Magic in a Can

The first time we set foot in the apartment, we realized that previous owners had been inspired (and I DO mean SERIOUSLY inspired) by Frances Maye’s 1996 bestseller, Under the Tuscan Sun.
There was terracotta tile floor throughout, a practical enough choice for a beach condo (and, thankfully, pretty timeless, too!). There was an UGLY ornate chandelier hanging low over the dining room table, embellished with gold paint and wrought iron grape leaves. Greg came to hate it after he banged his head on it once too often. I didn’t even need to bash my head to hate it.

ochre sponge painted walls and tuscan chandelier

ochre sponge painted walls and tuscan chandelier

The oversized caramel leather sofa I could understand. Smothering it under burgundy damask tasseled pillows, I could NOT.



In a Florida beach condo???

Worst of all, the walls were spongepainted in heavy warm tones of ochre and gold. The splotched walls were enough to make my eyes cross. The effect was plain UGLY and it made the apartment feel stifling in the Florida heat. No wonder it had not sold! We had faith that a fresh coat of white paint would make a world of difference.

Happily, it has, dear reader! It has!!

A lesson if ever I needed one: NEVER underestimate the power of a fresh coat of white paint.

It is calming and classic and cool. It is simply perfect and it always will be, especially in a space where we want a relaxing atmosphere to reign supreme. I LOVE colour but all those famous decorators can’t be wrong. Even though I’d love to hire Canada’s wonderful Michael Penney or Katheryn Ireland or Tom Sheerer or the very talented and funny Emily Henderson, I’m not in that league economically. I can own my place in the sun or I can pay for a decorator but can’t do both. But I have the time and interest to read their blogs and to study the glossy magazine spreads showing their work and try to learn. Then, well, I just kinda steal their ideas and try to make them work in my own space. Case in point: Emily Henderson’s trademark West Elm Mongolian wool pillow, now adds comfort, texture and a cool blast of white to the leather armchair. Thank you, Emily! 🙂

So when I read somewhere that Katheryn Ireland likes Benjamin Moore’s Timid White, I was sold. I’d previously painted a walk-in closet two houses ago in Timid White and loved the chalky, fresh feel. Timid White has covered over the ochre splotches. I now am a very happy camper.

Here’s the same table, with the freshly painted walls (with table moved forward to the garden windows, so the people who vacation here can enjoy the views of palm trees with their orange juice and coffee):


Maybe I’m easily excited.

But really….isn’t that just SO much better?!


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