Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yearning for a Thoughtful Spot, Preferably No Drizzle.

It's taken approximately six months, but our kitchen is finally on the way to having some attractive walls. I started stripping wallpaper in March, I think, hoping that at least starting the project would move us toward some sort of improvement. I knew a full scale renovation wasn't in the works for us for a couple of years, and decided I just couldn't live with the circa 1987 wallpaper for that long. It wasn't too too bad, but the little repeating tulips had started to mock me, so it was time for them to go.
I feared what I'd find under the wallpaper. I'd heard scary stories from neighbors, seems our builder was infamous for slapping wallpaper on unprimed walls. Our master bath is a study in what can happen to walls if you try to remove wallpaper in such situations: the previous owner of our home tried to "fix" the gouges in the drywall by applying textured paint, the kind with sand in it. J. has started a repair process in there as well, and while it will eventually be an improvement, it is not so pretty in there right now. But that's another story.
The story is, my Charlotte Perkins Gilman moments are over! I'm talking wallpaper induced dementia here, not suburban housewife depression. It could have been a lot worse in the kitchen. In fact, the dining room, which we did a couple of years ago, WAS a lot worse. Some of the unprimed drywall did disintegrate as I wet down the wallpaper, but lots of the pieces came off in big sheets, rather than fingernail size multi-layered segments.
I climbed behind the fridge over the weekend and pulled the last strips down, J. spackled and sanded, my bucket of hot water and I had some quality time together rubbing off all the last wallpaper specks.
Now we wait for the painter to fit us into his schedule, which is annoying, but not as annoying as trying to paint with two kids underfoot.
It's been such a long process that I've had the time to change my mind on paint colors a dozen times now. I've been deep in the world of paint swatches, taping up different choices all around my kitchen window.
There's an article in the most recent Consumer Reports discussing the names that accompany the actual colors on those little swatches. It's a dissatisfying article, doesn't really explain much of the process except to say that there are designers that have that job, and that they try to "tell a story" and the onest hat are best selling are successful at evoking memories. Whatever. I read Consumer Reports for the charts and graphs, not the investigative reporting. Still, they gave some intriguing color names I haven't yet come across: Marry Me (light pink); Jamaican Aqua; Amphibian (black).
I'll admit, I'm affected by the names on the strips. I know they're all about selling a state of mind, and I should just disregard them, but I can't help being swayed and dissuaded by them. I tend to be drawn to the colors that describe a mood, rather than an object or the actual color. Among the colors I've chosen for other rooms in the house:
  • Pensive Sky
  • Quiet Moment (chosen for the master bath weeks before we even moved in. Four years later, it's yet to go on the walls: perhaps appropriate, as I've not had a quiet moment in the bathroom in more about that length of time)
  • Thoughtful Spot
  • Christopher Robin's Swing
  • Morning Breeze
  • Winter Garden
  • Cheyenne Rock
  • Relaxed Khaki
  • Bluberry Popover (okay, so this is an object, but it's one of my less successful choices. I was going more for a cobalty blue, it turned out what J. calls "Boo-berry. It's just the downstairs bathroom, though, and it has grown on me).
My sister in law recently told me that she at one time had a color she really liked for her apartment bedroom, but couldn't commit to it because it was called "Yearning." Bad sounding word, bad feeling state of mind
I'm having similar problems in the kitchen. This is the room I spend more waking hours in than any other, so I have to be feeling okay about the name as well as the tone.
For a time, I was all about this green called "Asparagus." And I really like asparagus. But I just wasn't sure I wanted to think about asparagus all day every day, or the fact that it makes my pee smell funny.
So then it was on to a green called "Grass Cloth" and an accent blue called "Gulf Winds." These seemed okay. Then the painter told me he uses a different brand of paint, and while he said he could match what I had, I don't really trust it will look the same. So it was back to the paint store.
The closest I could seem to find to match my "inspiration" (this is sad: a little picture of a striped pillow I ripped from the Crate and Barrel catalog and has been lying around for months. What, I can't even order the actual pillow? It isn't as if I haven't had time) were paints named "Shagreen" and "Drizzle." These seemed depressing options, when what I'm trying to gain here is a little happy. One more trip to peruse the swatches and discuss with J.
And now we've settled on "Dancing Green" and "Reflecting Pool." I don't know if I'll actually like the colors on the wall, but the names make me happy.


CaraBee said...

It's interesting to hear how much the names affect you. I don't even really look at the names and I have no idea what the colors I've selected are called. I can totally commiserate on the wallpaper, though. We had to rip out a bunch of it in our house and it was NOT fun. It would take a lot for me to decide to buy another house with this much in it. And I would never put it up. NEVER.

mep said...

Who could put "Drizzle" on their kitchen walls? I feel sad and listless just thinking about it.

"Dancing Green" and "Reflecting Pool," on the other hand, sound just lovely.

Can you describe said pillow? Is the Crate and Barrel open at Kenwood yet?

If not, I am going to secure the pillow for you.