Colour Samples

As we get ready for interior painting (which is still quite some time away, unfortunately.

Here's the deal: for more than a month the painter kept putting us off on starting the interior painting. I left a spreadsheet of paint colours with the contractor when we went to Japan and halfway expected to come back and find the whole house painted in colours I wasn't 100 percent sure of. Nope. Then last week the contractor contacted me and asked to talk about the painters, in person. Off site. Not a good sign.

Basically, the painter who was contracted for the interior painting said he would not do the job because he'd accidentally underbid it. So my contractor asked him to rebid it (because he knows we are reasonable about that kind of thing; we aren't interested in having contractors lose money working on our house). The number he came back with was twice what it had been before, which is a pretty significant underbid. So we had a dilemma: stay with him or try to find a painter to finish the interior?

In the end, we decided to opt out. I'd been talking to Woody about some details of the interior painting -- he has lots of opinions and honestly, a lot of experience -- and I asked him to give me a bid for painting the interior, as well, but no matter what, painting the interior is going to take much longer than originally planned.

That's because we have a dependency: The roofers can't come repair some things they damaged while installing the gutters until the scaffolding moves off the side porch roof, and the scaffolding can't move until Woody's team is done with their strip-sand-repair-epoxy-prime routine in that area. And the driveway construction can't happen until the scaffolding moves off the driveway, too. So Woody and his crew have to stay outside and focus on the exterior work for the time being.

In the meantime, I decided to nail down the paint colours for the interior. Over the weekend we chose a few options for some spaces where we were on the fence, and then went and bought a pile of sample jars. Then I spent a half a day doing this:

painting colour boards

When I do colour samples, I like to do them on foamcore boards. There are a couple reasons for this:

  1. No need to prime (though of course if you are willing to do a bunch of layers, no need to prime)
  2. You can be super sloppy because drips don't matter and the paint doesn't need to be a good base coat for a future paint job
  3. I can use the same board for multiple spaces and surfaces
  4. The colour sample can leave a visible square on the wall, which will show up as a texture if it is not carefully sanded smooth at the edges

I also like that I can save the boards for use on other projects (less of a thing for those of you who are only working on your own home). I tend to go with the same colours on multiple projects, and it's handy to have a large sample I can show clients so they see just what they are getting.

The only thing that the board samples don't get you: you still need to use multiple coats for saturated reds.

Red needs multiple coats

This was the first coat of the board for the dining room. I want a very saturated red in there, and this is pretty nice: Benjamin Moore AF-290 Caliente. That's an Aura paint colour, the only one we ended up using, so we'll see how a professional painter feels about using the Aura paint (for those who do not know, a post I made 8 years ago about Aura paint is the single most popular post on this site and still generates super angry comments that I have to moderate heavily).

Here's the sample board in place:

Red for the dining room

It's the darker sample in that photo. What's interesting is that in direct sunlight, the paint is actually not as dark as I expected because it reflects light so much. Here it is out of direct sunlight:

The dining room red

That other red sample was actually for this:

A red ceiling in the middle bath

That will be the ceiling of the middle bathroom, in high gloss paint. Everybody panic now! It's funny to see the completely opposite reactions to that bathroom. Some people love it to pieces, some just shudder and remark that better my house than theirs.

(As you can see, I skimped on layers of paint for the sample and probably should have done at least one more.)

Some other colours we are considering:

New parlour colour

I decided I wanted to warm up the colour in the parlours. Previously we had used Benjamin Moore Jamaican Aqua 2048-60, which is a lovely colour in that room (I was less in love with it in our bedroom, which faced south). In it's place, I am contemplating two options: Benjamin Moore Warm Springs 682 or Benjamin Moore Green Wave 681, and this picture shows them side by side.

I'm also trying to decide what colour to paint the library cabinets:

Which colour for the built-ins?

These are Benjamin Moore La Paloma Gray 1551 and Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist 1549, and I'm not sure if I want to go darker or lighter. Given that this room hardly gets any direct sunlight, lighter might be better. On the other hand, a darker colour is a little more sophisticated. I also need to consider how this will play with the wall colour.

I already planned to use Balboa Mist in the kitchen, and chose the backsplash tile colour to work with it. And the La Paloma Gray is the colour for the hallways, a nice warm grayish as a background for art.

Which is where my dilemma happens. What happens here:

This wall is complicated

Is that the same wall is in the hallway (the back stairs) and a room (the kitchen). Right now I'm thinking that the La Paloma Gray will come down and go into the bay window, then end at the tile backsplash:

Meeting the kitchen tile wall

Because it's a shade in the same family, it plays well with the backsplash, so that works OK.

(I am skipping a bunch of colours because the photos of the sample boards came out weirdly or they are kind of boring.)

Finally, the bay window bedroom is going to be a somewhat saturated blue. This was Noel's colour choice, and there you have it. He selected the colour on the left, and I added the colour on the right which is a shade lighter because colours can appear much darker on the wall. Both actually look pretty nice.

Blue for the bay window bedroom

The trim is going to be, for the most part, Benjamin Moore Super white PM-1. It's a classic warm white and works in a lot of spaces, so I tend to use it a lot. They don't call it Super White for no reason.

The challenge, of course, is that now that I've done this I need to put together a detailed spreadsheet of the various surfaces to be painted so the painter has all the information needed to get to work on the house.

posted by ayse on 07/28/17

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