Project Marigold Paint: Reunited and it feels so good

Previously, I discussed how Mr Vix and I moved slightly forward in our exterior paint project by madly laboring on Labor Day Weekend. Since then, we’ve had many a quality after-work/weekend moment while attempting to finish the front side of the house before being shut down by the 9-month long rainy season.

While I generally dread exchanging sun for downpours, there’s nothing like exterior painting to make one joyously embrace nature’s rhythm. Though the majority of the house—as well as the front porch ceiling and floor—await prep and new colors, ’tis now the season where it’s too damp to do anything major.

And thus, not at all sadly, the Vix Household is on a painting hiatus.

Which means there’s technically PLENTY of time to take on the terribly uncouth front yard, should I fancy being an overachiever. Or just a continuous-loop achiever. But instead Mr Vix and I chose to call a timeout after getting the regrettably less-lush wisteria vines back where they belong.

Less-lush wisteria, back in the game

After a month of uncoupled non-delight, it’s great to see order restored, even if the (mangy) compare and (pelted) contrast is a bit hard to take. [As the wisteria is the only thing I miss about the original and in-progress-for-years front, I’ll cope. And tell myself that of COURSE it will rebound next season.]

Wisteria : repainting :: eggs : omlettes (but at least there’s a new larger, oh my stars CENTERED mailbox to offset the pain)

I’m not the only one happy about the minor landscaping effort. As the last of the leafy tendrils rejoined their wood supports, I swear I could hear strains of Peaches & Herb wafting through the air:

I was a fool to ever leave your side
Me minus you is such a lonely ride
The breakup we had has made me lonesome and sad
I realize I love you
‘Cause I want you back, hey, hey

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
‘Cause we’re reunited, hey, hey

I have my fingers crossed that introducing an accent color I like to call “Old Scab” to the equation won’t disturb the lovebirds.

As we’d never noticed the raised detailing on the street-facing side, I used another accent color—aka Old Scab—to call it out

Whatever the wisteria thinks, at least the neighbors fall into two camps: seemingly okay with the changes or too polite/disinterested to comment otherwise. Some like the marigold best, some the blueberry yogurt, but all have been surprised to hear the latter is the same blue paint that’s been up there for years.


Based on recent conversations with long-distance friends and family, however, I’m thinking marigold/sunflower colors may be a Not Our Kind, Dear shade in other regions. Or other income brackets.

Around here, though, I see more pumpkin, goldenrod, saffron, and citrus paint than I can document. Bright, warm shades are part of my particular PNW environmental norm, so I never hesitated to select something similar to offset the gloom we get:

Another before and after set: L, a few years after moving in; R, it was a typically dark and stormy day and man, do we need to get back to landscaping

And truly, I’m not the only one….

Sunflower and marigold shades are an environmental norm in my neck of the woods

…whether used lavishly or sparingly

Apparently we weren’t vaccinated against Marigold Madness. Wish us luck!

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