I Will Know It When I See It


“I’ll know it when I see it” is the formula that I use for lots of things. Whether I’m Christmas shopping or choosing a paint color for the house, I’m open to lots of options, but ultimately I know it when I see it. When it comes to choosing color, historically I’ve been fairly skilled in knowing what works. I’ve always operated on the notion that whatever I did, it would not fall under the auspices of “rent-house beige”. I’d much prefer to step it up a notch or two and try something a little more daring than many people would opt to select.

When we lived in Midland, there was an interior decorator whose signature series was painting a room dark plum (purple) accented with a “cheetah-look-alike” carpet. When I say daring, step it down a notch from that. I’m not quite that bold. My “signature series” is not quite that over-the-top, but I’m not afraid to take some chances.

I figure that of all the things you can do to your home, paint is the least expensive option to make a dramatic difference. In addition, if you don’t like it, you can always change it. I don’t always get it right, but I’ve made very few mistakes with paint. The only exception to that is use of the color blue. Blue is difficult, particularly if you are using more than one shade of blue. I once painted some kitchen cabinets blue. Bad mistake! The paint wasn’t even dry before I started taking hinges off the doors to start all over.

Speaking of kitchen cabinets, I looked at an open house once that, as luck would have it, took a very long time to sell. The builder had painted the lower kitchen cabinets “UT- orange” and the upper cabinets white. They say, “seeing is believing”, but it took a lot of imagination to make that work regardless of your alma mater.

For the past three or four weeks the General has be fixated on one thing. She wants the interior of the house repainted. For the first time in our lives, we are opting to have someone else do the painting. After receiving a bid to get the painting done, it became obvious to me that I chose the wrong occupational track if money really matters. After all, I like to paint. But I’m not sure I like it well enough to want to do it forty-to-sixty hours a week. But sticker shock continues to resonate in my mind.

I don’t generally have a fear of heights, but repainting will require the use of scaffolding. There is virtually no way to safely paint the walls by simply using a ladder. In addition, according to the General, “If we’re going to spend that much money”, I want something different. Something different means that we also need to repaint the ceiling. Thirteen years ago when we chose paint colors, we opted to paint the open living area and our bedroom and bath green. “Dried Thyme” is the official Sherwin Williams paint selection and I really like it. I still like it. If it was up to me, we’d paint it that color again. Did I mention, it isn’t really my choice?

The mistake we made in selecting paint originally was the choice we made related to the color of the ceiling. We opted to choose two shades lighter on the paint chart from the wall color. Consequently, changing the color of the walls requires changing the color of the ceiling. “Hello Houston”, we’ve got a problem. We have cathedral ceilings and twenty-five feet up in the air is a little high for me to negotiate on a ladder. It isn’t going to happen.

“I’ll know it when I see it”, has always worked related to paint samples. Choose a color, order the paint and you’re good to go. “Not so fast”! This time the General thought we needed to purchase paint samples and try them on the wall. After all, we don’t have the luxury of doing it again if we are outsourcing the work due to the expense.

According to the General who keeps up on stuff, the new trend in choosing interior color leans to grays. Are you kidding me? Didn’t Restoration Hardware make that mistake (I mean decision) years ago? The signature series of their paint color was “restoration hardware green”. They painted the interior of all of their stores that color. Subsequently, everything eventually got changed to dark gray. It didn’t work for me, but I don’t have to live at restoration hardware.

Okay, from my perspective, if we can’t stay with “dried thyme”, a dark taupe with a hint of gray will work. Easier said than done. We’ve now purchased eight different samples. They look different on the wall than they looked on the paint chip. We finally narrowed it down to a color that “popped”, but was it too dark? “No”, it looked great. On the other hand, why not ask for an outside opinion? We invited Andrea and Kevin over. At the time, we had only four colors of paint still evident on the wall. Both of them said, they thought the color we had selected was too dark.

So what did we do? I called the painter, told him the General and I were immobilized by decision making and that we needed more time. Consequently, he didn’t start the project yesterday as we had planned. He isn’t coming until Monday.

As I was driving the Houston this week, I had an “aha” moment. Several months ago I had been to a photographer’s studio in Houston. I was totally captivated by the accent wall. Of course, the wall was covered with incredible photographs she had taken, but the background color also carried with it a big wow. If memory served me correctly, the wall was a dark taupe. Simple solution, I’d simply go to Cindy Crofford’s photography studio again and look at the color.

The wall was just as I had remembered it. It really had the wow factor. It was more the color of chocolate ice cream than dark taupe, but it was close. Cindy wasn’t in the studio, but her assistant told me they were going to soon be repainting the accent wall. You guessed it. They are choosing a dark gray.

Not me. We are going with “Tavern Taupe” by Sherwin Williams. If it doesn’t work, I may have a drink. On the other hand, I’ll probably opt for therapy. I’ll need some help adjusting. If I don’t like it, we’re not changing the color. I’ll simply need to change my mind.

All My Best!



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