Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Color Consult

Saturday, March 31, 2007
Last Tuesday, Michael came to our house for the famous "color consult." When Adam told me about this, I asked him if it was really a consult or if Michael would just tell us what color our kitchen was going to be painted. He said, tactfully but evasively, "Michael feels very strongly about color." The colors I envisioned in my kitchen were some combination of a curry yellow, a sage green to echo the green in the bear grass, a pale blush pink, and maybe a lilac.
About fifteen minutes before the color consult was scheduled to begin, all the workers started packing up to leave. Jim said he thought they were afraid of Michael.
I saw how things were going to go when Michael asked if we wanted to start by picking the color of the grout for the tile above the cooktop. He held up a few grout samples, looking for just the right one. I pointed at one with a pinkish tinge. He said, "No, that won't work." He held it up to the tile; "see?" Well, I had to admit that it wasn't quite the right color. Finally, he ended up with four possibilities, and I chose the one that was marginally darker than the other three, which all looked almost exactly the same. I own that grout!
Michael then started sifting through color samples for the wall, keeping some, discarding others, in no pattern that I could discern. He started focusing on greens. "Good," I said, "I wanted something that would pick up the green in the bear grass pattern." "Yes," he said, "I'm a little surprised that I'm going for this green--sometimes green in kitchens is problematic because it makes your food look weird." Emboldened, I suggested a light pink. "No. Definitely not. No pink or red in the kitchen. Feng shui color theory, you know." (I didn't ask why the red tile was ok; I'm sure there's a reason.)
I pointed out a deep yellow. That wouldn't do. I think that was supposed to be obvious.
He settled on three colors: a rich cream, a very pale sage green, and a darker sage. He said he didn't usually like to make the windows darker than the walls, but it was right for this kitchen.
I looked longingly at a purple. "Yes," he said in a kind tone. "That's a very pretty color. We'll go with these three." I reminded him that green made food look weird. He said, "Well, if your food didn't look weird in your old kitchen, it's certainly not going to look weird in this one." Aha! The best defense is always a good offense.
The next day the painters came. I told them about my experience with the color consult. "That's Michael for you," they said affectionately. "He has strong opinions."

When we were looking at the three color samples, they all looked very different. Now that they're all on, though, I can't tell the difference between the cream on the wall and the pale green on the insides of the windows. When I look at them very carefully, and in just the right light, I can see a discernible difference. Otherwise, it just looks like cream and green.


Melinda said...

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during this consultation! It looks lovely in the pictures though. I promise to tell you in the future, if your food looks weird because of the green...OK?

Paddyscake said... must be getting very excited!! I went back and looked at the pix from January. What a difference light and color make!Very nice!

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing as Paddyscake!...went back to look at your first posting photos! What a difference indeed. Wow and Wow.

Now it all has such clean lines, so simplified and calming. Just Beautiful! ( I love the sage green!!! )

I'm fascinated to see what will evolve in the stove tile area. Are they tiles? bricks? stone? and what is that narrow grey made of ?

I looked up feng shui and red in the kitchen. Fascinating. Says that's one of the few rules of feng shui. No red because the kitchen has flame and you mustn't add more red fire to the flame. (or something like that).

Perhaps when feng shui says "no red," it means no red like the Chinese bright lacquered red. I wonder if your tile isn't more brown than red, more earthy? Perhaps, if it's considered an earth color, it offsets the flame?


Anonymous said...

Some days I chuckle, some days I laugh out loud at your wry humor! This entry was a laugh out loud day! You are a wonderful writer!


breadbasketcase said...

Thank you. I think.

I went back myself to look at the old pictures. It really is a dramatic change, isn't it? I'd forgotten what the old room looked like.

Apparently red or pink in the kitchen is also supposed to encourage fighting between people in the kitchen. It would be a shame if Jim and I got this nice new kitchen and then started fighting bitterly every time we walked into it and then split up after nearly 40 years of marriage.
I think you're right that the earthy red of the tile won't cause the same feng shui problems. The tiles are not exactly tiles, but more like slate; the narrow grey pieces are actually sort of coppery, when they're cleaned up, with a little metallic cast. The small pieces will be placed randomly among the larger red ones. This was Michael's idea, not mine. It would never have occurred to me.
And thank you for the "laugh out loud" comment.

Pug&MooseMama said...

hee hee! We just had our third color consult (and in the bathroom we had to choose THREE grout colors. Or maybe it was four) with Michael today. And it was very much like what you describe. Michael would hold up two indistinguishable (to us) colors and I would say, "Yes!" in an emphatic way, trying to mask my complete cluelessness. Your kitchen is looking quite beautiful- hope you have running water soon!

(Michael told us about your blog)

Rosa said...

Now I remember how I got here. I did a search on black countertops. I wanted white marble but they talked me out of it. I went with a matte black silestone which looks like soapstone in its oiled state. That green is wonderful.