“Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed…”

I couldn’t help up think of that famous saying from the first moon landing in honor of our success in finally choosing a paint color! Landing on the moon was quite the mission and, quite frankly, finalizing a paint color choice felt just as challenging. Actually, I feel drawing the parallel is fitting because our paint color choice is…drum roll please…

Moonshine by Benjamin Moore.

I can hear your mind-brakes screeching to a halt. “Wait”, you say…”they already tried the color and tossed the idea”.

Let’s begin at the very beginning, shall we.

After discovering my love of gray paint and finding all sorts of awesome inspiration images from the internet, catalogs, magazines, etc., I began researching the perfect color. I discovered that one of my favorite home blogs (Young House Love) used the color Moonshine by Benjamin Moore on the walls in some of their larger living spaces and based on what I could perceive on my screen it seemed like just the gray I had in mind and a good place to start. If you’re looking for more back story on the paint search check it out here, herehere, here, and here. (<– wow, this make us me look a little crazy).

Alas, after all that, we were still standing just steps over the starting line and no closer to the finish. So, I took a breath and went back to the drawing board. I spend days scouring blogs, home design websites, and paint suppliers like Ben Moore and Sherwin Williams looking at paint. I read reviews and responses to different gray’s and came to this conclusion…I needed to get my samples mixed with the associated retailer and I HAD to try  Gray Owl and Moonshine again.

To make a long story short, we initially had Moonshine (as well a Gray Owl) mixed in testers from Home Depot. Others have had success with color matching however, I am now convinced it doesn’t work. As you will see in the following picture, Moonshine and Gray Owl (both Benjamin Moore colors) mixed by Benjamin Moore look COMPLETELY different from these same two colors that I had color matched and mixed in testers from Home Depot. (As always, I can definitely perceive the difference in person and I can see the difference on my computer’s monitor but just in case it’s not as obvious to you…it’s different, trust me).

Here is a comprehensive list of the final set of colors I was testing (all colors/paint are Benjamin Moore):

1.  Cliffside Gray – a front-runner in the competition…loved this but it was just a bit too dark

2. Classic Gray – also nice but read more “creamy and tan” in my lighting…plus is was very light

3. Gray Owl – it was a photo finish between Gray Owl and Moonshine. Again, these two colors looked much different (for the better) once mixed in actual Ben Moore samples. However, in the end, Gray Owl read a bit “dingy” in my incandescent lighting so ultimately it was nixed.

4. Moonshine – juuust right. Finally, I was getting a sense of “true gray” from this sample, not too light, not too dark, neutral to cool undertone, wasn’t getting tones of other colors…can’t wait to finally get this up on the walls and get some yummy white trim going to really pop against the gray.

5. Revere Pewter – didn’t hate it but way too tan.


5 thoughts on ““Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed…”

  1. I am so glad I found you. I have been on a similar search for the perfect gray for my open-concept living/dining/kitchen. Just yesterday, I had BJ Fog Mist and Halo mixed at Home Depot (Behr) and I swear they DO NOT LOOK THE SAME as the swatch. They are much too creamy. My partner thinks I am certifiably nuts and will not look at another paint chip. After work, I am going to pick up a tester of Gray Owl and Fog Mist at BJ, and possibly Moonshine.

    I have a north facing duplex, so the colour read very different from the window to the back of the house. I really wanted a cool gray look, so looked at Behr’s Silver Tradition, Silver Quill, and Clay Beige, but these were either too light or read too purply at the back of the house.

    Please do post your final thoughts after you’ve painted. Much appreciation for sharing!

    • June, thank you so much for your message! This paint choosing can be quite the chore huh?! While I’m no expert, I’m going to stand firmly in the camp of “if you want a Benjamin Moore color, get a Ben Moore tester…if you want a Behr color, get a Behr tester”…and so on. As I mentioned previously, I just don’t feel the color matching worked. I’m sure there could be any number of factors as to why but I’m going to stick to the above method. That being said, I hear you in regards to your lighting situation and how the colors “read” in different parts of your home. As I recently discovered with gray, you may have to be willing to continue to try experimenting with many samples. I decided to travel outside my comfort zone and I chose colors to try that were maybe a little too dark, maybe a little too light, maybe a little too blue…and finally got it right with Moonshine. The room we painting has areas of bright daylight and also some darker, more shadowed areas (because part if it turns into a small hallway). For us, Moonshine definitely remained the most consistent. To my eye, it reads true gray (well at least my interpretation of what true gray is 🙂 ) and has a nice cool undertone. It actually has a shimmery quality to it that looks very serene, refreshing, modern, and classic all at once. I’m working on painting the trim right now, using Ben Moore Decorators White, so I’ll post some pictures soon! Please let me know what you end up choosing for your own walls…I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

      • And the winner is… Gray Owl! I stopped by BJ on my way home from work. I shared my “searching for the perfect gray” woes with the lovely salesperson, Joanna. She helped me see what wasn’t working with all of my previous choices, based on what I’d told her about my space and how the colors seemed in various parts of the room. She was very confident that Gray Owl at full tint would work best. She said that given that my cabinets and floors were currently reddish and that I wanted to play that down, Gray Owl would work best over Moonshine for that purpose. Although, if I wanted to play up the green undertone of Moonshine, it would probably work as well. Anyhow, I just picked up two gallons of Gray Owl this morning and will be painting over the long weekend (in between egg hunts and such). Thanks so much for all of your insights. It has been an enormous help. I can’t wait to see your pics!

  2. Thank you so much for your post! I too really love the grays and have had difficulty trying to select the right shade for a two story foyer…..I had come across Moonshine on another site and thought it was beautiful, but was still thinking about some other shades. Now that I have read of your experiences, I have decided on Moonshine! Thanks again for all of your descriptions….

    • Hi Jennifer! Sorry it took me so long to reply to this comment…unusually distracting week! I am so thrilled our indecision and experience in choosing a gray was helpful! It was quite the adventure for sure. It’s definitely a difficult color to get right and I think each home/lighting situation is completely unique. It’s been Moonshine for about a year now and we don’t regret it for one instant! I’m trying to gear up to paint our adjoining den/kitchen space the same color…if I liked painting more it would be done already! Anyway, I’d love love love to see a pic or two of your finished project when you’re done…perhaps I can share your experience here! 🙂 Have a good one – Catie

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