Well. (I started that way just to tick off a writer friend of mine.) I did it again. I played with paint. So many of my friends are painters that if I tried to list them all I’d accidentally skip dozens. They paint with purpose and perfection. I paint to use up old paint. At least that’s how it started.
Buy a house and frequently find shelves of paint cans filled with tones, shades, and colors that already cover some of the walls. Paint can be considered hazardous waste, so many folks just leave partial pails in garages and utility rooms. One option is to open the cans and let the paint dry out, ‘naturally.’ Being a bit frugal, it is hard for me to purposely waste anything, especially something that was useful once and could be useful again. So, instead of taking the paint and its can miles away to dispose of officially, I find something to paint. The price is right, which is a wonderfully freeing feeling.
I did this before. About seven years ago I did something similar. The west side of my house gets a great view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains (I continue to have to remind myself that I’m looking at a National Park, weather and lighting permitting.) That also means it gets blasted with photons when the weather is clear, and rain and wind and a bit of salt the rest of the time. Without protection, the wood would need replacing far more frequently than if the house was inland and shaded by forest. So, those seven years ago, when I’d owned the house for about five years, I painted the deck with whatever was in the utility room. Some blue, some beige, and then because I could, I splattered and scattered dots and lines of paint from the dregs of other leftovers. It was a bit Jackson Pollock-y. A nice departure from normality, a nice touch during my stint on the artist’s tour (for my photos, not my deck), all while appreciating a real estate broker who put up with my play time while the house was on the market.
Those who follow my story know the good news. I managed to keep the house.
A while later, the deck needed repainting, which I did; but working seven days a week, typically ten-twelve hour days, meant the deck got a bland but protective coat. But hey, at least it used up more paint and protected the wood, again.
Leap to the present day, or at least the summer of 2019. The deck was peeling. The artwork was gone. There was less paint left, but remnants remained. I’d just finished my required real estate continuing education classes, completed a transaction on a very nice house for some very nice people, watched some deals get outbid (a common occurrence currently), so had some time. Oh yes, and we were in the usual drought the area sees every August.
Eight different paint colors later, the deck is painted, and along the way the house got painted, as well as most of the trim, the deck benches, and the various outdoor stairs.
Evidently, one thing led to another and another and repeat.
Take a look. I had white paint. That was the first two stripes. I also had black paint (for some reason.) That would be too much contrast so that became two boards on the opposite side of the deck. Between them I tried to decide how to blend in a pale sage green, and a bit of blue. OK. Maybe a bit of mix and match.
Here’s where the play gets to come in. Why not put a few boards of green beside the white and a few boards of blue beside the black? Maybe a bit of a blend in the middle. It may look like mud, but that’s part of the play.
Here’s where the serendipity comes in. After painting a few boards of green I noticed a particularly faded wall. Old boards, possibly old-growth, were barely tinted by eroding paint. I felt sorry for them, so I painted them with the green. Step back, wonder how I’m going to have enough for the deck, but realize that’s a nice shade for the rest of the house. So much for only painting the deck. Order up some paint for the walls!
Back on the deck, time to use some of that blue. A sea of blue is appealing for the ocean, but too much of a good thing for my deck was too much. So, several boards of blue; but then a board with mostly black and a bit of blue; then a board with more blue; then repeat until they began to blend back into the main. Well, not quite, but close enough. At least the deck was protected, and a few cans of paint were depleted.
Order up that sage green for the house and get to it. My exercise schedule was replaced with painting from just after work until dark. Truly dark. Some of those sections are a bit sketchy. Three pails of paint, and several days later, I finished the last bit of ladder gymnastics with less than a half inch of paint left in the last can. Yes! No waste, here.
Homeowners are familiar with what happens next. So, with the deck painted and the wall painted, the rest looked weak. Hmm. What colors are left for the screen frames, the door trim, and the stairs and door sills? A bit of grey here, some beige donated by neighbors for the deck benches, and then a mix of the grey and the beige for the bench supports. How crazy is that?
It may be a designer’s nightmare, or a guilty pleasure being able to play with paint; but it was also one of the more environmentally conscious ways to use rather than discard, protect rather than waste.
There are limits though. Upon the advice of various friends, I’ve curtailed my exuberance. You see, there are these cans of primary colors: red, blue, yellow. It would be so much fun to squirt squiggles of color across the banded fields of refined colors, at least on the deck. But, sometimes good enough is best. Though I am trying to find some colors for those doors. Hmm. A blue door, a red door, a yellow door? Let me play with that idea.