Avocado and Rust? Lime and Tangerine? Chartreuse and Sienna?

7 Jun

What problem can paint not solve in a home?  I thought I knew, but I am learning all kinds of things.  A friend (thank you, Jennifer!) told me the other day that you can even paint tile on a bathroom countertop.  Amazing.  Too bad paint can’t solve the missing sink or the seen-better-days carpet in the family room.  It’s good to have quick and easy options to improve things until we get to it on the list.  Because that project list is LONG, my friends.  But that’s another post.  Coming soon.

Right now, I am thinking about the fun stuff.  I have been fantasizing about color.  Also philosophically pondering but mostly fantasizing.  The choices!  Standing in front of a wall of paint chips is like trying to pick out a tie.  The options are dizzying and none of them really seem quite right.  And for me, they usually aren’t.

Let’s put a few things out there.  I am a mid-tone girl.  I am not into pastels or soft beiges.  I like a good beige or taupe or tan when it has other dimensions, but neutral isn’t my thing.  I like a variety of color and I like letting the kids pick their colors for their rooms…with guidance.  Heavy guidance.  (I still have nightmarish visions of my brother’s Kelly green bedroom.)  However, even I will admit that my tendency toward variety in a house gets a little out of hand.  No one wants to be in a house with rooms painted the rainbow of Skittles, if you know what I mean.  This is something I need to think through with this house.

I am also not into bright colors.  I once had a deep brick red wall in my dining room, which I liked, but which I will probably never do again because it was limiting and difficult to re-paint.  I can do bold or unexpected colors, though.  My last kitchen was bamboo green and a muted orange.  I loved it.  People complimented it.  They did not, however, say how well it looked next to the blue bedroom. 

And turquoise is off the table.  Completely.  If there is one color in the world that I cannot stand it’s turquoise.  I don’t know why.  I like it on ohter people and in their homes, but I’ve never seen a turquoise I would want to look at for too long.  (This is not to be confused with Tiffany blue, however.  Tiffany blue is just fine with me.)

For this house, I want to stay true to the time period, but I also want to be realistic about my our preferences.  I did some digging on mid-century modern paint colors and boy-howdy!  It must have been the cocktail age because only someone three-martinis-in would choose some of these colors.  But then, this is the time of the pink bathroom, so go figure.  Retro Renovation has a sister website called ‘Save the Pink Bathroom’ that is a hoot and will indeed make you re-think yanking yours out.

At the end of the day though, I think I am more interested in honoring the intention and philosophy of the design than preserving it for the sake of nostalgia.  I also want to be mindful of doing time-period retro versus making decisions specific to the type and purpose of our mid-century modern design.  There is a big delta between 60s brick traditional ranch and a 60s mid-century modern house.  I want nature to be our guiding palette with respect to the trends of the time period.  There may be some avocado and rust, but I also imagine some warm golds and browns and greens.  Given that we seem to be the modern-day Brandy Brady Bunch, I thought maybe Alice’s kitchen would be a good reference point.  Then again, maybe not.

We saw our inspiration for the exterior color scheme in Atomic Ranch, one of my favorite mid-century idea books.  They are coming out with a new one next year but in the meantime I satisfy my craving by subscribing to their wonderful magazine.  The original color of the house was a deep chocolate-brown and we want to add orange accents to the trim and door.  Maeve mocked it up for us last night and we quite like it.  We also referenced this original palette for Eichler exteriors and think we will go with a more muted orange, but her vision is the right direction.

The question now is where to start?  That’s the question for most of the projects on this house.  I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions/suggestions on what constitutes a mid-century palette and what you did for your home.


7 Responses to “Avocado and Rust? Lime and Tangerine? Chartreuse and Sienna?”

  1. Brandy June 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Thanks to you both, Andy and Jennifer. I will be coming for your fan decks, Jenn and will correct the Atomic Ranch link.

  2. Andy June 7, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I suck at picking out colors… but I ❤ it so much! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Oh, and btw… the link for Atomic Ranch should be:

  3. Jennifer June 7, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    I happen to have not one but two color fan decks. Like having the wall of colors in your own home but in a handy carrying case.


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