It was the summer of 1994 and I had just been introduced to the awkward and unkempt 16 year old boy that would, eight years later, be the man that I married. To say that it was love at first sight would be the overstatement of the century.

My initial hesitation in getting to know this boy a bit better had nothing to do with the long and thick brillo pad he called hair peeking out of the sides of his grimy backwards baseball hat, like the wings of a disheveled flightless bird. Nor was it the surplus 30 pounds he was carrying around thanks to too many drive through trips where his order involved the words "double" and "Super Sized," all courtesy of the newfound freedom that comes with a drivers license, his mom's station wagon, and the financial freedom of working in a shopping mall athletic shoe store. 

Though this would have been enough to steer most females from this brightly colored peacock, my lack of interest and attraction stemmed from the fact that this guy could barely muster a simple "hello" or a second of eye contact when we were first introduced. 

Instead I got some lame caveman grunt that barely resembled the word "hey," accompanied by a stammering head-nod. You know, the one that guys give other guys with the obligatory, "'Sup, dude?" The conclusion drawn? This guy has zero personality, and P.S., why does he think growing his hair out for dreadlocks is a look that will read as cool whether on or off the soccer field?

It took months of getting to know him in group settings, trying to fix him up with a close friend, and getting dumped by a friend of his before I started to pay attention to his sense of humor, generous spirit, wicked smarts, and fun loving personality. Here we are a year later, after I started thinking he was the greatest boyfriend on the planet. Not bad for a rebound boyfriend.

The point of my tale of high school romance? I don't fall in love easily, but when I do, it's for real and it's for keeps. Whether it's my mate in life, a home we're purchasing, a major career change, or even buying a new piece of furniture, I don't typically move quickly. 

But when I was recently introduced to a new (to me) paint color, Benjamin Moore's Wickham Gray, I was instantly smitten.

Now I know you might be thinking "Oh man, yet another blog spouting off about the virtues of gray as a fad based neutral palette with pops of color...blah blah blah." Honestly, I don't think of gray as a fad in the least bit. Gray has been around forever and this one, in fact, is one of Benjamin Moore's Historical Colors. As far as I'm concerned, it's here to stay. You've always seen gray in some capacity when it comes to great design and you'll see gray on walls long after ombre and chevron have run their courses. But one thing is for certain, I definitely won't be talking about "pops of color," so don't worry there. So if you're thinking this about my newfound love, just hear me out and see if I can change your mind.

I recently listed a beautiful historic home for sale in Old Town, and I feel the home's owner/my friend (and now client) has impeccable taste. I absolutely adore her home and her sense of style. While preparing to put her home on the market, a few rooms received a fresh cost of paint, including the stairwell and upstairs hallway. It was at this point she changed my life by introducing me to this favorite shade.

In my book Wickham Gray is simply a gorgeous color that reads as pale gray with the softest undertone of sea glass (greenish blue) depending on the light. It makes for a stunning neutral in high traffic areas, but could also work well as a very calming color in a bedroom, bathroom, or on the ceiling.

In the case of this home, it perfectly complements her soft, muted color palette, and adds more interest than your standard off white, beige, or flat gray that is more commonly used in hallways.

The way this color plays in various light allows you to easily add texture through shadows or reflections while maintaining the crisp and calming color. Just look at how beautifully the Moroccan star lantern in the upstairs hallway casts geometric shadows on the walls. I'm totally obsessed!

After my previous paint fails (can anyone say mint chocolate chip ice cream sage in the family room or sunny side up gold in our bedroom??), I'm always on the lookout for beautiful, muted paint colors that work well in different spaces and play well in different lights.

Our deep red dining room has been looking a bit dated to me of late. Coupled with the fact that the paint we used was poor quality and never really stood up to our use of the room, it very well may be time to retire the red and move into something a little more soothing.

But that's a whole lot of work, a rather big commitment, and I'm not quite sure I'm ready to jump right into that project! Remember, I need time.

While I might drag my feet when committing to other areas in my life, I know this case of love at first sight is meant to be. While also subtle in personality at first introduction, I'm sure glad this color really speaks to me...and isn't sporting questionable hairstyle choices that might make me question my interest level.

Do you have a go to paint color that you use in your home? Maybe you've discovered a new favorite? I'd love to hear what shades make your heart swell.

Comments 19


7/14/2014 at 2:04 PM

Wendy, you did such a good DIY job on Alex. When I first met him in 2005, I thought he was very well groomed and friendly. It's been 8 years and I still think he's well groomed! =)


Too funny. Thanks, Beth!Alt smile

7/14/2014 at 2:13 PM

No! You can't get rid of the red dining room. It's one of my favorite rooms in your house.


LOL! Oh no! Don't worry, Becky. This is a decision I've been agonizing over for years. Don't expect the red to disappear any time soon.Alt smile

7/14/2014 at 2:45 PM

If you're done with the red, then get rid of it! Its just paint!
My favorite shade of grey at the moment is Anonymous from Behr. We painted our bedroom, the guest room, and the rear exterior with it.Its the perfect middle grey in my eyes. I'm in love.


Amazing! You know our whole house is Anonymous (but from Sherwin Williams)? We painted it way back in 2005, so just goes to show that it won't go out of style and isn't just a fad!

7/14/2014 at 6:27 PM

I would love to see this color in your dining room. I hope you go for it!


Thanks, Heather!

7/14/2014 at 9:54 PM

Thanks for the really nice post about Cara's home (my daughter)! I helped her pick out the Wickham Gray and absolutely love the way it turned out. The baby's room is Behr's Nurture- a totally different blue/green/gray that is very soothing (esp. for a bedroom)- check it out. I recently started to change the colors in my Williamsburg (Southern Colonial style) home. After 11 years, I thought it was time. My dining room was a burgundy under the chair rail. Its now bright white and a soft blue on top of the chair rail. The foyer was creamy yellow... now it's BM Paperwhite (a pale gray with a pale green undertone). My living room was Navy under the chair rail. It's now white and above the chair rail is BM's Van Courtland Blue. My family room went from a creamy white to Martha Stewart's Sharkey Gray. I am slowly getting away from creamy yellows and burgundies to pale grays and blues.
I think Wickham Gray would look fantastic in your lovely DR!


Cara clearly gets her design style from you! These colors sound gorgeous and I can't wait to take a look at them all. You must be well on your way to a complete design transformation, and I'm sure it's spectacular!

7/14/2014 at 9:55 PM

I forgot to mention that the photo of you and your hubby is adorable! Alt smile

7/14/2014 at 11:21 PM

The first time I read the paint color name, I read it as "Wicked Gray" and was immediately on board! My fave is B Moore's Quiet Moments; we used it in 3 rooms and it is different in each one.


Ahh, "Quiet Moments" sounds so soothing. I'll have to check it out. Thanks, Mia!

7/15/2014 at 10:21 AM

Agreed. Grays are always tough because they can go blue so easily, and this one resists the temptation. I'm also a fan of BM's smoke embers, which is on our bedroom walls. My designer friend Annie Elliott of the blog Bossy Color introduced me to it, and I'm so glad she did!


Sounds beautiful from the name. Can't wait to see it in person. Thanks, Jennifer!


I just looked this one up in my paint deck. Funny enough, it's one shade lighter than the San Antonio Gray we just painted in our master bath. Great minds... ;)

Kathy S
7/15/2014 at 6:01 PM

We have "Morning Fog" -- a Sherwin-Williams color, in our bathroom and it's very calming. Looks great in all lights. I started loving the bathroom as soon as the first coat went on. Of course, that feeling could be partially the result of covering up the pink that used to be there (yes, PINK).

7/17/2014 at 2:12 PM

We have something very similar throughout our first floor and up the stairs to the second floor hallway. Everyone that visits remarks on how calming it is. It is by far my most favorite color that I have used.

2/9/2016 at 1:40 PM

Wendy, I love the orange and grey art in your client's living room. Any way you could help me find it?

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