Greg's Office Painting


This weekend, we’re painting… again. When we spent 2 entire weeks painting every room in the house before we moved in. At that point, we were in love with the colors, and thought we’d be in love with them forever. Well, apparently “forever” for paint is about a year. We’re changing it up this weekend in Greg’s office.

Before I get to all of that, let me back up a second. Here’s what Greg’s office is looking like these days…

Actually, this photo was taken a while ago, but it still looks pretty much the same, except the shelf in the corner is on the wall and the floor lamp is near the door. I know, I really need to take updated photos. I don’t know if you guys remember or not, but a few weeks ago, we posted a random mood board for a home office that was a lot less “modern geek” and more along the lines of “modern old school”. If you don’t remember, check it out here. In the post, I talked about how I was floored when I showed Greg the board. He totally surprised me by saying, “Yeah, I really like that. Actually, I think I’d like something like that for my office.” For a few days, I thought maybe we were going to ditch the “modern geek” and go full force with the old school modern vibe of the mood board. But then I pointed out that if we switched gears, that meant bye bye abacus. The boy loooooves his abacus. Well, abaci, because there are two. I just hate saying “abaci” because it makes me sound pretentious. I got them for his birthday about a month before we actually moved into the house. We get a ton of compliments on them, and it’s a fun way to bring out Greg’s not-so-inner geek. That being the case, we’re back on-board the modern geek train. After all, he’s a geek.

With all of that being said, our first mission is to upgrade the medium beige/gray paint (Martha Stewart’s Cobblestone) with a much bolder option: charcoal gray. Greg really liked what I did with Abram’s room and how, even though the walls are black, the room didn’t feel dark and gloomy one bit. His office is small yet has two windows that bring in a lot of light. On top of that, his desk, as well as the shelves we’re planning on putting up above the desk, are all white – kind of like this photo I pinned on Pinterest. With those two inspirations coming into play, the room could stand to go a little darker than the current light gray / beige. Okay, a lot darker.

We narrowed it down to two shades of gray: Seal by Martha Stewart and Dark Granite by Behr. They look almost identical on camera – and even surrounded by all of the other choices at the paint counter, they looked super similar. On the other hand, they have totally different undertones. The Dark Granite has a lot of blue undertones and the Seal is a bam, in your face, pure gray.

Here they are up on the walls…

The top is Seal and the bottom is Dark Granite. It really bugs me that the swatches aren’t the same shape. Greg put up one and I put up the other, so it is what it is. But it still bugs me.

We thought it would be important to be able to see the colors on multiple walls so we could get an actual feel of how it would look at all angles and lighting. That being the case, we also threw up a sample on the other side of the room next to the door because this is the wall that gets all of the sunlight. The other swatch is right next to the window and the abacus abaci so that gave us an idea of what it will look like against the trim and with the “big wall art statement”.

After sleeping on it, we’ve decided that we’re just going to bite the bullet and go with the darker one (Seal). I love the look of small rooms with bold, dark walls and Greg likes the idea of it giving the room a more cozy / modern feeling. So, for us, it’s a win win. This will totally transform the current look of the room and get us a little closer to where we want to go.

We’re also hoping to sneak in an Ikea trip over the weekend at some point. It’s an hour and thirty minute drive for us, so we’re not completely sure if that’s going to happen yet, but fingers crossed. It’d be nice to get the shelving to go above his desk that’s been on our to do list for months. Oh, and of course, some Swedish meatballs.

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  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I used SEAL in our TINY bathroom that has white tile around the sink and tub and it made the space LARGER. It’s a super sexy color and since we’re re-doing our entire bathroom in tile, I MUST find another space to use the color. (maybe a random wall in the laundry room!) My vote is always for SEAL by Martha. You can’t go wrong with her color selections.

  • Reply
    Caitlin @ Desert Domicile
    September 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who lives over an hour away from IKEA haha I like Seal (the paint, not the singer)! I’ve been looking for a dark charcoal that doesn’t have any blue or green undertones and Seal looks like a winner! Can’t wait to see the progress you guys make 🙂

  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Too funny! I literally sat in Home Depot on Monday morning for 45 minutes deciding between these 2 very colors for our new nursery that we already had painted another dark grey(Anchor Grey by Benjamin Moore.) It read a little too blue for my liking so away it went! I thought I knew what I wanted when I walked in, but these 2 threw me for a loop. I finally decided on Seal also, because we wanted some drama. Lots of white trim, moody walls, and interesting pops of bright colors! It instantly took the room to a whole different level. I can’t wait to see your finished product!
    Thanks for being one of my guilty pleasures here at work when I get bored of “drawing/designing” and need some inspiration. I think I found you through YHL about a year ago, so I love seeing the progress. Keep it up!

  • Reply
    Toria S
    September 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I am in love with the dark walls. For so long we were told to stay away from dark colors in small rooms but I absolutely love them. Very anxious to see Greg’s office when it’s done! Happy painting!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    My master bedroom (before we recently moved) was painted Dark Granite. And it was VERY DARK. Beyond what I thought it would be. It sucked the light out of the room. We also had dark furniture, and the furniture practically blended in with the paint. With your white desk, etc., though it will provide a nice contrast, though. I really loved the color, it was just too dark with the dark furniture.

    I painted the adjacent master bath Anonymous (one color up on the Behr palette) and that’s the color I plan to go with in our new house.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Russell
    September 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I love both of the colors, and am very surprised at how different they are up on the walls. Once my house is complete, I also want to pain my bedroom a very dark grey so I am excited for the pics of the office. Thanks for the great blog!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I still think Greg could keep his precious abaci and go with old school. I am not sure you could get much more old school than an abacus… Also glad you went with the dark. We just recently painted our kitchen black with one wall black and white stripes. You will absolutely love it.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I was leaning toward the lighter one — but I mostly hear to comment that I love the abacus!

  • Reply
    Shavonda @ AHomeFullOfColor
    September 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Im so glad you guys chose the darker color. Im totally biased since I love deeply saturated colors even in smaller rooms! I cant wait to see the outcome!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I’m not sure why I haven’t creeped through every single post on your blog sooner. Congratulations…I think I have a new favorite!! Keep on keepin on because I am hooked.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Aw, thanks so much!! : )

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Would you mind sharing the original wall color in the picture second from the top? I’m looking for that shade for my living room. You have wonderful taste.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Sure! It was Cobblestone by Martha Stewart.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Ashley!

    Where did you get the Abacus Wall Art from?! I have been trying to find these!
    I really appreciate it!

    Look forward to hearing from you,


    • Reply
      October 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      They’re from CB2, but unfortunately they don’t carry them anymore. Maybe check Ebay? Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Ashley you have a great taste, do you mind sharing the pain color for your third picture from the top which has lots of shelves in it.
    Thank you !

    • Reply
      October 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Thank you, Fariha! I’m not sure what that exact paint color is, but I would say Seal by Martha Stewart is super close. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Laura Adams
    July 9, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I chuckled when I saw your color patches on the wall. We’re in the process of choosing paint colors, and, like you, we wanted to try out samples on different walls. I was working on sewing drapes, so my husband said he’d paint the swatches (I asked for 1-foot square swatches on two walls). He didn’t want me to come in till he was finished. It seemed to be taking a REALLY long time, so I finally just came out – to find narrow, floor-to-ceiling, irregular racing stripes of color on 4 different walls! They were so narrow – 3-4″ wide – I couldn’t get a sense of what the color actually looked like. I guess he doesn’t spend much (any) time on Pinterest, or watching HGTV. Also, I went to Home Depot this past weekend, and took my Martha Stewart Seal paint chip with me. The guy said he couldn’t find that color in their system, so he did a reading of the color with the color-analysis machine. Hope it’s right. I noticed you had a Home Depot paint department sticker on your paint chip. I’d love a closeup of it. We used Seal in our bedroom at our old house, and loved it. Planning to use it here, wherever I can!

    • Reply
      July 9, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Hi, Laura! Yessss, love the Seal paint color! Unfortunately I don’t have the paint chip anymore, but maybe if you try another Home Depot? I’ve also heard that Benjamin Moore has a good database of paint colors as well.

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