Tuesday, September 10, 2013

White or White or White?

The problem with the tiles is, the ceramicists doing the tiles just won't...come.
            When they are here, they do fantastic work, but in the last week they came once to lay 6 floor tiles, and went away again. The came back once more, for a half-day, in which they tiled half of the darned kitchen, but they've refused to come back ever since.
            It's a protest, you see. They refuse to come, then the general contractor calls them up and gives them an ear-bashing, and they are just SO hurt that they have to protest the mistreatment - by not coming.
            This is sort of awesome, really. Only our general contractor is starting to look sort of strained and undernourished....

Today was all about colors.  My mother-in-law and I went off to the paint store to pick out a few nice warm whites for the walls and ceilings and doors.  I had harbored naïve imaginings of a helpful assistant who would study the floor samples we’d brought with us and then spend a pleasant half-hour walking us through pleasing color combinations.  What we GOT was a double arm load of swatch books and the suggestion that we go outside into the parking lot where the light was more natural, because the fluorescents inside the store weren't doing the swatches any favors.
            I like white.  I like walls that are pale and bright and throw back all the light you throw at them.  I just hadn’t realized how many whites there are.  In a house-painter’s imagination, ‘white’ seems to cover everything from a mangy sort of orange-grey all the way to salmon pink and olive.  And the truer whites tend toward the harsh blue-based glare of a porcelain lavatory bowl.  We spent an hour and a half crouched on the tarmac in a corner of the parking lot, paging through what felt like half a thousand spiral-bound swatch sheets, looking for something warm-ish and bright-ish, and more-or less genuinely white-ish, with neither too much butter-cream or duck-egg, and when we’d found a few that looked, on paper, like they might suit, something a shade or two darker, to tone, and paint the doors and skirting boards.
            Without a native guide, there were more choices than a sensible person could assimilate in a month of painted Sundays. The suggested color gradients on the swatch sheets didn’t help – they went right from porcelain-pan to deep-brown biscuit-colored in one hop. 
            We came away with a car-trunk full of sample bottles of whites and almost-whites and delicate shades of cream, and we shall paint them all over the living room wall and see if there is any infinitesimal difference between any of them.

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