Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fifty Shades of White

Our new house needed, ahem, some work. I had sold myself on the idea that the funky yellow-and-burgundy tile plus creamsicle-orange sink and bathtub of the downstairs bathroom was…. retro. The toilet that isn’t on a perpendicular axis to the wall of the powder room? Quirky and still decidedly… usable! The pink paint on the room off the kitchen? Barely noticeable… very pale pink indeed.

But I really couldn’t deal with a few things: the orange-and-green cabinets, the janky old oven that was fresh out of 1981, and the tile floor in the kitchen.

I knew kitchen renovations were expensive. But my favorite home improvement bloggers have taught me that paint is magic. So I decided the first thing we needed to do was to paint the orange and green cabinets. And by “paint” I mean “pay someone to paint.” Husband didn’t trust me with a paintbrush anymore, and cabinets seemed harder than walls, so I acquiesced.

But first, I needed to pick a shade of white.

Last time I painted, I was pretty chill about shade-picking. I grabbed a couple of the paint-color-sheet-thingies at Home Depot, looked at them a bit at home, said “Dolphin Gray it is!” and bought the paint.

This time I lost my mind over paint selection.

I first decided that we needed to get Fancy Paint. There was a time in my life when I didn’t realize that different brands of paint had different levels of fanciness.  That was a time in the past, from before I started reading home improvement blogs.  And once I learned that there were different fancinesses of paint, I knew that for our kitchen cabinets of the very first home we owned, we were going to get some DANGED fancy paint.

I quickly ran into the first problem with Fancy Paint. Your Regular Paint is sold at Home Depot, which is open whenever, and I know where it is and I just wander in and get paint and no one looks at me funny for wearing my paint pants and an old Mock Trial t-shirt covered in drops of Dolphin Gray. Fancy Paint is sold at Fancy Specialty Paint Stores, which have hours like 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the week of the month where the moon is waning. Painters must work at ridiculous times of day.

Not being an anthropomorphized Disney songbird, I don’t wake up with the dawn and I don’t wake up early enough to leave any spare time before work. So with all of the Fancy Paint Shoppes closed by the time I left work, lunch was the only time I could go get paint chips. So I drove into town to the Fancy Paint Shoppe.

I walked in and wandered to the paint chips section, where I proceeded to spend forty minutes staring blankly at a selection of approximately two frillion colors of white. It was mesmerizing. No, paralyzing. A woman offered to help me several times and I declined in mumbles. Finally I snapped out of it, grabbed every paint chip with something white on it, and bought three tiny sample pots of white paint.

a million white paint chips
the madness

The next few days I was a menace to all around me.

Liz: “Vanilla milkshake is definitely out, because it’s way too gray. I’m really going back and forth between Bavarian Cream and White Chocolate. I want something warm, but Mayonnaise is too yellowy.”

My coworker: “I’m starving. Do you want to get lunch?”

[the next day]

Liz: “I've tried a bunch... but I feel like Oxford White is the white I want, but none of the stores have it, even though it's listed on the paint company website!  And I feel like it is the IDEAL white!”

Mom: “Didn’t you say that about Mountain Peak White yesterday?”

[the next day]

Husband: “You promised you wouldn’t buy any more paint samples.”

Liz: “Well, technically I didn’t - they didn’t have this one in samples so I had to buy a quart of the actual paint. But I have a really good feeling about this one! It’s crisp linen!”

Husband: “Wasn’t the LAST one Crisp Linen?”

Liz: “No, that was Linen White! Totally different!”

[the next day]

Liz: “Did you get my text?”

Dad: “I did but… what am I even looking at, here?”


I finally settled on a shade of white: Cream Froth. It looked a lot like Mountain Peak White. It also looked a lot like Crisp Linen. But Cream Froth it was, and I was pleased to have selected one of the delicious-sounding ones.

We were finally a go with the painter.

It was so exciting the day we saw all the doors get de-orangified:

And it looked SO MUCH better when it was done….

In case you had forgotten how it looked orange…

Then all that was left was the installation of the new oven.  Poor Husband.  But that's another story.

Hopefully the improved cabinetry is worth all the paint-shade-madness I inflicted on everyone around me. I’ve hidden all of the leftover paint samples in the garage so Husband will hopefully forget about how I went crazy. And I had almost forgotten, too, until we went to Home Depot yesterday to look at some blinds* for the house. We had identified the kind we wanted when the guy asked us which color we wanted...

There was white white. Pure white. Silk white. Optic white. Chantilly. I started seeing spots in front of my eyes…

Husband: “Silk white.”

Liz (whispered): “Thank you.”

*None of the following should surprise you given what I have told you about this house:  There were blinds on the house originally, but they were tan-colored rusting metal mini-blinds.  The realtors apparently threw a fit about them and made the owners take them off before showing the home.  We found them in the garage after we moved in.  They were pretty gross.

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