Most of the paint choices in and on our house have been made by Dave over the years. That is why our house is, in general, tasteful. I did choose paint for two rooms in our house and one of them has about sixteen colors in it and the other is faux-painted like orange leather. And I did choose the colors for the rental house, because it was going to be my project. I had some nice colors picked out that I saw on an attractive house in the neighborhood, but at the last minute I thought: No! Let’s have fun with this! And so the house is now lime green, black, red, dark green, turquoise, and purple. The lime green (in my defense, the name of it was “Always Lime”) almost immediately faded to Highlighter Yellow. So far, about the nicest thing anyone has said about it is “Wow, you’re really not afraid of color, are you?”
Should I be?
Yes, Murr, you should. I think it’s nice that Dave doesn’t intervene in my choices, but things might look better around here if he did. He did make one mistake once, painting the interior of our cabin a color he thought was going to be sort of terra-cotta, but turned out to be Baskin-Robbins pink. Maybe that’s why he’s been reluctant to weigh in on my ideas.
Anyway we’ve been trying to save our house from turning into mulch. We get a lot of rain here and although the parts of the house that were built in 1906 still look sound, the newer portions are rotting away. We have fungal developments shaped like windowsills that are about to collapse into powdered crud. It’s a worry. The reason that we’re having all these problems, I am given to understand, is that they don’t make lumber like they used to. Which is good, since they used to make lumber by taking down old-growth giants and milling the best parts and chipping up the rest so the lumberjacks have something to chaw on.
Still. My house is getting unacceptably squishy. I’ve got my eye on the porches now. The bottom tread on the stairs of one of them was replaced last year when it started to go doughy. It had to be painted, and the whole house isn’t due for that for another few years. The other steps were looking a little worn too. Hey! thought I. Why not repaint the porches a different color? The house is a very deep teal-green with creamy trim and red windows. What if we introduced a complementary hue? Maybe something halfway up the paint chip from the deep green? I got out my paint chip fan. There are five hundred thousand colors in it.
None of them was exactly right.
I wanted something that had a hint of blue to it. A cool green, or a warm blue, somewhat toned down, but not so much as to disappear. This magical color did not exist.
I whacked it down to eight choices in the general range and went back and forth on my decision for days. Until it finally, inevitably, tipped into the zone of my temperament that loathes indecision, and also choices. “Just pick something,” a wise friend once told me, “and get used to it.” After all, I thought, if I don’t like it, I can change it when we get the whole house painted.
I sat out on the patio and fanned the chips out toward the house and squinted. We have a pair of turquoise Adirondack chairs which, like all my Polywood chairs, are rather loud. They recycle milk jugs to make these chairs and I love them a lot, but they only come in Bright. I didn’t want anything with quite that much sass on the porch. I wanted something in that green-blue range, except more subdued, tasteful. But—thought I—it should have a little pop to it.
Well, it popped. It would pop on a drag queen. It would pop at dead midnight during a new moon. Mardi Gras beads would disappear on it. It is, in fact, exactly the same as our turquoise chairs. Last thing I remember, I heard a voice in my head that said “Fuck it. Go big or go home!” But this is my home. What the hell happened?
I’ll tell you what happened. I dithered and dithered until finally it was getting on in the evening, and ditherment was starting to piss me off, and I just wanted to make a choice and be done with it, and shadows had lengthened, and the paint chips were in lower light.
Also? I was on my third beer.
I normally am not a big fan of bold colors, but I really like the colors on your porch and patio. It looks like a happy place to congregate. That being said, almost everything in my home is in a neutral palette. I did paint the walls by “ragging” them with various shades of warm tans to make them look like old parchment. Our walls are bumpy looking and have cracks, so using one color gloss paint (as I used to do) just highlighted the flaws. This way the flaws are part of “look.” I also painted our diningroom with a white textured paint to make it look like stucco. It was really fun to use. Also, I inherited a bunch of plaster casts of furniture trim (one of my uncles made antique reproduction furniture), so they go well hanging on the walls. None of the paint jobs I did are of professional caliber (who can afford THAT?) but I take some pride in planning it and carrying it out, even though I can see all the mistakes I made.
The orange you see in the top picture was fun to do. It looks like leather. It was screaming daffodil yellow with a sienna brown glaze over it.
That aqua is the same color as my front door. From a distance, the brick on the exterior looks kind of beige. Up close, it is decidedly pink. I am not up to painting brick, and not willing to pay someone else thousands to do it, so pink it shall remain.
Oh, please do not EVER paint brick. Or wooden fences. The paint wears off quickly, and then you’re continuously painting it again. Someone long ago painted our brick fireplace white, and also the brick columns on our front porch. So I’ve had to keep painting it all. But I think I will stop doing that. I’ve seen brick houses that were painted white, and they are obviously letting the paint chip away and going back to the brick. It looks good. Better actually than the paint. As for wooden fences, just seal them if you must. But once you paint them it’s a never-ending project. We have cedar fencing, never painted nor sealed, and it’s turning a lovely grey color.
As the wife of a man in the brick trade, I can second that. Every time we drive by a brick place newly painted, I can hear Dave whining “Why? Why?”
I hear you, Dave! WHY are people making MORE work for themselves when just letting it be is so much better looking?
….And the ‘color issue’ isn’t limited to colors that are ‘bold’ or ‘pop’……About 2 years ago, James and I decided to upgrade one of our tiny (<1,000 sq.ft.) rental houses. We did the usual things — new (real) hardwood floors, granite in the kitchen, wide-slat (plantation-style) blinds……and then we had to choose the right shade of gray. One that would give the place a crisp chic-ness, or at least a bit of dignity.
We painted test splotches of 6 different grays. One 'read' too blue. Another read too brown. One didn't look 'fresh' or 'crisp' enough. We finally picked the winner and had one room painted…..and when we saw it covering 4 walls, we immediately realized that it was the wrong color. We finally go it right, but it looks good only if tenants use 'warm' (2700K) light bulbs. Any lighting with a temperature over 4000K makes the color look like a tired church basement…….
There are SO many grays. You could double down on the church basement theme by making some green bean bake and a nice tuna hot dish.
I like how your colors look. If I had the energy, stamina and bodily strength I’d do something like it.
Just a couple small porches, and it took about a day.
It’ll fade, honey. Or maybe mold down to a nice, mellow hue.
It’s already muddy.
I am not a reliable judge of colors…but I’m glad to have pulled out of distant memory your blog. I’m glad to see you’re still here.
Oh, and I’m now back in the town that had Walton on a bicycle in ’76.
Wait, which MIke?
Huh, thought it registered me as Should Fish More, from Montana. My mistake.
Awesome! I missed you!
Thought I’d done it correctly, guess not. Mike from Montana, Should Fish more.
You have your own paint chip fan?? I’d love one of those. I’d love to have my own house too so I could paint whatever colour I wanted. Anyway, I LOVE the colour you chose, it’s one of my favourite hues.
We don’t have a lot of wooden houses here in Australia, there’s a termite problem and a rising damp problem in some areas, so most houses are brick in varying shades and the really old ones are stone of some kind, mostly sandstone, a few bluestone and government housing has the cheap “clinker brick” option. They are large hollow bricks made from concrete. Very sturdy. Some of the older homes built in the days before damp proofing was invented are rotting from the ground up, the rising damp thing and there is salt damp where the rising damp is salty. My daughter’s home is one of those.
Holy moly. Well, it doesn’t help you with that, but I feel compelled to crow that I have TWO paint chip fans.
P.S. I love that green/purple room 🙂
Fences and bricks etc can be painted, you just need to pay the extra and use a weatherproof paint, such as (Dulux?) Weathershield, which lasts for around ten or so years and sometimes longer. The fences across the road from my home are painted a cream colour, leaning towards yellow more than white, and I have never seen anyone out there repainting the whole time I’ve lived here. 11 years now.
Probably matters what sort of climate you have. We’re pretty moist here.
Your eyes are the colour of emerald green,
I saw it on a chart.
The paint remains unopened,
but you unlocked my heart.
Lively is always better, in my book. We rented for years. Every wall off-white. Nothing hanging on any wall other than posters I stuck up with double-sided tape. Now my laundry room is fuchsia, my kitchen orange, bedrooms green and blue and yellow. It makes my heart happy every day, the way yellow pears in a blue bowl do, the way vivid orange leaves against a dark gray sky do.
BTW, we should enjoy while we can. It appears corporations are now trademarking color.
Oh, FFS! Trademarking COLOR?? So, if someone has trademarked, say a certain shade of jade green, what’s to keep people who know what they’re doing from buying some green, some blue… maybe a little grey… and mixing it up themselves? Maybe even selling it on the black market, as if it were drugs? I see a side-hustle in there!
I hear ya on walls: a large wall in the middle of our house (used to be a dining room, but we don’t need one that big, so now it’s our bird/plant room) is my “scrapbook wall.” I have artwork, plaques, and various items (usually related to birds/plants) that speak to me. It’s busy-looking, but it makes me feel happy to see it.
All my art has to be small. I don’t actually have a lot of wall space between windows and doors.
I resonate to color. I absolutely love your choices.
I have now accumulated three different thumbs-up In Real Life! I might just get used to this.
Our house is just white outside with dark green trim, and the colors inside are pretty tame too. Once upon a time we tried to be more with-it, so we had the bedroom done in a very pale blue with a very dark blue “accent wall” behind the head of the bed. At night when the lights were out I felt like the bed was in the mouth of an inky-black cave that could have lord-knows-what living in its depths, so we changed it.
When I was a kid we had a family friend who was an interior decorator. When she was finished with us, the den was cream with an orange-brown accent wall and the Lester pianola (the works stripped out before we got it, so it was just an old upright) was pink. Gawwwwd.
I love that picture! Sadly, I don’t think Marsha would like it for our house — and sadder still, she hates Adirondack chairs. Free associating now, Billy Collins once said he was writing a poem about something that happened in the Catskills, but he changed the name because he thought that in the poem’s context, “Adirondacks” sounded better.
When you and Marsha come to visit, I’ll bring a straight chair out for Marsha.
I love my paint chip fan. It will be a part of my estate to pass on. And your colors are beautiful! This post made me smile and smile. Thanks. Enough said!
Well goody gumdrop.
In my blog, articles related to are mainly written, and they are usually
I’ll get my sunglasses ready for when I’m on the back porch starting late next week. See you soon!
I’ll get my sunglasses ready for when I’m on the back porch starting late next week. See you soon!
My front door is a suitable Crabby Apple Red.
Yup. That third beer. 😘