Monday, May 18, 2009


So it turns out I may be colorblind. Not with the common variety either. It seems every time I pick out a color I think will look sharp with regard to paint, dye and such, it never turns out to be what I envision. Is it me, or is this a strange phenomenon we endure in our society?

I've been told I'm too trusting. This is why a few years ago I believed the nice box of hair color when it promised to coat my gray hair a rich brunette color. At that time my family was traveling with two other families to Nauvoo and I wanted to look like a person. The trip we had planned would take approximately a week and a half and I didn't want to worry about my hair, which has been turning prematurely gray since I was about 25. So girding up, I bought the hair color that promised to restore things to my original color and I hurried home to make myself look beautiful.

Imagine my horror when instead of the natural brunette shade the box had promised, I was sporting a look that would be acceptable in most "Goth" circles. It was coal black---not brunette. And there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I tried washing it repeatedly and it simply looked like clean black hair. This was not a cool time in my life. Even though most people said things like "WOW!" I knew it wasn't complimentary. They were in shock, and so was I.

Then there was the time I wanted to redo the main bathroom of our house. Tiring of the bland cream color most of our rooms possess, I decided to add a little color. Emphasis on "little color." Since I was going through a peach phase, and I had purchased peach-colored shower curtains and towels, I decided to paint that room a nice shade of light peach. This proved to be a huge mistake. (Incidentally, don't make fun. This occurred during the 80's when peach was slightly an "in" color.)

I went to a local store and explained what I wanted. I picked out a paint sample that was the exact color. All should have been well. It wasn't. Envision, if you will, fluorescent orange. I'm not kidding. Even without the lights on, it glowed out into the hallway. With the lights, it was nearly blinding. We had to use sunglasses to tolerate this room until I could fix it. (Yep, I hurriedly changed it back to a nice bland color, choosing to decorate with accessories that happen to be the color they really are. This comforts me somewhat.)

The color moment I will possibly never live down involves what we painted our house several years ago. Once again trusting the people who mix the paint to be my friends, I bravely picked out a color scheme I thought looked wonderful. When I showed my husband the paint samples I liked best, he thought they looked great. I had picked out a soft cocoa color with dark brown trim. It looked gorgeous when I held up the samples. It looked pink when the paint was applied to our house. Pale pink with dark brown trim. Beautiful!!! NOT!!! That's when I was beginning to see the attraction of painting a house a simple white color with black trim.

My children (all boys, mind you) made fun of that house color for a very long time. They still say things like, "Remember the time when Mom painted our house pink." To which I offer a rebuttal. "It wasn't pink, it was COCOA!!!"

Fortunately, when we added our garage a few years ago, we opted to go with vinyl siding for it and the house, so it's a soothing cream colored home with dark brown trim. Vinyl siding doesn't lie like paint samples do. You get the actual color that you pick out.

This past week, we finally finished the downstairs bathroom. Now every room in our house is finished, for the moment. (As homeowners know, upkeep is something that will always be with us.) Since two of our sons will be living in the basement this summer, we figured it was time to get that third bathroom finished.

Remembering my unfortunate bathroom painting episode of days gone by, I was trying to be extremely conservative. We wanted to paint it a soothing color that was "manly" at the same time. We narrowed our options down to an olive green color with cream trim, or a gray\blue color with white trim, or a light tannish brown color that seems to be all the rage of late, with a dark brown trim.

When it came down to picking out the final color, I was on my own. My husband was busy gathering bathroom fixtures in the lovely Home Depot store, and I had been sent to "get the paint." I almost cringe when I hear those words, but I gathered my courage and approached the paint section of this vast store. This time I utilized modern technology and took advantage of the computerized program that shows you what the colors will look like in the room of choice. I fell in love with how the light tannish brown color looked in a bathroom setting. Figuring it would be perfect with the tile we had selected for the floor, I picked that color and bravely told the helpful paint man what I wanted.

I was so excited to see those colors in that new bathroom. Light tannish brown with dark brown trim. It would be gorgeous. I bought dark brown towels and other accessories for accent. My husband and number two son spent one entire afternoon painting while I tended my little granddaughter. I didn't get to see the room until it was finished. Then behold . . . I walked inside our new bathroom and wanted to cry. It was pink . . . again . . . just like the time I had tried to paint our house a lovely cocoa color. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

My husband and son said helpful things like, "It will look better after it dries." Guess what, IT STILL LOOKS PINK!!! I even sent a picture of it to my youngest sister, hoping for sympathy. Instead, she laughed at my pain. "It looks pink to me, too. Good job!!!"

So my sons will be enduring a "pink" downstairs bathroom. But at least they'll have manly-looking brown towels to go with it. ;)

Does this kind of thing ever happen to anyone else? Or am I the only doomed person on the planet with this kind of color-blindness? (This is where you offer tremendous sympathy and make me feel better about things like my new downstairs bathroom.) =D
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Jennie said...

Pink is in for men, especially pink shirts, so why not a pink bathroom. I can't tolerate paint fumes, even the new supposedly odorless paints, so I don't paint. On those rare occasions when I have to pick, outpaint for my husband to apply, I insist on examining that little paddle like stick the paint people have just used for the final swirl of paint mixing. It comes closer to the truth than those samples do.

Anna Buttimore said...

It happens to us all, Cheri, it really does. I've learned that "Magnolia" is my friend.

My best friend Suzy told her husband she had plans to paint their bedroom. She was thinking of going with a delicate pink. He wrinkled his nose and said that, as a man, he didn't think he could live with a pink bedroom. Fair enough - except that their bedroom was ALREADY pink and had been for years. Turns out he's colourblind and had neglected to tell her this. Apparently he had always thought pumpkins and carrots were green because that's the colour all vegetables are. Apparently about 50% of men are partially colourblind. Unfortunately not your sons, it appears.

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Hilarious!! I don't REALLY think you're color blind. Maybe you just have rotten luck with paint swatches??? It's tough picking out paint. What turns up in the can is not always the shade you see on the little tiny square of paper, though in theory that's how it's supposed to work.

My bathroom was my first experiment with "color." My family endured purple (yes-PURPLE) for years until it was finally changed just recently. I couldn't stand the embarrassment any longer. I insisted it was an expression of my artistic phase that I was going through at the time but secretly-- I admit it was an eyesore. I never thought to tell people I was color blind. It would have saved me some serious humiliation.

I personally think the brown towels will look great with pink walls, Cheri. ;) And I'll betcha anything that it doesn't look nearly as bad as you think it does!!!