Friday, January 28, 2011

Color me Yellow

While my husband and I were building our house, we liked to go for walks in new subdivisions that, like ours, were still under construction. We liked to walk through the houses and look at the various floor plans as they were being built. Most of them either didn't have doors yet, or the doors were left unlocked to allow the workers to come in and out freely, so it was easy enough to let ourselves in and have a look around. It kind of makes me wonder how many people walked through our house while it was still under construction. Usually the homeowners started locking up as construction neared completion, so we rarely got to tour a house that had floors and painted walls. But one day, we happened upon one house that was that far along, and still left open, so we let ourselves in.
What we saw took our breath away. Dark wood floors with the most perfect yellow walls. It was a stunning combination. Both soothing and cheerful at the same time. We both fell in love with the color scheme, and decided it was what we wanted in our house.
Fast forward a few months, past the hours of hanging, taping, and mudding sheetrock (all while caring for a new baby), and it was finally our turn to paint our walls. Now came the problem, exactly what color of yellow was that? As I thumbed through the paint color fan, I was overwhelmed with all the different choices of yellow available; egg yolk, lemon burst, banana split. Was I looking at a color fan or a menu? How would we ever find the same hue of yellow we had fallen in love with so many months before?
The house that we had toured back then was now inhabited. Looking back, we probably should have just rang their doorbell and asked them what color of paint they had used, but we weren't gutsy enough to do that. We could figure it out on our own. One thing I did know: I didn't want my yellow to end up looking orange. So I veered as far away from the orange side of the yellows as I could, and that was where I made my fatal mistake. What I didn't realize was that the farther I got from orange, the closer I got to green. In the end I chose a color by the name of "perfect fit". With a name like that, how could I go wrong?
I've been living with my "perfect fit" for a year and a half now, and I'm telling you, it is anything but perfect. Okay, I admit, it has it's moments when it is nearly perfect. Like when the red light of the sunset is pouring in from the West, the wall directly across from my West facing window is transformed into a warm, beautiful yellow, and I am taken back to that day we took ourselves on the tour and fell in love. But those moments are rare. Most of the time, my yellow that I agonized over for months has a sickly, almost fluorescent green undertone to it. Yuck. Definitely NOT the color we fell in love with in that distant memory.
Last week, I had had enough of its green glow. I just couldn't stand it anymore. We still have two buckets, five gallons each, of the radioactive stuff down in the crawl space. You know, just in case we decide our bedrooms should glow green too. My husband had mentioned that maybe the experts at Kwal could do something to change it enough to be bearable, saving us a couple hundred bucks when we decided to repaint. So I took my five gallon bucket in to the Kwal paint store and asked what could be done. The options the gentleman gave me didn't seem great. He couldn't make it lighter, which is what I thought I wanted. But he could make it warmer, which is what I knew I wanted.
I found myself once again going through the color fan, overwhelmed by all the different choices. I decided I needed something lighter and warmer, so at the paint experts advice, I took home a sample quart of "light honey," a yellow he claimed was very populat. It was lighter and warmer than what we had, and I couldn't wait to get it on my wall (I chose the wall that divides my front room from my kitchen, because it's small and has no cabinets, windows, or doors that I would have to mask).

Turns out it was too much lighter. It had the warmth that I desired, but was so light, it almost looked sickly. You know, how your kid looks pale when he's about to puke? I didn't want my walls looking like they were about to puke, so the next day I took another trip to the Kwal paint store. I decided to just go ahead and give the altering of our existing paint a try. What did I have to lose? They would change the color for no charge, and I figured it couldn't get much worse than it already was. I thumbed through the fan deck one more time, asking the man which colors he could turn my non-perfect fit into. The choices were sparse. It came down to egg yolk or big deal. I'd rather have my walls be a big deal than the yolk of an egg, so big deal it was. I also picked up a bucket of primer. I didn't use it the first time, and my patches from last year's Christmas stocking nails showed through. I didn't want that happening again.
So I spent the afternoon priming the wall. And I did it while my three kids plus a neighbor kid were running around the house. We only had a couple of minor incidents, and nobody got hurt. Phew. This is also when I decided to start documenting with photos.
Here is the chosen wall, all primed and ready for its third try at being yellow. Note our original yellow on the adjacent wall. Doesn't look too bad in this photo, but trust me, it's bad. Now that I had it primed, I had to wait for the primer to dry! And wait . . . and wait . . . and wait. My husband and I decided to take the kids to get haircuts and then go out to dinner to pass the time. By the time we got home, I was exhausted, but I needed to see that color up on my wall. Would it be lovely, too much, not enough, hideous? Got the kids settled, and pulled out the roller.
My first thought: This doesn't look nearly as orange as it did at the store. My second thought: Man, is it bright! I rolled and rolled and rolled some more while the rest of the family slept. When I finished, I stood back to have a look, but my eyes were tired, and it was dark out, so I knew I had to wait until morning to really know if I would like it or not.

Morning dawned, and I went down to really look at it. It was definitely an improvement, but I still couldn't be sure until I got rid of all that blue tape and white paper, and got my living room back in order. I had to see the wall like it was going to be every day; with the piano, adorned with picture frames and decor, pushed against it. After getting my boy off to school and thoroughly enjoying my zumba class, I finally got around to it.

The verdict? I think it's a keeper! It really is a lovely yellow. Warm, but not orange. Able to hold its own, but not too bright. I do think it would be too much though, if I did all the walls this color. It would be TOO big of a big deal. So now I need to find the perfect brown to go next to my big deal yellow, and then decide which walls want which color. I'm pretty sure the wall on the North, the one that goes up to the vaulted ceiling will be brown, but not sure if some other walls need it, too. I'm just going to take it one wall at a time. I think in the end it will all be worth it. For now, I have one wall that I love, but am still surrounded on all other sides by that radioactive stuff. All in good time, all in good time.

Here you can see the difference between our original perfect fit (on the left) and the big deal (on the right), though it doesn't do the awfulness of perfect fit justice. Also note my brown and red theme I've got going with the decor. I like it.

Just found this picture my boy took of me folding laundry. That's "light honey" in the background. It only stuck around for a day. Too pale. It couldn't hold it's own.


Lisa said...

I love the new yellow! I love warm colors. They just seem to brighten up everything. Good work painting all by yourself with your kids running around. How did you do it?

Would you ever be up for some visitors from Salt Lake? I would love to come visit and see your house.

Lura said...

We would LOVE to have you come visit! I keep thinking it's been WAY too long since we've gotten together. You are welcome anytime.

Sunnie said...

The new color looks great. I like how you call the old stuff radioactive. Makes me laugh.

Marie said...

The Big Deal looks really good. I am so happy for you for painting. Red might actually be a really nice color for the wall in the picture. Not too bright of a red though, just a warm, deep red. I want to paint my walls so bad! Plain white is worse than radio-active yellow. Especially when it's all dinged up.