This fixer-upper didn't need bold colors and bright patterns to bring it to life. It owes its stay-awhile personality to a quiet, layered palette.


The painter wasn't sure he heard the homeowners correctly. But they assured him that they did in fact want everything—walls, ceiling, cabinets, trim—in their Roswell, Georgia, house painted the same shade: White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

The all-natural palette helped lighten their dark, dated home, a plan that began when they removed a wall closing off the family room from the entry and kitchen. Now wood beams and posts define the main living space and add rustic character. And the house feels lighter, brighter, and better.

The homeowners kept everything as light as possible. Even the accent colors—in pillows, glass bottles, and vintage art in the living room—are muted. The darker tan tones in the stone hearth make it the focal point of the space.

The Right White

The exterior facade was freshened up with a clean coat of white paint, removing its 1980 look. The stone walk leads up to the stone entry, adding design interest. Black windows update the look.

Stone Arch

Starting with the perfect neutral paint color is key to getting this layered look right. Adding warm textures, such as weathered wood, rugged stone, woven accents, nubby fabrics, and smooth metals with an aged look creates relaxed, inviting spaces and touchable texture.

Before: Traditional Tan

The original staircase was defined by its traditional balusters and handrail. The treads were covered in beige carpet that matched the tan painted walls. Creating an updated look would require a less-is-more approach.

After: Bright White Entry

Exposed wood-stained treads, a clean-lined railing, and removing fussy trim modernize the look of the staircase. The natural wood texture in the treads and door frame stand out against a white railing and walls. The flagstone floor stayed—the first sign of the home's new palette.

Stone Hearth

Original to the 1980s house, a stone fireplace surround sums up the revamped home's palette of creams, tans, and browns. A reclaimed-wood mantel and coffee table repeat the warm tones. Accents like wicker and metal baskets carry the color scheme around the room.

Before: Dark Dysfunction

Cherry-stained cabinets weighed on the original kitchen palette. The island was placed without consideration of purpose and ease, and cut into traffic flow.

After: Island Brights

This all-white kitchen is anything but plain. Shiplap on the walls and range hood is informal and homey, and a brass faucet makes a warm contrast with the marble countertop. Rotating the island made it more convenient to the range and the family room.

Open Space

Brushed bronze hardware compliments the dark wood floors. A mix of three wood stains gives the kitchen floor its deep color—one of the darkest neutrals you'll find in the home. The homeowners wanted a color that would hide the most dirt.

Table for Six

This dining room is a study in contrasts. The dark wood dining table and cabinet complements the rustic wood beams and black metal dining chairs. All furnishings are set against white walls and receive a boost of natural light from the large windows.

Outdoor Dining

The homeowners made sure the home's casual elements extended to the back patio. They had a table for eight made from cedar, knowing it will gradually age to a weathered gray. Legless wicker chairs don't compete with the bold beams of the table.

Comments (4)

October 15, 2018
Unfortunately, we don't know the exterior color used, but the interior white is White Dove by Benjamin Moore. -BHG
October 8, 2018
Love this! Gorgeous white walls! Love the dark furniture against the white walls. Very dramatic.
October 8, 2018
Absolutely love a neutral pallet. You can change out accessories with the seasons. In the end, it can be as colorful as you wish.
August 28, 2018
The neutrals in this house were done PERFECTLY. It is so calming and everything blends. I would not get tired of that look!