Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coloring My World

3.5 years ago, prior to my arrival, Ole moved into our house and, with the help of his dad, painted the entire house in good old painter's white. The great plan was that when I arrived, we would then choose some actual paint with which to decorate the place. Up until a month ago, everything was still white. Shocking, no?

An interior decorator I am most definitely not! I find the process of picking paint colors, rugs, curtains, and other associated knick-knacks to be excruciatingly painful. On the other hand, laying on the sofa staring at blank white walls is equally painful, and I just couldn't take it anymore. So off to the paint store we went - finally!

When you shop for paint in the US, you will be instantly overwhelmed with racks and racks of little 2x1 colored squares, on strips, from which to choose. Each color will have a carefully chosen name which is just about as relevant to the actual color as the names typically chosen for lipstick. Should you choose "autumn pumpkin" or "fireball sunset"? Sure, both are some shade related to orange, but they can't just call it orange as there are probably 500 strips of color that all fall somewhere between yellow and red and labeling them Orange 1, Orange 2, etc., would just bore people.

But the names serve another purpose - they let you choose your color based on a feeling. Autumn Pumpkin evokes memories of wandering a field of pumpkins in October, picking those perfect specimens that will then be carefully carved, adorned with a candle, and left to rot on your front porch until some teenagers come along to smash them in the street. Ahh, sweet pumpkins. If you want to have this memory of Halloweens gone-by everyday, then Autumn Pumpkin may just be for you! But perhaps a 'Fireball Sunset" is more to your liking. Perhaps you live where you don't ever get to see a proper sunset and would like to experience that feeling each evening in your living room. The bottom line is that Orange #4 just doesn't quite give you that same ease of choice - it has no meaning, and therefore, no memories - 'tis just a color. And without feelings, the process of choosing is just too difficult!

I thought everything would be the same here in DK. I was wrong. We arrived at the paint store only to find that there were no walls of paint chips. There weren't any books full of pictures of what Mango Mango could do for your living room, or what Apricot Dream could do for your kitchen. There was just a dude behind the counter and walls of nondescript buckets of paint. We went to the counter and the dude handed us a fandeck of the NCS color system - 1700+ colors. All without names. All simply labeled with the official NCS color codes.

It's a very mathematical system they've designed; apparently the Swedes are responsible. The color codes look like this: S 3010-G50Y, which I suppose is very helpful if you're trying to match the new carpet you purchased in S 3010-G10Y. Yep, exactly. To start this process, I had a general idea of what I wanted. For my office, I was looking for something in a terracotta type color, and for our living room, I wanted some sort of sage green. So I spun the deck, flipped back and forth, and did my best to make some choices. We left the store with 3 sample bottles of colors related to orange, and 3 samples of colors related to green.

We splashed my office walls with the 3 shades of orange so that I could sit and stare at them for a day and see which appealed to me the most. That plan worked out quite well and I was able to pick 1 of the 3 - woohoo! We splashed the living room with 3 shades of green, and that didn't really go as planned. One was too dark, one was too 1983 and the other was just ugly. Total strike-out. The next day, Ole went back to get the orange I had chosen, and to get 2 more samples of greens. The two new samples were equally horrible, but they also didn't match to the chips I had seen and we were convinced they hadn't been mixed correctly. At this point, I was just so frustrated by the process.

Off to the internet I went, searching for pictures that would speak to me by people who do such things as paint their kitchen and then put it on the web for all to see with the name of the paint. I found a forum at gardenweb full of green painted rooms and I learned that Benjamin Moore's Saybrook Sage seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, if only I could purchase BM paint. But I can't. But... Benjamin Moore happens to be the licensed seller of the NCS paint line within the United States, so I decided that if I could call a BM retailer, he would surely know how Saybook Sage translated to an NCS color code. He didn't, but he did hook me up with a phone number for the Benjamin Moore company's service group and that was my next call. This man was initially not so helpful... "It is BM's policy that we cannot translate our colors to other manufacturers". Ahh, capitalism at it's best. I reverted to my most desperate voice and explained to the man that I was living in Denmark and if I could purchase his product, I most definitely would do so, but unfortunately I cannot and I am desperate to use his company's color, if only I could figure out what it is, but I'm a total wreck and please, oh please, Mr. Benjamin Moore rep, help me out here! It worked. He said they likely have the NCS colors somewhere in his offices and while it wouldn't be exact, he was willing to give it a go and see if he could eyeball the closest color match. He would call me back. Needless to say, I was skeptical that I would hear anything from him and went on to Plan B.

I found a number for an NCS agent in the New Jersey. I called, he answered, he was British. Weird. I went through my whole plea for help again. I explained what Benjamin Moore had told me. The NJ Brit felt my pain and was sure he could help. He took my phone number and said he'd call me back in 10 minutes. Wonder upon wonders, he did. He then presented me with 2 choices: S3010-G40Y and S3010-G50Y. I thanked him profusely, carefully wrote down the numbers and handed them to Ole to go fetch some paint. 5 Minutes later, he called again, this time being more decisive and said go with the 50Y over the 40Y. It sealed the deal. Then, surprise, surprise, while Ole was driving to the paint shop, the Benjamin Moore rep actually called me back with what he had decided would be the closest match. His pick? S3010-G50Y. Woohoo, we were on to something and both reps had chosen the same!

Ole fetched, we splashed, we loved, decision made. Our living room is now Benjamin Moore Saybrook Sage, or NCS S3010-G50Y. You decide which sounds more homey.

I don't yet have any pictures to share of the living room as the room isn't really decorated yet for the new color scheme and I'd rather show off a finished product. However, I will share with you my wonderful new 'hyggelig' office - it's not for everyone, but I happen to love it!

And yes, there is a desk in the office as well, but pictures of desks are boring!

In other news...
Today is treatment day. This is my first of 3 Taxotere (Docetaxel) treatments. I have no idea how it will go or how it will make me feel - we'll have to wait and see. Catch you on the other side of the drip!
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