Sunday, November 21, 2010

A world of white

One thousand whites to choose from, one cannot actually pick by colour alone.

I was using House Beautiful Paint Guide magazine for inspiration. The descriptions of each colour are helpful. Paint chip names are amusing, if not useful.  The categories, paint swabs and room pictures bring it all together.

The write-ups - "if you have a wall with a bow in it or a floor that has settled, this will make an old room feel graceful rather the brand new....." ~STRONG WHITE by Farrow & Ball.  Based on the write up, this was the one for my home. If I were choosing based on the name, Pocket Watch White would have been my pick, although what part of a pocket watch is white; I just think silver or gold.

A few months of flipping through this magazine, a half hour in the paint store w/ a handful of paint chips fanned out in front of me and a mind on the brink of bogglement, I declared I am no decorator I do not need to deconstruct and demystify each white in order to choose one. I made a quick gut decision, picked one that was not even written up in the magazine and headed to the counter.

This white had all the right traits. An old feel name that conjured depth and gracefulness. Not as bright as Brilliant White yet clearly superior to Super White. Not as reflective and glaring as Snow White, on a sunny, -40 degree day.  And cleaner then Calcium Carbonate White*. A french name and the right pigment to use both in my bathroom and for the white portion of my grey and white stripped wall in the living room.  And a back up paint chip in case I changed my mind on the way to the counter, Cotton Ball White.  Lucy was with me and she had already eaten the corner of a few paint papers. It was time to move on.

My pick, Chantily Lace by Benjamin Moore. Going with my gut, it was perfect. Until I got home and painted a wall.  A 180. It's no good. It won't work. Another project stopped before completed.  It's white alright. And it's beautiful. The problem, it outshines my clean, fresh and pure white tiles, a consideration that never occurred to me.

I have a bunch of interior doors that need a fresh coat of white paint. And my wall in my living room, the white stripe portion. So I can start a few new projects. And hire someone to finish them all off. I will have to pick another color for my bathroom. A darker wheat colour will work, that will allow my tiles to be the brightest in the bathroom.

* Calcium Carbonate White has never been used as a paint chip name as far as I know. But it's the WHITE that is in my profile picture, the white cliffs and travertines in Pamukkale, Turkey.  Maybe I should forget decorating and start naming paint chips, for the ironic sort.

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