Project Marigold Paint: Dispatch from the field

PNW ABODE. September 07 —

After more than 9 years of co-existing with a house painted in an always-dirty-looking mauve I’d gotten over my guilt for wishing the color gone, eviscerated, buried.

Dreary in the winter, bland in the summer, I found the shade entirely unlovable. But with so many competing priorities—the fraught kitchen and bathroom renos, the attempt to turn the yard into a blowsy free-for-all, the “not doing another g-d thing to this house!”—ole Dingy Mauve and I were in standoff mode.

Until this past weekend, anyway.

Funny how I reconsidered my dislike when faced with the reality of having to perch on a rooftop ladder to change the status quo….

How I Spent My Labor Day Vacation: Clinging to a roof support to scrub and paint...before moving downward

At least Mr Vix and I have always been aligned in our desire to repaint the joint. Because really: combine blackberry trim with a deep shadowy porch and you have a house that looks like it’s been on the wrong end of a bar fight.

L, Wintertime before-before; R, the third summer in found us with the same paint and a shockingly tidy yard moment

Back in 2008, blistered trim + the depressing façade kickstarted Project Marigold Paint; after 3 years, progress was minimal. But hey: at least we had time to acclimate to touches of bright and bold before moving forward!

[While the neighbors may have wondered why we had random patches of marigold that clashed with the body color, I like to think the Japanese maple and iris appreciated our effort to mirror their beauty.]

After winning the trim color battle, marigold (seen here on a typically drizzly day) entered the picture in April 08

Enter Labor Day Weekend 2011.

Having exhausted our capacity to procrastinate, the Vix Household made a commitment to say farewell to mauve and unify our trim on at least the street side of the place.

First we looked up and down our block and realized that in the years since we started planning, all the good colors were taken. We saw reds (terra and merlot), greens both sage and forest, bright navy, mocha, deep aqua, hearty purple, and smoke grey.

Out went most of our battered old paint chips.

Next we tested what we DIDN’T see around us on posterboard before trialing the second-round picks on the house itself.

L, testing colors on posterboard; R, committing to a day of in situ trial

~ Interlude ~

While the lighting isn’t a one-to-one match, I found it interesting that my knocked-around porch chairs—painted at least 8 years ago to match the inner trim and untouched since—looked so much brighter against the new colors than they did against the old.

L, Freshly painted in ~ 03 to match existing inner trim color; R, similar but not identical lighting + same chair after 8 years of exposure, looking more vibrant away from former body/outer trim

~ End Interlude ~

Then we narrowed to a front runner—after all, who in the PNW doesn’t love moss and a 70s color scheme?—and chose one of the rejects for an accent.

Testing the frontrunner against mossy tree bark

Ironically, I could have saved a rather significant chunk of time and effort had I thought to look at photos of the yard’s glory days.

Original house colors and the long-gone June 07 tidiness of the front walkway border: a subconscious color scheme inspiration?

Regardless: After 2.5 long not-exactly-a-holiday days of scrubbing and brush painting, we were starting to see results. My muscles may have been hating me, but at least my eyes were happy!

Putting the "labor" into Labor Day Weekend

Blistered trim's been removed in stages over the last 3 years, but it took a (start at a) new body color to yield true impact...and aching muscles

Although now it’s pretty clear we have to paint the green porch a different shade.


I don't know if the house is happier with its new colors, but I'm happier

That can wait, though, that can wait. For now I’m simply celebrating the fact that while this weekend was one small step for Project Marigold, it was one giant step for neighborhood harmony.

See more Project Marigold Paint progress and join me in eyeballing neighbors’ marigold choices

2 Responses

  1. What an effort! I could not even get started with the tiny red stool in the bathroom and you paint a whole house!
    I am deeply impressed.

  2. Paula—

    Thank you. Personally, I think you like the stool as-is (I do); it makes a nice counterpoint in your otherwise pristine place. I had no such excuse for the house, ha.

    [And don’t be too impressed…so far it’s just the front and we have 3 more sides to do next summer or as long breaks in the rain permit!]

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