What paint color to paint 25 foot fireplace tower?
nanders
October 16, 2013 in Design Dilemma
My great room has a fireplace on a 25 foot tower. The two story room is getting painted cloud white and has considerable hemlock wood trim and a Danish oak floor.. The furnishings will be changing from the photo (items that came with the house purchase) but the overall look I want is contemporary, casual elegance, light and open. (Downstream I will address replacing the paint on the tower with stone but not ready now.) The fireplace has tile down low which is a mottled blend of pinks, brown and gray taupes on a light gray-creme background. I am choosing from Ben Moore paints. I liked the color abalone but not enough contrast. Then tried sea froth but too pinky orange at sunset. Currently have up Wish in the Affinity line but seems purple in hue at times. The room has 6 giant skylights, four big clearstory windows and 4 sets of sliding glass doors--therefore the light really changes in this room. I didn't want to go dark however it seems I may need to for better contrast. My decorating savvy friend is out of town and the painter on site pushing for a decision.

I will attach images showing the tower and also some of the room decor. The Scandinavian wall unit will remain but I'm getting all new furniture, a Nogucchi table, Tolomeo mega floor lamp, area rug, and new accent tables. The colors are somewhat flexible but I am going with an ocean theme so want to blend with blues and greens.

Any ideas on what color choices I can try next? I was trying to stay neutral and focused on gray tones but am open to suggestions. The best color matches I've had so far have been abalone, nimbus, cumulus cloud, london fog, apparition (green hue) and the sea froth and wish. Since I'm getting 25 feet in a "stripe" I'd like it to be a color I like. I don't find nimbus or london fog very pretty. Sea froth and wish I like but I've got these undertones. I was hoping to have an easy match with revere pewter but it's too brown. I hadn't realized before that I can take an off-the-shelf-color and have it lightened or darkened a percent which is an option.
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I would definitely paint it one of the colors that is in the stone at the base of the column. You're the one on the scene who can best match the color so I'd go for a taupey tone from Benj. Moore. Pick your two best choices and buy sample jugs. Paint a large poster board of each color and check them, day and night, so see which looks better.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
2 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 16, 2013 at 7:13PM
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decoenthusiaste
You might need to address your lighting in order to be happy with paint. The night time pix are very warm, unlighted daytime shots very cool. I'd want a professional lighting consultation, especially since you have the window issue. Finding the right paint may depend on it.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 16, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
What Carolyn said.
1 Like   Thanked by nanders    October 16, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Brenda
yep. what Carolyn said.
1 Like   Thanked by nanders    October 17, 2013 at 6:19AM
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joots07
I'd keep it the same color as the walls. It's an interesting feature but painting it stone color could give it a smokestack effect.
2 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 17, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Lydia (Kazza Design)
I would also leave it the same colour as the walls. It's interesting enough as it is so it doesn't need to stand out even more.
3 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 17, 2013 at 3:57PM
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jpp221
Can you clad it in stone, top to bottom? (Think: grand hotel in Aspen, that sort of feeling. But if you don't like rustic, think about cladding the whole column in steel.)

(I know that's not cheap...but if you're spending on a house with a 25 foot ceiling...)

As it is, the existing tiling seems diminutive, a bit wimpy, for such a strong element in such a large room.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 17, 2013 at 6:08PM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
I have to respectfully disagree with the suggestion to keep it as the walls. There is so much going on here, architecturally, that ONE of the elements among the myriad opposing lines and planes should have greater visual weight. It will help to calm and focus the complex play of shape and space that is present here. I still agree with Carolyn's recommendation. Remember, the contrast need not be bold. Just a few shades darker than the walls would be sufficient, but I do think the effect would be significant and very positive. Can't wait to see what you do. Keep us updated. VERY compelling space.
2 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 19, 2013 at 2:33PM
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anne dee
this space, for some reason, made me think of Freud!
1 Like   October 19, 2013 at 2:39PM
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AliciaTappDesigns Images on Tiles
I created a tumbled marble tile mural for my client that had a similar space over a fireplace.. It was a Tuscan vineyard.. Mural was about 11 feet tall.
http://www.AliciatappDesigns.com
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 2:45PM
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JudyG Designs
I am with Lydia and joots, …keep it the same as the walls…after all it is the same material, not stone, and it may wind up looking like an empty paper towel roll with just a one dimensional color. It is the horizontal wood trim which I find distracting.
Fireplace
Contemporary Living Room
1 Like   October 19, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Thank you Daniel, for reiterating so nicely my thoughts.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 19, 2013 at 6:18PM
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nanders
Thanks particularly to Daniel and Carolyn for sharing your perspective. Carolyn, I appreciate your speedy response validating my approach in spite of its difficulties. Daniel, you do indeed have a way with words! Both of your portfolios which reflect your work speaks for your expertise. Although I haven't found success yet with a specific color (painting being an intermediate upgrade until I can add stone veneer, plaster, etc), as soon as I painted a large sample of paint, it was a concept proven for this space. Although the painter is being unpleasant (and our understanding was that the tower color was tbd with no definite deadline this week or next), I'm not wanting to make a painting choice until I can see the paint sample in various lights at various times of day. The fluctuation in the paint color is sometimes marked. The undertones are frustrating. It is most helpful that Daniel believes even a couple of shades darker than my off-white would be effective; I really hadn't wanted anything dark.

By the way, the first two photos were taken with wide angle lens so distort the room's dimensions. The room is not so narrow. Also, the last two photos with quite different lighting than the first two, doesn't really reflect the room typically (but best shots on hand of the tower).

Since I am having trouble quickly finding a paint color, I looked into a stone veneer briefly to see if that would be a quick solution to upgrading the room. Because the tower has two 45 degree angles, I've been told so far that there isn't a stone veneer that would work. I was thinking of a white textured stone similar to the Pro-ledge product that creates a bit of the effect as the Cat Mountain residence fireplace. I like keeping the room light but think a similar look would be lovely. The furniture will be neutral but I do have various blues and greens as accessories and some are not so soft.

Thanks for all assistance. It's most appreciated. I
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
This may have been covered already, but have you considered a stone tile to use for facing the tower? The tile would be easy to cut as needed.
1 Like   October 19, 2013 at 7:05PM
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giaksch
I love this thread!!
This is the fireplace tower in the house we are buying. We are going to probably stucco over the wood paneling and put new tiles on the fireplace, add a mantle and get rid of the old screen. It's great to see yours. Please post pics when you've painted it!!!!
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 19, 2013 at 7:29PM
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giaksch
(Pant pic shows the sellers' furniture/art)
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 7:30PM
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giaksch
Lol not pant - should have been 'ps my'
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 7:30PM
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coloradodesignerlady
I'm a designer, which doesn't make my opinions any better than anyone else's. But I am looking at the room with respect to all the various lines and shapes, and also feeling like, despite the fireplace column, there is a lack of focal point. I say--paint that column black, or a dark pewter gray, or whatever color that fireplace surround is. Just something DRAMATIC. That's what I'd do!--Stephanie
3 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 7:42PM
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mveasey
Why not find a different painting professional, that would be friendly, patient and actually be able to give advice, since paint should be his forte?
2 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Mark
The fireplace has a cold " smoke stack ' feeling about it but with the use of some very nice moulding and paint colors strategically placed this frieplace could be fabulous looking. The moulding in these pictures are more traditional but you could still achieve your contemporary style with less traditional style mouldings.
4 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 2:54AM
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myhouse1020
How about painting the walls instead.
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 5:57AM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
giaksch's photo is very compelling. Love the concept here, but read on... With the modern furnishings you have described, I LOVE the "smokestacky" possibly industrial aspect of this element even more. I suggest you play that UP. Lemonade from a Lemon. I don't know how edgy your style is or what context you want to establish for your modern sophisticated furnishings, but from the beginning I have wondered what it would be like to sheath this element in an "alternative" metal. Bronze, patinated copper, zinc, patinated or oil rubbed steel sheeting, etc. Or this effect achieved in a decorative painted finish or a wonderful textured wallcovering of some kind. Perhaps, again, organically metallic.There are some astonishing coverings these days and given the minimal square footage required here, this could be an affordable and VERY impactful solution. I actually rank that as my top recommendation for you. In considering stone, it seems heavy for this light, soaring space. But if you do it, apply stone TILES, grid style, not an organic rustic approach , ie: stack-stone or the like. Or if you want a touch of elemental/organic, go with slate tiles, in a VERY light color. Or limestone. Honed, not polished. A good installer will know how to treat the corners. I would have them miter the corners, personally. Worth the expense when you get there. A successful result, if you are tiling, will be a precise, perfect installation. Choose your installer very carefully. With all of these approaches, the contrast required to make this a pleasing focal point, comes through the texture versus contrast of color. Base the room color on tones in the chosen matrerial. (if it is changing. It doesn't need to, necessarily) A cantilevered mantel would be terrific. (cast concrete? slab of reclaimed wood, raw edge... ?)
The space really is very interesting, potentially jaw-dropping... Good Luck. Have fun.
1 Like   Thanked by nanders    October 20, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Nancy Travisinteriors
I don't like the oak. Looks dated. Might paint that out to match wall color. You need to paint a darker color on walls then go very dramatic on fireplace. If stone is out of budget, just paint 2-3 shades darker than walls.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 20, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
We hadn't gotten there, but I agree with travisinteriors on the molding. For me it is because it is another way of quieting all the opposing lines and planes, removing the "outline" that the contrasting molding creates. By default, it strengthens your newly spectacular focal point by eliminating a competing element. Based on your photos, I would LEAVE the base board only, in the stain. Good news: You can paint the molding in this room only, without losing continuity and flow. I can't tell you how rarely this is true. Consider painting the hand rail black, (if) once the molding goes white.
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 10:32AM
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nanders
Any ideas on what a "few shades darker" than Cloud White would be in a conservative neutral? Moonlight white, for example, or is that not dark enough? The painters need the color tomorrow. I don't have more time to consider and get access to fan decks, etc. I have lots of color samples (large size) from Ben Moore particularly in the gray taupe zone but none seemed a great fit to me or my decorating savvy friend. I have yet to pick an area rug and upholstery/furniture and window treatments so want the paint choice to not interfere with the process. I could just paint the tower the same as the wall color Cloud White but I really like the idea of some contrast which Daniel Dionne Designs llc said should have a positive effect on the room for the interim until the tower can more favorably be addressed.
I have worked hard to get a good contrasting color that matches something in the tile. The tile colors are difficult to match (and I'm getting to dislike the tiles after all this grief they're causing me!). Since all the grays and taupes and greiges haven't been obvious, I'm now thinking of remaining in the Off-Whites. But will this be enough contrast?

Also, I will tell the painters tomorrow to paint the horizontal wood trim pieces. I hadn't thought of it or understood the horizontal "interference" they created with the vertical. I appreciate the suggestion and associated follow up.
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 6:14PM
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nanders
Does Balboa Mist, OC-27 provide enough contrast to Cloud White? This is an excellent match to the tile but it does read light and I had been searching for better contrast? Again, I'm just wanting something more interesting and better than the wall color for the tower until I can get back to a better final upgrade. I've got my hands full with lots of other more basic stuff so am unsure when I'll get back to the tower. Hopefully, in the spring but .....
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
Yes. I looked at Cloud White and Balboa Mist together. If the Balboa Mist works with the tile, I believe it will do what you need it to and look great. Do it in flat finish, which I almost never recommend, but seems right here. Glad you are painting the horizontal molding white. That one change will have significant visual impact. Black handrail.......... Keep us posted. Have fun.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 20, 2013 at 8:49PM
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nanders
Oops, the color that matches the tile so well is Benjamin Moore London Fog, 1541 NOT Balboa Mist. London Fog is darker than Balboa Mist but still light. I will get that in the morning and perhaps make it lighter 25% or so.
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 10:36PM
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nanders
Another photo of the room (again room unfurnished--items left from previous owner)
0 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Charles-Etienne Roy
I would take those gray tiles out and cover the whole tower in stone veneer. It will add warmth and texture to your room. I would go with limestone splitface stone in the beige tones. It will complement the cloud white you chose and will turn the space from nice to incredible.
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 20, 2013 at 10:42PM
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libradesigneye
Darker rather than lighter is going to be a better solution and then you will be able to see what stone tile cladding can do for you. From London Fog, I went down a shade and then over to more neutral tone. You might just test bm stone harbor as a first coat and then use the lighter shade on top if you aren't pleased. . .what can it hurt? http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/stoneharbor
0 Likes   Thanked by nanders    October 21, 2013 at 9:00AM
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