Our House, The Story Of A New England Fixer Upper: Picking Paint Colors

April 17th, 2019
Location  •   Connecticut

Welcome back to another OUR HOUSE series episode!

This week we are bringing you inside our home to discuss a topic that’s been highly requested: paint colors!

From picking a paint brand to choosing a finish, a lot of time goes into contemplating and swatching to find a color that is just right. Since I live and breath New England aesthetics, I was determined to stick to a colonial color pallet for our home using five shades maximum.

Whether you’re updating a space or renovating an entire house, never underestimate the impact a fresh coat of paint!

Let me walk you through our colonial color pallet and the decisions we made to give our home a cohesive historical vibe. Throughout this post, you’ll see our fully renovated downstairs and freshly painted upstairs – at first look at our home in its entirety! For a comparison make sure you check out our empty house tour first. 


When choosing a fresh new paint look, the first decision you’ll have to make is the formula and paint finish. It’s important to stay consistent with the formula and finish you choose for the walls and trim throughout your entire space.

 3 paint formulas & finishes we used in our home: 

#1. Ceiling Paint – a standard acrylic-latex combination formula. For the finish, we used BEHR Flat Ceiling Paint because of its high light reflection rating and flat finish. We also used the BEHR flat ceiling paint to prime our wooden doors and each wall throughout our home.

#2. Wall Paint – Duration by Sherwin Williams. It has an acrylic-latex formula and came highly recommended to us. Eggshell and satin finishes are popular but, I decided to go with a matte finish for a colonial look.

#3. Trim paint – An oil-based formula by Benjamin Moore. Oil-based paint can be tricky to use but, when done right it’ll create that thick brush stroke look. The brush stroke detail has brought our trim to life and historical character into our home. Unfortunately, Connecticut no-longer sells oil-based paint, but I stocked up at a discounted rate before stores took it off their shelves. I chose a satin finish to complement the historical vibe of our home. If you have modern or mid-century taste, I recommend painting your trim semi-gloss for more of a contrast

Let’s Talk Paint Colors

Now on to the good stuff – the paint colors we picked for our New England fixer upper! While drawing up our house plans, I initially started the design process by creating a mood board to create a cohesive home design. I’m not a mix-matchy person; I prefer a look that is on theme. I designed our home’s color pallet with the same method I used to create my Instagram theme and branded blog – a strict 5 color rule!

By using 5 colors you’re able to seamlessly transition a color story throughout the home. With a historical colonial cape aesthetic in mind, I decided on the following color story to bring character into our house: 

#1. Heron Plume by Sherwin William – Heron Plume can be found from the upstairs hallways to the downstairs bathrooms within our home. This is the primary color throughout our space because it’s a classic off-white with just a hint of pewter. The paint has a highly reflective base that brings both warmth and depth to each room. 

#2. Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore – Our home’s trim package is almost entirely Chantilly Lace. This paint color is a soft creamy white that contrasts perfectly with Heron Plume. Since Heron Plume is a cool-toned color we knew we wanted a warm-tone for our trim to complement the color pallet and historical style. 

#3. Mt. Rushmore Rock by Benjamin Moore – From wood-shingled homes to homestead browns, I knew I wanted a brown tone in our pallet. I swatched 7 shades of brown before I found this winner, which is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic American Collection. We used Mt. Rushmore Rock in our guest bedroom because it’s a close match to the off-cooper hardware we purchased for the kitchen. 

 #4. Dard Hunter Green by Sherwin William – It’s important to have one statement color in your home. For our house, we chose a classic hunter green. You’re going to see this color in our TCC office, raised fireplace paneling, and maybe even the kitchen.

#5. White Flat Ceiling Paint by BEHR – It’s important to consider your ceiling color when picking your color story, especially if you’re painting your walls any shade of white. Since we went with cooler off-white walls we wanted a bright, highly-reflective ceiling paint to brighten the rooms even more! 

What You’ll Need To Paint

Walls, doors, ceilings, and trim – oh my!

We had a lot to paint. In fact, we are still painting and with our move-in date approaching so, we hired a painter to help us get the ceilings and walls finished. Having an extra set of hands to keep us on track is proving to be worth the cost. One coat at a time and slowly but surely we are getting there!

For your own paint project – here’s a checklist of what you need to get started:

+ Microfiber Paint Tray Kit

+ Painter’s Tape

+ Terry Towels

+ Think Sandpaper

+ Extra Paint Trays

+ Brushes For Latex Paint

+ Brushes For Oil Paint

+ Mixing Containers For Oil Paint

Penetrol Additive

+ Drop Cloth

+ Painter’s Caulk

+ Spackling Paste

+ Spackling Knife

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