Lately I’ve been wrestling with paint. No, it’s not a warped variation on paintball or a new event on “Gladiators,” it’s the emotional struggle of selecting a paint color. I know for some people a quick glance at a color chart is all it takes for them to commit to Windswept Burgundy or Colonial Gold. Not me; I have to take home swatches, eat with them, sleep with them, compare them to my skin tone and get second and third opinions from my friends. The bigger the item, the longer the process, the greater the suffering I endure.
To put this into perspective, imagine that I am selecting bond paper for some personal correspondence. There’s no longer just white. I’ve got to consider off white, ivory, gray, taupe and the pastels. Then there are the all-important points to be considered: Will pastels convey too personal a tone? Is gray too boring? Is taupe too avant garde? Never mind; I don’t have time to write letters anyway, I’ll phone.
Before I could choose a color for my car, I had to drive around to every dealer’s lot in town to actually see what the model I chose looked like in that color, and by the time I found all eight colors, I forgot what the first one looked like and had to start all over.
For me, there is a definite correlation between the time spent making a commitment to color, the cost of the item and how long I will have to live with it. Which is why selecting a paint color for the interior of my house has been such agony. This isn’t the first time I’ve suffered over interior paint. When my house was built, I visited 12, maybe 13, model homes looking at paint colors before I found a color I loved – Bauhaus Buff. Sounds like a nice friendly beige, maybe some German ancestry, warm, cordial. I knew we could be happy together for many years to come.
The weekend the painters came to do the interior of the house, I went to the beach. On Sunday when I returned, the painters were through. My lovely new home was a really interesting shade of pink. Upstairs, downstairs, ceilings, laundry room, all over, it was pink. I was absolutely positive they had made a terrible mistake and would repaint it immediately. As it turned out, there was no mistake.
I experienced what I have dreaded all my life, your textbook case of color with a split personality. In the paint store, on the chart, it was your basic boring beige. Once it covered every square inch of my home it mutated to a pale pink. I lived with that pink for six years and had my son not conveniently put his foot though the ceiling – which is another column – I’d probably be living with it another three or four.
Since I discovered that repainting was eminent, I have become a regular at the paint store. I have coffee with the boys, we swap a few bad paint stories, and I take home a new color to try on the wall. So far, I have worked my way through Illusive Fawn, Dusting Powder, Ostrich Feather, Rubens Flesh, Turkish Towel, Light Moves, Sandspit and Turret Tan. Then there have been the variations where I return to report that Turkish Towel was close but a little dark; add some white and let’s try again. Every corner of the den is now a slightly different shade of tan. When I ran out of corners, I moved to the foyer; now I’m working my way upstairs, a new color at a time. I have to say that I am getting close to finding that just-perfect color.
I’m really dreading trying to select a trim color. There are 56 different shades of white. Who knows how long that will take me? Then there’s the matter of the wallpaper that won’t match anymore. I think we’re talking 2022.
You know, I don’t know how much interior designers charge, but it’s not nearly enough.