Proper paint choice takes time

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 4/12/19

There are things — death and taxes are the two most mentioned — we can’t change.

And there are other things — the color of a front door is one — that we can.

Compared to death and …

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Proper paint choice takes time

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There are things — death and taxes are the two most mentioned — we can’t change.

And there are other things — the color of a front door is one — that we can.

Compared to death and taxes, the color we choose for our front door is a small matter. But considering it’s a choice we has to live with for a while and not only that, neighbors must live with it, too, it’s a decision of some importance.

It is, after all, the first impression our home makes and it’s the choice we have to return to day after day.

The importance, relatively speaking, of a front door’s appearance may explain the many attempts over the years we’ve made to get our front door’s color just so.

When our house was brand new, the front door was white. It came that way and we liked it well enough not to change it for the first couple of years.

Over time, we fancied up the door with some accoutrements, including a knocker — nothing too ostentatious; just a modest brass piece, though certainly more for show than functionality — and sometime after that we installed a “peep hole,” also mostly for show since it’s just as easy for us to glance through the front window to see who’s ringing the bell than squint through a small opening for a fish-eye image.

A couple of years later, we found a brass “kick plate” on the bargain aisle of the hardware store, and it was a price we couldn’t walk past, even though we had never, and still haven’t, ever had a need to kick our front door.

But like the knocker and the peep hole, the kick plate sort of ties things together.

Or would tie things together if we could zero in on a color we truly love and want to live with for more than a year or two.

We’ve made some bold choices in our effort to home in on perfection.

For the past couple of years, our door has been red. In principle, I like a red door, but there are distinct differences between the color on a paint sample card at the store and the actual color when applied to a front door, and the red we chose never quite matched the red I’d envisioned in my mind.

Prior to red, the door was green. Before that, black. I’m sure I’m forgetting at least one or two colors along the way. I know we tried, a long time ago, to strip it entirely of paint and apply a stain so we could enjoy the natural wood grain, but the attempt to strip paint was a messy chemical fiasco and after wasting a weekend in the effort we ended up slapping another coat of white on it instead.

At the rate we’ve addressed the door’s color, you’d think we enjoy that sort of work.

Over the weekend, we made our boldest choice yet: yellow.

The new color is less than 24 hours old, so I haven’t had a chance to fully evaluate how I feel about it.

But it’s safe to say that, at this early stage, I haven’t fully warmed to our choice.

On paper, it seemed right. Just the right light touch for spring, a fresh new appearance for a fresh new season. And there are countless examples of lovely yellow front doors on Pinterest, so yellow, in and of itself, isn’t an absurd color to paint a door.

But our yellow, rather than appearing mild and majestic like some of those classy examples on Pinterest, calls to mind — mine, at least — the identical yellow of the classic “smiley face.” And that’s not the look I had in mind when we were standing before all those color cards at Lowe’s.

Painting a door, though it’s a relatively small piece of real estate, isn’t an easy job. First, we had to remove all those fancy improvements we’ve added over the years, before we could paint. And then there’s a lot of grooves to get into. It’s not a quick job.

The first coat left us less than impressed, some of the previous red bleeding through. But resolved to see our choice through, we reserved judgment until the job was completed.

A second coat two hours later vastly improved the situation and, after waiting a couple more hours for the second coat to dry, we returned the knocker and the kick plate (and the door knob itself, which we’d removed for painting) back to their rightful places and, happy to have the job finished, walked to the street to admire our work.

How admirable it is remains to be seen.

I don’t love it. I also don’t hate it.

When it’s not making me think of a smiley face, or a toy rubber duck perhaps, it does tie in, I admit, with the spring/Easter season. But are Easter eggs a good source of inspiration for a front door?

This may end up being our shortest-lived choice yet. Or it may grow on us.

Either way, if there’s a lesson we’ve learned from our front door-painting experiences, it’s that no paint choice has to be permanent. And there are lots more colors we can choose, should this one prove to be one we can’t live with.

Mauve, perhaps? Or teal? There are so many paint cards to study.

We’ve only begun, I’m afraid, to crack — or paint — the surface.


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