Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel…Say What?!

If I said to you, “that’s a lovely shade of Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel you’ve got there” would you really believe I was talking about a color? Well you better believe it! Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel (herein referred to as “Clay Angel” because Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel is just too much to type!) is the lovely, subtle, grayish clay color we have painted the majority of the living spaces in our new house.

As many of our devoted readers may recall, we used a paint color called “La Fonda Mirage” on the front door of House #1. There was a great story behind this paint color and the reason for all of these funky names is because these paint colors are part of Valspar’s National Trust for Historic Preservation collection of paints. Again, you can read more about that here and here.

When paint shopping for House #1, we always admired these National Trust for Historic Preservation colors, but for some reason, we just didn’t end up using any of them in the beginning. Now, we are all about these. There is something so intriguing and inspiring about using colors that are designated for such renowned landmarks. What’s funny about all of this is that if Andrew and I had our druthers (and millions of dollars) we would find old historic places and fix them up, which is exactly what the National Trust for Historic Preservation is all about; yet more proof as to why we are drawn to these colors.

Andrew and I both love to travel and we have seen much of the U.S. together. We are wholly inspired by our travels, but we are also very much inspired by our roots, which are deeply planted in the Pine Barrens of Southern (and Central!) New Jersey. Thus, using these paint colors makes us feel like we’ve got a unique, yet personal, little slice of Americana right in our own home.

So, what’s the scoop behind Clay Angel?

Valspar Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel PaintThe photo above makes the color look very clay-like and almost pink, but I’d have to say that it errs on the site of subtle gray in our living room, downstairs hall and stairway.

Before painting in the living room

Living room before paintingAfter painting with Valspar Hotel St. Francis Clay Angel…

Living room after DIY paintingThe color comes from Hotel St. Francis (obviously) which is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to their website, the hotel has a rich history that dates back to 1924 when the hotel first opened its doors. The hotel, at the time, was described as an “early Californian Mission Revival with a touch of European elegance”, which seemingly still rings true today based on the looks of the place.

We are also using another National Trust for Historic Preservation color in this house. This one, which just so happens to also come from the La Fonda Hotel, also in Santa Fe, also from the same exact collection as our other House #1 front door color, “La Fonda Mirage”, is called, “La Fonda Ecru.”

Valspar La Fonda Ecru PaintThis very light, buttery cream-type color is nice and cheery in the room we have dubbed “the small room.” It’s small, yet powerful! With the back door slider, this room is SO bright and lovely. We plan to use this room as a guest space/closet overflow area.

Small room with new La Fonda Ecru paintSmall room after paintingIt seems as though, for some reason, we have really gravitated toward colors with a Southwester flare. Our overall style definitely doesn’t scream, “New Mexico!” (we don’t decorate with dream catchers and crazy, vibrant Mexican blankets or coyote sculptures, the list goes on…) but borrowing these natural neutrals from this South of the Border-style color collection seems to be right up our alley.

I See a Purple Door and I Want it Painted Blue

If you’ve been keeping up with us, you already know we recently gave our house a major facelift. We refinished and replaced shutters on every window for a bold, sophisticated, modern, clean look that we just love. This entire project had us wondering why we didn’t tackle the shutters and doors much sooner, because that dingy, faded purple-ish, lilac-y color was – let’s be honest – awful!

We always knew we wanted to paint our front and back doors, but for whatever reason this project was just not that high on the to-do list. We are so happy we made this a priority because it was super easy the results are fantastic.

Old shutters and front door

Updated shutters and front door

With the new shutters in place and the newly painted doors, we just can’t get over how much better the house looks! Enough about how excited we are for this update, now for the story behind the color.

As I always say, we are Lowe’s people and Lowe’s carries Valspar paints so our entire house is pretty much covered in it. You may or may not know this, but Valspar does this really cool thing where they are partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (you can read more about that here). So with this partnership, Valspar sells 250+ different colors “from historic places across the country and representing American colors from a variety of periods and styles.”

We’ve always wanted to pick one of these Historic Preservation colors for a paint job, but we’ve somehow never managed to do so…until now!

Valspar La Fonda Mirage front door

The pretty Robin’s egg blue type of color we chose for our front and back doors is called “La Fonda Mirage.”

Valspar La Fonda MirageThis color came from the Southwestern palette of the National Trust for Historic Preservation collection. La Fonda on the Plaza is a Historic Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fonda is synonymous with “Inn” and the history of this location dates back to the early 1600s when the Spaniards founded Santa Fe. According to the hotel’s website, historical records suggest the building sits on the oldest hotel corner in America.

Pretty cool, huh? And now our doors are representing a color from this awesome piece of history. It’s definitely fun to paint with these colors and look up the meaning behind them. Kinda makes me want to paint something else very soon! Maybe the living room??

How do you like the new look of our house? Visit us on Facebook and let us know!


I Shutter to Think…

Let me just start by saying…I have NO IDEA why we did not do this so much sooner. I’m just going to come right out with this before and after:

Old shutters and front door

Updated shutters and front door

BAM! Now that’s a house! As you can guess, we decided to revamp the entire look of our house, but we had no idea it would have this big of an impact. It was definitely time to say goodbye to that dingy purple and hello to some bold shutters that pop. The results with this project were overwhelming to us. And the steps we took to get there were super simple. I give you…

How to Give Your House a Facelift

If eyes are the window to the soul then the shutters on these windows must be eyelashes and we just applied the blackest of the black, most voluminous mascara on the market! These shutters are seriously popping. Our neighbors have all taken notice and everyone agrees – they look great! And this shutter project only cost us about $100. How, you ask?

We bought several cans of matte black spray paint from Lowe’s and Home Depot. Lowe’s is our home improvement store of choice but they only had a few cans of Valspar Color Radiance in the matte black we wanted, so when we needed more spray paint, we had to run to Home Depot and ended up with several cans of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch, also in matte black of course. Both of these spray paints are fine for indoor/outdoor use, are heat and water resistant and quick drying for sure.

Valspar Color Radiance Matte Black

We started with the back and side of the house because we figured if something went wrong, at least it wouldn’t be visible to all passers-by. We removed each shutter, one-by-one, cleaned them with an all-purpose cleaner and laid them out on a tarp, slightly elevated thanks to several rogue bricks we had laying around.

Spray painting shutters

From there, we sprayed each of the shutters once, letting them dry for just 1 minute and then sprayed a second coat. The drying time was so fast, even with all that New Jersey humidity lingering in the air. Once the shutters were completely dry, we hung each back in their positions. We numbered the back of each one according to their position on the house going from left to right so putting them back up was a cinch. That’s it! So easy and the spray paint only cost about $3 – $4 a can. This whole portion of the project took about one full day to complete.

Spray painted shutters

The front of the house is where things got a little tricky. The day after we completed the back and side of the house, we began to tackle the front. We removed every shutter, numbered the backs, cleaned them with an all-purpose cleaner and spray painted shutter #1 when we realized, these shutters juts weren’t going to cut it. Many of them had holes in them and for the most part they had all seen better days. The quality also just wasn’t there. The shutters in the back of the house were so much nicer than the ones on the front of the house (which actually doesn’t surprise us at all because that’s just how things go around here). We decided we were going to have to change our plans and purchase new shutters for the front – that’s 6 new shutters.

Here we are thinking each of these shutters would run us around $30 a piece…not true! As it turns out, shutters are sold in pairs (why didn’t I think of that?) and it cost about $30 per pair, so around $90 total. That, with the spray paint, this entire project cost us around $100 to complete and the results are priceless (or at least we think so).
In short, we purchased the new shutters and spent just another hour or two to get them positioned on the house with no trouble at all. The new ones even came with cool little snap covers for the screws, so the end product is clean, sophisticated and really gives that buttoned up look we were aiming for.

If you’re looking to give your house a facelift, refinishing or replacing shutters is definitely a great place to start. We refinished the shutters that were in decent shape and replaced the ones that just weren’t going to cut it and it really paid off.

Updated shutters and front door

You may have also noticed we painted the door and that’s a whole separate blog post so stay tuned to learn more about the color and the story behind it.