Monday, June 17, 2013

When WHITE isn't WHITE


Our guest bath recently got a make-over.
The bath, with its olive-green tile and dark Jacobean wallpaper,
is now an oasis of white and beige.  


What was the most difficult part of the project?
Choosing the wall paint! 

 Despite all I know about color, 
despite all the recommendations for clients,
 despite painting mountains of furniture,
I couldn't find the right WHITE paint for my own bathroom!


Let's chat ......

If you've ever looked at a room and thought
"something is off"
it may be that the undertones fighting each other.

Neutral colors are funny creatures.
They are the chameleons of the paint world.
These are complex mixtures where no one color predominates,
and depending on lighting and surrounding colors,
they can take on a life of their own.

You may not see the underlying color at first,
but it's lurking.
Here's my recent experience:

We began with ANTIQUE WHITE subway tile for the bath.

To my eye, the tile was soft white...
white with maybe a whisper of YELLOW
and it looked great with the stone floor.

Then, the vanity arrived.
I was expecting this:

But got this.


Although described as "ANTIQUE WHITE" with a beige granite top,
it certainly wasn't.

The granite was PINKY-RED.
And the cabinet looked GREEN by comparison.
In one small bathroom there were three colors 
each claiming to be antique white or beige,
.....but they were fighting the other.


First to go, was the offending counter top.

.......and things improved dramatically.

Instantly the vanity looked better.
The GREEN calmed down.


Because red and green are opposite one another on the color wheel.

Opposing colors create maximum contrast.
They make each other more vivid.

As a result, the red tones in the original counter top
magnified the green undertones in the cabinet.

Remove the red and the green undertone faded.....
it was still there, but less obvious.


One problem solved and on to the next:
choosing a wall color.

Again, undertones came into play.
I wanted WHITE walls....but which one?

 I painted some sample boards using a variety of white paint
from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams,
taping each one against the tile and wall.

It was as if Goldilocks were choosing paint.
One sample was too yellow, the next too grey.
This one was a bit pink.
That one looked dirty.

Until finally one was finally just right.

Which did I choose?

Sherwin Williams #1137.
(It has a slight green undertone)

not to be confused with
Sherwin Williams #6119
also called ANTIQUE WHITE

...but that's another story!

Two beautiful fabrics finished off the room.

Once again my friend Sherry shared her
immeasurable talent with me.
She made a wonderful valance and shower curtain
that brings a heap of style to this modest room.

Thank you, Sherry -- you're amazing!



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