141. A Rant: How Can Color Go Out-of-Style?

Editor’s Note: The writer has never in her adult life claimed to be in style or cared about being in style. Yet, like everyone who has eyes and ears, the writer is affected by what she sees, so in that case, we are all affected by what is in style, whether we want to be (or care) or not. 

This post has been swirling around in my head and on my computer for months. It’s been edited and re-edited. Mostly it just irritates me that there are Colors of the Year. Indeed, how can a color go in and out of style?

ColorWheelJewel tones? lush emerald, dark ruby red, and midnight blue. Beautiful always, yes?

Nature tones? pine green, autumn rust, walnut brown? Beautiful always, yes?

Brights? sunny yellow, lime green, sky blue? Beautiful always, yes?

Designers and style companies tell us that the number one way to sell your house faster is to get rid of those “out-of-style” paint colors and “do fresh.” Shabbiness and fading aside, I’d just like to point out that the colors we’re being told to paint over now, are the colors we were told to paint then.

Earlier this year (when we still had a house on the real estate market) Zillow sent me an article called Top 5 Home Design Trends of 2015. I don’t know why I read it; curiosity, I guess. But it just irritated me greatly. (Judging from the comments, this was true for many people…) So in case, you care about such things, midnight blue is in, coral and other Bright Colors are out — according to this particular designer. I’m not sure how she could proclaim that coral is out, but she did. Perhaps it is now called Melon?

A few years ago I remember reading that the new bright colors reflected the happy, positive mood of consumers. I guess we’re not happy any longer… (I’m very glad that Midnight Blue is back in, though. I painted a dining room wall that color in 1982; I loved it then, and I still love that color now.)

About fifteen years ago my daughter wanted a mint green formal for the senior prom. We went to every JoAnn Fabric store in Western PA (and there are a lot!) until finally some nice clerk at the fabric counter took pity on me. No, she told us. You can’t get that color this year. It just isn’t being made. You can get this pretty celery green, instead?

This is just one of the RGB charts available from My Practical Skills, a design student's dream site.

This is just one of the RGB color charts available from My Practical Skills, a design student’s dream site. Can you pick the shades that are in style?

Yes, we can’t have everything all the time, but for ten years I looked for deep forest green accessories to go with a rug — pillows, curtains, fabric, bedspread — anything!

Nothing — that’s what I found. So if a color is not “in” just wait ten years until your rug wears out…

Yes, there are way more important issues in the world, but isn’t this symptomatic of our Western culture of materialism? Planned obsolescence — if the color is out-of-style then we’re likely to replace it, aren’t we? That deep, dark green that is the color of pine trees? Out? Outre? Not available? Because a bunch of industry leaders in a board room got together and decreed it, so they can sell more stuff in a different “updated” shade of green?

In my humble opinion 🙂 color should not be associated with in style or out-of-style. If you want to call my shirt or my couch or my lamp out of fashion, fine. But leave color out of it.

I found the tablecloth below– unopened in its original package — in an antique store last fall. I loved the colors, and they go in my dining room perfectly. I know that the tablecloth is probably out, but I. Don’t. Care. It’s perfect, and I smile every time I put it on the table. Isn’t that what color is about?

And the color on my dining room wall?

Yep, I still love that deep forest green of pine trees. Only now it’s back in. Just don’t call it Forest Green.

131. The sixth wall

There’s nothing like company coming for Easter dinner to inspire…

The crown is finished; crown moulding the pocket door runs smoothly on its track and actually locks; Bathroom pocket door painted in Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk the built-in display has trim and real shelves and serving dishes; dining room built-in art is hung on the painted walls; Dining room and our black and white photo wall is done, mostly.

bathroom pocket door

Our shoulders are light, the weather is warmer, and it’s time to think now of outside projects.

But just in case the gentle reader thinks we now live in a perfect-ly beautiful house,

we open the lovely pocket door to this:

Bathroom -- Before

Yeah, paintbrushes still compete with toothbrushes in the bathroom sink.

111. Random thoughts about cleaning carpets and getting a house ready to sell

I know this blog is supposed to be about the cottage…but we haven’t been spending much time there of late. We’ve been trying to plant the sign in the yard of the city house. And until you sell a house, I don’t think anyone has a clue how much Time, Intensity, Money, and Energy is expended on a house that you are leaving…

It is emotionally (and financially) draining. Unless, of course, the house you live in is perfect, in which case you just sign on with the realtor, la di da. No worries about

    that imperfect room you just lived with,
    the plumber who never gave you the inspection paperwork for the new sewer system he put in,
    the basement ceiling tile that looks moldy and might be made of asbestos tile, (thankfully, it isn’t!)
    the tree in the backyard that you hope doesn’t fall on the power lines while you’re waiting for the tree guy to show up, or
    all Mr.H.C’s junk — never mind about mine; it isn’t junk.

Lately I’ve been cleaning up and painting my old sewing room in the city house.

It was just my sewing room, crafting room, storage room, so the coordinating yellow country wallpaper put over masonite (probably in the seventies) uh, you know, didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care about the fluorescent light in the ceiling; it was good for working. The faded teal carpet didn’t matter either. Bleach spills? Paint stains? No matter.

Apparently it will matter to potential buyers.

So I was tasked with turning it into a charming little attic bedroom for a child. Or a garret for an angst-filled teenaged poet. Or another sewing room for a mom who just wants some time alone in a freshly cleaned and painted space.

I used oil-based primer over the wallpaper, and then painted the whole room creamy white. I guess it will be up to the new owner to give it personality with color. I couldn’t imagine that the carpet would clean up, but I rented an R2D2-look-alike carpet cleaner and used my new favorite product to clean the carpet. It looks good, which is also good for the pocketbook.

attic bedroom

And the wonderful new product? Folex.

Sister Nancy told me about it several years ago when she was regularly cleaning up after a new puppy. I’ve had a bottle forever, because it goes a long way, unless you are pouring it into R2D2…

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I Love The Stuff! It is a miracle cleaner. Non-toxic, no smell, rub it in with your fingers if you want, and watch the stain on your carpet disappear! It’s amazing. It actually works better this way, than it does diluted in the rug machine. I did go around the entire edge of the carpet with my spray bottle and a rag. The edge of the carpet, which was black, is now bluish green again. (Folex has not paid me for this blog — they don’t even know I exist.) Although I should probably write them — in the past three weeks I’ve bought six bottles. It costs $5.78 at Home Depot.IMG_4466

That’s $34.68 + $30 to rent the carpet cleaner. I also cleaned the carpet in the master bedroom as well, and we couldn’t have bought new carpet for two bedrooms for $64. And believe me, that was a worry!

And just to prove to you, it isn’t a fluke, here is the downstairs rug that I spot-cleaned:

And now, I have to go tear down moldy ceiling tiles in the basement and secretly throw away some of Mr. H.C’s junk  in the bottom of a new garbage bag. Anyone want a vintage cigarette holder/music box that Uncle John brought back from London?
vintage cigarette holder music box

No summer vacation here until the sign is in the yard.for sale sign