My Paint Colors | Rochester House

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, My House, Tips and Tricks47 Comments

One of the most commonly asked questions on social media and here on the blog are about my paint colors, so I thought I would share them all in one post!  That’ll make it easy for me to refer people to one source, especially because some of the colors are custom-mixed.  I’ll also take this opportunity to talk about what it means to have a color mixed at 50% and why I like utilizing that option.

All of the colors are Benjamin Moore unless noted.

For the walls, the type of paint I used is Aura in a matte finish.  For cabinets and trim, I used Advanced in Satin.

Let’s start with the color I’m asked about most – Stonington Gray!  I have typed that response so many times that my phone auto-fills the words for me!  It is definitely a blue/gray, but the color is a bit of a chameleon.  It can look more gray, more blue, or more greenish-blue depending on the light and also what it’s next to.

I’ve used this color in the master bedroom, living room, and boy’s bathroom in this house.  It is just a perfect color for all of the blues I own and it works beautifully in the light of this house.  It feels almost like a neutral.

In the foyer, halls, kitchen, half bath, and my office, I used Stonington Gray mixed at 50%.  Here’s what that means…  When you pick a swatch out of the paint deck, that swatch matches a formula of pigments that are mixed into a base.  When you ask for that color to be mixed at a different percentage  like 50%, then only 50% of the pigments are added to the base.  The ratios of the pigments are the same, so the color is the same, but it’s lighter.  It’s as if you mixed the color with a pure white.

There are a few ways this customizing trick can be useful.  When trying to select a pale color, it can be very difficult to see the true undertones of the color on a small paint chip.  If you select a mid-tone color and have it mixed at 10%, 25%, or 50%, you know what the undertones will be, because you started with a color that was easier to judge.

This is also helpful when you want rooms to flow into each other, but you don’t want every room to be painted the exact same color.  Try using different strengths of the same color, as I did, to bring unity and variation.

Here’s how that lighter mix looks in those spaces…

The kitchen cabinets, all of the trim, and the laundry room walls are all painted in a custom-mixed white.  It’s just a hair off of pure white.  Here is the formula…

The green used on the laundry room cabinets (those are laminate, by the way), kitchen island, and butler’s pantry is also a custom color, mixed to match Boxwood from my Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line.  Here is the formula for that…

I absolutely love the pop of green against my blue and white.  It’s the grass to my blue and white sky.

The dining room mural is painted in various shades of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – Boxwood, Mora, Shutter Gray, Curio, Layla’s Mint, Kitchen Scale, Farmhouse White, and Linen.  The base color is Pearly White by Sherwin Williams.

The studio is actually painted in three different whites!  The floor is a pure white, straight out of the can, the walls and closet are a creamy warm Simply White, and the ceiling is a bluish-white – Patriotic White.

With the exception of the studio, all of our interior doors are painted in Coventry Gray.  It’s slightly darker and grayer than Stongintong Gray, so it provides some nice interest without being too much of a contrast.  (And it’s a lot more forgiving than white doors!)

And, I also get a lot of questions about our front door.  I selected a soft green because our siding is beige with red undertones.  Since red and green are complementary colors, I thought the green would play nicely off of the siding.

The green I selected is Card Room Green by Farrow & Ball and it really is a lovely color.


I’ll have to do a part two to this post as I paint more rooms!  There is still the boy’s rooms, the master bath, basement bathroom, and the basement family room!

In a separated post, I’ll also share fabrics and other resources for the selections I’ve made in this house.  You can find details on our old PA house HERE.

My Paint Colors | Rochester House

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47 Comments on “My Paint Colors | Rochester House”

  1. I’d be interested to know how you prepared the kitchen cabinets for paint as well as the how you applied the paint.

  2. I love the Coventry gray interior doors! When you say all interior doors are Coventry gray, is that throughout your home – like both sides of all bedroom, bathroom, etc… doors?

    Also is it only the Stonington gray you mix at 50%?

    Thanks for sharing so many details in this post!

    1. Yes, I have painted all of the interior doors in Coventry Gray – inside and out and closet doors.

      I have mixed many colors at various ratios over the years, but in my current house, I only have Stonington Gray mixed at 50%.

  3. Do you have a tutorial on how you painted the mural on your wall? I LOVE YOUR HOME. I used to have blue and white but have found myself with the trend of black, white and off white with tan walls. I sometimes wish I could go back in time. I was before my time using blue. Thanks

  4. Thank you. I felt like this was just for me since I did ask about Stonington gray! Will play around with the different percentages. Your home is beautiful.

  5. Thank you for clarifying the whole “mixed at 50%” thing! I used to think that as you went from the darker to the lighter swatches on a strip of paint chips, that it was just showing you how the darkest color would look in lighter tints. I recently discovered how wrong that was! And so finding a color you love and mixing it at a certain percentage is the way to go. Thanks for all the formulas for your colors as well.

  6. Marian, I started laughing when I read the beginning of this post. I follow you so closely and literally inhale your wisdom and ideas…..I immediately said “Stonington Gray mixed at 50%” before I read any further! Thank you for so freely sharing your incredible eye for color design and style. You’re my guru always!!

    Hugs from Texas,

  7. We have similar taste! Love the BM Simply White and used it on all the ceilings, woodwork and doors in the whole house. Plus it nearly matches the “white icing” cabinets in the kitchen. And used several shades of one of their lovely grays–very dark in the stairwell to lighter in the hall. So crisp with the white contrast. But I am not sure how the 50% that you recommend is different from choosing lighter/darker on the paint sample strips they provide–which is what I did. Can you explain?

    1. Your house sounds lovely!

      To answer your question, the graduated colors are a paint chip are not simply lighter versions of the darkest color on the strip. They are completely different colors! They are in the same family, but it’s not the same color.

  8. What finish do you use on your interior doors, matte, eggshell, satin, semi gloss? Your home is beautiful I especially love your green island and laundry room.

  9. Thank you, Marian, for all the information on paint colors that you have used in your home. Especially that relating to mixing colors at different percentages. That was entirely new to me. If I’m understanding it correctly each color that goes into the base color to make the various shades of a color is added at a certain percentage lower than 100%, resulting in a lighter shade of the original mixed color but with the same undertones. I always tho’t that if you wanted a lighter shade of a certain color you would just add more white, but that’s not so, right? I guess I”m not clear on how that would produce different results than mixing at say, 50%. Except you wouldn’t have to buy the extra can of white paint! Does any of that make sense??

    Anyway, I do like the colors you’ve chosen for your rooms and I especially like the idea of the darker grey for the doors. A small way to gives the eyes a rest when moving through the house. Clever.

    1. Yes, if you want a color to be a lighter shade of itself, you can always mix it with a pure white. The problem is that even if you try to be precise, you might not be able to replicate that color exactly. When you have it mixed at 50% at the paint store, it’s done by a computer, so you can get exactly the same shade every time.

  10. Ha ha! Just a week ago I hunted through your posts for the paint color on the island and in the laundry room. I did searches in your blog, and finally landed on the paint recipe on the lid. Did you notice a jump in old posts? (You probably have so much traffic, you wouldn’t even notice. Which is great!) I pinned it, and took a screen shot. Will be pinning this too. Thank you!

  11. That dining room takes my breath away EVERY time I see it…..Or was it the kitchen…or the entry …or……
    I love it all!!!!!
    It is unbelievable how much you have done in the 2-3 years you’ve been there. I also think this home turned out to be the perfect fit for this time of your and your families life. Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Beautiful home!!!! I did have a question about your cabinets though: how are they holding up now? I want to paint ours (they’re cheap builder grade and I really want to paint them but my husband isn’t sure about that). Like a two year review on how it’s held up would be cool. Thank you for explaining what mixed at 50% means. I may have some paint mixed at 50% to see how that looks as we’re doing the same color throughout the house but I do want a little variation and this would solve that! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us!

  13. Hi Marian,
    I’m wondering if you have a tutorial on how you painted your interior/exterior doors? I would love to paint mine but would like some tips before I start. I love all of your paint choices, you have a lovely cohesive flow to your home!

  14. Marian, I so love your style! I’m amazed at what you’ve accomplished in two short years, in your new home. I’ve recently moved from a sweet little 93 yr. old bungalow that we’d been in for 25 years to a home 2400 miles away, built it 2005. It reminds me of your new home in many ways. Everything walls, ceilings, trim, doors, carpet and floor tile are a peachy beige. I’m slowly painting everything, though I’m really struggling with paint colors, even when I’ve sampled four or five. I have several question. Did you spray your interior doors or just use a brush? The other question is about the wainscoting you added in the guest bedroom & living room. Did you leave the texture on the lower wall or did you do something to smooth them? Somewhere I’ve got the impression that the light orange peel texture on our walls is a west coast thing & maybe you don’t have to deal with it. I’m just unsure what to do with the texture. Thank you for being so willing to share your home & knowledge with us!

  15. Along the same lines, have you ever, mixed paint at 125% or 150% ? That might be a nice way to choose a different door color to coordinate with walls.

    1. I have not, but in theory, you certainly could do that. The only constraint might be the amount of room for pigments in the base paint can.

  16. Marion,

    I have golden oak cabinetry and trim and I would love to paint all of it white. I have seen your post on painting cabinetry but how do you tackle the trim. Do you take it all off and sand it down and then paint it? Or do you leave it on and paint with it on? Also what type of paint did you use for the doors, is that still a latex type paint? How does it adhere?

    Thanks in advance! Always love your work and you house is a dream!


    1. You leave the trim on the wall and paint it there. Just sand it lightly to rough it up, apply a quality primer, and then paint it with your choice of paint. For trim and doors, I prefer Benjamin Moore’s Advance, which is a waterborne enamel.

  17. I urge those considering to paint at 50% lighter/darker shades, to check out The Land of Color. She explains the data and science of colors and the undertones in them and proves why the cut color versions don’t work.
    I stumbled upon her after pulling my hair out trying to find a “true” grey that didn’t look too blue or too purple. Her database of paint colors is astounding and was successful at finding the right grey! Check out her video on what happens when you cut SW Agreeable Gray:

    1. That looks like a great resource for color. I watched some of the video and I do agree that cutting the color isn’t always going to look the way you want it to look, but I’ve used that trick many times and it’s always ended up looking very nice for me. I think it depends on the color. Great info! Thanks for sharing!

    2. Thank you for sharing all your posts! Several years ago back on Long Island where we lived I wanted to change my master bedroom wall color to compliment a persimmon comforter with a subtle beige Paisley print. I found a color at the local Sherwin Williams store but was concerned it may look too dark in my walls. The young man in the store suggested a 50% tint and it was perfect! Also, I agree that lighter colors on the paint card are not a lighter version of the same color.
      Love your posts!

  18. This is a great summary… I’ve always been drawn to warm/way too deep colors, but in the end they’ve never given me the ambience I’ve wanted… seems like I’ve always ended up with “abandoned gothic mansion” rather than “cozy and inviting.” And as I’ve begun decorating our new home (structurally gorgeous, tragically decorated), I’ve obsessed upon far more decorating blogs than is healthy. I keep coming back to yours, but until a few weeks ago couldn’t identify exactly what “it” was. And then, my “a-Ha!” moment: you use calming, cool colors, but balance them with organic elements and a few hits of deeper colors so that the overall “cool” palette is calming and refreshing. And you summarized it perfectly in this post, writing of your use of boxwood: “It’s the grass to my blue and white sky.” That is beautiful, and perfect, and you have fundamentally changed the way I view decorating, and the home I want to create. Thank you!

  19. Okay- I guess I am a dummy. lol So if I take a copy of that lid on the island color to Benjamin Moore are they going to be able to pick it up off there? LOL I have never gone without a swatch of color to match before. Also, I couldn’t figure out looking at the milk paint list-which color you used (of your milk paints). Sorry to be such a pain but that green is definitely the one I want for the island in my all white kitchen….LOVE it!!! Thanks for any response, Marian! Diana

    1. That’s not a dumb question at all. Yes, you can print up that picture and take it to your local paint store and they can match the formula.

  20. Thank you so much for posting the formula for the boxwood. I am a blue and white person like you and I loved the green with it. Can’t wait to start painting. Thanks again.

  21. The laundry room has always been my favorite part of this house but the kitchen is pretty too.I love the bead-board, sink skirt and green cabinets. It’s reminiscent of the 100 (plus) year old homes I have lived in and loved. Now I live in a home from 2001 and I can’t get a feel for it. Didn’t you say something about letting go of some of the things you love, from your previous home and making peace with this one? I need help with that.
    Things don’t flow well in this house and the crown moulding throws me even thought it’s lovely. I prefer some “shiplap” looking walls somewhere. Maybe I should start with painting the walls.

  22. Marian, What color are your ceilings throughout your home. I saw the mention of one ceiling color where you used the three shades of white, but I would like to know the color you choose throughout the rest of your home. Thank you!

    1. They actually were this color when we moved in, so I have no idea! I have a piece of the ceiling from some repair work we had done…I just need to take it in and have it matched.

  23. I love the colors you’ve used and we’re currently painting our bedrooms the same color as the hallway, kitchen, and living room but now I want to paint it the same but mixed at 50% thank you for the tip! I did have a question though: when I was watching your IG live while working on your studio floors, what color are the doors? Such a beautiful blue!!! And second, could you do an update post on how well the cabinets are holding up with paint? I really want to paint ours but I need help justifying it to my husband who doesn’t want to. They’re not even builder grade cabinets (super cheap with super thin (less than half an inch) shelves that they used to replace the old kitchen which were solid wood. I wish they hadn’t but oh well. Thank you again for your inspiration!

    1. They were both purchased years apart on craigslist. I painted and refinished the table, painted and made slipcovers for the chairs.

  24. Okay…I don’t see this question or answer…the base for Boxwood Custom mix is it white, deep, or ultra deep?

  25. Hi…it’s me again. I don’t want to bother you I see how busy you are…so inspiring! However I am REALLY wanting to paint my cabinets this weekend so I was hoping to get confirmation on the base that the formula for the Boxwood was mixed with to create that beautiful color😊

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