The family that paints together...

The family that paints together...

My dithering nature manifests itself in a big way when I have to choose paint colors.

I once tested four different beiges for our old living room. BEIGE. Not exactly a risky color.

They were either too peachy or too taupy or didn't match my upholstery. Whatever. I still wasn't really happy with the result.

With my son's room I ended up mixing my own color - I was after the Pottery Barn-esque "chambray" - because the blues were either too bright or the wrong shade.

After that I got more decisive. That happens once you have toddlers.

I actually chose a brick red for our family room without any sample tests, and I got lucky. It turned out great.

Flush with triumph, I next picked out an apple green our kitchen without a second thought - and got a surprise. The paint store gave me the wrong formula and the green came out kind of ... swampy. They fixed it.

I regressed, however, when we painted our house a couple of years ago. We were moving from khaki to a gray-green, and decided to use test samples because we had to buy so much paint. A very wise move.

I learned that a) colors are VERY different outside and 2) green is challenging.

The first four colors I tried were way too pale. And the shades were all wrong for the almond siding-trim, which we couldn't afford to change at the time.

Several tests later, my husband started calling our home the "Jello 1-2-3 house." But we finally got it right.

Our latest paint choice? The ceiling for our breezeway. We wanted a sky blue (our designer's suggestion, and I love all things blue-green-turquoise). It came down to  Arctic Blue (with aqua tones) or Bird's Nest (robin's egg blue).

We took home a couple of samples, because this room has unique lighting - lots of windows, but also shaded. I loved both colors - at first. Then they dried. Much darker. And I panicked. Back to the store for a lighter version of Arctic Blue, called Bluebonnet. Turned out like mint ice cream. Ick.

So it was back to the first two, but (shockingly) I couldn't decide. Bird's Nest was a more conventional blue, but Arctic Blue was my first love - and it looked better with the cabinets we picked out from Ikea.

My kids finally came to the rescue and agreed on Arctic Blue. They were antsy to get on with the "fun" part of our breezeway makeover, which has been in the works for several months. Actually, "painting the ceiling" does not scream "fun," but compared to ripping up tile or scraping adhesive off the floor it's party time.

So we bought the actual paint, and after I finished sanding I finally turned them loose with the rollers. When I say "loose," I mean paint splatters on the floor, the walls, their faces, the works. Not to mention fights over who got what roller or who got to use the stepladder.

Things finally settled down, and they started taking turns on the ladder while I used a kitchen chair to do the edgework.

You know that moment when your brain sends you a "warning, warning, that might not be a good idea" signal, and you say, "Nah"?


The can slipped out of my hand. Arctic Blue paint all over the chair, my sandals, the walls and floor. I just yelled "Help!" and everyone came running, and we managed to hose everything down. 

Believe it or not, this has happened before. In the red family room.  I was just touching up a few spots and didn't feel the need to drape everything with plastic, again. I somehow knocked the quart of paint off the ladder, and it went flying in this beautiful arc all the way across the room. On the gray carpet. And my husband's big-screen TV.

Not good at all.

In any event, we managed to finish the breezeway ceiling, and I have to say I love it.

Here's a sneak peek:







Meanwhile, we're making progress on other parts of this project. We painted the doors with far less dithering - although my decorating guru Karen wasn't thrilled by my choice of bittersweet chocolate over black. But honestly, who could resist that name? Besides, my kids liked it (I think Karen secretly does, too).

And I didn't spill a drop. Well, not too many.


When she's not painting, Julie Wurth writes and blogs about family issues for The News-Gazette. Leave a comment below, or contact Julie at 351-5226 or or on Twitter at

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Jodi Heckel wrote on November 28, 2011 at 11:11 am
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Looks good! Can't wait to see it with the new storage containers in place.