This is a story of our house, us and yet another bit of risk-taking. When we returned home from the big trip, our house looked like this:
In fact, aside from me painting the porch brown from it’s original rust red, this is exactly what the house looked like when I bought it over a decade ago. I’ll never forget bringing Anner to see it for the first time….being a fan of really rich, bright colors, let’s just say the battleship gray and teal caused on a dramatic outburst of “Well, that’s something.” Not exactly the dream response, but pretty much summed up the look!
Home again now and jobless, creating a more joyous paint job seemed a fine task to take on. I posted about it a few weeks ago with the caveat that things weren’t quiiiiite done yet. If you remember, here’s what the house looked like at last posting:
Definitely a big improvement, but not as dramatically special as Anner or I wanted. I’m sure if we had a housing association, they’d approve of the Butter House…but luckily we don’t have to limit ourselves to HOA approvals! Nope. Allow me to present to you, our brand-spankin’-newly-painted-best-in-the-neighborhood urban art house!
Kind of crazy, but I can’t tell you how happy it makes us as we drive up on rainy, dark Seattle days!
I can hear you thinking, “How the heck did they decide on that design? And what made them do something so off-the-wall, anyway?” Well, inspired by the all the amazing urban art we saw throughout our trip, and seeing as I was re-painting anyway, we thought it worth a try to see if we could become part of the movement. Well, I thought it was worth a try…Anner thought it would be worth hiring someone with experience, but we mostly agreed.
With the Rio Olympics fresh in our minds, our first idea was to try to mimic this favela:
This handful of colors seemed the perfect palette:
Bright, rich, dramatic and beautiful we thought! That is until we visited the Sherwin-Williams salesman who informed us that mixing exterior paints in bright colors is tricky business…especially when talking about Big Bird Yellow and Chartreuse. Super bright yellows don’t seem to hold up very well, soooo, back to the drawing board. And there were a LOT of drawing boards, but let’s skip that agony by jumping ahead to Anner’s wonderful idea of abstract “bubble flowers” and my variations including the funky shapes, the outlines and the blowing “dandelions” versions. Hurray for Design Team CharBarr!
New concept in hand, it was back to the Sherwin-Williams store where we noticed one of those little folios that said something like “bold tribal” on it. Bold? Yes. Tribal? We can work with that. 25-ish colors in the palette that all match? Winner! That’s how we picked the colors. Well, and finding a few cans of mistints that were really cheap!
With great colors but heaps of trepidation I practiced making a few flowers on some scrap cardboard…checking the shape of the bubbles and the contrast on the colors. The idea seemed to have potential, so it was time to go for it!
Now, liking to think I’m not a COMPLETE idiot, I started on the side of our house that’s totally hidden next to a fence. If this crazy thing wasn’t going to work, I wanted to be able to paint over things out of the public view! Sure glad I did as I definitely had a few learning curves to follow, but it really came together and I started working my way around the house.
You can see some of these pictures are on decidedly cloudy days. Anner found herself researching things like “how much rain is too much?” Apparently professional painters paint until they feel rain drops, so that became my rule of thumb.
As I started working on the driveway side and then the front, neighbors stopped by to offer encouragement. What a relief that there were at least a few supporters …and that grew into TONS of great feedback!
Now that it’s complete we notice people stopping on front of the house almost every day to take a look. Great fun peeking out the windows and getting thumbs up as folks notice us noticing them! Yet another risk that seemed like such a big deal a few months ago is now another challenge met.
Let me just say this was an AMAZING undertaking. When I accepted a temp job earlier this summer, Aaron wanted a job too. He volunteered to (almost) single-handedly paint the house and I wrote it off as crazy-talk. It being September in Seattle you’re always taking your chances with the rain and no one starts painting after labor day. No. One. …except my hubs. I tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted and now look at it!! We live in the most absolutely coolest house on the block. I **love** coming home to our art-i-fied house. I tell ya, the trip continues to inspire us every day.
If you’re curious, here are the colors we used:
Sherwin-Williams, Honey Blush (SW6660). AKA “butter” the base color of the house.
Sherwin-Williams, Stunning Shade (SW7082). AKA “dark purple” the color at the bottom of the house and the color of the stems and outlines.
Sherwin-Williams, Commodore (SW6524). AKA “blue” the color of the doors.
Sherwin-Williams, Peppery (SW6615) AKA “red” the color of the chicken pox.
Sherwin-Williams, Cavern Clay (SW7701) the color of the browner-orange flowers.
Plus two mistints. I.E. colors that didn’t mix up right for previous customers so we bought them at a steep discount. Without any official company-marketing-department-created names, we call them taupe (the purple colored flowers) and lavender (the bright blue bubbles and flowers on the driveway side of the house).
And, if you’d like to see some of my inspiration, here are links to all my previous posts on the street art and graffiti we’ve found around the world!