Honey, I Bought a Kumquat

Oh, stop giggling--it's just a word. Besides, I really did buy a kumquat! A tree, that is. Look:

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So, why the foray into the mysterious world of lesser-known citrusy fruit? Well, maybe it's the soppy blech of Victoria winters, or the eye-gouging aftermath of the lawn and garden apocalypse that took place around here last year during our reno (we'll be landscaping for a period of, oh, forever), but I've had an unrelenting desire of late to bring a little more green...inside!

First off, I realize I'll have to be a better plant mom than in the past, lest I be stuck growing only cactusesses.es. The truth is, plants scare me a little. They are so finicky and childish that I'm half-expecting a tantrum when I overwater or underfertilize or, say, leave them in a blazing hot sunbeam for two weeks straight. But alas, I can't just tell them to suck it up and stop whining, so I guess the onus is on me to develop better plant-mom habits.

What motivates me is the amazing payoff. Just look at these little green beauties:

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During our reno planning, we made sure to allocate plenty of wall space for artwork. So too will we make space--lots and lots of it--for more indoor green.

50 Shades of White

15 years ago, I sold my soul to a mortgage lender and bought my very first place. It was the top floor unit of a 100 year-old converted house in Victoria. The place was small, but had a certain 'vibe' that made it feel special. I was smitten within seconds of walking through the front door, and no sooner had I moved in than I  began formulating a list of personal touches that would truly make it 'mine.'

That list included painting. Inspired by trends in paint stores and magazines, I picked out what seemed like a nice shade of mustard yellow for the bathroom. On top of that went a sponged-on gold. Oh, and moss green--sponged on top of the gold.

Really, 1999? What were you thinking?

Clearly, the psychological ramifications of this painting experiment-gone-horribly-awry cut deep, for the palette on my/ our next house consisted of white, white and, umm,  white. 

I loved my white walls. They weren't stark--more of a warm white achieved by adding two shots of ochre per gallon of white base. It was a great backdrop colour for art, photography, and funky textiles. 

And here I am once again, contemplating paint. Dare I wonder if my good old workhorse white is 'too white' for the new house? Maybe. Instead, I'm envisioning layers and layers of cream, which will still feel bright and airy, but pair well with our flat black door hardware and warm woods.

The array of whites/ off-whites/ and neutrals on the market is simply staggering. It's a hard colour to get 'right', for any slight undertone seems to be magnified 10-fold on large expanses of wall. I have little tolerance for pinky whites, so I tend to err on the side of yellow. Grey whites seem to be favoured in the design world right now, but I personally need a higher light reflectance value in my whites. Maybe it's a west coast thing...

For this house: I want to feel as if I'm diving into a big vat of vanilla ice cream. Our white/ cream candidates so far:

Walls: Pearl Tint (Pratt & Lambert), Simply White (Benjamin Moore)
Trim: Simply White (Benjamin Moore)

Do you have a favourite white/ cream/ neutral? Please share!