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{living in sin} Off-color

Posted Sep 19 2012 10:45am

Last night, Eric and I headed to Lowe’s to pick up some paint samples for our bedroom and our workout room, the next projects on our home improvement to-do list.

I’m a big fan of trying out paint samples before painting. Before we moved, Eric and I picked out a ton of paint samples to help us choose colors for the different rooms in the house, and it helped a lot. The only room we didn’t buy a sample for was one of the spare bedrooms. I wanted to paint it a grown-up, modern pink and went with Behr Sugar Berry. I was hoping it would have sort of a brown undertone that would make it very close to neutral. It turned out to be more of a whisper pink and once we started painting, I took stock of the white trim and closet, considered the fact that a white bed was going in there, and realized…this looks like a little girl’s room. Fuck. My uterus got reallllllly uncomfortable with the message that sent, and started begging me to stop the whole painting operation so as to avoid conversations about family planning with every visitor who would come through our house. I saw my uterus’ point but the paint was expensive and we had a friend there helping us paint, so I didn’t want to call it quits and waste money/time.

Instead we decided to just spray paint the bed a different color, which turned into a huge debacle. Eric said he’d spray paint it, so I assumed he’d done it before and would do fine with it; I walked outside later to find it looking a little…blotchy. And there were plastic bits of drop cloth stuck to it. I didn’t get a chance to say much about this before I realized I was standing in an ant hill and they were eating my feet in protest. Once I’d recovered from the ant attack, we realized that while my instincts were totally wrong about the Sugar Berry, they were right about the bed color, and we should have gone with the silver shade I had originally wanted, rather than the copper Eric had liked, which just wasn’t going to be a good match with the pink wall. After sanding off the blotchy paint and bits of plastic and then making trips to three different home improvement stores all over town to find more paint after we ran out, we finally got it painted last weekend. And as we hauled the bed upstairs, I realized it would have been cheaper and less time-consuming to buy new paint for the room or just buy a new bed. Oh, and when we finally finished painting the trim and the walls and pulled off the green tape — a process we dragged out for far too long because I was irritated about the paint color and wanted nothing to do with the room — we saw that Sugar Berry was actually a very modern, grown-up pink and the white bed probably would have been fine.

Lesson learned: do not to make any assumptions when it comes to paint colors and always buy a sample.

So last night at Lowe’s, Eric and spent a little while picking out three shades for each room, and, after waiting for several minutes for an employee, the greeter — who looked a cross between Hyde and Kelso from “That 70s Show” — noticed us. When he caught my eye, I felt like I could read his mind. “I’ve never mixed paint before…but the employee handbook did say to always help customers in need…so I’m gonna take this one!”

We told him the colors we wanted mixed and then went to wander around the store a bit while he mixed it for us. When we returned, he was looking a bit overwhelmed. “If you need the paint matched again, just let me know because it’s all over my hands,” he said as he gingerly tried to stick the labels on the samples. Pretty soon, it was all over my hands too. Maybe he’s mixed paint before, but I am fairy confident he’s never screwed a lid on a jar. But he kept us from standing around waiting for an employee for another 15 minutes and he looked like someone’s cool older brother, so I didn’t really mind the mess.

After dinner, we tested out the samples. We had good luck in the workout room. After painting on Byzantine Purple, Purple Valley, and Purple Hills, it was a tie between Byzantine Purple and Purple Valley. Purple is Eric’s favorite color, so I was fine with going with his choice, Byzantine Purple. I’m actually really excited to paint that room, both because the current look of eggshell with a turquoise accent wall isn’t doing it for me, and also, we could really use the workout motivation.

From there, we moved on to the master bedroom, which won’t be a room of shame much longer; our bed will finally arrive on September 28. (And just when I was getting used to sleeping on the floor! I don’t even know what it will be like to start climbing into bed again.) Our goal is to paint it a light caramel color before then. I’ve been kind of dreading this one just because there is so much space to cover (and so much trim…ugh…curse you, windows and closets and doors!) but I’m excited for how it will look when it’s finished. We taped it on Sunday and are planning to paint this weekend.

Our three samples were Bombay Gold, Rustic Oak, and National Trust for Historic Preservation Coral Gable Biltmore Mediterranean Caramel. I was initially drawn to that color because it had “caramel” in the name but…come on. It sounds like it should have “the Third” added to the end of it and always said in a Thurston Howell-esque accent. (Is it a boat? A trust fund heir? Could go either way.) Valspar, I get it , but you can’t have All the Names…at least not all on the same color.

Despite the ridiculous name, I had the highest hopes for that color. Once we got the swatches painted, we realized that the Bombay Gold wasn’t too dark or too light, but it was just too mustard. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love shades of yellow, green, and brown that look like they came out of the 1970s — and I love mustard, both as a color and a condiment — but unfortunately it just wasn’t the right color for this room. The Rustic Oak looked like milk chocolate; it was a nice shade, but it was just too dark. And the Coral Gable Biltmore Mediterranean Caramel III…well my first thought was that it looked identical to a pile of naked Barbie dolls. It was just very…fleshy. They could have just named it Silence of the Lambs and saved some space on the paint chip.

Back to the paint department we go!


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