Color Blind

My wife and I are standing in front of the massive wall of paint color charts at the local paint store. This is an exercise in futility and we both know it. Yet, here we are with samples of our counter top and floor and shower from our bathroom remodel that we are trying to match.

We want to be optimistic. We have visions of House Beautiful wanting to make a photo shoot of our bathroom. The Editor calls:

“We hear you have the most fantastic new bathroom.”

“Awe shucks. Well, it has been a labor of love.”

“We think it might be perfect for our next issue.”

“You don’t say?”

“Your paint colors just sound absolutely stunning and we’d like to share it with the world.”

The countless folders and paint schemes in front of us lure us into thinking that we have real interior decorator skills and an eye for color. Dover Grey and Granite accents with White trim just jump off the charts at us.

But the awful truth is that we are color blind. The chances that we pick the right colors are about as good as the chances that the Falcons will win the Super Bowl. And we all know down here how that turned out a few years back.

My take on this is that the whole color dilemma is the fault of the company from whom we bought the counter top and shower. They told us that they had two choices in color schemes, grey and brown. Sounded simple enough. We chose grey.

We chose a nice middle of the road medium grey paint for the walls. I painted before I put up all the glossy white trim. It was beautiful. “Was” is the key word here.

It turns out that there are 547 shades of grey. Some that lean toward the blue side of a battleship. Some lean toward pine bark brown. Some toward mold green. But they are all grey. 50 shades of grey does not even begin to cover the possibilities.

I painted the walls before the shower was installed, right. The intent was to save myself all the tedious trim work with a brush. Dover Grey tends toward blue. The Artic Mist shower is more on the brown side of grey. The bathroom store did not mention that detail. The samples under that “natural light” at the paint store looked great. The result, however, was something that looked like what the cat heaved up on the kitchen floor.

We returned to the paint store. The guy at the counter could see the desperation in our eyes.

“I’m guessing Dover Grey didn’t work?” he says.

“Do you want your $28 can of paint back?” I offer.

I am convinced that the number of color choices is directly related to the profitability of selling paint. The more choices you give to some poor color blind schmuck the greater the chance is that he’ll come back and buy more. Cha-Ching! Only an idiot would choose Dover Grey to go with Artic Mist.

An hour of angst and 47 paint swatches later we left the store with round two. The result is as bad as the first attempt, only leaning toward green. How did we not see that? The word “puke” comes to mind. A dungeon painted the color of Volcanic Ash. About now I am wishing that a volcano would explode and end this suffering. We stopped before the first wall was done.

To make things worse, the vanity counter top is Smokey Mountain Grey. It’s a lovely marbled color in its own right. The accent color on the cabinets works just fine with the countertop, but against the wall . . . Well, I can’t say what I’m thinking.

My wife says, “Do you think we should change our approach on this? Maybe we should be working with brown colors?”

“Brown could work.” I’m mumbling while I’m closing up a can of Volcanic Ash.

“If we try brown I’ll bet we could find a color that would work.”

“I don’t know. Maybe there’s only 483 shades of brown. We couldn’t possibly miss with that.”

I’ve been in houses where all the colors are perfect. I don’t know how they do it. The magazines and the remodel shows on TV are all finely crafted conspiracies to get us thinking that fixing things up is simple. That your landscapes and your decks and your bathrooms can be overhauled as easy as pie.

All you have to do is choose the right color combinations.

I can pass the DOT color blindness test with flying colors. A little booklet with “hidden” numbers inside color patterns. A brown 76 in a field of green. A yellow 2 in a pattern of red. I can tell interstate sign green from interstate sign blue with no problem. Picking the right color for a wall? I might as well be asked to pick the next winning lottery ticket.

Sitting on the bathroom floor are three partially used gallons of satin paint that are destined for the storage shelf in my shop. Right beside the other 15 partially used cans from other projects over the years. I’m always thinking that I can use that paint on something. Surely! But it never happens.

I wonder is Max would like a Volcanic Ash doghouse?

I don’t know how I’m gonna get our bathroom right. I’ll probably go broke buying paint by the time I finish. House Beautiful will cancel the photo shoot, no doubt.

I’m thinking that Storybook Straw will go perfect with Smokey Mountain, and both will blend stunningly with the Wild Truffle accents.

The cat just threw up again.

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