Amber Lewis is less than 10 days away from moving back into her forever home after a major remodel that entailed a full gut of the existing space plus an addition. The California-based designer shared the first big sneak peek of the (almost) completed project on her Instagram feed this week, and while we were fascinated by the funky sconces in the foyer and the stone sink in the powder room, it was her paint choices that stood out. Lewis used three different neutrals in her open-concept kitchen-living area. “I really didn’t want to create a big, blank box,” says Lewis. The subtle contrast between the hues on the walls, ceiling, and trimwork adds character to the space. Given settling on one shade of white or gray can be painful, let alone a combination, we asked the designer to walk us through the decision.
Lewis doesn’t consider any of the three Portola paints she used pure whites. “They are all classic greiges, which in my opinion makes a room just a little bit cozier with a Belgian farmhouse feel,” says the designer. For the walls, she opted for Figueroa in the Roman Clay plaster finish, which adds a ton of texture. (She also used the limestone-like tint in a different finish on the baseboards for a slightly warmer contrast.) Then she painted the ceiling in Table Linen to brighten the space and draw the eye up and, finally, covered the doors and window trim in Piano Room—what she considers the “perfect greige.”
Lewis asks herself three questions before picking out white paint for a project: How much sun does the room get? How do the rays shift throughout the day? And what kind of mood does she want to create? In the case of her remodel, Lewis wanted the place (which is filled with tons of light) to feel snug. The slight imperfections in the plaster finish on the walls and the combination of the cool, warm, and polished greiges achieve just that.
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