Today, Mel is showing paint samples. Five years ago, at this time of year, paint samples were a large part of my life, and led to a most interesting Easter weekend...
My husband built our house. He was the general contractor, sure, but he also helped with the framing. He and I installed insulation and wiring. He supervised the drywall hanging. Then we hired someone to do the drywall finishing (mud and tape) and painting.
In case you haven't ever dealt with this sector of the population, it's difficult to find a reliable subcontractor. Our drywall finisher and his son did the mudding and taping, and applied the finish to the ceiling. They started painting - complaining the whole time that I had chosen semi-gloss. You know why contractors choose flat paint? Aside from the fact that it's cheap, it's also very forgiving, so if the drywall finish isn't perfect, it's not so noticeable. The more gloss you add, the more the imperfections stand out. For a couple days, the painting was going on. The ceilings were finished, and the Friday before Easter, we made a rookie mistake. Since the job was just about finished, we paid out the remainder of the contract.
The check got cashed shortly before we went to the house to see it. I had chosen what I thought was a soft oatmeal color - neutral and light/bright - for most of the house. For the bathrooms, I chose a dark sage type color. For the dining room, I wanted a dark red.
What I got in the house, instead of a neutral tone with a dark red accent, was a carnival funhouse. The oatmeal color turned out to be a pale yellow - pleasant, but not exactly right for the whole house. The painter had only applied two coats of the red (one of which was mixed with primer), so it was a lovely hot pink. The greenish color in the bathrooms was OK on it's own, but combined with the other colors...it just wasn't pretty. My husband freaked out. I cried. The painter had vanished with our money, and we got a pretty accurate gut feeling that he wasn't coming back - it was a holiday weekend, and he had just gotten paid.
So off we went to the Home Depot, where we tried to pick another color. We had to repaint, because it needed to be finished and dried before the next weekend. That's when the guys were coming to install the crown molding. I wanted a beige color, but thought it would be too dark. The nice lady at Home Depot finally told us how to get an accurate idea of what the color would look like on the walls. I don't know why this works, but it does...
Take a sample of pure white and cut a square right in the middle. Put the color you think you like in the middle of the square. It will give it a much different tone, and allow you to get a better idea of the color than just the paint sample itself. If you want an accent color, put your main color and the accent side by side in the cut-out square.
So, my husband and I painted for an entire weekend. We put 2 coats of beige on the main room, kitchen and master bedroom. We put about 6-8 coats of red on the dining room. It turned out very nicely. If my DVD drive worked, I would post some pictures of the colors.
Lessons learned: Never pick colors that are too light. Never pay anyone until you are satisfied with the finished project. Never let me choose the colors.
Go see what everyone else is showing and telling this week!