Based on the horror stories I’ve heard from friends, I approached our recent home renovations with the abject terror I normally reserve for palmetto bugs or Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Given the scope of what Michael and I were about to do (interior and exterior work) and the timeframe in which to do it (begin a just before Thanksgiving with a deadline of Christmas Eve), I was pretty sure we were completely insane. It turns out there was really only one thing we lost a lot of sleep over.
During the Renovation Extravaganza of 2012, we had to chose colors for the roof, the exterior, a bedroom, some interior doors, and a ceiling. It was like being stuck in the Thunderdome with Sherwin Williams. We’d peer at color swatches for hours before finally slam-dunking a choice out of sheer exhaustion, then pick ourselves up off the ground only to get a right-hook from another contractor who wanted to know what shade of ecru to paint a 2″x2″ section of the back inside corner of the shed.
Take, for instance, what color shingles to put over the new roof. Prior to this undertaking, I thought there were only three roof colors to choose from in Florida: Brown, Black, and Someone-Threw-Up-Mangos orange. Wrong. There are approximately 76,082 different choices, each with a fractional difference in hue that’s apparently visible to everyone by me.
The roofer was kind enough to supply us with a color chart and actual shingles so we could make our selection. We tried to give the process the full gravity it deserved and approach it with seriousness. Us being us, however, it quickly devolved into choking fits of laughter over the color names.
“Look! Here’s ‘Acorn Leaf Green.’ We’ll paint the exterior dark brown with a ‘leaf green’ roof. Everyone will think it’s a tree and we’ll have an invisible house! No, wait, then the pizza delivery guy won’t be able to find it. Damn. That won’t work.”
“Here’s something called ‘Sovereign Cedar.’ Skip that, I’d feel like I’d have to curtsey to HRH House every time I came home.”
We eventually settled on Sand Drift because, frankly, we were tired and trying to conserve our strength for the other roofing decisions like, peel and stick vs felt backing, 25- vs 30-year warranty, added termite protection, and whether we wanted to cover it with glow in the dark sealant. Okay, I made that last one up but, seriously, how cool would that be?
We’d barely made it through that process when we were confronted with another major decision: What color to paint the exterior. This was way harder than the roof challenge because the options are, quite literally, limitless. Once you think you’ve figured out what you want the wall color to be, then you have to figure out trim color and everything goes downhill from there.
Exterior paint color is a huge commitment. Not only is it really expensive to change if you decide you don’t like it, there’s also a corner of your mind that knows your neighbors will judge you as a person once they see the finished product. Guess right and they bring you pie. Guess wrong and they walk their dogs on your lawn in the middle of the night.
By far, my “favorite” part of this whole ordeal was when, out of sheer desperation, I called the painter to ask for advice. I told him we’d narrowed it down to a possible choice but wanted to get his thoughts on how it would look with our landscaping and new roof. He said he’d love to help but, well, you see, he’s color blind.
Leave it to me to find the only color blind painter in North America. Shouldn’t he disclose that on his business cards? Include it on his Angie’s List page? I suppose this explains why he suggested during his proposal visit (I am not making this up) that we should “paint the house a nice shade of pumpkin.” Do I look like Cinderella?
I didn’t realize what an impact all the color-choosing had on us until last night when I told Michael that our lawn guy offered to paint our driveway for us. At first he looked happy, but then a shadow passed over his face as if I’d told him Daleks were being retired as a Doctor Who trope. About thirty seconds later I realized the same thing he had: We’d have to pick a freakin’ color.
No. For the love of all things holy. No more color choices. Ever.
Michael looked down at his feet and quietly said, “Please tell me they make concrete paint that’s just called, ‘Driveway.’”
Man, I hope so.