apartment progress: impulse and decision making.

June 22, 2023

I suppose I’d say I had a blue in mind that was more Araucana chicken egg than robin egg. Something a hint softer and a touch lighter than this color turned out to be? Maybe less saturated? A little muddier? A whisper of a color instead of a hit-you-in-the-face color? But when you decide to paint a room on a whim on the walk home from dropping your children at school, not precisely what you had in mind is sometimes where you land. If I’m being honest, not precisely is where I land most of the time, even when I deliberate for weeks and finally tire of my own waffling and just pick something.

A year and half ago, I painted the trim in this tiny room and wrote about how in the world of apartment progress and projects there’s no such thing as skipping to the good part. Progress takes work and a lot of it is slow and plodding, especially if it’s being done by yours truly. More than that, I wrote how the so-called good part usually isn’t the stuff of the dramatic reveals that the internet trades in, but smaller, subtler changes undiscernible to anyone who doesn’t spend the majority of their time in a place (and certainly to folks who only know it through a screen).

I painted the trim in this room and haphazardly pinned some possible paint colors to my pinboard and then I sold a book and spent more time in these four walls than ever before. The walls remained their landlord-preferred hue of baby formula. The floorspace gradually became filled with remains of book projects and crates of fabric scraps. The vibe shifted a bit when I found an old desk in a nearby park with a sign reading FREE (a street find requires immediate action) but mostly the progress on this room has remained imperceptible, barely tepid on a back burner that tends to sputter and shut itself off.

Last week Rose and I turned in our book edits and yesterday I marched into the hardware store and selected a color that I had heretofore never considered or even heard of. I didn’t take home paint chips. I didn’t compare colors to the deck of fancier paint colors I had at home. I didn’t buy a sample or look up examples of the color in rooms showcased online. I definitely didn’t ask anyone’s opinion. I asked for a gallon of the least environmentally unfriendly paint on offer, and pushed the little three-color card I’d just plucked from the wall across the paint splattered counter. And then I came home to further the job, making one impulsive and impactful change in a small space where other smaller, quieter changes lay a strong foundation.

I can’t say the color is perfect or that the room is finished, which is good since apartment progress never is. Maybe I’ll take the rest of the gallon back to get it retinted. Maybe I’ll mix in white and a touch of brown myself and and just go rogue, chasing my perfect Aurcauna. I don’t know. Sometimes I just need to dive right into a project, to flail a little bit, remember how to tread water, and let myself get tossed by a wave. Not too much tossing, just a little.

For the curious:

The color I chose is Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore*. It’s both more green and more blue than I expected it to be, but I was very pleasantly reminded that Benjamin Moore paint is a real joy to work with and covers the wall so quickly. I used their new EcoSpec paint in an eggshell finish!

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  • Reply marion June 22, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    It turned out lovely! and yes to not overthink things! In a world that feels that we have to do everything perfectly and after a careful decision of the BEST thing sometimes is nice to just do something.
    Last summer I challenged myself by choosing a color out of my comfort zone and without overthinking too much for a closed that I was giving a second life, and turned out great.

  • Reply Emily June 22, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    I appreciate this post – I often find myself vacillating between just get it done and deliberate for weeks, and am often not so sure about the final result and need to keep working or make peace, and in a world of instant and readymade I find that that slow, thoughtful process frustrates others in my life. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one!

    • Reply L June 22, 2023 at 9:44 pm

      I love the color and vibrancy it brings to the room. Well done. As one also a life long renter who is not allowed to paint the walls its dreamy.

  • Reply Selina June 22, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    I love the blue!
    I always have an internal struggle with decision making and trying to get things just right I can never decide on anything and then when it’s done it’s just done and usually, for the most part, works fine. For me, getting over that hump is the biggest struggle.

  • Reply Shannon June 22, 2023 at 8:05 pm

    Soo lovely 🙂

  • Reply mado June 22, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    I also love the philosophy here. I have so many house projects that I have envisioned, planned, sometimes even bought supplies for, but hesitate to make the plunge. Just earlier today I was hyping myself up to use my child free day on Saturday to finally hang the ceiling hooks for plants that I’ve been waffling on for probably two years. Here’s hoping!
    I’m also incredibly impressed by your ability to paint an entire room in one day! Additional benefits of small spaces, and I suppose good quality paint. And I love the color.

  • Reply Tamara June 22, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    I thought for sure it was Sea salt by sherwin Williams, the way it’s reading on my screen, but then you said grey and I was all either way, it looks great! Feels so good to get something done even if it’s not perfect.

  • Reply A June 22, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    If you painted over the whites, it truly is the end of the white minimalist aesthetic on the internet. Looking forward to what comes next. Cheers !

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 23, 2023 at 10:30 am

      anything we want!

  • Reply Susie June 23, 2023 at 11:37 am

    It’s lovely!

  • Reply Teresa June 23, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    It looks wonderful and can I say you take beautiful photos – the light on the first one is lovely. Also – the stack of fabric is v. enticing!

  • Reply Sarah June 23, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    You painted it so quickly and it’s such a small room — it will be very quick to repaint, should you decide to! Anne Helen Peterson wrtoe recently about the trap of optimization, it was a good one. Your paint impulse reminded me of that. Hope the color wears in well for you!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 23, 2023 at 8:32 pm

      Totally! (Loved that piece! Linked last week!)

  • Reply Cussot June 23, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    Been there, dithered over that. Ended up with BM Smoke. Perfect? Close enough.

  • Reply Tara June 24, 2023 at 8:55 am

    I love the color! It reminds me of sea glass – somehow both vibrant and peaceful. Really beautiful.

  • Reply Mackenzie June 25, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    “The walls remained their landlord-preferred hue of baby formula”. Ha, love your use of description here! 🙂

  • Reply Haylie June 26, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    Obviously you’re not going to just repaint, but I feel like Benjamin Moore’s gray owl is exactly the color you’re describing. A little blue, a little green, a little gray–it changes with the light and is just a touch of color. We inherited it with our place and fell in love.

  • Reply Vicki September 15, 2023 at 5:51 am

    Lovely color for the room . I love painting rooms gives a new feeling in a place/room. Freebies if you find them are great. I have come across many things people just toss if slightly broken. ( metal lanterns, glass nesting tables, wicker baskets) things I use . As they say; Ones man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.
    Plus good to recycle things .

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