Posts Tagged ‘paint’


Mysteries of the Decorating World, Part I

August 7, 2008

So much of the world of home decor is a mystery to me.

Some of the obvious include color coordination, pairing of florals and stripes, and of course, the world of window treatments.

But there are other, greater mysteries. One that has been on my mind a lot lately is how the designers on HGTV manage to do all that work and not get dirty. Specifically, how do they NOT get paint on their clothes?

Me – if I even walk past a paint store my clothes are ruined. When I do a painting project, I have to prepare the area as if it were a crime scene. I tape off the room, cover the entire floor with protective paper, and have a variety of wet and dry rags on hand. Then I put on my fashionista “paint ensemble,” which includes old t-shirt, paint spattered jeans, socks, and a head covering. I do not wear shoes, because I have stepped in one too many paint trays and then walked around leaving paint footprints. Socks are easy to peel off on the way to the washing machine. And yes, the head must be covered, even if I’m not painting the ceiling. Let’s just say I have a talent for spilling paint on myself.

I don’t know why this happens. I’m not a particularly clumsy person, but get me in the vicinity of 1) a ladder, and 2) a full tray of paint, and strange things happen. There is a kind of molecular particle disturbance, and objects behave in unpredictable ways.

I have stood on the top of the ladder and dropped an entire tray full of paint onto the floor. I have fallen off the ladder, landing in an entire tray full of paint that was on the floor. I have been at the bottom of the ladder and jostled it, knocking off an entire tray full of paint, sending it downward so that it spills onto my head.

I have even achieved the most difficult combination fall-drop-double-axle spin, which involves stepping off the ladder while holding a full tray of paint, missing the bottom step, twisting and landing in a position which causes me to spill the full tray of paint down the entire front of my shirt. I believe that one carries a difficulty degree of 10, and I’ve nailed it several times. Go me!

Apparently, my powers are growing. I don’t even have to be near a ladder anymore. Today I painted a small accent section of the front of my fireplace. 73″ wide by 6″ long. A mere 6 feet of surface. Feeling carefree and perhaps a little foolhardy, I thought I didn’t need to paper the entire room. I just put on my painting t-shirt and told myself I’d “be careful.” Famous last words.

I managed to spill paint down the front of the iron fire screen, spill droplets of paint on the tile hearth, spill paint on the front of the fireplace (which is a different color than I was using for the accent) and of course, no need to say it, get paint on myself. I cleaned it all up and no one’s the wiser now, but I just don’t understand.

If I can cause this much damage painting 73″ how does Lisa LaPorta paint an entire room and not get a single drop on her jeans?

Mysteries of the Decorating World.


Tickling the Ivory

July 15, 2008

Hallelujah, praise the Lord! The new paint color looks good.

Thank you, paint gods for this tiny miracle.

Anyone who’s ever struggled to pick a paint color will understand what I’m talking about.

Paint is a strange, bewitched shape-shifter. It looks innocent enough in the store on that microscopic chip. Oh – nice green, you think. Then, when you get it home, it has transformed. Suddenly it’s gray. Gray? What the … where did that come from? Picking paint color is an art, and I am in awe of people who do it well.

The color I used is called “Milkweed.” My husband and I just finished watching a marathon of the first three seasons of WEEDS, the quirky drama from Showtime about a suburban mom who’s a pot dealer. If you know the show, you’ll understand why I almost asked the guy at the paint store for two gallons of “Milfweed.” (If you’re interested, you can read a discussion of WEEDS on my other blog, DOLL CANNOT FLY.)

Milkweed is a lovely pale ivory color, which seems to have a base of yellow-gold (although please don’t take my word on that, since I am quite color-challenged.) I was slightly hesitant to paint the bedroom such a light color, since I like the idea of a cozy cocoon-like bedroom. But, that room is in the back of the house, where it faces north-east, so it gets less light anyway. I figured any color back there would read a bit more intense, so if I used a less intense color to start with, it would appear more intense. I had originally thought of painting the bedroom green, but that seemed too daunting. Did I want a yellow green? A gray green? A blue green? A sage green? I couldn’t handle it.

The rug I have in that room is a lovely Karastan, with an ivory center and a pattern that features bronzy browns, some green, and accents of blue and red. After a long search, I recently found a Calvin Klein duvet cover in green, which picked up the green in the rug very nicely without being all matchy-matchy. I also found some drapes from Restoration Hardware in “pecan,” a great bronzy brown. The room was really starting to come together, but I was not happy with the old wall color.

I was hoping the ivory would work, since the rug had ivory in it. My thought was the ivory would be a nice neutral background that would let the browns and greens “pop,” but the room would still be calm enough to be a serene retreat.

I’m very happy with the results. I’d love to hear about any decor triumphs you’ve had! It’s very satisfying when it all comes together, isn’t it?

My camera is still broken, but I borrowed one before I painted (the lighting isn’t great) and here’s the room with the old color, which had a sort of fleshy pinky tone. Not good. The ivory looks so much better.