I painted the samples on a spot near the wood colored trim and on a spot near the white trim to compare. I started with 3 colors City Loft Grey, Modern Grey, and (I'll have to look up this color later) in order from top to bottom. They are all by Sherwin Williams.
Even though these are all neutrals they are full of color and they looked pretty different against the white and wood tones. They were all reading a little darker than I had pictured and more red. So when I stopped at Home Depot I grabbed Cappuccino White by Glidden. I thought this would be a warm neutral and pair well with the wood. Here is my sample spot below. It's the 6th one down in the first picture and the second one down in the second picture.
So after I made my decision I bought 2 gallons of the Cappuccino White and went to work. I started cutting in the whole stairwell and hallway and really enjoyed the color. Then I started rolling the paint on and when I finished painting a whole section, the strangest thing happened. The whole section just read white and it looked like I hadn't even painted. In fact John could not tell I had painted at all until I showed him the section I hadn't painted. I was super bummed. All that hard work for nothing. So I went back to the drawing board. As an experiment I painted entire sections of the base of the stairwell with my other sample colors: Modern Grey, etc. When I painted those darker colors the same thing happened. I realized that with the wood trim I was going to need a lot darker color for it to read anything beside white. The whole phenomenon was really messing with my head.I started asking everyone (including my hair stylist and this poor girl at Banana Republic) what color their greige walls were. Then I found a great post by Emily Henderson about her favorite grey paint colors. She even compares them to the many sides of Ryan Gosling, which makes it even better. After reading her post I decided to get a sample of Amazing Grey by Sherwin Williams.
I began painting it on the walls and it looked a little green compared to the other samples, but I think a good grey has more green tones otherwise it can go too blue. Anyway it was a lot darker than I had originally imagined but decided it would work. I painted whole stairwell (except for the messed up drywall) and the whole upstairs hallway. I am really happy with how the color turned out!
Here it is below. But first lets remember what it looked like before
Here's the after
Even in these pictures you can see how much lighter it reads next to all wood trim. Now we have to fix the drywall section and paint that and hang some art work!