I know a few things for certain about this house. I want a sofa with a rich forest green velvet like mine at Cottonwood. I want this beautiful Brunschwig and Fils fabric in the kitchen. And I want a rich cream on the walls and kitchen cabinets. So, now that I have the plans in my hands, I decide I’ll start with paint colors. Even though everything I’ve read about design, even my design course tells me to pick my paint color last. My challenge is I want my kitchen cabinets to be the same color as my walls so I have to decide the color earlier than normal. Breaking the first of many design rules, off to Sherwin Williams I go.
Did you know there are a gazillion shades of cream? Seriously, a gazillion. Thumb your way through a Sherwin Williams paint deck, and you will discover that someone had a lot of time on their hands. And the names! Think about it. People sit in a room and come up with different names for paint colors. I want that job. I left with six quart cans. I thought six would be enough. Plus, I have a shade of white on my existing walls so technically I have seven.
I purchased Creamy, Honied White, Dover White, Medici Ivory, Summer White and Aged White. The name of the paint color in my present home is Alabaster White. I painted each on a piece of white poster board since paint goes up on white primed walls. I knew this would give me the truest color. However, one of the most challenging things with paint color is it changes throughout the day. Especially with white!
In the morning in my own home, before all the lights are turned on the walls have a little more of a green cast, but when I turn on the lights, a yellow hue is seen. As the natural sunlight begins to come through the windows it then takes on this perfect shade of Alabaster. Just the perfect white. The thing is I didn’t pick out this white. This white was picked out by someone with a design degree. Someone who spent countless hours with a professor over their shoulder helping them see the different variations of tones in white. The last time I picked out a white it didn’t go so well. Remember?
I laid the boards under the two fabrics I did have, my velvet and Brunschwig and Fils, to see which one worked. Believe it or not, I’m still not sure I have the right white. Seriously! Summer White is too yellow. Aged White is too khaki. Dover White is too green and Creamy, believe it or not, is too pink. I study them, refusing to get overwhelmed. Reminding myself that this moment is different. I’m different.
I remind myself I didn’t have a professor, but I did have a tutor. A tutor who had no formal training, just hands on experience, my first husband. When he and I were picking out colors for our first townhome, I watched him. We were going to do yellow on the walls back when that was a thing. So, he slathered about five different shades of sunshine right on the drywall. Then, he’d take the fabrics for the room, hold them next to it, and choose the perfect color. Just like I was doing.
I remember thinking back then as well, “Whoever dreamed there were so many yellows?” My second thought was, “I’m really glad I don’t have to figure out which one of these to choose.” But today I must choose. Here in my living room, drowning in a sea of whites, I’m having new thoughts. This time it’s, “I get to pick my own white. I am privileged with the choice of figuring out which shade of white I want to put on my walls.” But the beauty is I’m not alone. God’s here. God, the Creator of the whites and creams of the clouds, of the lilies and the peonies, of the daisies and the hydrangeas, of the dove and the albino deer. He made so many shades of white that a Sherwin Williams paint deck could reach the sky with nothing but His whites. So, in this moment, knowing on this journey nothing is too silly, nothing too small, after all it’s His house, I simply ask Him to help me find the perfect white.
I spot in the corner of the room the Medici Ivory with my Great Room fabrics laying near it. It really is the perfect cream. Plus, it matches the two fabrics perfectly. The real deciding factor, I love Italy! Plus this color has a hint of honey yellow and green that the hills of Tuscany have at the beginning of fall. I tell myself often that if I was brave enough to do that DNA test to find out all of my ethnicities, I’d discover I am over half Italian. I have to be! My blood runs cheese and pasta. I’ve also always dreamed of spending a season in Italy, tucked away in a small village, making friends with the locals, stopping by to buy their bread. Inviting them to a Bible Study in my home, where together we’d break bread, laugh really loud, and eat lots of pasta, all while igniting hearts for Jesus. Maybe having a taste of it on my walls is enough…for now. Yes, Medici Ivory it is.