This post is in partnership with Lowe’s.
When we nixed the crumbling white tile in favor of a warmer wood-look tile for the floors throughout the garden unit, we knew we’d want to complement that massive overhaul with fresh paint on every last surface, too. The current wall colors, while fine, feel a little too cool – especially for a below-grade garden! – but more importantly, the drywall was patched, repaired and written all over during the initial construction process. Small splashes of mortar, pencil markings and sanded down joint compound litter the walls, so one of the very last steps of this renovation will be a complete overhaul with paint. We get excited just thinking about it! The powers of paint never, ever fail.
Soon after we moved into our own home, we cleaned up this apartment and priced it accordingly before our former tenants moved in. They were looking for an inexpensive place to live in the city, with the idea that they’d be here for six months to a year and move on. None of us knew it would turn into four years, but with us being busy with our own renovations, it was a blessing in disguise. We’ve been able to put endless energy into making our home a place we love, and the timing of their move couldn’t have worked out better to dive into the garden apartment once and for all!
Although the walls in this unit were painted all those years ago, one thing we didn’t do was paint the ceilings, baseboards and door trim. We’ve been working with Lowe’s to choose the colors throughout the unit – you’ve seen Sea Salt in the laundry room and Ultra White in the bathroom – and now, we’re diving deep into choosing the perfect off-white for the living room, bedrooms and kitchen! After installing a whole ceilings of recessed LED lighting during the construction phase, this space is brighter than ever, and it can handle a warmer toned gray-slash-greige-slash-white. To kick off the decision making process, we rolled on big sections of Valspar Reserve’s Ultra White in an eggshell finish on several walls, the same color that will eventually be used on the ceilings and trim (we’ve already done the doors):
First, imagine those big swatches of white on the ceiling! We actually did a test swatch of the Ultra White on the kitchen ceiling, and it made their current state look downright dingy. The day that those first rolls of clean, white paint hit the ceiling is going to be an exciting one for the garden apartment!
Okay, ready to squint?
We grabbed close to fifty paint swatches of warm whites and grays at Lowe’s, and eventually, we narrowed those down to, like, twenty-ish. The top contenders were taped to the Ultra White, and as a group, we were able to immediately see the undertones of each. When placed all together, you can see the pink, greens, yellows and purples stand out from the crowd:
As we continued to work on other projects in the garden over the course of the following days, we slowly pulled off swatches, one by one, until we found our top three. Above, we have 1) Basalt Powder, 2) Agreeable Gray and 3) Origami White. While all of these colors are from the HGTV HOME by Sherwin Williams color line, we had them mixed to Valspar samples (just $3 each!) since we knew we’d eventually have the winning color mixed to Valspar Reserve. We’ve been using Valspar Reserve more and more throughout our home, and we continue to be impressed with its quality and coverage.
In the past, we’ve painted our samples on foam board and moved them around the room, but this time, we painted them right onto the walls. We chose three different locations, swiping the samples on areas that get light from the south and west, and one corner that doesn’t get much light at all.
Before the paint had even dried, we both pointed to our favorite. We scrutinized the three colors in both natural and artificial LED light, and in both cases, we were sold on Basalt Powder. It was the clear winner! Above and below, from left to right: Basalt Powder, Agreeable Gray, Origami White.
Basalt Powder felt like the happiest marriage of gray and white, with more than enough contrast to pop off of the white trim. We’ve tossed around the idea of having it tinted at 50-75%, lightening it just a touch more, but of course we’ll let you know how that goes if we choose to do so!
With one more decision knocked off our list, we’re feeling more excited than ever about the direction of this apartment. We spent the 4th of July weekend up to our eyeballs in kitchen cabinets, and we’re weeks away from sticking a fork in this guy! Is it too soon to start counting down? We just can’t help ourselves.