The long winter hibernation is over!

The temperature hit 70 degrees today in central New Hampshire, and for the second night in a row we don’t need to start a fire in the wood stove.  That means our long winter hibernation is OVER!

Now that spring has sprung, are you finding that your house needs a refreshing coat of paint?  Maybe a summery color to perk up your living room?  A cool, soothing color for your bedroom?  While you’re in the spring cleaning mode, did you find some post-winter damage to your home or garage that needs attention?

Give Harry a call at 603-254-9838.  He’d be happy to take a look at your painting or home improvement project and provide you with a free estimate to get the job done at a fair and reasonable price.

I know Harry looks like a young buck, but he’s been painting and caring for Waterville Valley, Campton, Thornton and Plymouth-region homes and condominiums since 1981 (and prior to that, he worked his way through Plymouth State University (“College” back then) painting houses in northern New Hampshire).

Harry Stearns Painting


Harry Stearns Painting



Tangerine: The New IT Color?

On Saturday I blogged about accent walls.  This morning I found this image of a tangerine colored accent wall that looks quite yummy!

Image found here

According to Ben Moore blogger Leigh-Ann Allaire, “There’s a fun and fiery little hue that has recently burst onto the design scene in a BIG way and nabbed major attention in the worlds of both fashion and decor alike…”

Leigh-Ann writes:

Described by some as vivacious, exotic, sophisticated, and even spirited, this colour has single-handedly invaded our closets, crept into our kitchens, taken us for a joy ride, and even kissed a cheek or two!

Pin pointing a colour trend isn’t always an easy task, but when you start to see a tasty colour like tangerine transition so seamlessly into various industries, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s made a mark.  But is it really a trend?  Or could it be that tangerine has been lingering in my fan deck all along as a classic??

See, long before tangerine tango’d its way onto the design industry dance floor, I fondly associated the hue with an iconic Parisian high fashion house established in 1837…. Hermes!

There has always been something so delectably chic about those beautiful orange pinstriped boxes…

And how can you not fall in love with this stunningly classic orange-tastic space inspired by the boxes themselves!

Regardless of whether you file TANGERINE under “Trendy” or “Classic”, would you dare to add a dash or a splash in your own home?

Just a DASH…

Painted Trim

Make a Bold Entrance’

Accent Walls & Colour Blocking

Painted Furniture

Make a SPLASH…

Like Leigh-Ann says, “There’s no doubt that tangerine is currently hot on the design scene! But the big question is…Are you into it, or over it?”


Harry Stearns Painting

This blog post and images (unless otherwise noted) have been excerpted from Benjamin Moore’s Color Chats. Click here to see complete post.

Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

Back to school time!  We just moved our youngest into a 2-bedroom apartment for her senior year of college, which she’s furnished in an eclectic collection of “big girl” pieces that will transition perfectly from college life to real world.

I remember oh too well, though, what her freshman dorm room looked like.  A lifeless box with the typical institutional furnishings – sort of like the image below.

For those of you getting ready to move your son or daughter into a college dorm, here are some great DIY dorm room decorating ideas I found on Benjamin Moore’s website >>>

The uninspired space most coeds begin with needs some dorm room decorating ideas. Image found on

Welcome to the dorm, aka your first studio apartment. While some universities have luxed up their campus accommodations, a typical dorm room is still stark and institutional. Common features include white cinderblock walls, clunky wood furnishings, and dark commercial carpet. The dorm room decorating challenge is to transform this style-starved habitat without painting or putting nails in the walls.

Back-to-school retailers offer an abundance of much needed colorful and patterned dress-up distraction. Bedding is often the focus of the room, and is enhanced with a selection of throw pillows. From here, the rest of the décor flows. The WSJ estimates that the 2012 back-to-school spending spree (including electronics) costs over $900 per freshman. A USA Today article confirms the relevance of this pricey rite of passage, “Freshmen are concentrating as never before on decorating dorm rooms as a way to define their post-high school selves.”

Painted boxes plus binder clips equal a DIY storage system. Image found here

While mass retail’s color spectrum embraces popular trends, you don’t have to “show up to the party in the same outfit as everyone else.” Rather, you can incorporate some DIY dorm room decorating ideas that will define you as stylish, creative, and smart. These projects won’t eat up floor space but they will increase storage and functionality, and provide a surface where you can freely paint a favorite color and insert a nail or two or ten!

These dorm room decorating ideas require time to shop or forage for the basic elements, a quart of paint plus a sample pot or two, a couple of throwaway foam brushes, and time to complete the project (hey why not plan a paint social !) It’s also good to have an arsenal of removable adhesive on hand. By thinking outside the box, you’ll bring a unique vibe into your boxy space and perhaps inspire curious coeds along the way.

Here are 6 ways to work around the rules and personalize your dorm room:

Pegboard is a great way to keep desk surface organized. Image found here

White shutters have an easy-going cottage vibe.  Image from here.

Louvers are perfect for tucking photos and such. Image found here

Old drawers, braced together, make a funky bookcase.

A geometric design looks degrees chicer than plain brown corkboard.

A piece of colorful canvas is a lightweight artwork.


Harry Stearns Painting

Emphasis on the Accent Wall

A couple of weeks ago Harry and our daughter, Jenna, made the big trek down to the big city of Boston to help our favorite newlyweds, Meghan and Craig, spruce up their new apartment.  Painting is one of the least expensive ways to update and refresh a room.  In Meg and Craig’s case, they wanted to add a bit of pizzazz to otherwise dreary white walls.

What’s the quickest (and cheapest) way to add some drama?  Paint an accent wall!

Here’s an accent wall primer I found on

Unless you’re a decorator by trade, you probably painted each room all the same color. If you even ventured into the world of color on your walls, that is. Painting one wall a different shade of the room’s color, or even a different color entirely, will add some visual interest to a space that could use a little perking up.

Choose Your Wall

Before you get started, you need to pick the wall you want to paint. Start by taking a look around the room. Is there a place your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk in? If so, this is your focal point. It may not be a feature you want to show off, so it’s up to you to designate the focal point by choosing to highlight a wall that has architectural details, like a fireplace or a built-in bookshelf.

In your bedroom, the wall with your headboard is a good choice. Perhaps you have a collection of paintings or accessories that you want to highlight, so you can paint the wall where they’re displayed. An accent wall can also help make an awkward room seem less so. If you have a long, narrow room, painting the short wall at the far end will make it seem closer and less oblong.

Choose Your Paint

One way to paint an accent wall is to choose a color a couple of shades darker than the other walls. There are seven colors in the paint spectrum, but most paints are made up of multiple colors. For example, blue isn’t just blue — it usually has gray or green or yellow or red in it, which can make finding the right complement to the blue on your walls a real bear. You can find paint chips with a range of three to six shades in the same color family. This is a failsafe way to make sure you choose the right shade of gray-blue in a darker tone to complement your light gray-blue. If you really want to pack a punch, you can also choose a different, but complementary color all together.

Recall your early art classes and choose from colors opposite each other on the color wheel for the ultimate dramatic statement. But here’s a quick tip: Take advantage of the sample sizes of paint that most home improvement stores offer, and try a small swatch on the wall you want to paint. Paint colors look different depending on the light, so that lovely sage green could turn out to look more like seafoam.

If you feel like getting a little crafty, you can step into the world of DIY faux finishes. Just be sure to experiment on a smaller surface first. Or skip the paint altogether and try out a wall covering. Wallpaper has made a big comeback, so you can choose from a variety of bright patterns or natural materials with mellow textures. Whatever you choose, make it stand out from the rest of the walls.

I love this sage accent wall I found on Baer Home Design’s website.

And this look makes a big statement without having to go with an outrageous color.  (Image on

I found this image on Benjamin Moore’s Facebook page.  Which color do you like better: silver fox 2108-50 (with tea room AF-270 inset) or butternut brown 2095-30?

Painting an accent wall is an easy and budget-friendly way to add impact to your home.  Have fun!


Harry Stearns Painting

Before/After Bathroom

Our “master” bath – if it can be called that – is very small.  We painted the walls a creamy white with a white trim and natural pine ceiling, but I’m always looking for bathroom color ideas.

I found this before & after photo using the Benjamin Moore Affinity collection (safari AF-335, deep in thought AF-30 & sparrow AF-720). What do you think? Does it create a relaxing color palette?

Image found on

Harry Stearns Painting’s unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader!

Best Paint Colors to Sell a House

In “real life” I work for a real estate brokerage firm in a 4-season mountain resort community, so I’m always looking for staging tips and tricks that will help make property more appealing to potential buyers.

According to California Paints, using certain interior paint colors can send buyers out the door, and some paint colors can attract potential customers.

Interior Paint Colors

A near-surefire approach when doing interior painting is to paint the walls a neutral color like beige, and the ceiling and trim white.  In fact, if you keep the trim and ceiling white, a wide range of colors will look attractive on your walls.

The key to interior colors is to combine warmth with neutrality. Warm colors are inviting and give a home a little more character than plain white walls would. Neutral colors help emphasize space and create the feel of a relaxing home. Home buyers most likely have furniture that they will bring into the home. They would prefer not to paint or buy new furniture to accommodate bold colors that you might want to use.

Exterior Paint Colors

Similarly, the safest approach to exterior painting is to use white, beige or another neutral color on the siding and a darker accent color on the trim.  Dark brown is often a good general purpose color for exterior trim.

Also, remember that no home exists in isolation:  its appearance is inevitably affected by the appearance of neighboring homes, and even the color of shrubs and trees around it.  You probably don’t want to paint your home the exact same color as your next door neighbor’s, but you probably do want to select a hue that will look attractive along side of it.

Paint Colors That Sell

A&E’s newest series Flipping Boston followed CityLight Homes business partners as they bought low-priced properties and raced through renovations in the Boston area. Sinking property values and high pressure projects require them to complete renovations using quality products that quickly get the job done. The transformations are incredible.

California Paints was luckily to be a part of the experience – the reputable flawless Elements® Zero VOC environmentally preferred interior paint line was featured on the series. Below you will find the California Paints’ colors that were selected to help seal the deal on the renovated homes.

Episode: “Flipping on Ice”

From left to right: Rain Barrel (wall), Asian Jute (wall), DE6225 Too Cool Taupe (trim), Winter Meadow (basement floor)

California Paints Rain BarrellCalifornia Paints Asian JuteCalifornia Paints Too Cool TaupeCalifornia Paints Winter Meadow

Episode: “War Next Door”

From left to right: DE6367 Covered In Platinum (wall), DE6369 Legendary Gray (wall), DE6365 Cold Morning (wall), White (trim)

Covered PlatinumLegendary GrayCold Morning

Episode: “The House that Dave Built”

From left to right: DEC751 Ash Grey (wall), DEC750 Bison Beige (wall), DE6170 Rice Bowl (trim)

Ash GreyBison BeigeRice Bowl

Episode: “New Flipper on the Block”

From left to right: Tyson Taupe (wall), DEC751 Ash Grey (wall), White (trim)

Tyson TaupeAsh Grey

Photos, video clips, and “Flipping Boston” epsidoes are available online.

Images & information found on

Harry Stearns Painting’s unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader!

Faux Bois Concrete Floors

We used to have a beautiful finished basement. An off-white Berber carpet, comfy furniture, a big TV, spare bed, and all the kid’s toys corralled into one place….

Then a record-breaking rain storm left us with a big mess of wet and moldy carpet.  Most of the carpet has been stripped out of the room leaving us with bare and boring concrete floors.  We’ve since had several more floods following big rain storms, so we don’t dare to re-carpet.  What to do?

I found inspiration from a fellow blogger, Mandi Grubler.  Check out how Mandi took a few cans of paint (and a little elbow grease scraping and scrubbing to remove the carpet glue) and turned a yucky concrete floor into a beautiful “faux bois” floor in her daughter’s room!  I can already visualize bold painted furniture and the colorful fabrics you could use to finish up this space.

Read Mandi’s step-by-step instructions on her blog, Vintage Revivals > >


BEFORE image found on


AFTER image found on

Thanks for the inspiration, Mandi!

Harry Stearns Painting’s unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader