Paint Colour Rationale in our Chatham Victorian by Interior Designer: ORC Week 2

This is my first time doing the One Room Challenge.  In case you don’t know what that is, the One Room Challenge is  where Interior Designers choose one room in their own home to transform over 8 weeks.  The “challenge”, as any designer can tell you, is getting it done in 8 weeks!  The design process itself can take weeks and furnishings can take months to arrive.  8 weeks is actually longer than usual due to shipping delays caused by social distancing, which has given me a bit of breathing room on this challenge.

This week has been dedicated to painting the room.

Usually we can knock out a room in a day…

However this room is quite large. It’s two rooms in one really (hence, double parlour). 

Plus, I never seem to want to make it easy on us because we’re doing the trim and ceiling in addition to the walls.

We’re on a time crunch, so why not right? *facepalm*

Let’s take a look at what the room looked like before:

Grey walls with concentric square hardwoods in interior designer Heather Prestanski's Windsor home

This room was previously painted in a grey with violet undertones and had white trim.  I don’t know what shade it was because we inherted the house fully grey-washed (which means all the walls were painted grey before we moved in).

Though we will be using some grey in the house, it’s a very drab and uninspiring colour to me.  Especially when wrapped around a room.

As you guys know, I’m an advocate for conscious design which means understanding how a room impacts us visually, mentally, AND physically.

Colour has been proven to impact the way be interact with others in our household and even our own mental health! (You can read more about the impacts our home has on our mental health here with sources).

This room will have enough grey in it because all of our furnishings for the room are various shades of grey.

There’s also a little hint of silver in the wallpaper. (You can see the wallpaper and overall plan for the space here).

So, this week I was tasked with choosing the wall, trim and ceiling colours.

I knew that I wanted to do a little hint of colour on the ceiling because ceilings present us this amazing opportunity to do something that can really shift the overall design of a space.  Yet they’re often ignored.  Our ceilings truly are the 5th wall in a room so why do we always paint them white?

I think it’s because painting ceilings is no fun. Builders paint the ceiling white and we never want to repaint them, so we just go on living in fear of doing anything unique and special on our ceiling.

Luckily, Kyle was going to be the one painting the ceiling and he was totally game for it.

If you read my post from week 1, you already know that I was thinking of doing pink on the ceiling.  Here’s a peek at the moldboard again.


Mood board for Victorian double parlour by interior designer in Windsor

Parlours in Victorian homes were always the most ornate rooms in the home and they were crammed full of furniture and display items.

Did you know that parlours were only used on Sundays to entertain guests?  At all other times of the week the parlour would have been sealed off.  Doors shut and heavy draperies drawn in order to preserve their expensive furniture.

I totally geek out about the history of Victorian homes.  It’s my favourite style of architecture and our street in Chatham is littered with old Victorians.

Traditionally these rooms were done in deep rich colours like burgandy, gold, blue and dark green.

However, I wanted a more updated and feminine feeling than traditional Victorian parlour colours.

Opulence and wealth being limited to men is so passe. And I’m lucky enough to be married to someone who is comfortable enough with himself to not mind having feminine colours in our home.

You can see from my mood board that I initially was drawn to Classic Sand by Sherwin Williams for the ceiling.

However, once I received the wallpaper sample I knew that it’d be all wrong:

Teal chinoiserie wallpaper that interior designer plans to use in her Windsor living room
The Designer's first choice of Classic Sand by Sherwin William's wasn't quite right when we got the wallpaper sample.

Classic Sand is a muddier than the pinks and lavenders in the wallpaper.  

What I mean by “muddier” is that, when compared to the colours in the paper, Classic Sand looks more dull and greyed out.  

An important part of pairing colours is knowing when you can mix different levels of muddiness.

On a ceiling, putting a colour that’s more muddy than the rest will make the ceiling feel dirty.  Definitely not the look I’m going for when I was thinking of a fresh pink!

Now, does that mean that putting Classic Sand on any ceiling will make it look dirty?

Not at all!  Muddiness is relative to the other colours you’re comparing it to.

For example, Classic Sand is cleaner than Doeskin.  So when using it next to a colour like Doeskin, Classic Sand will feel fresh and clean.  No one colour in and of itself is clean or muddy, it’s all in relativity.

The Designer's first choice of Classic Sand by Sherwin William's wasn't quite right when we got the wallpaper sample.

I knew that I wanted a “barely there” pink because we’re going to do pink on the draperies as well and I don’t want it to feel like a pepto bismol bottle threw up all over our room.

I also knew that I wanted the pink to have the slightest bit of purple to it because the birds in the paper are more lavender than pink and I wanted the pink draperies to make sense.

So I whipped out my Dulux fan deck and within seconds found the perfect pink:  Pink Booties!

Teal chinoiserie wallpaper that interior designer plans to use in her Windsor living room
Interior designer Heather Prestanski describes Pink Booties by Dulux as a barely there pink with a hint of lavender

See how much cleaner that is next to the paper?  And, even though there is only a tiny hint of fucshia, the fact that Pink Booties has that hint of lavender to it helps it tie in so nicely with the birds in the wallpaper!

 Plus, here’s the pink with my favourite stained glass window in the space.  Look at how perfect that is!

Arched stained glass window in pink and aqua is the focal point for the living room in this Chatham Victorian home
Interior designer Heather Prestanski describes Pink Booties by Dulux as a barely there pink with a hint of lavender
Interior designer paints ceiling of Chatham home in Pink Booties by Dulux

Here’s a great picture that shows Pink Booties in the front of the double parlour with the old white still on the back part beyond the beam.

There’s just a hint of colour. Often during the day it’ll look white!  But when the light shines just right you get that glimpse of pink.  Not too strong but something special to catch the eye. 

The wall colour was a lot easier to choose because I knew that I wanted to match the background of the wallpaper.  Usually I’d just bring the paper in and have it colour matched by the paint store with their fancy machines, however the stores were practicing social distancing so I had to order via email and do curbside so I needed to find the perfect hue from a standard fan deck. 

There background of the paper is almost marbled, so there are a few variations of teal floating around. 

Can I just say that I LOVE teal in this space?  It’s a fun and modern way to give a nod to how this room would have been when built — a dark and moody colour.  Yet it feels so fresh and vibrant. 

After rummaging through the Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams decks, I again turned to my Dulux deck and found he perfect teal for the space was Blue Bayberry by Dulux.

Teal chinoiserie wallpaper that interior designer plans to use in her Windsor living room
We used Blue Bayberry on our walls within our Chatham home

My poor Dulux fan deck doesn’t receive enough love and on this project it’s two for two!  I guess I need to start there more often.  I actually really love their Diamond paint and it was perfect for this project since we were painting the walls behind the paper and it has a fast curing time.

We almost always paint the walls the background colour of the wallpaper, but in this case it was especially important because the plaster is quite wavy in some spots.  So we knew that the seams wouldn’t line up perfectly.  By painting the wall Blue Bayberry before applying the paper we would get a perfect look without actually having to be perfect. 

You always want to wait for the paint to fully cure before applying paper. Otherwise, glue can come unstuck or paint can run through the paper causing all sorts of problems later on!  The curing time on the can is 14 days where many other brands are 28 so this was perfect given the time constraints of our challenge. 

After picking the ceiling and wall colours, I had just one more task:  picking the paint colour 

We were really on the fence as to whether we wanted to paint the trim the same as the walls, or do a contrasting white trim. 

We knew that the white painted brick on the fireplace was going to stay in place. 

And that the trim surrouding the wood windows would also stay white because we didn’t want the teal to compete with the beauty of the glass. 

Also, the trim was just repainted a couple of years ago by the previous owner so it was already white and in really good shape.  And we have a LOT of trim in this room. 

So I think that most people would have kept the trim white… 

However, to me it would have been the wrong decision because of the rules of contrast. 

Have you ever heard that dark walls make a room appear smaller? 

That’s not actually true. 

The reason that rooms appear smaller when you paint the walls a dark colour is because we typically have white trim and it’s that contrast between light and dark that creates an outline around the edges of the room that our eye is drawn to follow.  Because we naturally scan the edges when presented with stark contrast, the room feels smaller. 

This room is pretty large, however it’s narrow.  So I didn’t want to create too much contrast with the white trim. 

Also, the wallpaper itself is busy and had I chosen a white trim it would have created even more ways to bounce around the eye that this design plan doesn’t need. 

And this is actually one of the only rooms in the house with white trim in it.  The adjacent foyer has ivory trim to match the background of the paper, and the dining room off the other side of this room will be completely redone at some point in the future.

So I made the decision to do the walls and the trim the same colour and I just love how it’s turning out!


Windsor home interior design with French doors in Dress Blues by Sherwin Williams, walls in Blue Bayberry and ceiling in Pink Booties by Dulux

And here’s a little video that Kyle had posted to his stories so that you can see how the paint looks on the walls with the ceiling!

It took 3 full days of painting and needed 3 coats of the Blue Bayberry to fully cover, but I am in LOVE with this room already.

It’s incredible how wrapping a room in such a rich colour can totally change the way you feel when sitting in it.

Before the space was light and bright, but it never felt good.  When I would sit there, it just felt like a room.

But NOW, it feels warm and welcoming.  We have already found ourselves spending a lot more time in this room because it’s so much more cozy at all times of the day.

I can’t wait to get the wallpaper up!

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