Northern Exposure

Every day for the past 1.5 years, I have been hating the wall color of my dining room.  Now, this same color is in my bright and sunny kitchen, and I love it.  But next door… hate it.  Blah.  Depressing.  Yuck!


Before. See what I mean? This color did NOTHING for the room, or the furniture that was in it.

Even though there are a billion things yet to do outside right now, I had finally had it with those pale blue walls.  Enough was enough.

But… what color to pick?  I didn’t want it to be a color-color.  No blue, green, yellow or red.  I am planning on painting the keeping room and kitchen a bright blue or green, and with the Peacock walls in the Library, I knew I needed to keep the dining room neutral to help the flow of the house.

I googled “what to paint a North-facing room” and found some justification in my hatred for the poor pale blue walls.  Basically, what I learned was that if you have a North facing room (yes), especially with few windows (yes) or with limited light coming in through the window(s) (yes), then you need to create a false sense of warmth with your paint color.  Cool and/or pale colors (blue, green, gray) will not reflect any light, because there is no light available for reflection.  Instead, dark, warm colors were suggested.  Reds, yellows, oranges, emerald greens.

But I didn’t want a color-color. I turned to what is becoming my favorite paint color resource- the Sherwin Williams Historical Color Palate. My eye immediately went to “Library Pewter.” It was so, rich and dark. It seemed funny to think of painting our notoriously dark room such a dark color, but I really couldn’t come up with a different idea.


So I bought a sample and went to work.

Then I got scared. It was SO DARK!


So of course I consulted social media, where I was almost unanimously given the ok to proceed. And so over the next two days, I went for it.

And then I stood back.

Then I smiled.


I mean, seriously. It’s so much better it makes me want to cry.


A view into the Keeping Room. The pale blue on those walls is the same, but the bright, many windowed room with Southern exposure makes all the difference. Our 1889 map of South Dakota hangs on the wall. 1889 was also the year our house was built.


The sweet chair I picked up off a facebook swap for $15


The view into the Living Room. I love how the dark pewter brings out the gray in the color we chose for the living room (Lancaster Whitewash)


Our mid-century hutch ($80 on Craigslist). The pewter makes everything about it pop. The painting belonged to my great aunt (her picture is next to it). The blue bird and white Redwing vase belonged to my grandmother. My collection of pewter cups includes one that belonged to my great, great grandfather. Treasures, all of it.


A music stand/ turned liquor cabinet


The fresh coat of paint also inspired me to put up a special little shelf I’ve been storing for quite a while. It belonged to my Great-Grandma and namesake, Ovedia. Her picture is the one on the bottom right. The one next to it is my other Great-Grandma paired with the Norweigen-English dictionary she used when she Immigrated in the 20s. On the top shelf, are 3 treasures pulled from the rubble in our crawlspace 1) a Lucky-Strike tobacco tin with a 1916 stamp 2) A cold cream jar that still contains cold cream and 3) a Talcum powder tin, still containing talcum powder. It is wonderful to have a little spot to highlight these little trinkets.

This change cost me $35 for a gallon paint.  I can’t get over how much I love it.  It truly transformed one of my least favorite rooms to one that I love spending time in and am so proud of.  Picking out the right paint color can be tricky, but this is proof that if you take your time and do your homework, you can hit a home-run.