a swing and a … miss?

I have a decorating split personality.  I really struggle with it.  You see, the problem is, I like more than one style.  As a result I often find myself going sort of half-way there and ending up missing the mark entirely because I can’t commit fully one way or the other.

For example, I love the French Nordic look with mostly white painted pieces, lots of age showing and maybe a hit of black or grey.  Love, love, love this look.


That’s the direction I headed in with my new Specimens cupboard.

But I also love color.  Especially pale aqua, but also blue and greens, and I don’t mind mixing in some pinks or yellows as evidenced by the collection of stuff in my pantry.

You can’t really mix these two styles without diluting them somewhat.  Certainly not in the same room, or rooms that are visible from one another.

So my problem is, I really want to gravitate towards the French Nordic look, but I can’t bare to part with some of my favorite more colorful pieces.  I’ve been making a concentrated effort to head in that direction over the past year or so though.  That is partly behind my switch from the Kitchen Scale buffet (even though I still love that color!) to the Specimens cupboard, although function also played a part in that decision.

As part of that switch, I also recently repainted my grandmother’s chair.  If you’ve been following me since the beginning you may vaguely remember when I painted this chair in Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue.  That was three years ago!  My how time flies.

I wasn’t too sure about the Flow Blue on this chair.  It was the first time I’d used that color and I was a little startled by how bold it was.  But it grew on me over time and it worked well with my blue walls.

But in keeping with my switch to a more neutral palette, I decided a muted grey would work well on this chair.  Since I have a ton of milk paint on hand already, and I’m pretty frugal, I also wanted to use a color I already had.  I went to my milk paint supply cupboard and looked for some Miss Mustard Seed Trophy.  Nope, didn’t have it.  How about some MMS Schloss, that’s what I really wanted.  Nope, didn’t have it.  Then I saw my bag of Homestead House milk paint in Bedford.  I love this color, but it is definitely a very warm greige rather than a typical grey.  But I thought it might work.  So I mixed some up and painted the chair.

Hmmm.  A swing and a miss?  When I put the chair back in place, I really didn’t love it.  I don’t think it works that well with the blue walls.

But then I moved it over next to the Specimens cupboard …

And it seems to be much more at home.   So for now I think I’ll leave it in this spot, and I’ll keep on working towards that French Nordic style.  The next thing to go might be those horizontal stripes on my walls in this room.  Be sure to stay tuned!

30 thoughts on “a swing and a … miss?

  1. That whiteish, Nordic look always appeals in magazines but I could never do it in my own life. It’s just too sterile for my taste. I imagine I’d always be “scrubbing up” for surgery. I think it’s photo friendly but not living friendly. BUT, it looks great in your photos lol.


    1. I think adding in the chippy, distressed, vintage aspect is what makes all of that white ‘livable’. You can continue to ding things up and it just adds to the charm. No need to scrub up Ruth!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the neutral white look but came to the conclusion that everyone’s pictures start looking the same on Instagram. I quickly get bored seeing the same things over and over. Go with what makes you happy.


    1. You are not the first person I’ve heard say that. About everyone doing the neutral white thing I mean. I do think that many of us (especially bloggers who are trying to develop a following and then keep them happy) are like lemmings and we follow what everyone else is doing because it seems to be the ‘in’ thing. And I also agree that it gets boring. But on the other hand, some of us just see that style out there, love it and want to create it for ourselves. Either way, my white cupboard definitely makes me happy, while grandma’s chair, maybe not so much 😉


  3. I’m French (my name). I’m Nordic (my ancestry is Swedish and Norwegian). But I’m with Ruth, absence of color is un-liveable. It is a magazine tableau. I want to reach into my screen, grab out your Grandmother’s chair and take it to the shower for a good scrubbing to get it’s (my) color back. I hope your other personality wins. Respecrfully submitted, La Verne (another ‘quist)


    1. I love the chair…especially in the new spot. AND I also love your sttiped walls…can’t imagine them any other way. Of course, I also remember really liking them when they were just the right shade of red….so I’m just going to have to wait and see what cool idea you come up with next.


  4. I think the Nordic look is beautiful and restful. I love old white chippy pieces but honestly I need color and funky, silly things surrounding me to feel like I’m in a happy place. That said, you should decorate with your own version of ‘your happy place’ to make you feel warm when you walk in the door. Since you paint so beautifully you can make that happen. (But blue is a great color!)


  5. I like the chair both ways! I have a question about the suitcases you have on top of your Specimens cabinet: did you paint them? If so, can you briefly tell the steps to do that? I recently found one similar to yours which needs some work. Thanks!


    1. I didn’t paint either of those suitcase, they were both black when I got them. But I have painted plenty of suitcases before. {Here’s} a good example of one I painted with black milk paint. And {here} are a pair painted in chalk paint. There are more details on the process in that last post. Check it out!


  6. So glad to hear that someone else has a split-decor personality! I love studying the all-white interiors to learn the tricks of making it work, only to be shopping and impulsively drawn to some colorful or more contemporary object. All-white interions seem to be the epitome of simplicity and tranquility, but it is a difficult look to segue to, when there is a home full of furniture/paint/art/accessories already in place. From the photos I think your gray chair fits because it adds a variation of color. It will always look good next to your new storage cupboard because of the grayish stencil on the cupboard.


  7. Compared to my house you are very neutral (family room is kiwi, before that it was red) I am gradually going with lighter colors and more white, but could never live in an all white environment…too much like an operating room…sterile.
    I love the colors in your house!


    1. Thank you Melissa! Hey, I had red walls once too, and kiwi as well now that I think about it. But that was about 3 paint jobs ago 😉 Are you getting the impression that I like to change things up frequently?


  8. I like to look at the white but I need some color, earth tones. By the way if you are looking to just be done with the chair you could pass it on to our new house. Lol.


  9. I have the same problem. We are antique dealers and collect many things. I like the white weathered look and I am slowly selling things to get in more white and gray. I just returned from our new Tuesday Morning store and almost bought a really neat black Oriental table but had to remind myself it is not what I want right now, I am trying for white and gray and do not need any new furniture. It is hard to try to change everything without just starting over, but I like what I have too!


    1. It sounds like we all struggle with the same issues! Like you, I often have to remind myself when something is not what I’m looking for right now 😉


  10. I too follow many bloggers who decorate with the white neutral decor and I think it’s so beautiful, but for me I’d hate to see all your beautiful green and blue go away. On the other hand, we all need change so if this is the direction you want to go, do it. With your eye, I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful.


    1. LOL, this is exactly what I’m struggling with Becky! I also love the blues and greens, but I also love the white neutral. Maybe I do just need a change;-)


  11. Ok I am going against the group here cause I totally love what you refer to as French Nordic. I particularly love the Belgian grey with warm whites. I find the difference in living with a palette of neutrals is using lots of texture. You have accomplished that with the chippiness on your painted pieces. Plus your addition of typography actually adds depth too. I love the direction you’re taking. For me the dining room Welsh dresser full of ironstone gorgeous! So while I like the pale blue greens – I definitely prefer the new rendition of grandma’s chair.


  12. I am too in the same boat, color versus white, I lean towards color but white is what sells in my group shop. Every time I comment to the shop owner about a piece that has been sitting for a while she has one answer “you could paint it white” and I just want to scream, noooo……


    1. Yep, that is the other side of the white v. color question, deciding how to paint pieces you want to sell. I have heard some say that color sells really well for them, but I find that white or black pieces tend to sell the best for me … and a lot of grey too. Color is a much tougher sell. After all, your market shrinks a bit. Most people can fit a white or grey piece into their existing color scheme, not as many can add a pretty pale yellow piece, or something in a vibrant blue or turquoise. But it gets so boring painting everything in a neutral, right? Every now and then it’s so much fun to pick a gorgeous color!


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