as well as note the changes under artificial ceiling lights.


Above, from left to right, we have Distant Gray, Super White and White. Immediately, White Dove was nixed for being incredibly yellow against the appliances, and White was removed for being a little too flat. (On a side note, I do think that had we gone with stainless appliances, our paint options would’ve opened up.) And now, 2 weeks into swatch hell? We have a winner, and it’s Distant Gray! It’s never felt too cold, and against any of our stone counter options, it just works.

We’ve since taken down the foam boards, in the off chance I’ll waffle. You know, I can see myself now – stirring pasta sauce on the stove, a glass of wine in hand, thinking, come to think of it, maybe we should go with Super White after all. Scott, what do you think? (Silence.) Scott?

Distant Gray, it’s a go!

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - January 8, 2015 - 7:00 AM

    I chose white appliances too and went through the challenge of picking white for my all white kitchen.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 9:43 AM

      It is definitely a challenge. What was your final color?ReplyCancel

  • Loryn - January 8, 2015 - 8:26 AM

    Distant gray is definitely the right choice!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - January 8, 2015 - 8:55 AM

    People don’t realize how hard it is to pick a white shade! We’ve had to do it for our bathroom and our living room, both ended up being different, with room lighting and surrounding materials/colors that influenced our choices. Your kitchen sounds like it’s going to be a beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 9:34 AM

    Super exciting! We bought our house already rehabbed, and it drives me NUTS that our appliances are white and our cabinets are a light cream color. Good on you for being diligent about the right color. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 9:42 AM

      We figured that since we’re investing in these new cabinets, it only makes sense to get those details right. It would make us so sad to spend all that money and have them installed and be… yellow!ReplyCancel

  • Piper - January 8, 2015 - 10:47 AM

    How funny- I JUST finished painting my minuscule powder room in Distant Gray. I picked it to match the existing cool white color of the pedestal sink and toilet. When you mentioned you needed a cool white, my first thought was Distant Gray!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - January 8, 2015 - 11:02 AM

    What a great idea to paint the foam core to test colors!!! If I had only known that a few years ago when I was picking colors for my condo, I wouldn’t have had to live for months with random splotches all over my walls. I too, am a TOTAL waffler when it comes to things like picking paint colors! Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Theresa - January 8, 2015 - 11:10 AM

    After picking up a bazillion swatches we went with simply white on our cabinets. It was the only one without a telltale undertone to it. (until it was sanded then the dust was ever so slightly green) With our black granite counters and repainted walls it is, indeed, fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - January 8, 2015 - 12:09 PM

    Love your choice! And I know your pain all too well. I just refinished my kitchen cabinets and spent weeks agonizing over the color! I ultimately went with Sherwin Williams Pure White, which was painted on the cabinets and the walls. Sometimes it feels a bit too cool, but I’ve added some wooden accents, like baskets and shelves which help. One thing to consider is the tile color, too. Different brands of tile have different shades! I went with standard white subway tiles, but returned the first set and ultimately purchased from a different retailer because they were too warm compared to the cabinet color. If you are already set on tiles pull them out to see if your paint choice goes with them, and if you aren’t sold on a tile choice yet, I suggest choosing now, before the painting starts :-). Good luck and I can’t wait to see the results!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 12:31 PM

      Great advice! We have tile shopping on our to do list this weekend, and it’s a priority after a panicked moment of wondering if we might have went with the wrong white. Ha, I’m hopeless!ReplyCancel

  • melbajo - January 8, 2015 - 2:19 PM

    We are so alike – for every room in my house I’ve painted swatch after swatch, changing my mind a million times before deciding. I tried ten sample pots of different blue/greens for the bathroom – ten! – and finally chose the very first one I picked out. My process seems ridiculous, BUT, I am super happy with every room now, no regrets at all! Now I’m working on picking a white for the exterior and it’s really got me stumped. I don’t do the foam core swatch method, no, I’m slapping that paint right up on the outside of my house, which now looks like a patchwork quilt. I think I’m up to 15 now, gah! Trying to find a white that does not look yellow, nor pink, nor dirty, but also won’t be super bright and glare-y in the Arizona sunshine. Help!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 2:26 PM

      I think it’s better to have 10 or 15 test pots going in the long run, saving you from having to repaint a whole room (like we’re about to do in the living room – grr)! So, I know all white is different depending on the light, but we were so happy with Designer White by Valspar in the satin exterior finish:

      It never reads blue or yellow, and it doesn’t feel obnoxiously bright either! It doesn’t hurt to get a test pot… ;)ReplyCancel

      • melbajo - January 8, 2015 - 2:48 PM

        You are a gem for responding! I’m going to go take a look at designer white now. Test pot #16, here we go!
        BTW, love your blog and all of the big and small projects you’ve been doing in your house. I am two years deep into old house home ownership and it’s so fun watching how far you’ve come – gives me hope! And inspiration – just bought two of the aluma ceiling fans – thank you for doing all the legwork on white ceiling fans so I could just click purchase and not have to obsess about it!! :)ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 8, 2015 - 2:54 PM

          Aah, the Aluma! I remember that dilemma as if it was yesterday… we’re so happy with ours!

          And thank you :)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - January 10, 2015 - 11:01 AM

    I’m glad you were able to pick a white because they all look the same to me lol. I’m guessing the differences were more obvious in person. Picking a color for the main part of the house has proven to be difficult as well. The house is very open so the color will flow from the living room, kitchen, foyer, staircase, and game room upstairs. It’s one thing to pick a color for one room, but this many – yikes!ReplyCancel

  • Lis - January 10, 2015 - 10:20 PM

    We’ve done the majority of our first floor in Distant Gray! Excellent choice :)ReplyCancel

  • Monika - January 14, 2015 - 10:42 AM

    Ah yes, the choosing white paint conundrum. Oye! When I owned a hardware store and sold paint (like a 100 years ago), customers would ask me the difference between one shade of white and another. Back then I was very young and silly and always replied “about $7 a gallon.” Now that I’m (ahem) a few years older, I know how difficult the decision is to picking out a white. I’m on my 4th re-painting of the living room because of it! It’s looked like a patchwork quilt for the better part of 2 years now. Just when I ‘think’ this is THE one, the afternoon sun smacks me upside the head in a what are you thinking display of light. Sigh…back to the drawing board. But I KNOW you guys will nail it and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!ReplyCancel