I pride myself on having a very good eye for color.
A classy love of monochromatic design, an understanding of bright and complimentary colors, and even a finely tuned ability to mix patterns with panache.
I can discriminate between the subtle tone variations – a discriminating palate for the palette, so to speak.
But many years ago I made a ginormous color mistake.
My husband and I bought a house when we got married. It was an 1840 farmhouse, although all the land except for 2 acres had been sold off long ago.
Here we are the day we became homeowners.
We pulled out the overgrown shrubs and planted healthy small shrubs and lots of myrtle. Then we spent the next two years turning over my paycheck to the mason who re-pointed or replaced the entire foundation, 3 feet at a time.
Then finally, finally, we were able to think about painting. I didn’t want a beige house. I wanted a cheerful house.
I wanted a yellow house.
And so I looked at hundreds little cards with paint chips.
I held all those little cards up against the house
And I picked the perfect color for a cheerful house.
It was called “Cheerful.”
The thing is that my ability to visualize color was impaired in putting that little inch and a half against a three-story house.
And cheerful came out a little brighter than we expected.
Sort of like this:
I’ve heard this color called “School Bus Yellow.” We tended to call it “Highlighter Pen Yellow.”
Why, you may wonder, didn’t we just stop once we had 8 feet done, or 20 feet, or one side?
I have no friggin’ idea.
We told ourselves that given some time and exposure to sunlight and air, that the color would “calm down.”
But the paint company guarantees its paint for a reason. It stayed nice and bright for YEARS.
Our neighbors told us that they needed their sunglasses to drive by.
Moth and ladybugs and insects we didn’t recognize stuck themselves to the clapboards.
My brother called and offered to send me some tickets to the opera that he was not going to use. I asked him if he had the address handy and he said,
“I just figured that if I wrote ‘That Yellow House in Plymouth’ – the mailman will know.”
He was probably right.
We held out for five years waiting for the paint to fade. Then we finally gave in and repainted – a light yellow color called something like “Subtle.”
I’d like to say that we missed Cheerful. But in truth we did not. And we were rewarded because when we put the house up for sale, someone eventually bought it.
But I was reminded of it today, when I drove down a road near my current home, and saw that some nice folks have put up a sweet picket fence.
The neighbors must be enjoying it.