Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But how would it look?

So, I'm still working on that bathroom, plugging away for a few hours each day. For better or worse, the mildewy ceiling has been repaired, primed and painted. And painted. The wet drywall has been patched, sanded and primed. And the wall that no longer has tile mirrors has been primed, patched, sanded and primed. 

Now we get to the good part: choosing paint colors. Not. Oh, Lord. Just kill me now. I am terrible at choosing paint colors. Just awful. Even with assistance. Exhibit A: my kitchen. 

When I painted it (10 years ago?) I was quite inspired by my friend Ann's colorful home and art. I was also in love with the color purple. Not The Color Purple, though it was both a good book and movie. But eggplant. Or deep violet. 

After consultation with an artistic friend, I chose a purple. Which promptly became BLACK upon application. Yes, once I tell visitors that the cupboards are purple they say, "Oh, yeah. I guess that is purple." But at first glance, those cupboards look fairly ebony. Which gives the room a sort of gloomy goth vibe, I think, even with all of my colorful accoutrements.  

Perhaps if paint colors were actually given sensible monikers, like eggplant or deep violet, I would've had a better chance at choosing the right and proper color, both then and now. But sensible is clearly not a value at Valspar, Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. Evoking a mood seems to be the plan. 

A lightly muddied brown called Puppy Paws? Awww! A plain tan labeled Balance? Om. Then there were the different shades of tan-ish, creamy yellow variations on Sand: Bermuda Sand, Imperial Sand, Riviera Dune, Desert Fortress or Sand Storm. What, I choose which shade name best fits my Bedouin fantasy location? 

Then, we have the evocative food names. Again, I'm looking at creamy tan-like colors. So we have Toast. Or Vanilla Brandy. Glazed Pears? Or Milk Toast! I'm gaining weight just looking at the paint chips!

Truth be told, in spite of being a word person, I did not look at the names on the paint chips until I chose the color I wanted. I was afraid I might be swayed away from a good color by a poor or annoying name. Hence, my bathroom walls are now wearing one coat of Riviera Dune. So far, so good. And no Bedouins involved.

After I apply coat two tomorrow, I have another challenging decision to make. Do I stop at plain walls or go on to some kind of more interesting additional application of paint? 10 years ago, I greatly enjoyed sponging my walls with a complimentary color. 

Sponging was lots of fun because it is, almost by definition, impossible to screw up. Dip your sponge into the paint, lightly press against the wall, repeat all over the wall. Too much paint here? That's ok. Too little paint there? That's ok, too. No pattern involved, merely random splotches that are SUPPOSED to be there--as opposed to the random splotches that I always forget to wipe up!

Once I mastered sponging, I moved into my experimental phase. I began using a scrunched-up plastic baggie to make my splotches. I became so enamoured of different ways to apply paint that I was known to embarrass my children by asking total strangers how they achieved that interesting effect on their walls. People were happy to share their painting adventures.

I think I am weary of splotchy walls, though. It occurred to me that I could simply add a border of simple shapes in a complementary color. My currently selected complementary color is actually Puppy Paws. I got all excited because I realized I could actually HAVE puppy paws as my border. Because everyone who lives here loves dogs and would think that was really cute!

But I believe I have determined that brown shapes, however identifiable, are perhaps NOT the best choice for bathroom wall decorations. :-) 


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