23 August 2008

Saved by a gentle rain

As I mentioned in a previous post, we bought our paint from Home Depot during one of their big sales. Thus, I certainly didn't buy too little (and ended up buying way too much). As for the colors in the major area of our house -- the living room and dining room (both of which have sloped ceilings) -- we selected Manhattan Mist (main color) and Distant Thunder (accent color). We had actually chosen two different colors at the store, but when we brought the sample strips home, we decided they were too dark for the space and not exactly the look we were going for. When all was said and done, we purchased 7 gallons of the Manhattan Mist.

So fast forward a number of weeks. My parents were cool enough to take a couple days off work to come up and help us paint. We prepped all Friday morning and began painting just before Noon. My dad and I were trimming out and I thought the Manhattan Mist was going on good. It was about an hour before my dad picked up a roller and started on the major portions of the walls. About a half-hour later, I remember looking back at the wall where he started and thinking that the color looked a bit on the purplish-side of gray, which was not the look we were going for either. The more and more paint that went on, the more and more purple came out. It took the rest of the afternoon to finish the second coats of trim and rolling.

I expressed my concern a number of times, but always managed to talk myself out of the expense and work that would come along with changing the main color. I mean, it wasn't looking like Barney purple or anything, there was just a slight purple hue to the gray. It wasn't until later that evening, when the sun went down and the lights came on inside the house that my worst fears were realized. The entire area looked like something an 8-year old girl would choose for her bedroom; albeit a very sophisticated 8-year old. Not that I have anything against 8-year olds, it just wasn't right for the main living area of our house.

Saturday morning rolls around and as we all gather to begin the day, I finally make the call that Angie and I need to take some time to think about and discuss our options for changing the color. So we pulled out all of our samples and dialed up Behr.com. We narrowed it down to two colors and walked around the house looking at them under different light conditions. Finally, after seeing it all, we both decided on Gentle Rain (main color) and Dark Ash (accent color). And it proved to be one of the best decisions we've made yet!

We jetted off to Home Depot and bought a gallon of each. Came home and rolled it on a wall and waited for it to dry (paint always dries darker). It dried just as we hoped and Angie returned to purchase 3 more gallons. Although we lost a day of painting, we gained a color we love!

Capturing accurate representations of paint hues in a digital photo is nearly impossible, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Walls are Gentle Rain. Beam is Dark Ash. Ceilings are Ultra Pure White.

And now we come to this -- our lessons learned:

1) Sample strips are NOT enough, especially for the main areas of your house. Buy a sample container or quart of your desired color, slap it up on a good-sized area of your wall, wait for it to dry and then observe it during the day time (natural light) AND the night time (artificial light). We almost could have lived with the Manhattan Mist during the day, but the night brought out the true nature of the beast!

2) Make the call. As I mentioned, if you're feeling a bit worried about the look of the color when it first dries, chances are it's not going to get better with time. Conduct a "team meeting" and decide before you waste more time slapping up a second coat while hoping for a miracle. And don't just take my word for it. Note: This may not be true of some colors because sometimes its hard to see the true color without a second (or third) coat.

3) Don't get caught up in the hub-bub of a big sale. Although we did take our time in originally selecting a color, we bought way too much and didn't have time to test paint our rooms.

4) Your turn -- please share any similar lessons you've learned in the choosing paint colors and/or painting areas of your home.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I feel like gray is such a hard color to get right, so your story didn't surprise me too much. Just a few years ago, the same thing happened to my sister. That's also, actually, part of the reason I thought a lime wash would be a good fit for my home, rather than paint. I just think the colors are more muted and less likely to turn out unexpectedly.