Sunday, August 17, 2014

Color Me Mine

“What do you think of this one?” I said laying a paint sample card on the coffee table.
“Too tan,” Mr. Wonderful said pushing the card aside.
“How about this one?”
“Too red.”
“This one?”
“Too yellow.”
“And this?”

When we bought The House we knew it needed work. It needed a kitchen update. Check! It needed a kitchen update of the kitchen update. Check! It needed new paint inside, outside and upside down. We started painting the interiors with a bedroom, then worked our way out in concentric circles to painting the other rooms. I picked the colors and Mr. Wonderful agreed on all my choices. Honey for the breakfast room; cream for the living room; and coffee for the den. I was careful to choose colors in the palate of the foods that Mr. Wonderful liked and—presto!—it worked. As they say the way to a man’s heart is through his color wheel. Or some such. Our complete color choice synchronicity made me develop a new tenet to relationship compatibility. Forget socioeconomic background, politics and religion, if you and your spouse can agree on the same colors to paint your house, you’re completely compatible.

Then we got to the exterior. We both agreed that the outside of The House needed new paint but that was the end of our synchronicity. In fact from then on it became a cacophony of colors, a visual dissonance, a major meltdown.

I wanted a white exterior and Mr. Wonderful wanted anything but a white exterior. 

My preferred color choice came from famous houses I’d seen countless times, like the White House in Washington D.C., the white house where the Ewings discussed JR and Bobby on the “Dallas” TV show, and the white house where the Bel Air Prince of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” lived freshly.

“I don’t like white,” Mr. Wonderful said pushing the white card aside. “White houses look too much like what a Greek fisherman would live in.”
“Greek fishermen don’t live in the White House.”
“How do you know?”

Realizing I could not reason with him, I abandoned white and looked for another color we could agree on. On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I had became enamored with the mid-century modern style, desert homes and the color brown.

“Paint our house brown?” Mr. Wonderful said wiggling the bark-colored paint card in his hand. “Why?”
“It has a Palm Springs vibe.”
“So does golf. Say maybe we should paint the house green.” He picked up another card. “I like this emerald color.”
“Green?” I scrunched up my nose as if I had just smelled Jackson’ s liter box after we’d returned from that Palm Springs weekend.  “No way.”
“Green is a welcoming color,” he handed me the emerald card.
“And it’s the color of the neighbors’ house.” I pushed it aside.

Realizing if I didn’t find a color we could agree upon soon, Mr. Wonderful would paint our house in the spitting image of Harold’s house and make us look like a single compound of houses, like the Kennedy’s compound at Hyannis, spruced up with Harold’s vinegar personality. I wracked my brain for new colors.

Escaping outside to the park for ideas, a few streets away I noticed a recently painted house in a rich cream with orange trim and accents. The color combination gave it a Palm Springs vide, a mid-century modern feel and clearly worked in our neighborhood. Just then a thin man with a goatee exited the house with a Scottish Terrier on a plaid leash. 

“Hello,” I called out to the stranger. “I live a few streets away and just wanted to compliment you on the colors you painted your house.
“Thank you,” he said opening the gate to the sidewalk giving me a smile.
“I’m looking for colors to paint our house’s exterior—” His smile faded. His Scottie turned to me and growled.
“Well, don’t use my colors.”
“I wouldn’t dream of—”
“I don’t want us to be twinsies or like the Kennedy’s compound at Hyannis.” Then he turned on his heel and headed to the park. As his Scottie passed, it growled again. 

Over olives and wine by the pool, Mr. Wonderful flashed me two cards.
“I’ve got it!” he said laying them down before me. “Cream and orange.” The colors were beautiful and exactly the same as the goatee neighbor’s house. 
“Nah,” I said sipping my wine.

So we still haven’t painted the exterior. But we will one day because as they say, the way to a man’s heart is through being compatible. Or some such.


  1. Our old neighbors painted their house salmon pink with cobalt blue trim. They also had many little plastic and ceramic critters in the yard, including a pair of pink flamingos. They were lovely folks, and they made it easy to direct people to our own beige house - "We live next door to the Clampetts."

    I'm guessing you don't want to suggest that color scheme to Mr. Wonderful. If you paint your house salmon/cobalt, I'll buy you a pair of flamingos.

    1. I would love the flamingos! I'm just not sure about the salmon and cobalt color scheme... Why don't you and I have discuss this over a glass of wine? Enjoy today, Gayle!