Unexpectedly, picking paint colors was one of the most maddening tasks of this whole construction project. First there was the expectation. I have waited my whole life for walls of my own and I love paint colors, so naturally the concept of narrowing an entire paint deck down to three or four shades was close to torture. Then to chose colors for an entire house without ever living in it, and without having much furniture around which to build a color theme, compounded the agony. Add to that the open-concept plan of the house, with one room running into another and many rooms visible from multiple doorways. Toss in the prospect of making a five-figure mistake. Then the painters labored at the first coat while I was at work, and I’d show up in the evenings to find whole rooms done before I could call time-out. The deck was stacked against me from the get-go. I was so anxious about the painting that I slept fitfully for two weeks, entering my foyer again and again in a half-awake dream state to find my beautiful house ruined by poor color choices.
And so it should come as no surprise that I flamed out on this task. My favorite color, a dark coral, looked so garish in the laundry room that I wanted to commit murder the instant I saw it. The pale gold that is so lovely in my office under incandescent light became a vomitous lemon yellow in my sun-flooded library. And in my master bathroom. And in the guest bathroom. I chose a lovely gray blue for the kitchen walls before I went back to my file of hundreds of inspiration images to find that what I really liked was a white kitchen. In fact, the homes that I am most drawn to are relatively neutral, in order to provide clean backdrops for beautiful art and textiles and lots of rustic natural wood.
So I called in reinforcements in the form of my first house visitor, my mom’s friend Roseanne. With Roseanne’s home decor expertise we evaluated more paint colors and I presented an amended plan to my painters. And the results of this second try, I am happy to report, turned out just fine. And, if I get in the house and decide I don’t like the wall colors, what my mom has been saying for weeks is true:
It’s just paint.
(But lest you or I breathe a collective sigh of relief, I am not out of the woods yet. There’s the whole exterior of the house to paint next!)