Choosing colors with your spouse? Start with neutral corners

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we are living in our home while it is being remodeled. This has meant making some adjustments in our daily routine. For example: learning to cook dinner while straddling a piano. That’s because the contents of our home are being shifted from room to room on a daily basis.

It’s a lot like having your home decorated by a feng shui expert with a serious drinking problem. Sure, you may expect to find a detached commode somewhere in the master bathroom. What you don’t expect is for the master bathroom to be in your walk-in closet.

Since early January, each morning has essentially started the same way:

Get out of bed.


Walk toe-first into a piece of furniture.

Nighttime isn’t much better. It has taken me years to learn to sleep walk from our bed to the commode. Now, even if I manage to navigate through our maze of furniture and back without getting a concussion, chances are I won’t remember until morning that the commode was removed two days ago.

In addition to the stress of living in a home that appears to have been the scene of a head-on collision between two cross-continental moving vans, my wife and I have entered into intense negotiations over room colors. This started with a trip to the paint store where we were introduced to even MORE colors my wife and I could disagree on.

For example, there are at least 30 shades of puce in existence.

No one knows why.

Nonetheless, each shade has its own official name, such as “Gastrol Sunset” or “Fermented Beet,” as well as a sample card, which professional painters collect and use in a game similar to “Pokemon.”

The rest of us, meanwhile, take these cards home so we can get a clear idea of how frightening it would be to actually paint a room that color. Through this technique my wife and I selected a bold accent color: “Tainted Guava.”

After taking a sample home and painting a large section of wall with it, we realized there was a color we both agreed looked like vomit. We returned to the store and finally settled on a color I say is “plum,” my wife says is “burgundy,” but which is officially known as “Grape Ulcer.” This card is highly coveted in professional painting circles because the only thing that can stop it is the extremely rare “Satin Pepto” card.

Next came carpeting. I figured the worst was over because there were really only three considerations.

Is it a neutral color?

Is it soft?

Does it resist stains, i.e., contain enough Teflon to send our Labrador across the house like a giant hockey puck?

Once again, things grew complicated. Did we want shag or short? Looped or cropped? Wall to wall carpet or area rug? All I wanted was for it to meet the above criteria and be guaranteed never, at any point, to spontaneously roll up like a burrito.

My wife wanted more. She wanted to scare me. She did this by using terms like “tackless skip,” “antimicrobial,” and “dimensional stability,” which made it sound as if we were

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