In the process of our move from our old farmhouse at 18th and Myrtle to our new hip-and-modern townhouse in High Point a mile away, we decided to do things right and paint the townhouse from top to bottom before moving in. I also knew we needed professional help to figure out colors. My husband is an artist, a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, and although he is now a software developer, he was a graphic designer when I met him. And I am a one-in-a-million woman, a rare gem who is red/green color blind (although I call it “deficient” since I see more actual color than a lot of color-blind people. Did you know 25% of all men have some sort of color-blindness? And women? Only one in a million, I wasn’t joking). We needed a professional color expert and someone to mediate the arguments no doubt to ensue.
We hired the assistant designer at Tath Hossfeld Designs. Her name is Stephanie and although she does not come cheap, she is $20 an hour less than the principal, Tath Hossfeld. I felt silly asking an award-winning interior designer heralded for her style from coast-to-coast to help me figure out colors. I had been conversing via email with Stephanie, and when I expressed concern at taking up Tath’s time with such a little project she offered to help us instead (while assuring me Tath still would have been happy to help us). Stephanie is young and hip, wears pointy shoes and really nice clothes. She was so gregarious I couldn’t help liking her despite her fashion-plate good looks and pixie haircut. I realize dressing nice is part of the design industry’s image and forgave her for it.
There were still workers bustling about finishing last minute warranty work in response to the inspection we had a few days before. We sat sprawled out on the floor in the family/dining area, with full pages of Devine paint samples. Actual paint, not digital photographs of paint – and not on a stingy 2”x2” square – a full 6” or larger square to give you an expanse of color to imagine with. The palettes are all handmade so are true representations of the actual color. Stephanie was great, letting Steve and I argue in circles and only interceding when she saw our argument go in a totally wrong direction.
See, Steve knows color. But getting colors all together that aren’t the same color and painting an entire home with these different colors but so it feels like one house and not a hodge-podge mess or a seemingly drug-induced “what were they thinking” result is tricky. Every color has a ton of other colors in it. The paint color had to work with the colors in the carpet, the “Builder Special” eggshell we were going to leave on the ceilings (for now), our furniture, and our style. Listening to those two talk about what colors were in each color was maddening – since I just couldn’t see it. It’s like being on another planet and hearing Martians babble on about who knows what. And no one can say I don’t have an opinion about color, too. I know what I like and what I don’t like, I just can’t tell you what it is. I just can’t trust what I see since I see color differently than normal visioned people.
So we argued. And reminded ourselves she was on the clock. And finally settled on greens.
Green is a joke around here. It’s one of Steve’s favorite colors. When we hired someone to repaint our first house the first year we owned it, Steve chose green (three different shades). The MINI Cooper we bought in 2003 had to be BRG (British Racing Green), no other color was an option, according to Steve. Our current office is green – the bottom section textured in “sand”, and the top a neat sponge pattern Steve did by hand. Our kitchen is green (came that way, but when we put in new flooring, we chose environmentally-friendly Marmoleum in green). Our living room furniture used to be green (until we bought leather) and so is the cat furniture. He has green shirts and green shoes. I like green, too, since it is the color of plants and nature. But the amount of green exceeded Olympic proportions. I guess my only real beef with green now is that it doesn’t go well with pink, which is now my favorite color.
BRG MINI Cooper. I organized a “joy ride” fundraiser with other MINI owners, giving Alki Beach and SW Fairmount hill rides with the funds going to the Washington Native Plant Society.
The “Cool Grasses and Evergreens” as all of the Devine color palettes was designed with the Pacific Northwest often gray sky, and unique light quality, in mind. The creator lives in Portland, OR and knows what she’s doing (there is some fabulous information on the Devine Color web site.). It was agreed “Devine Hosta” would be the primary wall color, traveling from floor to floor and partnered opposite “Devine Macadamia” from the “Pacific Trail Mix” palette. They (Steve and the designer – at this point I had been worn down to “if you guys say it looks good, I’m on board”) chose another green, “Devine Manzanita”, as the color of the front face of the bar (also from the “Cool Grasses and Evergreens” palette). And to finish it off and give us the desired effect of a dark sleeping room, “Devine Pine” was chosen for the master bedroom and the main floor power room. The library was also painted with Devine Hosta and Manzanita, although it will be mostly covered by shelves, nearly to the ceiling.
I insisted that my office, though, reflect my desire for an Italian villa all my own, a Tuscan-inspired room. It has been painted “Devine Shade” from the “Desert Lights” palette. It’s going to look fabulous with my Ferrari red Wing couch (arriving Friday) and Andy Warhol “Shadows” rug (showed up today! Need to get a picture of it). This photo is of my Italian greyhound resting in the just painted office in her new SnuggleSax, custom made to match the room and the couch where the comfy bag bed will spend most of its time – with her in it. Isn’t it a beautiful wall color?
Devine Color paint comes in several fabric-like finishes, and is “rich like yogurt”. The nature-inspired colors are “green” (again…) and it rolls on easily.
Since it is very low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) you don’t have to worry about your exposure to it hour after hour when painting yourself. (A NO VOC formula is coming out next month). It is manufactured by Miller Paint, but you can find an independent dealer by using the search feature on the web site (We went to Authentic Home in West Seattle).
Don’t faint when you find out how much this paint costs. $43 a gallon. That’s easily double the cost of other premium paints. But being able to apply just one coat saves a lot of time and money, too, since you use less paint. And after seeing it on the walls – I think it’s worth every dime.
Steve’s not done painting yet – he’s been working on it for a couple of weeks, and full time this week. But it’s taking shape and I can see the wisdom behind the color choices. I absolutely love the color of my office and can hardly wait to decorate. Only a couple more days until the new furniture arrives – he’s feeling the pressure! But we can hardly wait to make the move.
Stephanie has a new assignment – window dressings. That should be a bundle of fun! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.