The old stone heap we live in needed a spruce up. Not an easy task when the peeling shutters are dark hunter green and the house is all greys and browns, shades more generally associated with vermin and rodents.
My friend Debra Kling is a Color Consultant. She has always said the fastest, most effective and least expensive way to freshen things up, to make a change, is with color. Bold color.
So I decided it was time to paint the shutters. Really what i wanted was a splash of periwinkle (blue lapis). Crayola flowers from a fairy tale. But when I dabbed it on the grown-up house to test it, it looked ridiculous.
So I became expert at finding the tiny test bottles at Village Paint in all the colors of the old stone. A beautiful color, Dry Sage, disappeared on my house like quicksand. Golden Bark on the house looked like regurgitated baby food. Darker greys and browns painted the shutters out like Harold and the Magic Crayon; they vanished. All the Benjamin Moore historic shades in dramatic “earth tones” sent my domicile into a purgatory of bland.
Soon the stripes on the shutters were making people talk.
I told her what I really wanted was blue, but that it didn’t work. She brought over color chips that made my heart race and my husband freak.
“I knew immediately that the answer was a very bold color which would pop from the stone, thereby lending character, depth and originality, but at the same time work with the stone,” says Kling. She showed me a red poppy. And bright turquoise. It was called Benjamin Moore Surf Blue.
My husband wanted something darker. We compromised by going one shade darker to Jade Garden.
“Be brave. Do it,” she said.
What’s Debra’s secret? That periwinkle of my dreams was a blue with grey undertones. The last thing a tired old stone house needs. This new blue is hiding lots of yellow.
“This color blue contains yellow, so while contributing a “wow’ factor, it also relates to the warm grey fieldstone backdrop.” she adds.
We were convinced. Few others were. “You can always change it,” said a well-meaning neighbor, who would have to see it every day.
So who was going to paint it? Another project I barely had time for.
The next day I went for a run, passing the fire house and a blood drive. The fire fighter standing in the middle of Larchmont Avenue calling people in with a bullhorn was convincing.
I answered the survey: No transfusions. No contact with prostitutes in the last 6 months. I also had no ID on me, having been on a run, so they turned me away.
“Would you like to enter the raffle?” said my friend Bubba Fanelli, despite my non-donation.
Later that evening, a phone call. I had, for the first time ever, won a raffle. The prize? $500 of free house painting. (I don’t recommend the painters, so they are not mentioned below.)
Says Debra: “I find that for a successful outcome in many projects, one needs to know how to mix paints– what colors go into the making of others. It is the relationship of colors to to each other, and not the colors themselves, that we notice in the end and that make for successful design.”
And a little luck and a few well placed friends.