“I think we should paint it glossy.  And the crown moldings.”

“The crown moldings green?”


“I want it flat with white crown molding.”

Simmering silence ensues.

“Why don’t I start by painting it flat, no crowns, and see how it goes?”

Paint ordered; paint applied.

“I like it.”

“I really think it needs to be glossy.  And the crowns painted.”

Imagine verbal scuffle. Later the same day:

“You painted the crown molding.”

“Well.  Not all of it.  Just a little to show you that it really does look better.”

Conjure images of a tense Sunday afternoon.  Without nearly enough time to heal:

“So what do you think about glossy?”

“Do.  Whatever.  You.  Want.”

If you think this little bit of passive aggression would have held me off, you’re wrong.  I immediately emailed a p.o. to Farrow & Ball for the Calke Green Full Gloss.  It arrived a week later with twin friends (Borrowed Light for the living room ceiling) and I painted the study again.  In a day.  So, basically, Mr. Blandings left for work in the morning with a matte office and returned home to a glossy office.  Glowing, gleaming, goosebumpy gorgeousness, truly.  He walked in to set his briefcase down and I could hear him pause.  I braced myself.

“You painted my office.”

“I did.”

“I thought only the crown moldings were going to be glossy.”



“You said I should do whatever I wanted.”


“I love it.”

In return for his generous approval, I neither gloated nor said, “I told you so.”  At least I don’t think I did.

I have now painted with Farrow & Ball Dead Flat, Estate Emulsion and Full Gloss and I could do a commercial.  As one reader said, “It is like painting with creme fraiche.”  It is.  It’s glorious.  And the colors are such a beautiful complexity; who wouldn’t want that?

This was not a sponsored post; I have paid for all the paint and received no compensation from Farrow & Ball.

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49 thoughts on “Volley

  1. It looks Gorgeous! I am sure this isn't the case at Farrow and Ball, but if you go to a big box store, it is almost a struggle to get them to sell you gloss interior wall paint. Every single time I have had them try to talk me out of it. I should print your photo to shut them up.

  2. It does look great. And now more than ever I want to get my sideboard sanded and bust into the gallon of high gloss burnt orange FPE sign lacquer sitting in my kitchen.

  3. Really, you have done it again.
    You deserve a shiny medal or trophy to go in that spot. Love the color, shine and all.

  4. A perfect post for Mrs. Blandings indeed. But Patricia – it looks gorgeous – how could he not be thrilled. Not only do I love the high gloss but the color is the perfect complement to your furnishings. Job well done!!

  5. Oh Mrs B, it is stunningly gorgeous!!!! I hope Mr B treats you right….What a love you are to make such a handsome/masculine/powerful yet glamourous study for your husband.

  6. Thank you for making me feel like I have a normal marriage! I am also craving the F&B paint now like I would a brownie. M.

  7. Cassandra – thanks!

    Sanctuary – I am usually trying to do some nutty thing, so I think my paint store is used to me. F&B raised no concerns.

    Dalai – well. I did ask him about twenty times what he wanted. Then did what I wanted. He might have been a bit misled.

    David – Now more than ever I want you to, too. My buddy Nick Olsen tells me FPE are divine.

    Katie – thanks, means a lot from you.

    Balsamfir – thank you.

    pve – I sort of felt like I deserved a medal myself after finishing up in a day. Like a design reality show.

    Q – thank you, thank you.

    Linda – he's the best.

    ID Musings – that must be why I keep buying more – I think I am craving it like a brownie, too.

  8. I've used green blue in my last 2 bedrooms, can sleep with it happily to the end of my days. There is no better white than Lime White, it looks like it has been on the walls forever. I used it on wooden kitchen cabinets, now it's walls in a mid century modern house, ceilings are dead white and the subtle contrast is glorious.

  9. You knew I would love this so a comment seems unnecessary. You must have sensed the thumbs up telepathically. But it's just wonderful. I really like the portrait and inherited prints with the leather too. As always, I wish you lived next door and could pop in to compare notes on green walls.

    Well done!

  10. perfect, and well done-and sponsored Only If they agree to Paint as well! I love what you have done.

  11. Excellent work, Mrs B! Would it be churlish of me
    to recommend that you camouflage the white heat vent
    with more wall colour?

  12. It looks fantastic! The entire room does. Those walls just glow. BTW, if you need to touch up the walls, it's quite easy with the F&B high gloss. Everyone told me it wouldn't be, but it is.

  13. Very, very, very nice! Like another poster commented the color complements the furnishings perfectly. Just a couple of questions and not because I think I know the right answer. Are you going to paint the baseboards in the high gloss green as well? How about your antelope carpet? It would look stunning with that green!

  14. I LOVE THIS ROOM. Is it for lease? I am so happy to see saturated colors once more. And the green moldings–superb.

  15. ok…so, it goes without saying that the green, the gloss, the leather worked…and is worthy of comment. There are others who could show and tell.

    But there's only one Mrs. Blandings who tells it like a hard covered book or a peep into an old black & white.

    You are. As always. Entertaining.


  16. Patricia,
    I have always been discouraged by paint stores from using gloss as well. Maybe they can tell I don't have a steady hand.
    The room is gorgeous. Please let me know if you want an extra hand next time you paint. I'm ready to paint some walls myself but too chicken to start again after 6 years out of practice.

  17. This looks fabulous! I love the green! I'm saving this post for the next time my husband and I have the same argument (we have it on a regular basis). I love glossy walls and glossy trim in the same color. My husband is from the school of "always always always paint the walls flat and the trim a different color". My mom has advised me not to ask his opinion anymore. I've decided that all painting will be done when he's out of town. He ALWAYS ends up loving what I do so I don't know why he even bothers arguing. We're only in our second year of marriage though so I'll give it time 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  18. This is fantastic – the picture is really stunning. Did I see that coffee table at River Market AM a while back?
    I painted my living room and hallway with a high gloss, and I love it – brightens the whole room up during the day, and at night, with low lamp lighting and candles, it's an absolute dream.

  19. Great room, on trend but with an individualistic twist. The worn leather goes so well with the gloss green. And the green is a very particular shade, deep and complex. Great job.

  20. Great work Mrs B. I have also had some fun with a full glossy paint in my bathroom – a deep moody teal! I feel like it's the jewel box of my house and a space where I let myself enjoy it as opposed to being sensible for resale in a year or two.

  21. Oh, I love it! I love it that you went ahead and did it while he was gone. I have jackhammered up the tile in a sunporch while my husband was out of town, taken down the pool table without asking, etc. etc. (He said "where is the pool table?…in the storage garage…in OUR storage garage?….yes….well, at least we aren't paying for the storage)

    The best things I have ever done have been done in spite of objection. But, as you know, you have to work FAST!!!!


  22. High gloss paint shows every flaw in your walls if there are any. Perhaps the darker the color, the less or, but that is the reason paint experts advise against using it. These walls look great, very masculine and warm. Great job.

  23. The walls look rich and the color is beautiful! As a paint color consultant, I appreciate that you're willing to not only go darker, but glossy as well. And I love the crown molding painted the same color. I'm so sick of white trim. People just don't get how the bright contrast is jarring. Most people are slaves to bland neutrals, and worry about re-sale value. But, what if they don't move for 10 years? Then, they spend 10 years looking at boring walls when they could've had something amazing. Glad you're willing to go for it.

  24. Wonderful… You are too funny! My husband thinks I'm so weird laughing at my computer at your post… Thank goodness for this crazy outlet called blogging!

  25. It looks great. I love the green extend to crown moldings and your needlepoint pillows, too!! ; )

  26. It looks perfect. I have used Benjamin Moore high gloss on walls but after your post I might have to try F+B for my next project. Did you roll the walls?

  27. Circling back around to answer some questions. The baseboard trim follows the vent so I suppose that is why I left it white. That said, I do think it should be green, so, yes, will be touching that up.

    I have no plan to paint the ceiling unless I replicate the Borrowed Light in here. In a day. Before Mr. B can object.

    The high gloss was lovely to work with, but no, I don't think it would cover in one coat. The flat needed two and then the gloss went on top (same color – see what I'm saying?) so it worked for this project, but not if you were covering something else.

    I did roll the walls. The finish is glossy, but it does not appear lacquered. Loads of sanding and at least another coat would be required, I think.

    Do the flaws show? Well, yes, but they show with flat, too. Flaws show. It doesn't bother me. Again, I do think the walls could have used a light sanding and a second coat. But I was oh-so-finished with this project.

    Todd – I made the coffee table, so it is just a look-alike of the one you spied.

    And, Diane, I agree on every point.

  28. I think that this makes the list for one of my favorite of your posts. I am glad to know that these conversations do not just happen at my house.

  29. ok, i was looking for the credit for the room. what magazine did it come from? seriously.
    omg. Mrs. B. this is beyond gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    fabulous. never listen to your husband! that's a rule in decorating!!!! unless you are married to miles redd or someone like that.

  30. You'd *think* after all you both went through building your dream home in the Connecticut country side that he would have learned by now not to mess with the paint queen…hopefully now it has finally sunk in!
    We spent three years building and designing our home and those special conversations, simmering silences, and verbal scuffles were part of our every day life…and I-don't-miss-them…at-all!!

    So well done Mrs.B!!!
    xo J~

  31. Wait 'til you try using the oil-based paints from Schreuder in Holland. Their paint is sold in the USA by Fine Paints of Europe, which is based in Vermont. It's super expensive and looks best when applied on top of Schreuder's oil primer, but the results are unparalleled: rich colors with real depth and a super-hard, durable surface.

    I've found a good paint job to be worth the extra cost, which really begins to amortize at the point when cheaper paints start looking dull, dreary and/or dingy.

    Like you, I'm not on the company's payroll and received no compensation for writing this.

  32. Absolutely stunning. That green. The gloss. The interaction of the brown leather with the walls. Wow. You hit a home run. My hubby and I have the same "discussions" too. It's easy to be firm when I'm sure of myself, but when trying something new I hesitate, knowing that I'm burning capital and credibility with him if it turns out badly!!

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