There have been paint…

There have been paint developments (cue ominous music). We have a new plan -- we're almost certainly going to bite the financial bullet and do the first floor entirely in Farrow & Ball paints. Kev and I both really like the soft, glowing quality of the clay paint, and while it's certainly a luxury item, if you're going to be luxurious about a house element, paint is one of the less expensive elements. (Luxury tile, on the other hand...oof.) I know that in general we have champagne tastes and a beer budget, but in the case of paint, we're going to have a bottle of champagne, dammit. The children don't really need to go to college, right? They seem pretty bright; I'm sure they can manage.

Kevin and I had a LONG and miserable conversation last night about paint colors. The problem is that Kevin likes warm tones (think Arts & Crafts colors, orange and red and brown), and I like cool and rich tones (sapphire, ruby, plum, eggplant). We both like the combination of off-white and wood, but we're doing that on the second floor, and I don't want a entire house that's basically white. BORING. So color for the first floor, and we went back and forth and back and forth and paged through several design books and a ton of web pages with pictures of colorful rooms and could not find a compromise and yes, I ended up crying. I care way too much about this stuff -- I had no idea I cared so passionately about aesthetics before I started this project. And my opinions on what I love are painfully strong. Finally, Kevin basically said I should go ahead and do what I like because I obviously care a lot more about it than he does. And because we couldn't find a good compromise that would satisfy us both.

So I suppose I won that argument, but it's kind of a sucky way to win. This is why they say renovations are so stressful. This and the money. (It probably didn't help that we had this argument at 9 p.m., and I woke up at 3 a.m. yesterday for no good reason. I was very tired. Note to self: sleep more. Ha ha ha.)

We're okay -- Kev promises he's not actually mad about it, and that even if he doesn't like the colors much initially, he'll probably stop noticing them quickly. And if worst comes to worst and they do bother him, they can be repainted. (This would be a more compelling argument if the paint weren't so damn expensive.)

Anyway -- cool and rich. Blues and greys and purples and dark reds and silvers. Maybe green, although sadly, one area F&B is lacking is in a good green, I think. All of which led to the next issue -- how to manage the flow from room to room, especially given the wide openings (5' to 7') between rooms on the first floor. According to the Farrow & Ball website, the key is to match intensity of color. Which is totally against my first instinct, which was to do different shades of blue, some light, some dark.

They say you should either choose light tones, mid-tones, or strong tones, and then those tones will pair well together. "If you want a house to flow from room to room, choose paints that have the same weight of colour within them. Strong colours are great but do think about how they relate to one another. Make sure you are happy with the flow and that it doesnt shock or jar from one room to another. A Stone Blue No.86 hallway leading into a Rectory Red No.217 living room will work well because the weight of colour is balanced." Hm. They're the experts, right?

We're going to try to trust them. And of those three tone options, the colors I love are strong tones. To see their strong tones (two dozen or so), go here and click on 'strong'.

I admit, those colors are a little scary to decorate with. It would be a lot safer to go with the mid tones. But also much less joyous. When I see a room decorated in bright, rich tones, it makes me happy. Here are a few examples of Farrow & Ball strong colors:

Whew! I know, that's going to be way too much color for a lot of people, but for me, coming back to these rooms at the end of the day would make me so happy. So I went down this morning and picked up 21 sample colors, and Kevin is out getting posterboard and brushes now (as well as picking up the kids), and this evening, we're going to paint like fiends. Fun times. :-)

My current tentative plan for the front parlor --> dining room --> living room? Drawing Room Blue, Pelt, Raddichio. But we'll see how the colors look up on the walls before making any real decisions. Sadly, these screen colors are only vaguely related to the actual colors -- I wish I could give you a better representation.

Gorgeous? Ugly? Exciting? Scary? Never in a million years?

What do you think?

5 thoughts on “There have been paint…”

  1. They are pretty, but it is kind of a sucky way to win. It was kind of him to just let you have your way, but I think it’s sad that the entire first floor would be full of colors that he doesn’t love, and none that he does love. Are you truly okay with that? Couldn’t you have some rooms that are you colors, and some that are him? He ought to have rooms where the colors delight him as much as you ought to, don’t you think?

  2. It’s not as unbalanced as it sounds. We both like the compromise schemes less than the other options, so it makes sense to just pick one. I also have veto power over any of the specific colors if I dislike them, so really all that has been decided is to go with the general palette she prefers. We’ve made other decisions like this elsewhere in the renovation, some in the way I want, some the way she does.

  3. I guess that is one advantage to living alone… I’ve found, though, that I do tend to pick similar colors to other things, so all the same colors are in my wardrobe, furniture, and the walls! The best thing I ever did, though, was buy paint samples and slap them up on the walls so that I could see them in different lights, and how they worked with one another (you would not think a yellow and a teal would look good in adjoining open spaces (hall and living room) but they do). I really should post pics on my blog, but the problem is that its still a work in progress… (short person, painting on her own).

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I did offer to just flip a coin, but Kev didn’t want to. Oh well. I think we can find colors he likes, and the main issue seems to be actually not the color tone per se, but that he wants rooms to feel warm and welcoming, not cold and formal. I do like a little formality, but for the most part, I’m also aiming to have our house be warm and welcoming. But I think you can do that with cool tones too. 🙂

    We did most of the paint-on-boards last night; a few more to go today, and we’ll have all the main color choices up in this house.

    Catherine, that was actually advice I found in multiple paint books, to look at the colors you already love, the ones in your clothes, knickknacks, etc., and put those on the wall. Because those are the colors that will make you happy.

    It sounds sort of silly, but I did notice while watching Trading Spaces years ago that Genevieve almost always dressed in rich oranges and browns, and always decorated in them too, and she looked great and happy in the rooms she did. 🙂 The same for Vern Yip with his cool blues and greens. It was funny.

  5. Man, this is making me want to paint my house again. I did a lot of experimenting and the colors have pretty much consolidated to yellow/orange and blue/purple, but I would love to do the whole thing again in a single palette.

    You know, some day when I have the money to hire someone else to do it while I leave town for two weeks.

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