Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures in Applied Color Theory

Last night I helped K, my Viking Cousin, and G, his sister-in-law, paint the living room and dining room of the Viking Residence. It was Sunday as the "Work Party to Get the Viking Residence into Shape before the Arrival of Small Viking #2" was winding down, that A, the Viking Wife, said quietly that she would kind of like the living room and dining room painted before the room got put back together. G and I looked at each other. Then we looked at A who is eight months pregnant and a very good sport about having her entire house torn up while the floors were refinished and the windows on the south side of the house replaced. We both thought, "this needs to happen." 

Yesterday G asked if I wanted to come to the Viking Residence and paint last night. After a bus trip that took almost an hour longer than it needed too on account of Seattle traffic, I arrived just in the nick of time for dinner.  Initially things did not look good for getting the painting done. Colors had not been decided on. Paint had not been bought. K was in a funk because of all the stuff that needed to get done. A was worn out. Small Viking #1 was beginning the evening meltdown. But G and I were determined.

I made noises that implied that I had ideas about the colors, so K told me to go look at the paint chips and make some decisions.   So I did.  I picked out a slightly brighter sunnier yellow for the living room, and a rich grey for the dining room (which is open to both the kitchen and the living room).  I have long felt that the dining room needs to be a darker calmer color to mark a still point between the activity of the living room and kitchen*(which is bright green). I have felt this so strongly for so long that my mind insists on remembering the dining as a much darker color than it actually was. K was a little dubious about the grey.  I spouted off with color theory**, but what really decided things was that A looked at the colors and said, "those are just what I want."  Possibly she meant, "I want people to make a decision. Anything is fine as long as it's fresh paint."  However we chose to take her at her word, and sent K off to buy paint, while G and I wiped down the walls and taped.  A took the Small Viking #1 upstairs and put him to bed and then fell asleep herself.

K came back with the paint, and shortly after nine o'clock we started painting.  When it came to the grey, I had several moments of fear because the paint came out of the can much lighter than I remembered and a slightly off color, warmer than I wanted.  Advising other people on what to paint their houses is always slightly harrowing because what if it doesn't work?  What if they hate it?  Et cetera.  Fortunately the grey dried to match the chip. We finished shortly after midnight with the caveat that the grey in the dining room needs a second coat (but it's such a small space that that will take no time).

We sat around drinking beer, eating goat cheese sandwiches, and feeling proud of ourselves.  I crashed in the office. The goat cheese sandwiches were amazing.  However I will not offer a recipe because unless you have scallions fresh from the garden, and equally fresh lettuce, and home made goat cheese cured in jerk seasoning, you just won't be able to replicate it.  Alas. 

When I got up this morning A and Small Viking #1 were up and A said that she liked the new colors.  I do too.

*I may have read The Not So Big House one too many times.
** To wit, cool colors recede, and darker colors, depending on the context, also tend to recede.  So the very small dining area should feel a bit larger with a darkish coolish color on the walls.  And it would provide a point of contrast to balance the yellow and the green of the living area and kitchen.  (The old dining area had been sort of a light orangy tan. It did not work.)

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