Every Fall, each of the major paint brands announces their predictions for the coming year in the form of a Color of the Year announcement. With each new announcement, there are always people who disagree and then avid fans. This year, however, it seems that the house is even more divided than usual. It’s pretty funny to watch the internet explode over a paint color. It’s been likened to uncooked hot dogs and terra cotta pots. The general consensus? There isn’t one. You either love it or you hate it.
What do I think? you didn’t ask. I think like most colors, it has a place. I can see this color going really well (like the above kitchen photo from Wit & Delight or really wrong. AS someone who loves natural elements, there is a grace and sophistication to a simple terra cotta pot that I just can’t deny. Since this harkens that hue, I find myself on the LOVE IT side, I guess.
To be honest, this choice both surprised me and then made total sense. I knew the color choices for the upcoming year would be bold and would need to pair well with neutrals because I think consumers and decorators are moving on (and a little bored with) monochromatic rooms. We’re craving some color. So that didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is that I’d anticipated earlier in the year that orange would be coming back soon, but I stated that it would be a brighter orange. Something more like this;
That SW is currently embracing the rustic nature of Cavern Clay was the most surprising element. With that in mind, I started thinking about my own current home. Would I use Cavern Clay here? Absolutely not. But I would use it in other homes. In fact, I painted the formal living room in my last home in a very similar hue. As I started pulling out old design notebooks and files to figure out what that color was, I realized the most ironic turn of all - CAVERN CLAY IS THE EXACT COLOR I PAINTED MY LAST HOUSE.
Long before I started designing homes for other people and blogging about design, I was renovating houses for profit. My most recent completed project in North Carolina sold in 2017. These photos are from the real estate listing because, again, I didn’t have a blog or any intention to marketing my services so I didn’t find a need to take any photos of my work. They’re not the best pictures but you can see the I most definitely used Cavern Clay here.
The first major renovation we tackled in this house was the kitchen. I’d opted to customize the base cabinets by painting them a dark, deep forest green (SW 6468 - Hunt Club). Months later, when we were working on the adjacent formal living room, I wanted a color that would pair well and stand up against this bold green. Green and orange are complimentary colors (opposite on the color wheel), so I sampled five tester pots and Cavern Clay won me over with its saturated, earthy tones. Not too pink. Not too red.
Looking back, there are a lot of things I don’t love about this space. In person, it read very formal and beautiful. In photos, it just reads ORANGE. I removed the rug before we put the house on the market because Spring is notoriously muddy in the Western North Carolina mountains and I was worried foot traffic would ruin it. This room really need to be anchored by an off-setting teal to break up the orange from the floors and walls. Here’s how Sherwin Williams recommends pairing Cavern Clay.
I have some other opinions. Here are my suggested pairings.
The more I stare at it, the more I really like Cavern Clay. It does really lend itself to a range of uses and styles. At the end of the day, I just keep imagining a potter’s shed in the English countryside. You know the ones with the peeling white paint and charming historic accents. Or like this one from designer Wayne Nathan, as featured on This Old House.
I don’t love it. I don’t hate it either. What do you think?