And the winner is…

Vintage Claret!

Hadn’t mentioned that color before, had I?  O.k. So. I took all of the pink samples and poured them into a bucket and it made a very beautiful pink color, that I had no desire to put on my bedroom walls. So I painted it the color I’d decided on months ago, Vintage Claret. It’s a deep, intense pink, “so bold and so inviting… a bright violet pink color…” Technically it’s pink, so I’m not completely in the closet about my love of pink.

Julia Pink

Really pretty but...

Originally, the bedroom had been a peachy beige. Maybe salmon-y. Peachy salmon. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I knew I wanted to get rid of it. I painted the bedroom Ashley Gray (Benjamin Moore). Not Chelsea Gray, one of the famous Benjamin Moore grays, but Ashley Gray, a kind of deep greige. It was nice. It was fine. But really what had I been thinking? Deep greige? That’s so not me. I’d let myself be influenced by too many decor blogs, and the whole “gray” thing. (I’d painted the office a gray too, but that’s another post.)


Before: peachy beige


Then: Deep Greige

I found Vintage Claret, a rather bold choice if I do say so myself. But before I got around to painting the bedroom. I saw a video ona Benjamin website (see link above) and “Sonu” suggested using Vintage Claret in the kitchen. Genius!! That’s what I have to do! So, long story short (I know: too late), that’s when the search for another perfect pink  started.


Now: Wow!

But the lesson here is to follow my instincts. When I saw Vintage Claret I knew immediately I wanted it for the bedroom, but then I let self doubt in, instead of just forging ahead. It took a while but in the end I realized my initial instincts were right. So it’s Vintage Claret in the bedroom.

And maybe one day in the kitchen.


Crushed Berries

I love it when I see a paint color that I picked on my own shows up in a decor site or magazine.

Here’s Crushed Berries (Benjamin Moore) on a feature wall in House and Home, which has become perhaps my favorite shelter mag.

crushed berries

The first thing I painted in my house was my closet and I chose Crushed Berries, an intense pink, there’s nothing baby girlish about it.


Paint Intervention

Since I wrote a few days ago, things got kind of out of hand. And it all has to do with avoiding making a decision. I need my third chakra!

pink samples

Things got a little out of hand with the paint sampling.

In the previous episode, I couldn’t decide between the RL Venetian and the BM Wild Aster. Again the room made a difference. In the yoga room, Venetian wins hands down. In the Bedroom, the Wild Aster or even the BM Pink innocence sort of wins, but I’m not wow’d by either.  So I kept sampling.

I bought four RL “pinks” from Home Depot, then another four from BM. That’s 8 additional soft barely-there supposedly pinks, all of which were more of the same, or worse. One was so peachy I couldn’t bare to even put it on the wall (RL Pink Sunset is neither pink nor like a sunset. It’s more of a melted orange sherbert in the paint pot.)

It was also at this point that I realized that I don’t really like pale, barely-there pinks. I like PINK! Here’s one of my favorite tops and my purse:

Favorite blouse

Favorite blouse


My purse

These are not shy pinks. So I started to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t go all out with the Pink Innocence; it’s pretty bold. And I like it. but I stop myself. Instead of making a bold decision, with the idea of PINK! in mind, I tried samples one last time.  BM Begonia is a beautiful color. Really it is. But there’s no way I’m putting it all over my walls (It’s the one alone at the very top of the sample photo).

At this point I have enough samples for a gallon of paint. Seriously. So this is what I’ve decided to do: I’m goign to get a big bucket and mix them all up and put it on the walls. At this point, what color I put on the walls doesn’t really matter. What matters is making a decision and acting on it. I hope it’s pretty.

sample pots

sample pots

Colors shown in top photo:

Top: BM Begonia. Second row, left to right: Paisley Pink, Strawberry Yogurt, Bridal Rose, First light, all Benjamin Moore. Third row, l to r: Mercer, Tudric Pewter, Venetian, Early Morning, all Ralph Lauren colors in Behr samples. Fourth row, l to r: Ballerina Pink, Pink Innocence, Wild Aster, Calm, all BM. Fifth row, l to r: Cameo Pink and Tea Rose both RL; third from left is a combo of Wild Aster and Venetian, and Verona Pink RL is the last on that row.

Which Pink?

I’m at the end (please let it be the end) of a 4-day pink paint bender. This is where Manipura needs to spring into action and help me make a decision. I need to go with my gut, the seat of Manipura, but my gut is all woarbly when it comes to making decision like this.

pink paint samples

Which Pink?

I’d been thinking about painting my bedroom pink, but had been really overwhelmed my the choices. I had dozens of samples, mostly from benjamin moore and Ralph Lauren (the local BM store now carries RL). Then I came upon Nicole Balch’s blog Making It Lovely, and her post on Picking Perfect Pink Paint.  Yes! I learned that I was not the only grown woman who loved pink, and some of them were willing to paint rooms that color. I’m not alone! After reading her suggestions, I got samples of BM’s Wild Aster, Pink Innocence, and Ballerina Pink (I also wanted to try BM’s Calm, which actually reads as slightly pink!). I also got two RL colors that I’d been staring at on little paint chips for months: Venetian and Early Morning (I also sampled RL’s Tudric Pewter and Mercer, because I was thinking of a rose and grey room).

One thing I learned first hand in this sampling is that colors look different in different rooms. I sampled in the yoga room upstairs and on two walls in the bedroom. each color looked slightly different in each spot and at different times of the day. That said, I’d narrowed it down to two pinks for the bedroom: Venetian (top, second from right) and Wild Aster (bottom, second from right). But I cannot decide! And it’s driving me crazy!!!

I mixed Venetian and Wild Aster to see if I like that more. Last night I went to home depot and got four more “pink” RL samples. I’m not even putting up a photo. I’m afraid I’m going to end up going to the BM store and getting more from them. And here’s the thing: I need to paint my bedroom this weekend. So it’s critical that I make a decision. Go with the Wild Aster, a color I never would have found if it weren’t for others who’re clearly obsessed over the color pink? Or Go for the Venetian, which is a much stronger color, but will it be too much? Should I try more pinks? What will I decide? I have absolutely no idea.

In the closet

My favorite color is pink. It’s almost always been my favorite color: there were a few years recently, when all of a sudden it was green — the color of the 4th Chakra, which is all about love — but that passed. But now it’s all about pink.

When I first moved into the house I remember saying to a friend “I would paint my bedroom pink, but then no man would ever enter my bedroom again!” I thought, “I’m a grown up now. I bought a house. I can’t have pink rooms!” I decided to keep my love of pink in the closet. Literally. I decided to paint the insides of my closets pink.

My first was the main closet in the master bedroom’s bathroom. I painted it Benjamin Moore’s Crushed Berries.


The Inspiration

Crushed Berries
Crushed Berries 2076-30

How’d I choose that pink from so many others? I was inspired by the inside of a pair of shoes, which I bought mainly because they had a hot pink leather as the insole. I spent a holiday weekend re-doing that closet (taking out old hardware, painting and Elfa-ing) and I love the results.

old closet



finished closet


I’d planned to strategically get my pink groove on in the other closets and the laundry area as well. Maybe a hallway. Any place I thought I could put pink that most people would never see. There was no way I was painting my bedroom pink, or oh dear god, not any of the walls in the open main space! I didn’t want to have to explain my lifestyle, a grown woman, loving pink.

Now I’ve changed my mind. I’m in the midst of choosing a pink for my bedroom. This might be bad. Really bad. There are so many pinks out there. But this is what this blog is all about: Trying new things! Making decisions! Letting myself make mistakes. A mistake. Maybe a small one. I can always repaint, right?

Good Bones

I love my bright yellow house! Inside it’s got good bones. It’s a three bedroom/two bath in the Agave development of modern homes here in East Austin. It just needs make up and hair.

main room

main room from the front door

The open central space haunts me. It’s so open, with windows and doors on all sides, exposing two floors, every choice influences another space. How do paint colors and rugs work with the concrete floors which are awesome!)? How do counter tops and seating work with the color of the kitchen? What to do with the huge blank canvas that is the 2nd floor wall and the catwalk? And what does the blazing sun do to all of it when it’ s 104 degrees here in Austin? It’s all a little overwhelming for this relatively new homeowner.


Looking and the kitchen and front door on the right. Same space!

That said this room is breathtaking. It’s the reason I bought the house! Seriously, even in its current state it’s breathtaking when I stop and look at it. I know this space could be STUNNING!!


But. I’m an untrained home decorator. What layout uses the space most efficiently? What colors on the wall will make it come alive? How do I integrate my old pieces? What do I do first?!!!

I have no idea. Well… I have some ideas. O.K. I have lots of ideas! But the execution? That’s the tricky part. And, the cost! Making mistakes, even good ones you learn from, can be costly! More gallons of paint equals more money disappearing out of my pocket!

How will I balance that cost with the trial and error process of making a house my very own home?  Where there’s a will there’s a way!

from the side porch

Drama! Looking in from the side porch

Why Manipura House?

Why Manipura House?

Manipura is the third Chakra. For those of you who don’t know what chakras are:

Chakras are not physical entities in and of themselves. Like feelings or ideas, they cannot be held like a physical object, yet they have a strong effect upon the body as they express the embodiment of spiritual energy on the physical plane. — Anodea Judith, Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self, the absolute best book on chakras.

It’s all about energy and activity, self-esteem and becoming an individual. It’s about personal power and will, and being willing to go out on a limb to be who you really are, mistakes be damned.

Our sense of personal power gives us hope that we can make things viable for ourselves, and with this positive outlook we are not afraid to venture into the unknown, to take risks, or to make mistakes. — Anodea Judith

The color of Manipura is yellow. My house is yellow. Unequivocally eggy, sunshiny bright yellow. Ergo: Manipura House

I want to use it as a testing ground for going with my gut, put things together that “don’t go together,” paint the walls any color I want – something I’ve been fantasizing about for more than a decade – and, here’s the important part, re-paint them if it doesn’t work and I want to try something else.

When one feels that it is a catastrophic event to have been wrong, one is led to avoid choice and decision. The development of an individual personality is therefore stifled. — Edward Whitmont

Decorating a house requires lots of decision making, especially my house where one space leads to another, leads to another (I’ll explain later). All of my decisions I’ll regret at some point, because… that’s what I do. However, the point is not to avoid regret, which leads to avoiding making decisions. The point is not to wallow in a mistake, but to always know that I can take action, try something different, be willing to make mistakes without it being the end of the world!

In the process, I hope to make my house what I want most in a home: comfort and color, style and ease.

Welcome to Manipura House!