Thursday, October 9, 2014

Colour my world - or at least my mid-century house

This place is dingy. Seriously. A number of the walls are still proudly bearing their original 1960 paint job and while the paint is clinging happily on the internal walls with no sign of peeling, 54 years of wear and tear means there are places I just can't get clean, no matter how much sugar soap I apply. Paint has worn away near the light switches and the poor old place just looks a little underloved.

It's worse outside. The house is red brick, which is a blessing as the walls don't need painting. However all the north-facing windows have peeling paint to an embarrassing extent. Until now we haven't been able to do much about it as we have been saving - or at least G has - for the paint job.

I had a painter out today and if I may digress for a moment, my God he was cute! Dark eyes, dark hair; he had the look of a guy I had a crush on in my teens - a jockey, but he was taller. If I was younger I'd be tempted to try a Mrs Robinson. On looks alone he had the potential to pull me back from my current asexual status (digressing even more, I have been both sexual and asexual during different times in my life). He knew his stuff, too. We chatted about paints and techniques and paint additives, la la la…

So now I'm awaiting his quotes. Three quotes. One for outside, one for the ceilings and stairwell inside, and one for the internal walls in some of the rooms/hall. I'm capable of doing the internal walls myself but a) he'll do a nicer job and leave less mess on the carpets and everything else and b) because I feel obliged to answer every phone call and email I get, I doubt I'll have the time. There are lots of walls. Depending on the price I may have to pull the plug on the internet and put the phone on silent for a few days.

He left me with some colour charts to whet my appetite, and duly whetted it is. I have found colours that more or less match the original 1960 colours in the living room and our bedroom. The living room is the old colour Chartreuse (pale yellowy green) on three walls with an aqua feature wall. It rocks. I'm keeping the colour scheme as it suits the house and looks wonderful with the big stone fireplace. The bedroom is a pale ice green and I'm repainting in a very close colour as it's restful and brings the garden inside.

Our hall and stairway are currently yellow and I'm going for a lighter version as it's dark in the hallway. I'm hoping the colour I've chosen won't turn out looking cream as I detest cream walls. Too 'reproduction fuddy duddy' for me - makes me think of people with reproduction Chippendale antiques and uncomfortable chairs topped with antimacassars. And… too much like the cheap neutral colour you get in rental properties which looks 'dirty' very quickly. The British equivalent is a colour called 'Magnolia'.

The second bedroom was originally pale pink and repainted yellow in 1974. I'm sticking with a yellow as it's on the south side of the house and needs a bright, warm colour. The 50s colour palette was pretty well out there - yellow was a popular colour.

My office originally had pale-ish pink walls too but got a coat of white in the 70s. I like the white. This is a small, dark room and needs light, lovely walls. I'm choosing a variant of white. Not terribly 50s but I need the brightness.

The laundry has yellow walls the same as the hall, and they look odd with grey floor tiles and deep aqua (Amulet Blue as I recall, or Apmat Blue as my Dad used to call them, after a famous pacer of the day) wall tiles. I've chosen a white with a hint of grey/green which will look much fresher.

The bathroom and loo originally had pink walls (Mum LOVED pale pink. I don't) which Mum and I repainted in the late 80s/early 90s in a colour called Beige Shroud. Yup. Ugly name. The colour isn't fab either but we wanted to move from the pink which looked too dark in the room. You still get a hint of pink through two layers of Beige Shroud. That pink doesn't give up a fight easily. Beige Shroud is going though. I'm not heading back to pink but have found an interesting shade of pale green with a hint of mushroom grey called China White by Dulux which will complement the tiles better and look just cracking. It's not dissimilar to some of the colours from a 50s palette. I'll be painting the loo and bathroom myself.

So that's it. The kitchen is fine as I repainted it in the original blue and white 12 years ago and the paint looks fine. I'll redo the white oil enamel on the cupboard doors as they could do with a lift but the walls are fine.

Our plan is to get the outside stuff done this year. Depending on the quotes we may then get Daniel - Daniel….Daniel… those eyes! - to do the ceilings before Christmas too. It's exciting. And I think this house will appreciate the time and money spent on it.

And I suspect that next time I visit a psychic I'll get a message that Mum is relieved I have painted the outside woodwork!

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