Gingerhawk Painting Dilemma – In Search of the Perfect Moody Blue


After over a year of dreaming and planning, we arrived at Gingerhawk in August to put the finishing touches on this beautiful retreat party. One of the biggest jobs left to do once we arrived was the exterior painting. Our contractor, Thad, hired an awesome painter named Oscar and his team to complete the transformation of this amazing home.

But choosing the perfect color was a lot trickier than we imagined. I worked as an interior designer for many years, so picking paint colors is generally something I'm pretty good at. But I've never chosen an exterior house color, and it was tough! For one thing, the scale is so much larger than anything I've ever worked with. And the effect of full sun and the surrounding landscape really influences the perception of color. In any case, let's just say that things did not turn out as we envisioned. We're happy with the final results, but it's not exactly what we had in mind.

Let's start from the beginning. The picture above is how the house looked before painting, and the picture below is the bath house unpainted. We planned to paint the bath house first to see how we liked the color, and then move on to the main house from there. It's a good thing we did because we were definitely shocked by our original color choice.


Months ago, we had been pinning and planning our color choice from our home in San Diego. The Pacific Northwest is known for it's luscious greenery and rainy weather, so dark blue-grey is a very popular choice for homes in this area. We had selected a few favorite images for inspiration and were aiming for a moody, grey-blue like the examples below.

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Based on these images, we decided on Benjamin Moore's Providence Blue for the main color, and Benjamin Moore Blue Spruce for the trim. From the paint swatches below, you can see how those colors were sort of what we were going for. In retrospect, I can see how they are much too light, but at the time we were like, "Nailed it. These colors are exactly what we want".


But a few hours after the painter began with the bath house, we were like "Uh oh. This is not what we had in mind at all". The color was so much lighter than we had imagined - more suited for a classic New England home than the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Thankfully, Oscar the painter was super patient and understanding, and helped us choose some different color options.


After selecting a few more options, Oscar painted giant swatches on the bath house to help us decide. We were looking at Sherwin Williams colors this time - from left to right: Cyberspace, Sea Serpent, and Subway.


We vetoed Subway right away for being too dark, so the final choice was between Cyberspace and Sea Serpent. We took a poll on Instagram, and the vote was pretty evenly split. I think it was something like 48% Cyberspace and 52% Sea Serpent. I was completely torn in my heart as well. I really liked the blue tones in Sea Serpent, but was worried it would be too light. Our first choice was crazy light, and we didn't want to make the same mistake again. In person, Adam, my mom and I all agreed that Cyberspace looked more sophisticated and appropriate. We'd made our decision, and there was no going back since the painter had already purchased thousands of dollars of paint.


Once they started to paint the trim underneath the roof, I was having second thoughts. The color was looking very dark, and not at all blue. But it was too late to change our minds again. Now all we could do was wait and see.


The painting was moving along pretty quickly. It looked nice, but it was definitely not the moody blue we had in mind.


Ok, there's no denying it any more. This house is definitely black.


At this point the painting is almost done. They just need to finish the part by the front door in the picture below. I was feeling really unsure at this point. It's not that we didn't like the color, but it was completely different than what we envisioned in our mind's eye.


After a few days of sleeping on it, and viewing the house from different angles and in different lighting, it started to grow on us. Sure it's black, but it looks cool. We wanted "moody", and that's what we got. It's classy and sophisticated and expensive looking - like Batman.


Here's the front of the house from another angle. We decided that we'd like to add a little more wood trim details above some of the windows to lighten the heaviness of black. And eventually we'll have landscaping that will fill in around the house and soften things up. It was tough to get good shots of the house because there was so much smoke from the wildfires during our last week in Washington.


But ultimately, we're happy with how things turned out. She looks great! Especially from the back where there's more wood detailing on the deck. The house looks quite striking, dramatic, and sophisticated don't you think?


Here are a few more shots showing the color up close.


And the bath house turned out pretty cute too.


Here's a shot of Oscar the painter in action shortly before completing the back of the house. Oscar and his team really hustled to get this painting work done for us and we are so grateful. They did a great job.


So there she is in all her glory. She's not the color we had in mind, but she's the color that was meant to be. And we love her. What do you think? Would you have chosen Sea Serpent over Cyberspace? Is there another color you think would have worked better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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