Monday, June 30, 2008

Paint It Black

Our HouseRemember the new addition we’re putting on our house? Andrew has been itching to get busy with things—there have been a few delays but we’re set to have the contractor start next week. So itchy in fact that Saturday morning he suddenly woke up at 7 am, stretched, jumped out of bed all chipper-like and announced he was getting ready to “paint the house." His exact words.

I might have said something not too polite as I rolled over but sure enough when I finally dragged myself out of bed there he was, scraping away at the side of the house.

Scruncha-scruncha-scruncha and paint flakes were flying.

“Uh, what are you doing?” I said, doubtfully.

“I’m scraping the house.”

“Okaaaaaay . . .”

We’ve been in our house almost seven years and we’ve tackled our fair share of home improvement projects and for not being a handy man Andrew’s pretty good at handy-type stuff. He put down our laminate flooring on the main level, replaced all our windows and patio doors (including making these gorgeous fancy windowsills) and has generally proved to be a fabulous investment on my part.

But the last time we did anything I remembered him saying something about never ever ever ever ever ever EVER doing another project again, that he wanted to enjoy his summers and refused to be chained to a table saw and tool belt ever again. Something like that.

So I took him at his word and when we looked at remodeling it was with the assurance that we’d hire someone else to do everything so that Andrew could go catch those fish or train for his marathon or whatever guyish things he wanted to do without the fear of being nagged into submission by his wife.

BUT . . . when the bids came in and we were staring at cold, hard numbers 30% higher than we’d anticipated we had to economize by figuring out what we could do ourselves to get that price back down to where we could actually breathe again.

Suddenly Andrew (who’s been so excited about this whole thing that he can hardly sleep—seriously, I don’ t think he was this eager for the birth of our children as he has been for the addition on the house) started saying, “Hey, I can do that!” right and left until he now has plans to do all the demolition, painting and landscaping himself.

Which brings me to Saturday morning. He'd decided that since we were on schedule for construction he might as well get a jump on things by painting and it would be easier to paint the whole thing before the addition was finished so he would have less taping and prepping by ignoring the parts that were to be demolished.

So there he was, scraping the house and humming his tunes and having a grand old time.

I really didn’t take him that seriously, I figured we’d paint whenever and it wasn’t any rush or anything but the next thing I knew he was off to buy paint.

Whoa there Bessie,” I said. “So what color are ‘we’ painting the house?”

Whereupon he whips out The Color Chip. You see, back when we were in the design phase with Bruce Williams over at Black + White he’d presented us with the exterior materials along with some color chips that were his first choices. They were all the same color, just different shades, and for some reason seeing them next to the other materials on his desk they just looked good and we really liked the combination. We both quickly, confidently and at the same time pointed to the darkest chip saying “That one!” while Michael Gerace, Bruce’s assistant, smiled and said, “That was my favorite too!”

With that kind of validation we just went on and never really thought more about it. We’ve been busy with other decisions and issues and it wasn’t until Andrew started mumbling about buying paint that I really gave the color any further thought. As in “Is this color really the one that I want to present to the world as a first impression of my soul?”

So what color is it? Black. Yes black. Black Monday, black market, black widow, Black Sabbath, Black Death—black. It’s one thing to look at a pile of colors and pick out one that goes well with the materials you’ll be using and then it’s another thing entirely to hold it up in front of your face, squint one eye and imagine an entire structure covered in it.

I know we'd picked it out but suddenly when I was put to the fire and Andrew was hyperventilating in excitement to get his hands on a sprayer I felt my previous confidence disappear and all I could see was one big Black House.

I mean who paints a house black? Seriously? Isn’t it reserved for haunted houses and hearses and crematoriums—I’m pretty sure it states somewhere in the municipal code that you cannot, under any condition, paint your house black. Who cares if it looked good in the architect’s office?

“What?” I said “Black? You’re going to paint it black?”

“It’s not black,” he said, flipping the card over jauntily and pointing to the words on the back. “It’s French Beret.”

“What?”

“French Beret.”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“Nope, I like it.”

“Well I did too before but picture a whole house in it.” We weren’t even going to use another color for the trim or doors, it was to be all one color.

French Beret by Benjamin Moore Paints“I have and it’s going to look terrific!”

“But nobody paints a house black!”

“I told you, it’s not black. I think it’s going to surprise people at first but then once the addition is built they’ll never notice it again.”

“Oh yea, they’ll be surprised all right—who knew that Gomez and Morticia were moving into the neighborhood?”

“No really, it’s going to look good—“

“Oh and here’s an idea—why don’t we paint the trim red and maybe let the paint drip down a little for that little extra House o' Death look?”

“Okay now you’re just being silly.”

But he’s serious about the black and went out and bought all the paint and is probably spraying away as you read this—unless the heavens combined against us to stop the abomination and sent rain. It’s supposed to be darkest charcoal but I'm afraid it’s just black and is going to freak the neighbors like nothing else. I tell you if we were to leave dead voodoo chickens in the yard I doubt it would be less effective in saying “Be afraid, be very afraid.”

So why don't I stop him you ask? It's true I do wield the absolute veto in the matter and if I threw a fit he'd back off but he's so excited about the color. Tell me, when was the last time your husband got that thrilled about a paint chip? Hard to squash that kind of happiness isn't it? Plus there's a tiny part of me that wonders if maybe Bruce and Andrew were right and my initial gut reaction was right and it's going to look stunning. Well maybe "stunning" isn't the word I should use.

Oh and by the way, it's also dawned on me that when Andrew paints he’s only painting the parts that will remain, not the parts that will be demolished so not only will we have a black house but until the whole thing is finished we’re going to have a black house pock-marked with gray highlights around the front door and upper story windows.

Oh how the neighbors will love us. Especially the ones right across the street who just put their house up for sale—this will probably lower their home value by $50,000 just in one weekend.

French Beret Goth HouseUpdated to ad: Thanks to ames at Yay Pie! I now have a Photoshopped representation of my new "Goth House" (her words). Though I'd point out the trim will also be "French Beret" it actually looks better than I thought--though that paint chip color on the monitor sure looks a lot lighter than it does in my hand. . . .

Sponsored by The Fine Art of Family--Jewelry by artist Monica Rich Kosann

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52 comments:

miriama said...

Hmmmm.....I am fascinated by your choice. I hope to see future pictures. Man, that takes guts and who knows? It just may look amazing. Keep us posted.

my4kids said...

I'd love to see pictures but I can see your concern....mostly with the fact it will be unfinished to start...
I'll bet it does look amazing in the end though!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Yes, we excel in trashing neighborhood property values also.

All black? No trim? Really?

Trixie said...

Whew! You've earned yourself 3 of those delicous Mango Lime Tartlets. They are calorie and fat free, for occassions like this.

Take Care,

Trixie

Jennifer said...

I know a little about freaking the neighbors out... Bruce and I decided to build a dome home (http://dome.brucesabin.com) and the reactions from the neighbors were oddly polite to say the least. Everyone else we knew told us straight out it was too odd, until they came to visit of course! Then they loved it. Now though, due to the economics of home ownership... it is for sale. Wanna move back to FL and finish the dome instead of remodeling your house? :)

Kacie said...

Wow! That's so interesting. I'm totally hearing the Rolling Stones song "Paint it Black" in my head right now.

Can't wait to see final pictures!

Camald said...

hmmmm...I google black house, and I saw two homes painted this colour, and they did not look that bad. They had white trim though...

anyways, good luck!

Amy said...

That is a bold statement that you will make with that black :) Either you will be the neighborhood hero or the haunted house :) Snort!

I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Pencil Writer said...

Painting one's house is often an emotional experience. I can only minimumly (is that a word?) relate to your side of the situation. I'm usually (only) the one who chooses colors to paint in or out of our house.

My husband struggles to "see" and appreciate my "vision" of the results--until the project is done. For our first house I chose cream for the exterior siding and charcoal for the trim. (It had orangy brick with charcoal mortar--not my choice--and this disgusting baby-poop yellowish, greenish, brownish disgusting color on the siding when we bought the place.) After the painting was completed, he admitted that it looked good!

Then when we moved into our current home several years ago, I don't even remember the color of the exterior trim, shutters, doors, etc. (My memory is SO bad these days!) But I planned to paint the trim (is it soffits or something like that?) a dark teal, the doors the same, but the shutters and door frames a much lighter teal. Same deal with my husband trying to envision and not making it work for him. When it was done, however, he liked it, too.

Weeeeeeeeeelllllll . . . our youngest daughter recently moved back home after college while she tries to locate employment. She's been dying to paint a room in the house red for about 5 years now and I've resisted, just on principle. This year, however, I caved. She'd tried several suggestions on the repainting of the kitchen and dining rooms--which are ajoined--and I just couldn't "go there." She's very artsy and I don't always like what she likes--plain and simple.

However, I've been in a home or two with red walls that was very nice looking! So, I took the bait this time and now, we have a red kitchen/dining room. The cabinets are stained wood, the floor whitish, counters, almond (and in need of replacing, actually--someday) with white appliances. It looks very dramatic. Michelle, we used some of that "blood red" color you mentioned possibly dripping off the eaves or something, just to put the neighbors off a little more with the black exterior of your "French Beret" colored siding and trim.

My husband has expressed his GREAT dislike for the color repeatedly. I actually love it! It's very rich looking.

Good luck on yours and Andrew's projects. Keep us posted.

Oh, our "red" color chip states the color and "hunter coat red" or something like that. My daughter said "it's blood red." I said, "Oh, yeah. The color of life!" She sniggered and said, "Or, the color of death." Morticia, where are you?

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I have to agree with Andrew here, it's not black. I do give you credit for not squashing his exuberance.( you're such a good wife...) The new neighbors across the street will just think they are moving into an eclectic neighborhood....

Karen said...

That color chip you shared with us actually looks a bit gray. It'll be interesting to say the least....

The Apron Queen said...

Oh my. This should be interesting. Reminded me of a story. My husband has been in Army x 20yrs. Never once had a single tattoo. (And most Army guys have lots of tattoos.) Got up out of bed one morning & declared excitedly that he was going to get a tattoo that day. I brushed him off & laughed. You can guess what he came home with though! Moral of the story: Pay attention to what you're husband says when he jumps out of bed all chipper & happy! :D

Heather said...

Huh. Well, won't that be all cheery this winter?

My husband is one to say "I can do that myself" to save money too. Usually it works out okay.

ewe are here said...

It may end up looking really cool...you really will have to post pictures of the finished paint job.

tjhirst said...

The color chip looks charcoal on my monitor, and that's what we have on our house, mixed with red no less! My husband picked all the colors for our house and we get lots of compliments. Oh may you be brave, just keep telling yourself that and that it is process toward an end result. (Maybe you can paint that on a sign in front of your house for the neighbor's sake.)

Polina said...

mmm... in reality paints rarely look the same as in the prints (even prints on the paint cans), it usually comes out to be a shade lighter than expected... so, may be you'd just have a French Beret Home, not black:) With some accents of lighter color it may look good. And it will be definitely DIFFERENT from all the rest houses around. It'll be UNIQUE (that is goood)...

I would also love to see pictures of the house when it is ready:)

FearandParentinginLasVegas said...

oh my...why not let him "try it out" on the demo section first. That way you can see how it looks on and if you hate it, it's coming down anyway. Otherwise, let me know where I can send the Xanax to this winter....

Mommy Cracked said...

Kind of reminds me of when my husband went Griswold with the outdoor Christmas decorations last year. But you hate to squash their enthusiasm. Can't wait to see the finished results!

gretchen from lifenut said...

I'm dying to see the final result. There's nothing cuter than a giddy husband.

One of the people in our neighborhood just painted their house bright purple. Like Barney.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

I think it is important to use different colors for rooms and a house. Gives it your character and identity.

allysha said...

actually, I have seen some very classy black houses. So I am excited to see yours.

and hey, you have an enthusiastic paint scraper, and if you have to repaint, that's not too difficult, right!

Scribbit said...

Yea I noticed that the monitor chip looks gray too but the real chip is much darker. It's going to be the kind of thing where straight on it looks dark but the wall at an angle will be lighter--Hard to say how it will turn out. The whole point it to have the addition part pop out and the dark neutral make the rest fade into the background. Could work. Maybe. Although it rained all night and Andrew's worried about doing it today after all. I think he may just tape things up, try priming and let it sit for another day to make sure it's dry enough.

ames said...

sounds like it'd get hot in the summer, of course your alaskan weather is much different than ours I'm sure! I sent you an email in regards to this post, just to give you a heads up ;)

Sarah said...

oh my...we'll definitely need to see pictures of this one...

Daisy said...

Red trim dripping for a "house of death" look -- you crack me up. Be sure to post pix when it's finished!

Marie N. said...

I think this must be a trend in the painting industry. I've seen a few homes in the metro Cleveland, OH area painted with these very dark gray colors. They actually looked quite nice, but they did have a light trim, (perhaps vanilla beret?).

Shannon said...

I actually think the color looks nice. It's hard to tell until it's actually painted, though- I know this from experience ( :

I love 'the apron queens' comment, too- I think we should heed her wisdom ( :

MiaKatia said...

Wow that is pretty black, but that is the tricky thing with paint, you never know how the final product will turn out. Hope it dries out today so your excited hubby can start painting.

Sheri said...

I can't wait to see the finished product. As someone who has been begging her husband to paint for, oh, years, I can relate to not wanting to quash his enthusiasm. Still waiting for some of that to infect my husband, anytime now.

laughingatchaos said...

Oh, I was on your side until I saw the Photoshopped possibility. Looks good! I think it'll turn out better than you think.

imadramamama said...

That might actually look kind of cool when you're done...throw in some silver sconces around your garage, silver accents here and there...I'm kinda digging it...

It'll definitely stand out when all the snow comes... : )

alotalot said...

I thought the same thing when my husband wanted to paint the house yellow. For 100 years it was white, but then we came along and painted it yellow. Now I love it! We painted one wall and lived with it for a week before we bought the rest of the paint though.

I think your French Beret looks nice. It will contrast nicely with the snow. :)

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Just think how great the snow will contrast with the color in the winter! It looks nice.

Brigitte said...

Thank you so much for commenting on my blog!!! I am a bit flabbergasted to be honest... I mean you're HUGE!! Not like fat (well maybe you are... I dunno), but I'm talking bout you being a huge, well-known blogging celebrity.

It's like the first, and only, time I met a movie star and I couldn't stop staring and smiling. Now my claim to fame no longer has to be (hold your breath) my cousin's SIL is in David Archuletta's ward. True story.

Well guess I don't need to lurk anymore. Good luck with the black paint job. I would KILL my neighbors if they painted their house black.

Jennifer said...

I love whoever names the paint colors.....French Beret....!!

It is so hard with painting (among other things) to know until you see the finished product. That is the risky part that I tend to HATE :)

Tabitha said...

Please show pictures of the house once it's painted. I'm excited to see it.

jubilee said...

It's just paint right?! Riiiiiiight. BG

I am frequently having to check myself when The Calm One comes up with a new, large project or idea. My first reaction is always, "You want to do WHAT?!" And when I forget and actually say those words out loud he always replies, "Let me have 10 minutes of the dream before you crush it, OK?" Oops.

L.H. said...

mmmm...the black works! I like! Thanks for the for visiting my blog!

Ter said...

I'm interested to see what it looks like once it's painted.

Btw, my neighbor down the street has a charcoal grey and orange house. ;) yup, you heard me right. ;)

Damselfly said...

"Tell me, when was the last time your husband got that thrilled about a paint chip? Hard to squash that kind of happiness isn't it?" Hee hee!

The picture doesn't look so bad. I think it looks Alaskan, but that's easy for me to say because sadly I've never been there.

Flea said...

Oh no! Our neighbor painted their house charcoal. It was hideous at first, but we've all gotten used to it. Then someone told us that painting a house that black is something druggies who grow pot in their houses do. Maybe that's what you need to tell your Hunny.

We're in the process of choosing colors for our house and have been pleased to find pints of paint. I've been painting single panels with the colors we like, looking at them different times of day to get a feel for them. Bigger than a paint chip.

Derick & Becky said...

I love this! My husband gets the same way. Good luck with this color, I hope it works out!

All Rileyed Up said...

I think the photoshopped pic looks lovely, and just imagine how it will be in the winter with all the snow around it. Besides, French Beret is a wonderful name. No idea what it means or why they chose it, but wonderful nonetheless.

planetnomad said...

ROFL! But, it looks okay so far! Good luck

Sharlene said...

Can't wait to see how it turns out. Very interesting. i have never seen a black house. You must not have a HOA. Where I live your house has to be a shade of neutral or you know what hits the fan. Very boring. I like your sense of adventure!

Janet said...

Actually I kinda like it, but you'll have to put some reflectors on it to find it in those Alaskan winters.

Nan said...

Hmmmm, I like the way so many commenters have said how "Interesting" it looks!

Me, I say "Oh good grief! Don't do it! AaAArGh!"

On the other hand, paint is not so incredibly expensive and you can always re-paint. So GO Brave!!!

K T Cat said...

A black house? Hmm. I'm not sure about this. How about a tuxedo house instead?

Becca said...

There is a black house here in Pensacola and my eyes truly admire it every time we drive by. I believe some Amish houses are painted that color as well. Hope you enjoy the paint on your home!!

Danica said...

There's a house near me that I thought was painted this color (a deep charcoal, sort of) with LIME GREEN TRIM, which I used to drive past on purpose because it was so shocking and looked so cool. And then the other day it was really sunny and I realized it was not charcoal at all but an EXTREMELY dark green. Live and learn?

French Property said...

Live and learn yes you are right and no better experience to learn from your life which you see around you.

shutters said...

How did it turn out? Here in the UK where I live you can't paint your house as its made of Bath Stone which is beautiful and is to porrous to be painted.