Tuesday, March 5, 2013

7 Shades of Gray

I found an interesting article in The Washington Post by Elizabeth Mayhew.  Elizabeth Mayhew who is a contributing editor to NBC's Today Show and author of the decorating book, Flip!, discussed how she and her husband, with the help of architect Gil Schafer, are renovating an old cheese factory into their family home in Dutchess County, NY.  I can't wait to see the house!

Anyway, all the rooms in her new home are painted gray - not the same shade of gray, but different shades of gray.  Seven to be exact. 

Elizabeth Mayhew's bedroom - BM Gray Owl

Above is a picture of her bedroom painted with BM's Gray Owl.  In fact, every bedroom she has ever slept in has always been painted with BM's Gray Owl.  She swears by this color of gray - saying it is soothing and very adaptable.  In a lot of natural light, it looks white and in average light, it has enough pigment to read as a discernable color.  She always recommends this color to her clients and friends.

In the article she goes on to explain how she created flow in her home by using varying shades of gray.  In some rooms, a cozier gray was required, so she chose colors such as BM's Chelsea Gray and Whale Gray.

Brooke Shields' Greenwich living room - BM Chelsea Gray

She used BM's Coventry Gray for all her woodwork in her bathroom which she says definitely gave her bathroom a Swedish Gustavian quality and feel.

Jenna Lyons' living room - BM Coventry Gray

She used Revere Pewter (which I have used in my previous living room) which reads more as a taupe and lastly Gentleman's Gray for her powder room.

As she explains, when you're exposed to color all day, gray lets you commit without really committing.  And, best of all, it goes with everything.

While I love the color gray, I'm not sure if I could commit to my entire home being varying shades of gray?  I really think you would need a lot of natural light to help keep the home from feeling too gray/dark?  What do you think?


  1. Interesting post, Fran! I absolutely could paint my whole house gray. In fact Gray Owl, Chelsea Gray and Gentleman's Gray are three of my favorite grays! (I also love Fieldstone). My bedroom in our previous house was painted Gray Owl and I have used it in most of my clients' houses. It really is the perfect gray. Like she says, it works in every kind of light. I can't wait to see her new house too! Keep us posted!

  2. I've been meaning to read this article so I'm glad you posted about this. I agree with you in that I don't think I could do my entire home in grey. The best move we ever made was switching our LR from a dark taupey green to a subtle green b/c it doesn't get a ton of natural light. I would need to do the same with grey in our current home. I'm excited to experiment with some new color in our next home.

  3. I was on a gray kick for awhile, but I found that it was too cold for me. I like more brown tones for neutrals.