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Building a home, week 12: Choosing interior paint colors for an open floor plan

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Choosing interior paint colors can be an intimidating process, especially when you are building a home and have to choose every room at the same time. The whole process can be overwhelming. For us, we already know what colors work in our existing home and since we are not buying new furniture, in many rooms we are able to simplify the process by sticking with colors that we know work. In other rooms, we ventured into uncharted color territory. Of course, complicating matters is an open floor plan. Where do you end one color and start another? Should everything be the same shade? Those are just a few questions that many people ask when faced with an open floor plan. Here's how we did it in this week's installment of "Building a home" week by week.

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June 14: Our cabinets were delivered and they're stacked all over the great room. By the end of the day the kitchen cabinets were all installed. It was so exciting to see this big milestone. The cabinets, from White Eagle Custom Solutions (Plainfield, Ill.), are even more beautiful than I imagined.

June 16: I met a representative from The Countertop Factory (Addison, Ill.) at the house. He measured for our Craft-Art Wood Countertops, which will be installed on the perimeter of the kitchen and in the first floor powder room. Measuring for the kitchen countertops was no problem because the cabinets were in, but unfortunately, the vanity for the powder room has not yet arrived. They were able to take the measurements but I had to sign off and take personal responsibility for any problems if the countertop comes back and is not correct.

June 17: I never thought seeing a door hung in a doorframe would get me so excited but today it did. The doors were hung and at the same time installation of the baseboard started.

June 18: I met with Kathy Vescovi of TTS Granite (Steger and Mokena, Ill.) early at the house to answer questions while they measure for the stone countertops. The countertops should be ready for installation next week. With the measurements complete, it is time to choose interior paint colors.

I did my homework prior to showing up, so I wasn't faced with thousands of colors without having already thought the process out. I had a swatch book of Behr Marquee paints that I chose for each room while at home. Picking out colors is easier when you have the furniture, carpet, fabric samples and accessories like bathroom towels or family keepsakes handy that you want to key to the color choices. However, most builders will use Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore paints because of their universal numbering and matching system. Gander Builders is no exception, so matching to Behr paints isn't an option. Instead, I tried to match my Behr swatch to the best Sherwin-Williams match. Obviously, if I had a Sherwin-Williams color swatch book I could have eliminated this step, but I didn't have time to get one. Instead, I pull out my choices of paint colors and share them with Susan Lecas, the designer at Gander Builders, as we walked room to room with her box of Sherwin-Williams paint swatches and completed the entire process in less than an hour.

Because the first floor has an open floor plan, it is a must that the colors you choose all blend together and complement one another seamlessly. To achieve this, we started with Sherwin-Williams Sassy Green SW6416 , that's our choice for the foyer, great room and kitchen. Hearts of Palm (SW6415), a lighter green, will go into the butler's pantry, which is a long, narrow, window-less room between the kitchen and my office. Olive Grove (SW7734) is the color of the exterior of our home and is what we want in the mudroom. Two rooms flow off these areas: the powder room, which will get Plummy SW6558, a vibrant purple, and my office which, as mentioned, opens off the butler's pantry and the foyer. Because the foyer will be painted in Sassy Green and the butler's pantry in Hearts of Palm, the office has to complement both, so we chose Briny (SW6775), a turquoise. It is a departure from the green tones, but all in all, they coordinate well. (To see how they look together, view the slide show.)

Sassy Green will continue up the staircase and upstairs hallway, so we want the colors coming off that hall to complement it, too. From the upstairs landing, you can see into three rooms: The front bedroom, which will be painted in Butter Up (SW6681), a buttery yellow; the middle bedroom will be painted in a bold red, Poinsettia (SW6594). The shared bathroom will be treated to a neutral hue in Dromedary Camel (SW7694), a warm tan. The laundry room will receive either Opera Glass (SW7129) or Embellished Blue (SW6749). Both match the cabinets beautifully, so we'll get larger swatches before finalizing our decision.

Also upstairs is the master bedroom/bathroom combination, which will be painted in complementary colors of Cay (SW6772), a soothing blue for the bedroom, and Topsail (SW6217), a neutral gray in the bathroom.

The basement stairs will also be painted in Sassy Green and the walls will come into the basement living area, so again, we took the green into account when choosing White Raisin (SW7685) a latte-colored light tan. We wanted an energetic color for the exercise room, so we chose Frolic (SW6703), a neon green. Finally, the basement bathroom, which has a white cabinet, black and white retro flooring and a Cesarstone countertop in Apple Martini, will be painted in High Reflective White (SW7757). To see the final choices for each room, view the slideshow.

In the meantime installation of the trim continued. Now I feel like a greedy child a Christmas. A day ago one door had me giddy. Now when I see 10 doors hung I'm thinking what else is new?

I didn't have to look too far. The back stoop on the screened in porch was installed with Stampcrete and the footing was dug for the back porch off the mudroom.

June 19: Everything sounds good when you're building. One new feature sounds better than the next, but you have to keep your eye on your budget or it is easy to get carried away. While we wanted to do Stampcrete on the driveway, we knew it wasn't in the budget, so we thought we could tint the driveway concrete to match the Stampcrete front porch. We found out this morning that even that isn't a reasonable option for our budget and passed on that option.

June 20: Lots of progress today. For starters, the garage door was installed. The fireplace mantle n the great room was mounted and is ready for paint. In addition, the two vanities--one for the powder room and one for the basement bathroom--which were missing in action earlier this week, were delivered. And finally, the last batch of tile for the powder room bathroom was delivered.

Next week, the stone countertops get installed and the painting is scheduled to start.

To read this column from week one, click here.

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