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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help! What color shall I paint the rest of my kitchen?

Alexandra FlorimonteFebruary 1, 2013
I have one wall of my kitchen in Ben. Moore's "Tucson Red." The kitchen has to work with the living room, which has grass mat wall paper and lots of colorful artwork. My question: Paint the whole kitchen the red? Two walls have windows, two walls don't. Hickory cabinets
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I would paint the adjacent wall with the window in red as well.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Susan Soto
Whole kitchen red
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:09AM
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I agree... red on all walls. With the cabinets, there will not be much red.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Good Manors, Inc.
I'm in agreement--that small additional red shouldn't overpower the beautiful wood cabinets! It looks from your photos that you are already comfortable with strong color!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
I disagree, as I would leave the one wall Tuscan Red, Then I would take a less is more approach:

I would find some simple geometric shaped trivets and paint them the color of the wall and hang them, (two or three depending on their size) centered above the window.

In the family room I would remove the green pillow on chairs and replace with Tuscan Red or ivory Lumbar Pillows (small rectangular pillows).

I would remove the bright lemon yellow from both rooms as the color palettes in both rooms are too muted for such a bright color. I would instead use the golden color found in the sofa for my accenting golden color instead.

In the kitchen, it would be nice to bring in some accent of this golden yellow and even, pehaps, a smaller amount of the pale green.

Likewise, find accents, not too many, of the Tuscan Red for the family room, thus weaving the two rooms together. Try not to be too heavy handed with these accents.

Go to someplace, perhaps Pottery Barn. They have a good line for bringing together eclectic styles. Look at their Redmond rug, if they still have it. It was on sale for $59.00 (ordinarily $159.00) size 3' x 5'. If it looks like your color palette, use it to define the palette and space of the kitchen (center within the "L" of your cabinets, and also as a guide to the color palette you need to use for the family room.

After that, go neutral. A creme, or ivory, which ever is best for your interior, solid area rug for the family room. Get rid of all the other extraneous rugs. Add neutral pillows along with a few well chosen pillows within your palette will bring everything together and not over do.

The most important thing: Remember each piece that is in your room should add to the design. And unless it has overwhelming sentimental value, if it is not adding to the look, take it out. Or risk having a cluttered busy mess. Sorry, just stating where most of my client have gone wrong, and this is the best way to rectify without having to buy everything new and starting over. And in the end that is never as interesting. Best of Luck, I hope this helps

Peggy Poulos Professional Interior and Exterior Designs.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:14PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Peggy Poulos:
Thanks so much for all your input. Wow! You have presented so many things to consider!

While I like the idea of the trivets over the kitchen window, it is a teeny, tiny space (about 1 x 3 feet.) I think actual objects up there would add to our clutter, but I like the idea--perhaps a painted design as you described. I also very much like only having things you love in your space and if they serve more than one purpose, that is even better.

I like the idea of sharing colors in the two rooms, and the gold from the sofa is certainly a satisfying color.

The lemon yellow you referred to in the family room (actually our living room) is a actually a grass mat wallpaper that we cannot remove (not for a few years, at least), and it does appear more tan than lemon yellow in the daylight. I will try to attach a few more images tomorrow when I can take them in the daylight. I will include one of the other side of the kitchen, too. We are trying to find solutions for decluttering the area. (Right now we have metal wire shelves to hold microwave, etc. Icky!)

Our whole house is just 1100 sq. feet overall; we had to downsize a lot when we moved in and some of our furniture is oversized for the space, but we can't change it right now.

I can recover the pale green chairs, change a rug, paint some walls, get new cushions. I definitely like the idea of the rectangular cushions for the green chairs! And, in cutting down the visual clutter.

We also have so much artwork to hang; we have already given away/stored a lot and the rest is non-negotiable. I would be a terrible client of yours, I suspect!

Benjamin Moore's "truffle" is the other color I was considering in the kitchen; it is definitely neutral and earthy, but that deep gold is nice, too.

I love my red so much; what do you think of cabinet walls red and non-cabinet walls not red? Well, wait for my photos tomorrow before you answer!! Thanks again!
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
I didn't mean to ignore the other comments:
Susan Soto, Chandani and Good Manors, Inc: you all echoed my own feelings already. It's hard for me to let go of the all red idea!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Paint the walls red!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Alexandra! When I mentioned the lemon yellow, I did not mean the grass cloth walls I was actually referring to the yellow item in the window of the kitchen and the vase in the living room. That is because the bright yellow has the affect of making the more softer or muted yellow/golden looking grass cloth and the sofa fabric look dull in comparison. So, I like the eclectic nature, but you need to decide between a muted palette or a saturated, more vibrant palette. The muted one, given your grass cloth walls and furnishings appears to be the one you should go with.

Also, I see you have a brick wall as well. Perhaps when I see the additional pictures I can advise better. I suggested that you keep the white wall, as it compliments the contemporary nature of your hickory cabinets and wall covering. That is a strong design trend right now, and delivers a fresh take on transitional interiors.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:47AM
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Somehow it seems the greens and golds would look better with the wood, but it's true that there isn't all that much wall space left, so whatever color you choose,all the kitchen walls should be the same. I love these colors in general - easy to live with.
    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:45AM
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Mary, will you be my new, best friend and come visit me for a week or two...I won't work you too hard. :)
1 Like    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:49AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Having owned three art galleries in the Pasadena area of Southern California, early on in my career, I had an opportunity to note the affect paint color has on available light. The darker the walls, the more light is absorbed. In a smaller home this will create a new obstacle "Where is the light?"

The problem in this kitchen we can tell the overall space is small and eclectic, which is very important to remember, by the very nature of the furnishings and accessories the owner is showing. I believe the "one" red wall make a nice dynamic focal point for the kitchen, leaving the remaining wall "A" White, and there are many whites, and I am not there to know which would be correct, will allow a fresh clean energy to the rooms and the cabinets which are not traditional.

If she wants to tie that affect together, perhaps she has another wall that she can leave open, except for an interesting chest or cabinet which she could center on the wall. Then paint that wall red, and then put all of her paintings etc. which she does not wish to store, from ceiling to floor. Encompassing the cabinet and having the red paint to unify the wall and make all of the varied pieces work together. An interesting gallery. Put a simple large vase, nice lighting, perhaps a small selection of collected items that enhance the look.

Perhaps, in the hall or elsewhere, you can make a family wall, but this would be andedicated art wall.

Also, Alexandra, I have had a lot of luck painting grass cloth. One time I painted it an eggplant color with crowned ceilings, white trim. It looked beautiful.

Using the Truffle as a neutral. Can not say, as I am not there. But I believe,due to the warm undertones, that you need to choose something that compliments those colors. You already have your palette, let it tell you what enhances it. Don't fall into the trap of eventually we are going to change something. Deal with the here and now and you will be happier. You can always change paint later That is the easiest thing to do.

Best of luck, and please post pictures when you are done. No matter what you do, if you are happy we here in the peanut gallery are happy. - Mary

And Maggie Mae, thanks for the invite, I think I am coming. :o) ... And now to get back to my paperwork, and my clients, but this was fun.

Mary "Peggy" Poulos
    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Mary, thanks so much for all your insights! I am attaching the pictures I promised, but I understand you have other things to do, so I don't expect more comments. Just thanks for what you've already said!

We are working to simplify!
    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Definitely paint it all red, it will make the cabinets pop!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:28PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Thanks so much for all the support, you guys! I am so amazed!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Love the idea. I have similar kitchen cabinets and counters. It's fun and happy. It looks like you have more light in the room so that's even better.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
It DOES have a lot of light. East and north windows.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Oooops! The additional pictures make a big difference. I somehow pictured the kitchen being in an open concept with the living room. Is it open from any side to the living room or family room portion of the house?

Well, now that I see it, I really love the credenze/chest with all of the wonderful slats of color. Beautiful! And you have a nice collection of art work as well. I love the painting above it. Goes together well! Perhaps you can get some acrylic plate stands to hold the plates upright?

So what does the last wall of the kitchen look like? And the wall behind the sofa? If you don't mind if I ask?

Alexandra, I love your collection of art and artistic pieces. I think this again goes to my less is more theory. Perhaps you can view your home as dedicated to showing off your collection.

Again I think the nuetral rug, light on the ivory/creme side if possible, (do you have pets and little children???) pulling the seating area of living room together will help. Thanks for putting the pillows on the chair. You have the idea of pulling the color around correct. Perhaps if the pillows on the chair are more solid red so that the patterning on the pillows don't compete too much with the chairs., but I am assuming you put them there to show the idea?

After realizing the spaces are not open, LR and Kitch, to each other, I would concur that you could paint that wall to match. However, I absolutely love the eclectic feel of your home. When you paint all the walls, then you are moving to a very traditional position. It is the contrast of the white/light wall that, I feel, enhances that eclectic energy.

When I mentioned using the one wall in the kitchen as an accent and a focal point, you can search red accent wall on Houzz and you will see great examples of what I meant.

Sorry for jumping off when I did, but I do enjoy helping you. You have something unusual that interests me, and I hope my little viewpoint helps :o)

Mary "Peggy"
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/color-of-the-year-2013. I thought you might find this interesting to watch as this is closer, from what I can telll, to the light yellow color, perhaps a little more muted, or not, would go well with your palette. Benjamin Moores top designer discussed using the color of the year Lemon Sorbet as that color to bring the rest of your palette together. In your case, perhaps you could use a Lemon Sorbet - like color on your walls that are not Tuscan Red. When I say Lemon Sorbet like, I mean take the palette and modify that color to go with your color, perhaps a little more tan as you had said.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Wow, Mary, thanks so much for your comments! You have given me so much to think about (and you have taken a LOT of time to consider this problem!) Yes, I had just put those pillows on the chair to try out the color, but I agree they should not have the pattern in them. Also, I think you are correct about a more rectangular/lumbar shape having a better aesthetic feel.

I may end up making covers for the chairs. If I did, I might go with a navy or denim color, perhaps with a piping, but maybe not. Or, a deep green. I also believe I may want to paint the slumpstone brick wall the red painting is hanging against. In our other home, this same red painting hung against a Benjamin Moore color called "Jack Pine." However, the sofa sat in a room painted "Fresh Clay."

It's interesting that you should bring up the Lemon Sorbet-like color. I had just brought home a paint chip called "Honeymoon" which is sort of a tan, but it is close in color/value to the hickory cabinets themselves. I might use that color on the other two walls. There is also an intriguing gold color on some of the slats of the buffet/credenza which might work. It's a bit more towards ochre/gold.

I am attaching photos of the 4th kitchen wall (the refrigerator) and the wall behind the sofa (windows, with a walkway into the sunroom, which is on the right. The front door is to the left of the bank of windows.)
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Susan Soto
What's the color on the walls now? Cream?
With your artwork which is fabulous I'd rather see something clean and crisp with the red and just streamline things - too much mix match dated furniture in my opinion...
Perhaps some more modern lounge like chairs with a big round ottoman an a small tray for putting things on.
Clear of the surfaces - maybe get a small wine cabinet they sell them inexpensive at Costco - put your books on a shelf or shelves above
Paint the brick white or dark grey/black, paint doors black, many examples on houzz that look fabulous and black is great compliment to red
Not sure what's on the wall in the hallway but it looks not in the right place.
Would your other artwork look good all together in the kitchen or on those larger walls kid of collage or organic style?

Disclaimer:: I am an avid design enthusiast - I'm not a designer. Everyone who comes to my home has always loved it no matter how big or small. I've downsized several times and l love it though its challenging.
... Say bye bye to the microwave :).

You have a super cute space
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Susan Soto
What is on te brick wall next to the sofa?
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Susan Soto
... Have you seen this portfolio? Jessica is fabulous most of her stuff is white, grey/black, red however she currently lives in a tiny house - I thought you might enjoy checks it out if you haven't seen it and she has some images of brick painted a nice crisp white and some use of woods that look similar to your cabinets
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:48AM
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Susan Soto
For example
Though a built in little sofa may be great along wall there too like in the tiny house photos
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:59AM
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No matter what choice you make, as it is now, the kitchen walls look unfinished. I vote for red too. Or burnt orange. But no further than the countertop (not under window).
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:00AM
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Alexandra Florimonte
First off, it's been so great to read all of these comments. Susan Soto, especially, I appreciate the time you took to go over each of the elements.
The "refrigerator" wall in my mind is a complete mess; it makes me wince when I look at it. We are still in our process of downsizing and I think many of your suggestions about incorporating several things into one piece of furniture are so helpful. We have been debating about the microwave; whether we truly need it or not...
One of the obstacles, unfortunately, is that we know our furniture is not up to date, but we cannot afford to replace it, at least at the moment. The living room chairs are borrowed. The sofa is a family piece, with great sentimental value, but something on a smaller scale as you pictured, would work very much better. However, we can't make some of those large changes in the near future. So, perhaps we can pick up one piece of furniture on Craigslist that will solve some of the issues in the kitchen, add the paint in the kitchen, paint the brick wall, recover the two living room chairs, and de-clutter...

Having all of these wonderful observations and differing opinions causes us to look at our space in a different way and helps to lose attachments to old ideas! How refreshing!

Thanks again!

Rinqcreation, why do you say to stop the red at the countertop? Wouldn't that look truncated?
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
See Contemporary Bedroom design by Philadelphia Home Staging Busybee Design

18XX Pine Street · More Info


I think that Susan Soto an I are trying to say the same thing. You need to simplify your palette to accommodate what you have to work with.
Interestingly, HOUZZ has the answers for you. For instance, if you go to Browse then Red Accent wall, You will see the simplification. This is a picture by Contemporary Bedroom design by Philadelphia Home Staging Busybee Design. This picture shows a room with a red accent wall and the remaining walls have a neutral color, that you can adjust a little, to be a pale form of your sofa. Your sofa will instantly look more at home. You can even paint the grass cloth this color. Paint all of your trim white, like in this picture, even the wood around the living room windows. You can possibly paint the brick a shade or two deeper the color of the walls. Now you have a very clean and simple palette. And that is definitely what I see Susan Soto trying to show you. Then recover or get chairs in a solid neutral that goes with what you have. Do not add blue accent pillows. That is just adding another color. Let your artwork do that. In fact your artwork will look more important if you don't make it compete with pillows and rugs and chairs etc. NEUTRALIZE. Again Browse pictures of Red Accent Walls. ALSO it will show you the power of AN Accent Wall here and there ESPECIALLY in a contemporary art laden home like yours.
Back to Pillows,Go to Pottery Barn and look at their linen solid colored square and lumbar pillows. (No, I do not work for Pottery Barn) They have simple buttons on them. And they have some solid pillows without buttons. Get their pillows in Linen, or Golden or Red. That is your base palette and let your art do the rest. I Guarantee it will look great. This is what I do for clients that have to sell, and how I neutralize their palettes and the results are astounding! Yes, using the old stuff they already have. Multiple full price offers on homes at higher prices, where they never had offers before. Just paint neutralizing and allowing what they have to dictate a simpler palette. Look at this picture (Above).

(Hang both vertically by dining table,nnarrow one above the wider one.
When I get a chance I will upload some pictures of this, but I am new to HOUZZ, not to design, and I haven't done that yet

Contemporary Bedroom design by Philadelphia Home Staging Busybee Design
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:02AM
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Susan Soto
Awesome - well I totally understand where you are coming from and to be honest it pains me to buy 'new' furniture even if its special! ;) I am a total craigslister and have had much success with patience and ability to move on something when I see it. .. I also have specific ways I use the site and agreements with myself about how many miles I will travel! :)
I would say then what if you paint the brick wall white - might freshen up the sofa. I would give the chairs back. They are a distraction and you are wanting to spend time and money on them. Find something on CL or get some poufs and movable drum tables/stool things. Its a little hard to see that wall adjacent to the sofa but what if you put the sofa against it? ... Whats behind the sofa? Is that a beautiful window? .. the sofa back and arms are so high it would be nice that they werent so intrusive in the space - what if it were against the wall and chairs were on either side of it?

... go red, white, black and clean :) your art will look stunning. I recently saw a great remodel that was very streamlined yet cozy and neutral (by jessica helgerson) the homeowner wanted the people to add the color - I thought that was brilliant and you already have a lot going on.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Susan Soto
... put the cookoo clock next to dining table on that wall there - that print doesnt look that great there - cluster smaller cool things near or around it in asymetrical fashion maybe.... think artsy not contrived
take all the stuff off of the red dresser thing except for one or two things (the bowl and candlestick?)
put the green woman artwork over that cool colorful cabinet and move the large art with flowers to over the red dresser thing - it will brighten that space up and the green will play off the cabinet and maybe... tie into your sofa?? do you need those black side chairs in there? can they go in a bedroom or hanging in the garage?
paint that kitchen :) its tough with the sink wall ending in the middle of the dining area - what if you went all the way around and did something different on the refrigerator wall? even chalkboard wall? or used that for another art wall? or some of these cool book holders to display your cookbooks - they are inexpensive and you could probably fit 3-5 or so (odd numbers are best) - whats in the cabinet above fridge? can your wine or books go up there? my theory is if you dont have a cellar you probably dont need to store a whole bunch - when I downsized I stopped keeping alcohol in my house unless it was for a special meal or that day or whatever. You can also keep it under bathroom cabinets etc - its usually cooler in there :) - costco has the small wine cooler 16 bottles for 150$ would fit on a cute table in that area like in the photo listed... no worries that you arent making purchases now but its nice to have a vision then you can look at what your doing and if it doesnt fit or is taking you in a different direction course correct. ... might be more useful to look at craigslist for a deal - oh and always negotiate lower. please. also there are so many wonderful new cookbooks out now and online recipes you may be able to sell some online or donate ones you arent using.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Susan Soto
I really like the red white and dark color :) it may be a bit modern for you ? could add a nice bit of drama and be an interesting contrast with grass wallpaper which i think is pretty cool
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Susan Soto
another great option is to do a bead board or cool aluminum? sheets (available at home depot for ~ 40$) and you can trim it out in similar wood as your cabinets or plain white. Paint red above - or vice versa paint white - Some friends did this in their bathroom and it looked like a spa it was so fabulous.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Susan Soto
ok back to work! :)
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Susan Soto
Oh forgot ... one more thing and a link :: little built in benches in the kitchen around the window could be super useful and you could possibly use them for storage if you build in some boxes or whatever. And in this link the green color is even pretty and may go with your situation a little better ??? if you still streamline your decor
Corvallis Custom Kitchens & Baths · More Info
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Susan and Mary: how fortunate I am to have so many suggestions! I am going to become your poster child :-)

Susan: it is so ironic that some of your suggestions to bring IN to the kitchen space, we have just taken OUT! (We got rid of a banquette because there was no flexibility to the seating, no leaf for the table, no mobility, not enough seating, and it was hard to get in and out of. Sold it on CL! The quirky clock we had had hanging on the kitchen wall next to the back door, but it seemed to be too small for the space. Hence, why we moved it into the LR so we may end up not keeping it.
I love the suggestions for the wine in the bathroom cabinets! How ingenious! I only usually have about 2 cases on hand at any one time, so that should be really possible to do. Also love the suggestions of those shelving units for the cookbooks. Most of them could go somewhere else We'll look into that.

Sadly, the "red" painting does not fit over the slatted buffet/credenza.

Also, we did have our sofa against the brick wall before, and the living room became a hallway instead of a living room! (It's difficult to see where the entry is; it is in that darkish space with a tiny key shelf that you see to the left of the sofa. Door opens in from the windowed porch.

Mary, I love the suggestions that both of you have emphasized, to simplify the color palette and let the artwork be on display. We have always loved color--lots of it--so it is hard to let go of all the colorful paints, especially the deep colors, which to us seem to offer a neutral background to our artwork. However, we now live in Santa Cruz, which has a different flavor and spirit, and maybe it's time for us to absorb a little of that. I am an active gardener, too, with an emphasis on California natives. I love having the outside coming in. If I could simplify the palette with two deep colors and have my "highlights" be the accessories, that would suit me fine!

The only suggestion I felt great dismay at, was in painting over the redwood trim that is in the baseboards and around all the windows. To me, it is Santa Cruz, because we are in redwood country, and I don't want to paint it. Besides, like cedar, it resists painting. To me (the Painter), it would not be worth it.

I will try all the neutrals and lose the 2 green patterned chairs, and see how that improves the picture.
Thanks again! Wow! Ongoing transformation! I will have to hang a sign on my gate that says, "This House Designed by..." and give you guys credit!!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Alexandra Florimonte
Oh, Mary: You asked about how the rooms relate to one another. There is no door between LR and kitchen. I've attached a rough floor plan. Our front door is yet another color - sort of a light marine teal.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Susan Soto
Ahhh Santa Cruz! Fun!
ok so did you have benches or built in banquets under the windows in the corner making an L shape? --- theres a sample in one of the photos i attached. Because by my calculations and uses you would have more seating and be able to put table further into window allowing a little more space>

anyway --- oh I was talking about the Green Painting of the Woman..... is that red??? it looks smaller than the white and that awesome green color would pull from the credenza
I could see the cukoo over there in a little montage with other items maybe not alone - kind of an offset eclectic mix of sweetness

can't wait to see what comes ;) I love living in small spaces
between santa cruz, big sur, aptos and los gatos you can probably find some great things on craigslist too
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Don't feel dismay. Realize we are guessing a lot! There is no need paint the redwood. This is just an overall suggestion for a direction. In the end you and your husband will have to detail out your home the way that is perfect for you. I appreciate the floor plan as it took a lot of the mystery out of your project. It was a little like a fun guessing game :o). I am not sure how many points in that game I would have as I though the kitchen was basically in the direction of your front porch.

It sounds like you have a lot of sound direction - You will do great and it is very beautiful up in Santa Cruz. And as I am a certified landscape designer, I can appreciate a fellow gardener! This has been fun and you gave us a lot of feedback! - Mary

PS - Just send Susan and me after pictures, if you think of it...Thanks
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Kiyohara Moffitt
Try Benjamin Moore "Coastal Fog" . Goes great with red and art looks terrific on it.
Gina Moffitt, AIA
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:59PM
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Blue Bath
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