Too ter­ri­ble for words.

This week, I thought I would take a lit­tle detour from the usual post about how to pro-actively make your dwelling a more beau­ti­ful envi­ron­ment and dis­cuss how to avoid acci­den­tally mak­ing your dwelling a hideous place.  The inspi­ra­tion for this post came from an impulse pur­chase at Home Depot about a month ago, and I learned a valu­able les­son — Sav­ing six dol­lars on a quart of paint is not a bar­gain if you haven’t taken the time to prop­erly select the color of said paint.  As a result, my hall­way trim now is now an un-loved bas­tard of a color born of prison-cell gray and the ultra-fetching util­i­tar­ian metal trim found at any ele­men­tary school.  So, to save you all the heartache of repeat­ing this ter­ri­ble offense against color the­ory and good design aes­thetic, here are the lessons that I have learned:

Use cau­tion when apply­ing inspi­ra­tion - I know what you’re all think­ing — “Where on Earth did the choice to use gray paint come from when the adja­cent col­ors are hot pink and neon green and bright white?” Alas, a recent visit to Ikea Hack­ers led to an infat­u­a­tion with gray (you can see the gray in ques­tion in all it’s stun­ning glory here), because the delight­fully cre­ative Capree Kim­ball intro­duced it so well into her lovely home.  How­ever, just because it works very well in her home, does not mean I can just willy nilly start paint­ing things gray in my home.

My hard earned design aes­thetic hinges on bright color and stark white, with no room for gray.  Though I am usu­ally pretty good with this, I have been reminded to take inspi­ra­tion into con­sid­er­a­tion and adapt it to fit my home, not just yank it out of a great photo and start painting.

Plan, plan, plan - The morn­ing I pur­chased the can of “Jail Cell Chic” started like any other Sat­ur­day.  After the oblig­a­tory visit to the bak­ery, JT and I went on our bi-weekly pil­grim­age to Home Depot. When we moseyed into the paint depart­ment, and Oh Happy Day!  I found that they had a close­out on Martha Stew­art paint and a quart of high-gloss paint (nor­mally $12), was marked down to $4!  I finally had the kick in the pants I needed to paint the “new” trim we installed the year prior.  So after about thirty sec­onds of delib­er­a­tion, we asked the polite gen­tle­man at the paint counter to mix us up a quart of what seemed like a “good” gray.

The prob­lem here, is that nor­mally before let­ting just any color into my home, I run the sam­ple chips through a rig­or­ous test­ing process. I will hold the hues up to every other color that might pos­si­bly come into visual con­tact with them (that’s right, if you can stand on a stool and lean out over the counter and the wall in ques­tion might align with that pil­low in the liv­ing room, they darn well bet­ter look visu­ally har­mo­nious).  In bypass­ing this test­ing and hap­haz­ardly pur­chas­ing the can of paint, I put my fate in the hands of the design gods, who, with­out proper wor­ship through design devel­op­ment, can be a pretty per­snick­ety bunch.

Live and Learn - It is inevitable that in the quest for the per­fect abode, you will fail from time to time.  The key to suc­cess is to not beat your­self up — the cre­ative process is full of fail­ures.  In the words of Maury Ball­stein “We get back on the horse”, so take what you’ve learned and store it away for next time!  At any rate, it will come in handy when you are re-doing what­ever mess you’ve cre­ated in the first place!

So what will I take away from this das­tardly project?  1. High gloss paint looks ter­ri­ble on trim, unless you can spray it on.  2. A dark col­ored trim in a small area is way too over­whelm­ing and is more appro­pri­ate for a victorian-era home than a would-be mod­ern apart­ment.  3. Dark gray and hot pink look gross together.  4. It’s time to paint the upstairs trim bright white!

That’s all I have for this week — I hope you have found it both enter­tain­ing and edu­ca­tional.  As always, thank you for read­ing, and please feel free to share — just please give me credit for my work when you do!