Shades of Gray: Our go-to paint colors for gray walls in kitchens

SO, this is a little hard to wrap your head around at this time of year living in the western area of New York state because we’re all too familiar with this color outside our windows. However, allow your skepticism to fade as you browse these amazing projects. Benjamin Moore has some great paint colors for kitchens.

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We definitely have an affinity for Benjamin Moore paints. The colors are vivid, the paint goes on smoothly in just a couple coats, and it’s cleanable with a wet cloth. They have low odor for nurseries and people with allergies or asthma, no-scuff for high traffic areas, a specific formula for bathrooms, and a whole host of outdoor products as well.

Up first, this Traditional style kitchen with white cabinets, gets walls painted in Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. It has warm undertones and the ability to unify the wood tones, white quartz, and brushed gold hardware in this large kitchen.

Revere pewter is a great neutral that will blend with most any color you choose. Just like most paints, the color we perceive changes depending on the amount of light hitting the surface - sneaky! In the above photo, to the left of the coffee/wine bar the color looks darker since it’s further from the light source. To the right of the prep counter, it appears a bit lighter.

Our designers recommend narrowing down your paint choices and painting a swatch of each on the wall so you can really see what they’ll look like in your house.

And we can’t NOT point out the adorable built-in pet feeding station!

Next up, a kitchen that was born in the 1950’s and was updated to modern standards with a coat of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist. This one has a reputation for looking quite different in each room also depending on the light. It has pink undertones, but works beautifully here to balance the bright white of the cabinets with the dark hardwood flooring.

Last but not least, this quaint kitchen with mixed materials gets a modern, fresh update with Stonington gray.

I should also mention that each of these colors are on Ben Moore’s list of most popular paint colors. It makes sense - we love them, too!

All of the projects here were designed and built by Bright Ideas by Martinec in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Bathroom with Laundry - a conscious coupling

This hard-working little bath has so many responsibilities - laundry for a family of 7, bathing and washing 5 kids, hair and make-up for 2 teens, hair for 1 almost-teen, 3rd grade science experiments, and whatever a 5 year old boy can think up to do in there!  Plus, must have storage for all those things, AND be durable, AND easy to maintain.  

While it might not be everyone's first choice to have the laundry room combined with bathroom, the owners purchased the house this way and it's on the second floor of the home with all the bedrooms making it a very convenient place to do laundry.  


Take a look at how our designers incorporated more storage and gave this little room a brighter, updated visage with a few cosmetic updates.  

Problem number one - lack of storage.  The only cabinet was under the sink and the wire shelves above the washer and dryer were not sturdy enough to hold all the supplies for all of the people who use the room!  There was a large empty space behind the door that was underutilized.  


Before - dark paint and wire shelves

Before - dark paint and wire shelves

After - room is brighter with paint color change and storage in enclosed in cabinets. 

After - room is brighter with paint color change and storage in enclosed in cabinets. 

We didn't need to change the floor plan to fit in a few cabinets above the washer and dryer, plus place a ceiling-height linen closet in the corner behind the door.  In a busy room, enclosed storage is a great way to keep the look clean, plus provide space to hide all that dirty laundry!  

Before - underused space behind bathroom door 

Before - underused space behind bathroom door 

After - beautiful tall linen cabinet

After - beautiful tall linen cabinet

Now, all the dirty laundry stays hidden - plus there is much more storage space for extra towels, laundry supplies, and health and beauty aids. 

The bottom shelf slides out to make access even easier 

The bottom shelf slides out to make access even easier 


Problem number 2 - outdated and damaged flooring.  In a busy room, durability is a must.  The original floor was vinyl and since there have been many improvements in quality and style for vinyl flooring, we stuck with it and chose an updated pattern from Tarkett in Rich Onyx.  This was also a great choice for a busy family - the install time is much faster than a tile floor.  


Not to be missed - the adorable little Cimarron toilet from Kohler and the prism-shaped Juliet knobs from Top Knobs for a touch of glam. 

Other cosmetic choices:  instead of replacing the whole vanity cabinet which was in good shape, we simply changed the doors and drawer fronts to match the new cabinets.  The counter top stayed the same, but we updated the faucet and added a handheld fixture in the shower for those quick kid and pet rinses.  And of course, the paint color!  Going with a lighter color in a small room can make it feel brighter and bigger which is definitely true in this bathroom and laundry room.  

All in all, these cosmetic changes solved all the storage problems and turned the cuteness factor WAY up!

Raymond Viner Hall House Remodel

A copy of the original hand drawn rendering.

"A unique creation - a house designed for its site".

[An excerpt from The Evening Leader, Corning, N.Y. on Monday, April 23, 1951.]

This house is now one of our most recent remodel/restoration projects!  

Originally designed by Pennsylvanian architect Raymond Viner Hall in 1950 for Mr. and Mrs. Sherrard Clemens.

The current owners have come to us to help them restore their new starter home!


The current front facade.

Raymond Viner Hall lived in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania.  His father was Walter J. Hall, a local builder in Port Allegany who was most known for his construction of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece Falling Water, located in Bear Run, Pennsylvania.  This experience at age 28 had a great impact on a young Raymond Viner Hall and would define his philosophy of design as an architect.


Founder, Owner, George Martinec.

Founder, Owner, George Martinec.

Where it gets more interesting:  

      Throughout Raymond Viner Hall's career he became an authority on radiant heat and published a technical manual on the subject for Bethlehem Steel Company.  Bethlehem Steel is located near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the hometown of George Martinec.  George worked at Bethlehem Steel Company in the summers while attending college.

This blog will follow the life of this project!