gravel gray.
by victoria comment


so if you’ve been following along here, and over on twitter, you may have heard my plea for design guidance, and reassurance about painting the wall behind my bed black, or charcoal gray. well, i went and did it – i painted it benjamin moore’s gravel gray (note: it is showing up a bit darker, and bluer in these photos than it actually is) and i quite love it. the room still feels soothing and restful to me, but now it feels almost like a giant headboard, or a focal point for the room.

i’m not sure everyone will love it, but it’s only paint, so should i tire of it – on will go a new coat of color. all i have to lose is the room might start to shrink! i’ve also added these ornate gold-gilded sconces i found on my last flea market trip – i like the dramatic effect and the way they compliment the dwellstudio chinoiserie bedding. i do think i need a new, large and more contemporary photograph up in place of this print so i’m on the hunt – something like this, or this, or maybe even this (or this see below – i need your opinion!).

okay, i need your honest opinion – do you love or just really hate the idea of this gilded shoes print (below) framed over the bed in place of the print? so curious if i’ve gone off my rocker…do tell!

132 responses to “gravel gray.”

  1. the color is fantastic and the sconces are perfect against it! i agree that you need a different print, something more abstract with just a bit of jazzy color.

  2. Ok, first of all: gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Victoria! I love every bit of it, from the mirrors and vases on the side table to the little bit of Tord hanging from your light fixture. And of course, your pup!

    I’m with you on the photo changing. And while I like the shoe photo itself, I wouldn’t want it over the bed — it makes me think of smelly feet! The magnolia is lovely and would be good if you’re looking for a softer, more blowzy element. But the book photo is *awesome* and I think would go perfectly in the room — the colors are gorgeous and would look great with the gray and it would also tease out some of the playfulness in the room, which otherwise might feel a little serious.

    Not sure if any of that makes sense but in any case, I love what you’ve done! Total inspiration.

  3. The color looks incredible, Victoria!

    I’m also pleased that we can continue being bedroom twins now that you have a dark wall behind your bed, too. :)

    As the the shoe print…I dunno. It’s a beautiful photo, but something about shoes in the bed area (especially above your head!) just feels “dirty” to me. But that might be my own special brand of neurosis…

  4. I love that color! It makes the bed really stand out and those sconces compliment it perfectly. We just painted our living room a black brown with a little bit of gray in it. My husband thought it would look too depressing but it really makes everything stand out more. We added some cheery yellow printed curtains and above the sofa I made a gallery wall out of several small artworks in a mixture of frames. We love it!

    As for the gilded shoes, I’ve seen a photo of some hanging by their heels on a chair rail and I thought they looked gorgeous. It doesn’t hurt to try!

  5. Beautiful color! It looks fabulous with all the natural light you’ve got going on.

    For photos, I’m with the other ladies, the shoe picture is beautifull but maybe not suited for over your bed. I think the magnolia or the book photo is the way to go!

    Keep us posted on what you decide!

  6. wow, Victoria, the gray feels so peaceful and at the same time, glamourous! i really love the shoe print – it’s unexpected. that or ‘The Novel’ which seems so inviting and restful – they both have that perfect retro feel that seems so you. Lucy looks so sweet there.

  7. Been lurking for awhile. I lived in Noe Valley for years but moved East for work and love… but miss SF so much! Your blog brings it back. I love your style and your room is amazing. Great color. Maybe it’s just me but being a native Californian (and ex-SF’er who was there for Loma Prieta in 1989 I can’t handle having anything hanging above my bed. Does it make you nervous having it there? Anyhooo… love posts!

  8. I love the shoe photo and think it would look great over the bed. You could always use photoshop and these photos and make yourself a little mock-up to help you decide if you like it. You could try out anything that way, with no commitment!

    Speaking of a large framed photo over the bed, though, aren’t you concerned about it falling on you in an earthquake? I was always worried about that when I lived in SF (which was up until a few months ago). I read that you’re not supposed to put anything heavy or with lots of glass over your bed. For some reason I followed this rule but never bothered to have an earthquake preparedness kit….

  9. Of the prints you linked to, I think the magnolias would “fit” better, but The Novel tickled me. I’m not sure about the shoes one… I like it, I think. The whole room is gorgeous.

  10. I love the result! I would never paint this color in my bedroom but is very elegant, I adore it in your place!
    I like solid colors bedding but now I really like your cover against the gray wall.
    I kind of like the shoes pic but I love the book photography it is very cool.

  11. My first thought about the shoe photo echoes what several other people have said — that although it’s a nice print, the best place for it is not over the bed. Of the other 3, I would lean toward the book one. The flower is pretty but a little predictable. Something a bit more unexpected would probably be a more accurate reflection of you and your taste.

  12. I love your dark wall – I have a color similar to that (mine is a black navy) on the back of my bedroom wall as well. After five years I am still liking it although I think I might change it when we renovate next year) – sometimes change is good.

    As for the photos – well, taste is just so personal. I love the magnolia, primarily because I love Traci French’s work and the magnolia just somehome makes me exhale in a good way when I look at it. Sometimes I think there is the urge to go quirky because when others see quirky art they comment on it; the shoes are a conversation starter as are some of the other photos you linked to. But, ultimately, it is a bedroom, a private, personal place of rest. That magnolia photo is the epitome of femininity, calm, and a feeling of peace.

  13. thanks so much everyone – for all the kind words about the change! and, for the input on the shoes! i can see exactly what you mean about dirty – they are secondhand i shot at the flea market! :)

    i guess i want something unexpected, so i will continue the search and maybe mock something up as you suggested.

    claire – i use a nikon D80, and the 50mm 1.4 lens helps, i think.

    as for the earthquakes – i just can’t live in fear. i’ve been through a few and believe you fly outta bed faster than you ever thought possible! :)

  14. Wow – wonderful color on that wall! So dramatic! I do like the shoe print although maybe on the closet wall or somewhere else. Of the prints you gave us links to I like the magnolia best because its restful, relates to the birds on the pillows and looks like Lucy’s fur :)

  15. Love the dark grey wall: beautiful! I did single walls in two rooms in similar (Pratt&Lambert Rialto) and I’m so pleased with how it visually moves the wall back and gives you a feeling of more space.

    Something from nature feels like a more sophisticated pick for the wall above the bed. Have always loved these photos of deer beds for bedrooms:

  16. I love that dark wall! It gives the room such a dramatic effect. Those gold sconces are a perfect fit to the room.

    I am not too sure about the shoe print though…I think the magnolias would be just right.

  17. Gorgeous room! I love love love the gilded sconces and want some for my bedroom! I would pick one of the prints other than the shoe print for above the bed, but i do like the photo. Love the one where the girl is reading the french novel.

  18. The shoe print is gorgeous, so I say frame it! Also, the wall color is sexy, and I love the gilded sconces flanking the headboard. They really pop against that wall! Excellent job Victoria!

  19. Victoria I believe the paint color is perfect and I would not change a thing about it, it goes perfect with the white its very daring and you should not be afraid to use it in your decor. With that being said the picture above the bed is way too small for the wall and the place setting above your bed. You need a more substantial picture frame there. The two sconces though lovely I’m not sure if they work either. Maybe if the head board was larger in scale or if the sconces had more going on maybe it would work. But it looks like somethings missing and I believe its the scale. That’s a pretty bold color choice and so you need things surrounding it that are more bolder in scale and demention.

  20. Love your bedroom color and decor! It has brought up memories of the time we painted our ENTIRE master bedroom that color. At the time, we were living on a Florida property surrounded by citrus trees and the resulting mosquitoes. At night, in the hottest part of summer, the mosquitoes always managed to slip into the house – kids running in and out all the time. The pesky insects would buzz us at night when we tried to go to sleep. We could not catch them because, surrounded by very dark walls, we could not see them. I threatened to go to a hotel one night. Seems a funny story now, but not then! Moral of story, glad you only did one wall. What a silly story. I am really enjoying your blog. Marcy

  21. Definitely the book photo!! I’ve had my eye on that photo ever since I first saw it – perhaps on here? I’m also loving the new paint!

  22. looks great, I really like it, reminds me of a big chalkboard.
    I would say the orange print but might take away from your bedding but would really bring out the floors.
    I am in love with the room service pic but I don’t think for this room.
    Have fun deciding.

  23. gorgeous! i’m really curious about the print you currently have above the bed. it black and white great, but i want to *see* it. would you mind linking a detail of it?

  24. I’ve got a painting for you for that new dark wall ;) I have dark gray walls in one room as well. It makes all art pop, and will add drama to your life. You won’t regret it. xo

  25. Looks beautiful, Victoria! I love the dark grey wall and that Dwell bedding is one of my all time favourites! As for your art options, I really like the magnolia but I absolutely LOVE the novel print…I think the orange tones would look fab against the dark background and will bring out the birds on the bedding. Well done!

    i’ve been a bit obsessed with that bedding for quite some time. i think this just put me over the edge.
    love the gilded shoes photo, but i think the other two evoke more emotion, which i love hung above the bed {where we dream}.

  27. I just love the color, so sultry and calming! Really like that you dared to go dark!

    For the prints i think they are all pretty, but the magnolias seem a little ‘grandmas guest bedroom’ to me (or maybe my grandma is just stylish!) The second one seems the most interesting, a bit of color but not to much. #2 is my pick!

  28. thanks for the links, jen – love those photographs!

    maja – here’s a link to a close-up of the photo that’s above the bed – i love it, but i need something larger there, so this will move somewhere else:

    kari – sure! :)

    thank you guys so much!!

  29. First of all: WOW. Awesome. Love this so much. I’m considering doing something similar, but in my dining room. I even have the paint (BM Wrought Iron), but haven’t had the guts until now. :) Thanks!

    As far as art is concerned, it’s a tough one. I personally love art in my bedroom that could inspire my dreams, or at least promote a really calming kind of daydream effect. I’ve been shooting a lot of medium format film to this effect recently. Maybe that can give you ideas?

    Or else maybe you should ask Ansel Olson to contribute to the cause… ;)

  30. Love Love Love Love Love Love LOVE IT!!!! Especially with the metal of those sconces, which makes me lean toward gilded shoes (I need to own that). Though I love “Untitled 3” (is that not a title?), I am not sure I’d want it over the bed but perhaps somewhere else in the room? I don’t think you can go wrong. Maybe you need to get all of them and just whip up a Victoria Art Arrangement 301 wall!

  31. thanks jill – your work is beautiful! and, yeah, an ansel would be nice, too!

    thanks becky – i guess that bit of metallic was why i leaning towards the shoes, but maybe elsewhere in the room. if you want a print, just let me know! :)

  32. Marcy, your story is hilarious!

    I have to say that I’m really loving the book print. I’d like it above my bed, too, even though it wouldn’t match a thing.

  33. thanks for posting the link to the photo detail, victoria. i thought it was two children but now that i can really see it i like it even better :)

  34. Absolutely beautiful! If I may ask, WHERE did you get the bird bedding from?! I have a massive bird-collection and would LOVE to get my hands on something like this!

  35. Oh my goodness this is gorgeous. I remember you talking about this months ago. I thought you secretly painted and did not like it or something. Love it. Now do you want to travel to Alaska and decorate my apartment? Bring your mukluks because it is still cold up here. =]

  36. I love the wall, I love the bench under the window and of course I love the puppa at the foot of your bed!
    Yes on a large and dramatic print at the top of your bed.

  37. Such a beautiful room! You are correct that you need something large over the bed. I like the print of the magnolias. I think the dark color of the wall needs to be tempered by something soft.

    I do love the guilded shoes print. Can you use it somewhere else?

  38. Love your room. Question: what is the wicker chair’s history? I was just visiting my parents in Walnut Creek (I live in Brooklyn) and they have the same exact chairs!

  39. leaca – tundra here i come. :)

    thanks for your input everyone – shoes out…i think maybe the book print is in. we shall see!

    fan – i don’t know about those chairs and am investigating!

    lori – thanks! not perfect yet, but i like it! :)

  40. Yay for black walls behind beds. I felt so nervous when we did ours, V, I was like – eeeeeeeeeek, esp. as it started drying all different shades. When I came back a few hours later and it was all one shade, I was like – PHEWWWW!

    Your’s looks spot on. :)

  41. I’d like to second @Fan’s question about the wicker chair. The exact same style of chair is in Flor’s latest catalog and caught my eye. Many thnaks.

  42. I Love the wall color. Perhaps because my bedroom focal wall is the same! The other 3 walls in my room are a light gray, which makes a soft transition, instead of dark to white. It’s very soothing. I love the shoe print idea. However, living in California I am terrified to hang artwork directly over my bed. I’m considering having something drawn directly onto the wall. But scared it’ll look cheesey. PS I love your bench with the mirrors and ceramics. Oh, and your dog! Oh, I wish I lived closer and that I could still dog & house sit for you!

  43. Hi–I stumbled across your blog via another Tumblr and fell in love with your room re-do. Stunning! I’m sorry if it has already been covered, but would you mind sharing where you found those lovely sconces? I’m guessing vintage, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed :)

  44. thanks again everyone!!

    thanks will – i want to see your wall!

    re: the chair – i’m trying to figure it out and when i find a source, i’ll let you know. i saw one at ‘stuff’ on valencia street the other day. i got mine at the flea market for $15.

    lauren – i found the sconces at the flea market, too – they were $15 for the pair. i see these at flea markets and ebay a lot, so keep your eyes peeled!

  45. Yay, we finally get to see the gray wall! It’s gorgeous! As far as prints go, the magnolia flower is pretty, but Joyce Lee’s “The Reader” is absolutely amazing.

  46. I think the larger size of ” The Novel” is the best of the lot by far — both for color pop and is sexier with a little edge rather than soft-on-soft of the magnolia, and for me the rumpled hotel room shot is too busy for that spot. Shoes over the bed, over head, um, no.
    Bravo to you for going with the grey!

  47. Funny, I have two very similar chairs (that don’t quite match each other). I got the set for $45 at Flea Market (the store on Buford Hwy/Clairmont intersection) in Atlanta years ago, and ever since, I notice them in movies and in interiors and on this blog all the time. I just found one on ebay but I’m not sure if i can add a link here. If you search with “vintage rattan chair” you’ll likely find some:

  48. This is one of the most beautiful bedrooms that I have seen in a very long time! The gold sconces positively GLOW against the wonderfully warm grey ~ and your bedlinen is exquisite.

  49. I too love the shoe print. Gorrrrrrrgeous. As a side note, I’ve often dreamed about buying your photo of the green shoes and water to hang over my bed.

  50. No offense but I hate the shoe print, if I had to choose I’d get either the girl reading the magazine or the flower print. I just feel like those two look more artistic, I think it’s because of the coloring.

  51. i’m only what? a week late on the shoe print debate :) i’ve been meaning to leave a comment all week on this fantastical makeover.

    first, your bedroom is stunning, like jaw-dropping, leaves me speechless stunning. second, your shoe print rokcs because it is so shiny and so you. and third, the book print works all around both for mood and to pull out the warmer shades in your pillowcases. oxo

  52. What do you guys think about using this color for a living room? Too dark for all 4 walls? Maybe just an accent wall in the living room?

    • i think it’s great for an accent wall in any room, and if you have a room with lots of light, or some nice crown molding, it would look good on 4 walls too.

  53. The flowers hanging from your ceiling fixture have peaked my interest! Do they serve a purpose other than being beautiful? Is it still a functional ceiling fixture (aka is there a bulb hidden in there)?

  54. Hello Victoria!

    I’m using your room as an inspiration for our master bedroom and I have a few questions for you!
    I say above that you mentioned which color of white paint you used for the window wall. I was wondering, did you use the same color for the ceiling/molding/trim? If no, do you find the different shades of white (especially with the white curtains too) make things look lovely and layered or a bit hodge-podge? Does that make sense?

    i’ve never used white paint on walls before and i’m finding it a much tougher dicision than the choice to use the dark paint! Haha!

    Thanks for your help and sharing your lovely style!

    • hi michelle,

      you know, the room was freshly painted by the landlord when i moved in, so all i painted was the charcoal. so i didn’t buy the white paint. i think i did use ralph lauren’s bright white in another room, and that was quite nice. i hope that helps!!

  55. Hi Victoria,
    Love your use of color. A beautiful room!
    One question: What breed is your glorious dog?
    Thanks for a wonderful site.

  56. Hi –
    Your bedroom has really inspired me! It is beautiful. Do you mind asking where you got your headboard/bed frame? I am looking for a similar white bed and yours is a perfect minimalist style. Any advice you could offer would be great. Thanks!!

    • thanks, katie! it’s from west elm, but i’m not sure if they still make this exact style. i think urban outfitters has some affordable headboards, too. :)

  57. I’m considering a similar idea in my bedroom! What color white did you use for the other walls, and is it the same white as the ceiling/trim?

  58. Hey there! I’m getting ready to choose a color for a clients theater room. I’d love to go dark gray with a hint of blue. Would you say that Gravel Gray definitely has a blue undertone? I don’t want it as strong as Hale Navy. More a deep muted blue gray. Would love to hear your thoughts since you’ve used the color!

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