Friday, May 18, 2007

Holding the Spec

What does "Holding the Spec" mean? To a homeowner or designer involved in a painting project, it means insuring that your painter uses the products and brands you specify, unless you've given them written consent they may make changes. When you look at the bid you get from your painter, make sure you are the one determining what paint brand he will use.

We spend a lot of time educating our customers about the different products we provide them. The designers we work with understand the different color systems and what they can expect from them. The homeowner usually just wants the color on the chip. They give it to their painter, expecting to get THAT color. But what if the painter goes down the street and substitutes the color and has it made in a different brand of paint? Is this acceptable?

Would a designer let the drapery maker substitute a different fabric for the curtains? Would the designer let the carpet store change the color or brand of carpet chosen?

Why do we let this happen, just because it's paint?

We witnessed an interesting example of this just this week. Our store designer Richard (on his day off, even!) went out to a distressed client's home because they were concerned that the newly painted walls were not looking like the colors they had worked so hard to choose.

Richard went out to the job to take a look. Guess what? NONE of the colors looked right. Each shade was totally off from the chip. As he walked through the house (because of course, this was an entire house, not just a single room), he noticed that the paint cans weren't from our store. The painter had taken the specified colors and had them matched into a different product.

The customer was not pleased.

The painter had all sorts of arguments for why he did this, and offered to repaint the house - but it would cost the homeowner extra money. So in other words, the painter admitted that the colors weren't the ones specified, but he was trying to put the financial load on the homeowner even though it wasn't remotely their fault.

Luckily, the homeowners pulled out their contract, where it was clearly written down that the painter was going to use the brand THEY had specified (C2 Paint, in case you are wondering). How does this story end? The painter is repainting the entire job in the correct paint on HIS dime, the homeowners get the colors they wanted and maybe the painter learned a lesson about follow-thru and responsibility.

As a side note: C2 colors are very difficult to match accurately using other color systems. This is because of the tint system C2 uses. No other North American brand uses the same system that C2 does - therefore the colors are difficult to replicate. C2 has some high strength pigments in addition to the regular strength pigments. Many C2 colors will look okay when matched under one light source, but totally off under other light conditions. This is most likely what happened to the homeowners that Richard was helping.

So it's easy for us to match other colors because we also have the typical pigments, but difficult for them to match ours. because they don't have the high strength ones. Either that, or the other paint store was just really bad at matching colors!!!

The lesson in all this is that it is up to you to ensure you are getting what you specified - and paid for.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

AACK!!! Did I say...

... that I am looking at using "Element" for my house??? I meant "Enoki" ... big difference in color! Boy, what a shock that would be, eh?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How to Choose an Exterior Paint Color

As I was driving to work this morning, I couldn't help but notice a trail of white paint drizzled on the road, the trail was at least 6 blocks long. Apparently some poor soul's paint can wasn't sealed properly, and it was slowly pouring out of the vehicle unbeknown to the driver. My burning question... Why white paint?

Luckily, the trail was not leading from our parking lot!

If you are planning on repainting the exterior this year, you are probably interested in finding the perfect color scheme for your house. Like a good haircut making you feel like a million bucks, the right exterior colors can make all the difference in how you feel about your house.

When you are looking a colors for the outside, remember they will look vastly different than when standing at the paint rack. If you drive by Daly's during the nicer months, you will always see us hauling people outside to look at color schemes. This is because color looses a lot of it's intensity outside versus inside and we want to see how the color reads in a more accurate manner.

A good rule of thumb is to push yourself a bit and find a color that is deeper/darker on the chip than you want it to look on the house. Since the color is reflecting off into the sky (as opposed to bouncing off a wall for interior colors, thereby increasing the way the color reads) the color looses a lot of definition.

Also, don't forget the roof!

Have you ever driven around different neighborhoods looking at house colors and realized that in many instances, the roof is sticking out like a sore thumb? It's probably because they forgot to take the roof colors into consideration when creating their color scheme. You don't have to make this same mistake.

If your house is surrounded by vast lawns or dense thickets of trees, then you will be getting a lot of reflected green light thrown onto your house, and this will affect how your colors will read. If you don't like the green effect, choose colors with a warm, reddish/orangy cast. Red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel, and will tend to cancel each other out. This doesn't mean you need to paint everything barn red, but just make the "flavor" of the color warm.

In some instances, you may even need to consider the colors schemes of your neighbors homes. If your houses are close together, they may be reflecting upon you. For instance, can you imagine two sage-green houses next to each other, especially if the greens weren't compatible with each other? It might make you feel more sick than serene.

Colors are all about relationships. If you are looking for a body color and two trim colors, remember that the trim colors will influence how sell the body color will read.

Here's a good example of what I mean: My cute neighbors who live across the street choose a body color they thought was a soft sage green. In reality, they realized it was seriously minty when the paint went up. Ack! The beigy trim color they had planned to use with the soft green was going to make the green look sickly (and who wants to spend all this money paying someone to paint the house and then feel heartsick over the colors?). So we rescued the minty green by adding crisp white trim with rich navy accents. The deep navy make the mint green look less intense, and the crisp white gave the whole look a clean cottage feel. Whew. Crisis averted.

They may have avoided some panicky feelings if they had tested their colors out first. I like our new 16 oz samplers, this is enough paint to test the color out on ALL sides of the house. Or I encourage people to use C2's Ultimate Paint Chips. These couldn't be any easier, they are poster-sized chips of real paint. No muss, no fuss. If you are like me, and tend to make colors 25% darker than the chip, or 50% lighter - the Sampler Pots (those 16 oz paint pots) are the next best thing to Fran's Gray Sea Salt Caramels. Any color I want, even custom colors, in a sample pot.

I have had all sorts of chips hanging off the side of my house all winter long, and I think I FINALLY have decided my new color! And it's not one I was even considering before: C2 Paint's "Element" - but at least 25% darker - of course!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This Has Taken Me ALL Day to Figure Out!!

This is Richard, one of our Seattle store designers. He's been kind enough to let me experiment with him on exploring how to make videos.
It has been less than intuitive, to say the least, but I couldn't have done it without a GREAT tutorial by Freevlog. Check it out!
I have sooooooo much to learn...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Philip's New Website is LIVE!!!

Check out my friend's new website, Philip's Perfect Colors. Now, it's not often that you will meet someone who can lay claim to creating perfect colors, but Philip has really done a bang-up job creating a palette that truly works!
One of my favorite features to Philip's site are his personalized stories on how each color was created. It really gives you a sense of Philip's thoroughness, and you can see how much thought goes into crafting a color.

He employs the full-spectrum philosophy when creating his colors. This means that the full range of color pigments are used in making every single paint formulation, giving the colors a rich depth and range. You may remember a post from some months back where I was talking about the "faux-spectrum" color I used on my walls at home... I simply withheld using any black colorant in my formulation. Looks great, by the way!

Black colorant has a new super-villain name: The Dechromatizer (means, kills color)

A true full-spectrum paint color never employs black to tone down colors. Instead complimentary colors are used. A complimentary color is one that is found on the opposite side of the color wheel. Orange is opposite blue, for example. If you mix orange and blue, you get a nice black that actually has a liveliness to it.
I am currently taking an oil painting class (never took it during college...), and I don't even have a tube of black in my paintbox.
I will say, however, that I do LOVE a nice black trim on an exterior when used correctly. To me, when you combine black trim with a putty-green body color you have the makings of a perfect (sorry Philip!) Seattle exterior color combination!