A Ruby Reading Room

I love color. Neutrals aren’t my jam, though I can see the appeal for other people. When we bought the house, and saw the Emerald color on the lincrusta in the Dining Room, the only color story I saw for the first floor was jewel tones. With the pocket doors open, the first floor is really open, and the rooms have to go together. They don’t have to match, but they have to work together. And so, a jewel box became the plan.

Here’s the emerald in the Dining Room, in case you forgot.

The Parlor will be sapphire.

The Study is obsidian.

The Entrance Hall? I’m breaking my anti-neutral stance, because I want the staircase to be the focus. It’s going to be the diamond. (I mean, right?!?!)

The kitchen? Well, thought I know it breaks what we think of as a jewel tones, but I like to think that jade can hang out in the jewel box with the fancier stones.

And the Library? Always, the Library would be ruby. It’s just such a LIBRARY color – dark and moody and romantic and comfortable. And a little bit pompous. Just like a having a Library in your house.

The chair we reupholstered at class? The red in it was the draw to the fabric. When I got the fabric, I wasn’t totally convinced that this chair would go in the Library (but, it has all the right colors in it, so it could go anywhere). But it’s totally going in the Library, and is the jumping off point for the scheme.


Next, the wallpaper. SO FUN. And again, lots of the colors that will encompass the first floor.

And, because things can ALWAYS be busier, I used the turret as the inspiration for the fireplace.

This is the most striking part of the outside of the house (in my opinion), and I wanted to bring it inside a little.

The tiles for the fireplace pull in the shingles and the colors of the turret. I am WILDY excited about these. The tiles we found at Clay Squared. (Not sponsored, I am not that cool.)

With the wallpaper!



And the fireplace, if you didn’t remember this!

The anaglypta in the room, we’re keeping. It’s a fun pattern, but one you only really see when you get up close. But the shape also ties into the scallops of the turret tile.

I am NOT DOING THIS TO THE WALLS. Everyone thinks old houses are haunted and filled with murders and I will not encourage that with this Sweeney-Todd-esque faux finish. However, dry-brushing a little red on shows the pattern a little better.

Channeling my inner Mrs. Lovett, playing with paint colors definitely made me feel like I was in a slaughterhouse. I was worried that the red that I picked was too bright, so I played with adding some black in, but once I got 1640 coats on, it was perfect.

Playing around. The top is the pure red that I went with.

I brushed the whole room by hand, which I enjoy doing, and it gives me control over the color on such a textured space. I didn’t prime – I really was worried that I would lose a lot of the pattern with too many layers. I ended up with 5 really thin coats.

Whenever you chance colors this drastically, the first couple coats make you re-think your life and make you wonder if you had any sense at all. And then you understand neutrals even more because BEIGE WOULDN’T LOOK THIS DISASTROUS.


This is where I have to trust myself and be talked off of my ledge of doubt.

Okay… coat three….. you aren’t the worst.

And oh. OH. Coat Five. You are perfect. Just perfect. Also, very pettable. I LOVE how this pattern is so visible now! And, it looks a bit like embossed leather, which is really sexy to me.


Wallpaper speak peek!

Ruby. It’s perfect.

I’m glad I love this now. Because it was a lot of time and hand cramps to get here!



  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean on the first coat (or two!) of paint! I see the first coat done and think that I need to rethink my life choices, but then I remind myself of EVERY other room I’ve painted, and that the first coat ALWAYS makes me think that. Just hold on and keep painting. And it always looks great in the end…even if it’s five coats.

    I LOVE the ruby, and agree that it looks just like embossed leather. And it’s awesome!

  2. Wow, that looks amazing! It really does look like leather! I love the ceiling color with the rest of the room too. It’s all coming together!

Leave a Reply to Carolyn SullivanCancel reply

%d bloggers like this: