Picking the right colors for a 1928 Tudor-style home can be trickier than finding the right doctor. In this photo, taken after we shaved the ivy, you can see the dirty pink chimney color choice of the previous owners.Two years ago, I became an official member of the "cancer club." We're a tight-knit group with our own secret language and handshakes.
But I've just discovered that I'm a member of an even more exclusive group. And, no, this has nothing to do with those whacky EOS counts or the even more obscure cutis laxa. I'm a member of the Tudor-style home paint club.
Two weeks ago, I got long overdue quotes to have the exterior of our house painted. I swore that I would not go through the same agonizing process that I did ten years ago - collecting color swatches from seven major paint stores, purchasing at least a dozen quarts of paint, trying 36 color combinations, asking for input from a half dozen friends and color experts and, ultimately, making the wrong decision.
This time, I decided to play the game of color copy cat in Pasadena and San Marino. If I found a Tudor paint scheme that pleased me, I got out of the car and approached the owner.
At the first house, a friendly gentleman with a pick axe was doing yard work. When I asked about the paint colors, he said that his wife was the expert, poked his head into the front door and yelled up for her. "Donna, you've got to come down right now," he screamed up to the second story. His frazzled bride came running down, afraid that disaster had struck.
I introduced myself, and we had an animated ten-minute chat about the Tudor's soft paint color palette. I asked if she minded if I snapped a few photos, clicked away and then hopped into my energy-efficient car. As I drove away, she pointed to her own Prius in the driveway and yelled out, "We have good taste!"
I was off to the estate area of San Marino, "north of the Drive," near Huntington Botanical Gardens, where I'd admired another Tudor color scheme in kinder, gentler tones than our dark, traditional home. The house keeper answered the door and told me that she would ask "Mr. Harry" to call. I left my phone number and my town, Altadena, because I didn't want him to think that a nearby home was trying to duplicate his look. "I'll never hear from him," I thought, but two hours later I received a call from the Lord of the Manor.
What is there about paint colors that make me bold, able to approach any house in any neighborhood, confident that I'll receive the answers I crave? What makes the owners so eager to spill their color guts to a stranger? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that our house is going to be the "mini-me" of a San Marino estate home.
Cancer Banter began nearly two years ago on February 27, 2007, and this is my 500th post. Never mind that at least 50 of those have been pleas to read my Open Mouth, Insert Fork blog. If you've been a Cancer Banter lurker, this would be a good excuse for you to come out of hiding and leave a comment.