I spent much of August helping weebit gather stuff for her law school apartment. Her style is not all-vintage, hunt-forever-til-it’s-perfect like mine. There’s a mix of old and new: contemporary-traditional, industrial, vintage finds, and stuff from Mom and Dad’s house. Because weebit wanted to be done by the time school started, once our “hunting for bargains” time ran out we finished with cheery filler-inner pieces that were easy to acquire and didn’t break the bank from the likes of Ikea, Home Goods, Pier One and Target. Indeed: The apartment is done, save for a few walls that need art, which she will pick up in her travels. She is now ensconced, very happy with the outcome, (and as you read this, wrestling Contracts, Civil Procedures and Torts). 

Since I spent mega-hours working on this project, I want to share out various “winner” ideas that surfaced. First up is one thing that we didn’t even have to think about: The paint color on the walls. We really liked it. It’s a vanilla creamy off-white custom color, from Behr. And I have the formula: 

Can anyone translate these colors?

Here you go, although I don’t think the paint on the walls was flat matte, I think they pulled this gallon for some touch ups and specified the wrong finish. Get yee a nice eggshell finish.

Unretouched photo taken later in the day, lights off, sun no longer coming in the window. 
Retouched — I upped the exposure. Early morning. Late August sun dappling in via the bay windows, from the East. 

It’s very difficult to photograph paint colors, because they shift with light, and well, I was using my iphone. But trust me: This is a good color. It has just enough yellow in it to make it a bit sunny, yet not so much yellow that the walls start bouncing off each other intensifying. I am not trained to read paint labels to deconstruct their formulas, nor can I dissect, on sight, what colors are in a paint. But I’d guess there’s also a little red (pink) in this color too… a bit of peachiness. Yes: Off-white peachy yellow, does that make sense? I need to give it a name. I pecked around a bit. It may be like  BM Vanilla Ice Cream — the egg into the cream would add the orange, the vanilla would add a bit of brown/bronze/gold. Behr also has a vanilla ice cream, and while it’s a quite pleasing color, especially on that small bungalow, I think it’s even yellower than what weebit has on her walls.

This is a “glowy” color. It seems to have good light reflectivity, so on a sunny day, you don’t really need the overhead lights. At night, turn on a few 40-watt lamps and you are happy. Glowy. 

Weebit is a millenial who has been acculturated to prefer gray walls. But she now has personal experience, with me standing over her to remind her: Off-whites are fabulous. She likes her walls a lot.

  1. Tarquin says:

    Whoops! Sorry about that. Funnily enough this is the subject of the story. Shades of color can be challenging. You may want the walls to be Kelly green, but in the daylight they look gray, at night the look hunter green, and on camera they look beige. They only look Kelly green at 5p.m. It seems like fabric is no different. That is why finding this shade of white was was a great discovery. It will stop so many people from buying 50 samples of white to get it right
    Thank you.

  2. Tarquin says:

    I get your point about Swiss Coffee. I moved into a house once that was painted head to toe in Swiss Coffee. The rooms that had little light during the day were warm and cozy, but the living room was sun-drenched and during the day the walls looked like they needed to be toned down. The white that you feature looks like it takes care of that problem. It’s probably warm in every room at every hour.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      When you say that the Swiss Coffee in sun-drenched rooms look like they needed to be toned down, do you mean… they were too brite white?

      1. Tarquin says:

        Yes. The walls in my living room looked liked ceiling white, because of the sun. The kitchen had less light, but was softer during the day. It was the same exact paint and color in the living room and kitchen. Swiss Coffee was the color. I can send you a photo of the living room during the day. It looks bright white.

        1. Pam Kueber says:

          I feel your pain. While many folks like or love bright white and love it as a backdrop on their walls, I am not one of them. It just plain hurts my eyes. These days I even tone down my ceilings, although in the past I’ve defaulted to fairly bright white trim.

  3. Brooke says:

    It’s a lovely colour in the space! Really warm and inviting.If you’re looking for a whiter colour but stillhas a smidge of warmth to it we’ve used Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee which is a white with a bit of yellow in it. It feels white when up on the walls but not overly stark. When compared to a stark white prime it looks distinctly not-white but once you get the whole room painted it’s like your bathed in a warm white glow.

  4. Carolyn says:

    What the heck kinda post is this with no 4-legged supervisors, a pair of shoes but no toes, and “stuff” laying around like real people actually live there! Ach! Oh, and where’s the hutch?
    The couch looks silver-gray to me – is this that internet dress thing all over again?
    White is not just white: white milk (and that depends upon if it’s whole, %, or skim), snow white, lily white, white as a sheet, cloud white, egg white, fish-belly white (my legs after winter but before summer), and then we move into creamy whites or bright whites.
    Jay, could the paint be affected by the finish? Don’t know how people feel about gloss except for specific applications (moldings, etc.)
    I would recommend putting packing tape over the recipe, name, and finger dot for future reference – you got a whole gallon can to smudge and you just know the only place unwanted marks will be is right there on the lid! Since you’ve got the tape out, get a swatch and tape that on there too!
    I had extra gallons of base paint and was able to get it custom-tinted from a blouse. I was startled that carbon(?) black was part of the formula for what I consider antique rose! And BH&G and HGTV mag has shown at least a dozen variations of it, all with different names.
    Pam, you’re lucky your daughter allowed you to be a part of this process. My girls think that since my house is decorated according to DH (they DID think the swimming pool steps in the corner was a clever idea for the house plants), that’s my style too. If they only knew…

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      No hutch. It didn’t make the cut. But, there’s a little upholstered chair/bench that we got at an estate sale!

      Yes, messy photos — and even then, I recall moving stuff outta the way.

  5. Tarquin says:

    I woull also like to add that the walls in the living room looked to bright white at night too even though they were Swiss Coffee. I had high ceilings in there, so maybe that was part of the reason. Anyway, I always knew I needed a darker shade.

    1. Carol Knox says:

      One of my top 5 movies of all time. “You ain’t eatin’ ham, if you ain’t eatin’ Wham”. Thread, butter and wallpaper, oh my.

  6. Tom says:

    This is the exact color I have in my 1959 mid-century home in Mpls. I would try to explain it – just a touch of yellow, a hint of peach, off white… you described it perfect ly! And in the evenings with just a couple of table lamps, (no overhead lighting!), it is the most beautiful, serene look you could possibly imagine.

  7. dkzody says:

    I love off-white walls. Our entire house is off-white and it makes me so calm. Oh, wait, there is one wall in our daughter’s bedroom that is blue. She painted it when she was in high school, over 20 years ago, and it still stands well with the remainder of the room in off-white.

  8. Carol says:

    I have always used Behr Swiss Coffee or Cottage White. This looks a little deeper than Swiss Coffee and not as yellow as Cottage White. I will be using this next. Thanks so much for posting this. Off whites are truly a quandary for me. Behr has the highest rating for scrubbing without leaving marks. I can attest to this because I have been using it for 17 years and it lives up to the claim. Because it is so washable, it is not a truly matte paint. It does have a slight sheen. This is the only thing about this paint that I don’t like. I have found a velvety white paint for the ceiling that I am in love with. Valspar ceiling paint, straight off the shelf, looks like a marshmallow. I’ll never use anything else. Sherwin Williams best outdoor paint is still looking perfect after 5 years. Truly one coat coverage and wears like iron. After 30 years of painting, these have become my go to paints. Dear Pam, if you have to delete this plug, I totally understand.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      I was able to erase pencil marks straight off the Behr — indeed, it did seem scrubbable. Thanks for the info on why it says “matte” but does not look truly matte to me…

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