So I slog myself over to the paint store (and slog really is the right word) conveniently located just a block from my house and I stagger up to the counter, broken and beaten by the fresh hell that is home renovation and I say to the chipper and fresh faced young man behind the desk:

“I would like some trim paint please.”

The dude regards me with a keen and excited eye. Helping people get paint is obviously very important to him. Having trim paint has become pretty important to me, so we’re simpatico.

“A litre or a bucket?”


“Latex or oil?”


“Semi-gloss or gloss?”



” White please.”

While we had been ticking along at a good clip, the paint guy and I, this is a stopper. He stares at me for a second, like he can hardly believe my choice, and then he says “Which white?”

“White” I say firmly. “Just ordinary white.” I try to make my face an expression that represents the possibility that this will be fast and easy.

The paint guy gives me a look that says he clearly thinks I have no idea about the importance of the decision I am about to make, and asserts loudly “There is no ordinary white. You can’t just have white. You have to choose your white. The whites are all different.”

He begins then, to pull quarts of white paint off of the shelf and line them up in front of me. Presumably they are all different. As he pulls them and puts them down… he names them:

Angel White…

Berkshire White…

Snow White…

Antique White…

The vague headache I have had all day begins to pound. I rub my head and try some yoga breathing. “Dude….I just want white.”

He ignores me and three more cans hit the table.

Decorator White…


Vanilla White…

I want to scream. Plain white! Why are none of these named Plain White? What has happened to the world when a woman can’t just say she wants a freakin’ can of white paint! I take a deep breath and say “Look. I just want white. Simple, straightforward white. White with nothing going on. White with no name. Just white dude. Just put a can of white paint in the bag and ring it up. I’m a woman on the edge. White paint. In the bag. Please. You pick.”

He looks at me like I am refusing to make a life and death decision about a truckload of babies and kittens. He looks at me like I don’t understand anything at all. He looks at me like I don’t get paint and its influence on our happiness as humans. Then he takes a deep breath and says “I can’t pick. How could I pick your white? I mean, I don’t even know your main colour? Is it cool? Warm? Do you have a lot of trim, a little? What’s your colour theme in the house? Which white is your other trim? I can’t possibly just randomly pick a white!”

He resists the urge to tack on what he really wants to say, which is clearly something about how I shouldn’t even be allowed in a paint store because I do not respect paint the way that I should. When he is done, his face is a little red and he looks slightly breathless.

A second sales clerk stands behind him, ready to put down anything that looks like it might come to fisticuffs.

I breath. I think about the last few days. My head throbs. My shoulders ache. The twitch over my eye goes off again. I inhale pink…exhale blue and say:

“Dude. Please put a can of plain, ordinary, no-frills, non-decorator, not antique white paint in the bag and ring it up. Please.”

The guys face gets even redder. He opens his mouth and then closes it again. He inhales. He surveys the spread of Angel White, Berkshire White, Snow White, Antique White, Decorator White, Ultra-White and Vanilla White spread out before him, and there is a terrible pause…a pause where I realize that he can’t do it. These whites matter too much to him. In that same moment he looks at me and he realizes that I’ve got that “I’m so crazy from renovating that I can’t possibly give a flying crap about the whites and if you make me pick I will cry in your store” face on…and it hits us both that we are hopelessly, completely deadlocked….And that’s when it happens.

The clerk standing behind him reaches over, elbows Captain paint shade out of the way, picks up a can of white paint, puts it in the bag, steps bravely forward to stand in front of me, shoulders back, exuding confidence, smiles a disarming smile and says

“That will be $17. 85 please.”

My relief was complete. I took it home, I put it on the trim and I have no idea at all what white it is.


I swear it just looks white to me.

280 thoughts on “White

  1. I wish I were there to lend a hand….everything is going to look lovely when you finish…don’t give up! And the shade of white won’t matter in the long run, after all, it’s not a sweater, it’s just a bedroom!

  2. I’m so terribly sorry that I’m deriving such great pleasure from your renovation woes. That made me laugh until my chest hurt (of course, I have the flu, so that’s not terribly hard).
    I think your white looks just perfect.

  3. Hooo hooo heee hee hee haaa haa haa!!!! I had the EXACT same thing happen when I wanted “white” trim paint for my bathroom! Oh man! What memories. Good times.
    Incidentally. . . I still don’t have trim up in my bathroom. . . what does that tell you?

  4. I went through this last year. On my condo before selling it, AND my new house. Go have a nap and a little drinkie…

  5. I like your trim. =) Not so sure about the yellow though. *wink* Wasn’t that a painting adventure about a year ago? The one you did just before company arrived?

  6. It is a very nice white. And I’m still laughing about “Captain Paintshade.” πŸ™‚

  7. We spent months in my apartment trying to choose a trim color. We finally decided on “Sailor’s Knot” to go well with the two shades of lilac on the walls. We put it on, and notice that it is barely different then the primer and only one shade different (or cleaner, which is probably also true) then the shade we just spend hours painting over. Part of me feels this evil bubble inside of me and thinks about leaving the trim only half painted in the apartment after we move out and see who notices. I feel like writing in the corner: If you notice the change in paint color, leave a message at….
    But for all I know, there are crazy corner readers out there that can actually tell the difference in shades of white and will know that we left it primer white instead of sailor’s knot.

  8. I am going through the same thing, only in my case I am trying to get white yarn to make a shawl for my sister’s wedding. She has ordered a white dress (not winter white, linen, ecru, vanilla or anything else) and to make it even better, lives in another state. I am here looking for a nice lace or fingering yarn that is actually white, and unless I want cotton I am doomed. So the other day I decided that a nice ice blue would work even better. There are a lot of those out there too but at least it doesn’t actually have to match anything!
    Your room is going to be awesome – a candidate for House Beautiful or Archiectural Digest if ever I saw one.
    How is it that you have nearly the same trim design as I have?

  9. It is a very nice white.
    Just make sure to take the can back if you need more the same “color”. Because even with their super secret formula, and even though it is just white, chances are it will look a little different.
    Good Luck!

  10. And a lovely white it is too, petal.
    Is it safe to ask how the wall colour choice went?

  11. I watched my grandmother go through a similar scene 15 years ago for coffee. We had gone in to a trendy, college-town coffee shop and my grandmother asked for a cup of coffee. The clerk asked if she wanted Venezuelan, rainforest, Kenyan, etc. and my grandmother snapped “I just want a cup of plain coffee, plain American coffee!”
    The paint looks beautiful.

  12. At the risk of being contrary, can you picture a knit shop clerk being asked to sell a customer some wool yarn. Any yarn. Weight? Color? Ply? What is it for? I can imagine the dilemma being similar for him/her to that experienced by Captain Paint…poor fella.
    The white selected so carefully for you by helpful man #2 looks perfect, by the way. Good luck finishing the job!

  13. I had a very dear coworker come into my office last month, slap down two paint chips with two colours each on them and say “Which colour do you like better?”
    I stared at the 4 chips in front of me and said, “But they’re all beige.”
    And then I started to laugh at her.

  14. Paint Nazis are an international curse. The last time I was in a paint store was an incident that will live in infamy. It was my second visit of the day and I had 45 minutes to buy the paint, take it home and get to a symphony concert for which I had had tickets for 6 months. I was in line behind a woman who was trying to match a piece of fabric with no less than 13334 colors in it. ALL of the clerks were standing around advising her and no one was available to hand me the can of paint I had had mixed earlier and take my money. I’m sure they’re still talking about me and my tirade–but I got my paint and made it to the concert. I just can’t go back to that store any more and I don’t want to.

  15. I’m surprised you were so shock at someone who has a particular gift about a particular subject. I mean, would YOU walk into a yarn shop and say “I want wool”. Aren’t there, like, a gazillion different variation on that theme. The dude takes pride in his craft, you should give him his props.
    You’re tired, and you should take a break and knit. It’s the new yoga, you know.

  16. Reminds me of the paint store guy I wanted to strangle. Actually, it ahs been almost 10 years and I still could. I was a good 7 months pregnant when I waddled into the paint store on a hot summer day with my 3 year old son in tow to explain to the “man” that I would not have purchased the $500 worth of exterior latex paint yesterday had I know it would all be on sale today. He paused, looked down at my enormous belly and said, “Well, obviously you can’t really think right now.” Between the murder on my eyes and the clear and distinct way I explained the “situation” to him, I was promptly refunded the difference in price. Never to return again. Love your plain old white by the way.

  17. The irony:
    Blog entry – April 2006
    in which the YH is searching for a zipper:
    “You should knit sweaters that are regular colours.”

  18. Stephanie, does that make you a paint muggle?
    I once spent two hours driving the local lumberyard crazy, as I mixed a particular pale beech leaf green (not landlord green, not sage, not hospital green, not lime green, not a cold green at all, not a gloomy green, not a yellow green, not a blue green) that would show off my framed flower prints, and my painstakingly refinished and repainted faux French blue and white furniture, which I’d finished the day before.
    I’d think these guys would prefer paint muggles to my kind: paint crazies who take hours of their time and one drop of pigment after each drying session, and don’t stop until ten minutes before closing.

  19. Very nice trim color. I think you should call it the “white of desperation.”
    Perhaps you can start your own paint line with names like “the white you want for trim” and “this is the wall color”?

  20. Yay for you!
    It took a lot to convince my contractor….but I also am the proud owner of white trim.
    “You mean a creamy white….a little yellow tint.”
    No. White. White-white.
    “It will be pretty contrasty….”
    Yes. It will. It will be….white.

  21. Ya know, when i was in Kindergarten learning colors, no one ever told me there were so many kinds of white. Is this one of those great mysteries of the world that’s only privvy to a few select people? I feel slighted now. Sigh.

  22. Yeah! You go girl!
    And why oh why oh why does it have to be 500 different whites?
    White is white is white is white!
    If you’d wanted another color, you’d’ve had a freaking color chip in your hand.
    Kudos to the clerk who elbowed the jerk out of the way. May he die unhappy in a colorless world.

  23. If you want a break from shades of white, go check out Eunny’s blog…you know I don’t usually gush, but man! (www.eunnyjang.com)

  24. Delurking to say that my husband and I nearly came to blows over the 175 shades of white offered by Benjamin Moore (I am not kidding. Go look at their website). My husband, who is a contractor, was saying smugly “Everyone picks either Antique White, Navajo White, or Atrium White. So just look at those and ignore the other 172 kinds of white.” Whereas I was saying, I’ll pick my own damned white, thank you very much, who are you to say what I want?” Guess what I ended up with?
    Yes. Antique White.

  25. ha ha ha!
    When my parent’s painted our house (oh…12 years ago?), my mom wanted it medium brown with a light yellow trim and a maroon door. After 3 hours in the paint store with a “decor assistant”, my parents now live in a house that is “milk chocolate with lemon ice trim and a cherry cordial door”. No lie. My parents live in a cake.
    White = white = white.
    πŸ™‚ kate

  26. OY! After lots and lots of painting I can say
    “Cloud white, please!” in my sleep.

  27. OMG!! I’ve been looking for that shade of white for, like, forEVER. What do you call it? I must know!!!!

  28. You can’t be the first person to have no idea that there were multiple whites nor why you should care, and from your story, the only reason Captain Paintshade cares is to put on airs of painterly superiority, or perhaps to see how many weekend renovators he can make have aneurisms right there at the paint counter. If he actually was all that with the paints, he would have presented the different whites with “this is a cool white, this is a warm white, and this is a neutral white,” so that even if you didn’t know or care, you could make a decision that appeased him while getting you out the door sans twitch.
    Comfort yourself that, inevitably, Captain Paintshade will one day find his head inserted into the automatic paint-can-shaker machine by a fellow home renovator who has reached the end of their tether just about the time he asks an inane question.

  29. Very nice white you’ve got! Hang in there, you’re almost done, and it’s looking wonderful.

  30. As someone who handles paint myself, I can see exactly where he’s coming from. The color is just plain white, yes, but the hue, the texture, the coverage, the consistency of the paint itself — it really does matter. Just ask anybody who bought plain white and had to paint their trim three times over ’til it was “white enough”. If it’s something you’re gonna have to look at day in and day out, you might as well take a little time to know what you’re getting into. (Sort of like the time I bought glasses that matched the outfit I was wearing great and then realized the next day that they didn’t match anything else in my closet. Awkward.)
    And as someone who knits, I see his point even further. But that’s one I wouldn’t have to explain.

  31. I have had such a similar experience in my paint store — and I got just “normal” white despite the paint guys recommendations, and it looks, just fine!

  32. Blessed be the house of the second paint clerk. May his name shine for all eternity, for removing the stain that was upon White Paint.
    May your house be clean and shining from this day forward, a light unto the great city of Toronto, a monument to the resolve of the mighty Harlot of Yarn.

  33. It’s a lovely white. As an embroiderer, my first instinct would be to use some floss as a reference (although that would have meant a trip back home) and yarn could certainly serve the same purpose. In future, you might bring along a bit of yarn in whatever color you need. The upside of this, of course, is that if you don’t have yarn in the right color, you’ll need to visit the yarn shop before the paint store…

  34. I so feel your pain. That was this summer’s project for the whole house, including redoing a bathroom. Now that house is on the market and we’re in a bigger house. I think I’ll wait until next summer before I tackle the new house. I’ll put in gardens and flower beds this spring and summer and spin and weave this fall and winter. The home remodeling store will have to survive one fiscal year without me propping it up.
    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, at least until I can’t stand the new house’s kitchen for another minute; if I can make it to Memorial Day, I’ll be home free and spend the summer cooking on the gas grill outside. Hang in there Stephanie – you will love it when it’s done and have that quiet satisfaction of doing it yourself, without the headache of having “people” in your space working and the mess they ALWAYS leave.

  35. It’s a lovely white. As an embroiderer, my first instinct would be to use some floss as a reference (although that would have meant a trip back home) and yarn could certainly serve the same purpose. In future, you might bring along a bit of yarn in whatever color you need. The upside of this, of course, is that if you don’t have yarn in the right color, you’ll need to visit the yarn shop before the paint store…
    FWIW, my walls are “Atrium White”. I have no clue what that means.

  36. I can totaly sympathise. I wanted some tylenol. Very simple.. I had a head ache- I wanted tylenol. I asked the guy behind the counter for the tylenol.. ( a fast quick stop type place) He then went into the following: extra strength? caplets or tablets, bottle w/ screw lid or pop off. I looked at him as he continued. The women beside him… a bit older & one who had brains.. rolled her eyes.. I stated… I WANT TYLENOL NOW!. He started again. She pushed him aside. grabbed a bottle of the extra strength- and rang it up.. took my $ and thanked me.. Dropped a nice piece of chocolate in the sack with it. I thanked her and left. As I was leaving he stated.. but she said tylenol.. Some men will never get it.

  37. looks like angel white…wait no maybe decorator white…no, no, it’s gotta be ultra white. Dude.”Who the bleep cares!” Can’t a girl just paint her trim without all the hoop-la? It’s looking fabulous by the way, Joe is a VERY fortunate man. I’m not sure I could do the same for my husband…I am weak I tell you weak. The floors look fantastic. Back breaking work n’ all.

  38. White is white is white, but I do see his point. I guess th best way to explain his consternation would be: what if someone walks into a knitting store and says I want to knit a hat and give me any yarn…

  39. And doesn’t it look fresh and clean? A lovely white….whichever one it is.
    You’re in the home stretch.

  40. But to them, Steph, paint is yarn! And not just any old white would do if you were choosing yarn. Think of it that way.
    Your project is coming along amazingly! Chin up!

  41. I stood in the paint store yesterday, picking out “off-white” for my new office. The color I finally chose – Autumnal Equinox – is a warm white, one I thought would be condusive to “getting work done.” ( I love my job ) When I showed my boss the paint chip, he laughed and said “Couldn’t you have just picked an off-white they already had on the shelf…?” So… you and my boss would get along great, and I would be that guy at the counter, driving you bonkers πŸ˜‰

  42. My dad was a general contractor for a while and had these huge books of paint chip samples. 6″ thick and held together with one giant brad at the top so I could spread them out in a circle like a glorious, overcomplicated color wheel. I would combine colors and dream of the day I could paint my living room chocolate and ecru, the bedroom shades of lavender & teal, the bathroom orange. I still want an orange bathroom.
    All that said, white is the most complicated colo(u)r you can pick. For the record, most apartments use “Navajo white” which is the most awful name ever but at least it’s consistent across the board so when my kid finds my carefully-hidden sharpies I’ll know what to ask for at Sherman-Williams.
    Good on ya for taking on the reno yourself-you deserve a vacation & a spa treatment or three when it’s all done!

  43. Ahh, the pain of paint colors. My brother and his wife spent hours trying to decide between Heritage Antique White and French White. This was one of the greatest crises of building their new home.
    And you know what? They were the exact same color. Just different labels on the can.
    Your room will look beautiful. And I hope Joe knows how much you love him, that you didn’t make him help.

  44. Trust me, Stephanie, after you finish this Herculean cleaning of the stables, you will never regret your Titan efforts. You put so much effort into making complicated and beautiful sweaters and shawls and what not, with this decorating, you are merely focusing on another discipline (granted, one that is a wee bit more aggravating and strenuous). Hang in there! Cowboy up! Tallyho! Soon you’ll be reclining in your bed enjoying the brilliance and wonder of your decorative taste and talents when you will suddenly squeal out with great vigor and lust: “Jees, Joe, we need a new mattress!”

  45. I actually had a friend criticize the color of white that I bought. It was “too white” I should have bought a “white with color”. Dude.

  46. Sanity comes to home improvement. I am so pleased to know you Steph…
    Since you don’t know what color it is named at the paint store, I suggest you name it White,dammit (I think the comma will send Captain Paintshade through the overhead-it’s so worth it-make sure you tell him you absolutely do NOT want the kind without the comma-where’s that Candid Camera crew when you need them?).
    Seriously…looking good-both you and the room…hang in there…you’re almost done…

  47. Oh dear. I completely understand your dilemma. But I suppose, to these guys, it might be a little like walking into WEBs and saying, “Just give me some yarn! You pick!”

  48. So … would naming paint colors be a fun job, or not? I thought it would be, until I realized that I might have to come up with many many names for, um, white. No, thanks. It was tough enough coming up with names for three different kids.
    And you’ve inspired me to consider a bedroom re-do for us, so thanks for sharing your adventures!
    ~ Dar

  49. I could make a fortune! I am going to start selling paint and call it “Plain White”!

  50. I don’t mean to be contrary, but perhaps he feels about his paint the way knitters feel about knitting.
    Perhaps it’s the equivalent of “gimme some yarn, any yarn” or “oh! my mom used to crochet!” (to a knitter)

  51. And it’s a beautiful shade of white too! You know, he would probably think we’re weird for knowing there are so many types of fibre. He would just ask for…GASP…plain yarn, and he’d have no idea that there is no such thing. Poor muggle!

  52. I have plain white trim throught the whole house, I bought it(in a ginormous bucket)when there was only 1 white & it was labelled ceiling or trim so you wouldn’t get them mixed up, & I had to walk a mile uphill both ways to get it, those were the good old days!
    Mark was telling his apprentice the other day about the time I bought Lightfoot tickets & he forgot to show up. Cute kid didn’t understand why I just didn’t call on the cell phone!

  53. Dear, I had the inside of the house painted last year. I wanted my bedroom a browny/pumpkiny color…7 shades of such a description later we ended up with Spiced Pumpkin. Now the trim was a one shot deal…make it blend.

  54. If you go to one of those meglo-hardware stores and bypass the paint mixing counter, they have cans of ‘white’ paint. You may have to choose between gloss and matte finish, though.

  55. Refrigerator white. That’s what you were looking for. I think you got it, too.
    One of these days, we need to do something about the State of the Apartment, but once the gigantic holes in the ceilings and walls from the electrical work (done maybe two years ago now) are patched, I haven’t the slightest clue what to do about paint.
    My mother keeps asking me what colors I’ll use and seriously, she might as well ask me about my personal freshness. That’s how much I want to discuss it out loud.
    I like the color of the gaping holes, how about that?

  56. Ah, but then we have the dreadful “pink-white” snafu at my Mom’s house years ago. Once the white was on the walls, it most definately had a hue of pink to it. I’m sure it was because of the other colors in the room it was against but if you think you are going to cry at the counter, think of the copious weeping that commences when you see a funky color emerge from the “white” paint after it is up and dried.
    No amount of Screech can make it better.
    I would say from the looks of your photo that the sensible clerk saved you and many years of paint-free living lie before you.

  57. I bet $1000,000,000 that if you were knitting the trim you would care which white you were using…

  58. Who’d this guy think he was? Martha Freakin’ Stewart?! Sounds like it was a test of some sort–a test of wills. But then again, maybe he thought he was dealing with someone who would rip into him when she got home and found that the white he recommended wasn’t white enough, or was too white. Maybe he thought he was dealing with Martha Freakin’ Stewart. Don’t let the paint fumes get to you. It looks lovely.

  59. You crack me up!!! Lord have you ever been bringing back memories for me. My best friend and I redid his two-story mission style 1920’s home about 25 years ago and I STILL have the scars!
    We did all of the floor sanding ourselves – which was the worst, most horrible and yet hysterically funny thing we have ever done. Watching Mark’s feet go flying off the ground whilst he held on for dear life on to the monster sander was a sight I will never, ever forget.
    The room looks great. Your hard work and pain and suffering were worth it!

  60. THAT white will look ab-fab with the not-at-all-orange brown that will be on the walls. Truly.
    No bubble bursting here, nuh uh. No ma’am. The only bubbles you should have bursting are the ones that ought to be heaped in your tub at the end of this long week. Or melting out of the icecubes. Both. Definitely both.

  61. In Captain Paintshade’s defense…I read this aloud to my sweetie, who is a artist of many mediums, including paint. He explained that the reason that there are so many shades of white is because TRUE white in paint is impossible. In pigment, white is the absolute lack of any color, and is not physically possible in paint. To be paint, there must be some smidgen of SOME color in it – hence, a bajillion different almost whites.
    Not to say that Captain Paintshade shouldn’t have just sucked it up and picked an arbitrary white for you, to keep you from crying in his store.

  62. I’m glad he finally realized your dilemma and helped you.
    Maybe you should knit him a WHITE cap or something, in gratitude, and perhaps, go visit him when you’re not renovating anything.

  63. Thank Alpaca for the paint rescuer. I was having a breakdown just reading your story, and my home is not covered in reno dust and awaiting trim paint. At least nothing was on fire today (yet).

  64. And that… is why my husband has been waiting years for me to pick out a color to paint my living room!
    I have been glued to your tales this week in awe, all the while thinking… I would never have gotten past moving the furniture out of the room.
    Here’s to plain white!

  65. This might not be a good time to ask, but…um…how long until Joe gets back??
    (The bedroom is looking more amazing all the time!!)

  66. Speaking as a woman who tried to explain all of these variations of white to Kerwyn – who is a very intelligent man – and received nothing but a blank, empty-headed, zombie-like stare back … too frelling funny!!!!
    But it does look … white. Mission Accomplished. Casualties = 0.

  67. This is why alcohol was first made. Drink ! It will all look better afterward. DH and I built our own house. We know! BTW, forget beer, go for the 150 proof rum.

  68. I empathize with little dude. What if you worked in a yarn shop and someone came in asking for “yarn.” Or even, “blue yarn.” And then wanted you to pick. You’d have to know what the project was, what size needles, who it was for, and perhaps even their coloring. I totally understand his dilemma.

  69. I do custom framing for people and you can’t imagine the amount of whites we have to deal with-we have to look at the shade of white and the texture of the mat board. (really white, whisper white, very white, parchment, optic white, and cotton white-to name a few) It can drive person batty. Some people come in to look at framing their work and can practically spend hours looking at everything. Others come in and tell me that they’ll trust my judgment. Luckily, we have a just plain old “white”-I would have gotten you that:0)

  70. Ooh, Elizabeth, zing! The difference is, you don’t usually walk into a yarn store after what seems like years of backbreaking labor, in a state wherein what’s left your brain cannot handle more than one white. I feel your pain(t). The white trim looks lovely.

  71. Jeez. I sure hope it ends up matching your walls, lady. You don’t want to have to DO IT AGAIN. *poke*
    (you know, if you DID knit the trim, it would be “Art” and you could make the big bucks off it. It would have to somehow make the room totally non-functional, though.)

  72. Choosing a white is sort of like making sure that you’ve bought all of your yarn for a project from the same dyelot. You might want to make a note of the color name or number so when you need to touch it at some point in the future (without having to repaint it all) you are assured of a close match. (Ask me how I know…)

  73. I feel your pain. I am currently painting our house and I’ve discovered that our shade of white is “Ostrich Feather.” Who makes this crap up?
    Keep your chin up–the room is looking grand!

  74. Perhaps it would have helped if you had gently explained to him that the other knit-bloggers would not be able to tell the difference between snow white and ultra white once you put the pictures of your painted trim on the internet. I can’t help but think that would have made everything a lot clearer.

  75. So, I’m imagining one of us behind the counter at our local yarn store confronted with a crazed not-apprciative-of-the-beauty-of-the-whole-wide-world-that-is-yarn muggle who keeps saying, “What do you mean WHICH wool? I don’t know! They’re all the same! YOU pick one!” Perhaps you can see Mr. Paint Shade’s pain….

  76. Ahh…the vagaries of color. Don’t forget, you thought the ceiling was white until you actually painted it…white.
    (Wish I lived closer. I love helping friends renovate.)

  77. I’m so loving your daily tales of renovation. It helps me remember that the end product requires momentous decisions, lots of work, pain to the body… Therefore, I’m going to delay any project around my house until absoultely necessary….back to my knitting…

  78. You could have called and I would have told you Decorator White.
    It’s the color of every painted ceiling in NYC and that’s a fact.
    Reminds me of that Nick Lowe song Refrigerator White. So white so white refrigerator white/everything about her is refrigerator white. xox Kay

  79. that’s cos it is white…!
    this is why i refuse to redecorate. it would drive me mad…
    yet if it was yarn and you had to pick the right white… i wonder… *winks*

  80. When we redid our [only; long story] bathroom this summer, we chose a rich medium blue for the walls and a pale ice blue for the ceiling. (We removed a wall and had some ceiling repairs done, so we really did need to paint the ceiling.) Praise be, my DH did all the painting work. But now that the white ceiling is covered with very pale blue paint, butting up against medium blue, it looks…white. Our four year old daughter insists we have to paint it yet. We are trying to keep from strangling her.
    Captain Paintshade. Should be the new title of the post.

  81. OY! After lots and lots of painting I can say
    “Cloud white, please!” in my sleep.

  82. I recently got talked into “Cloud White” when I really wanted “Polar Bear”. Had absolutely nothing to do with colour. I just thought that “Polar Bear” sounded more….I dunno….edgy.

  83. It’s the white of their eyes.
    No matter which white you choose, it will change when you let it play with other colours.
    Again I say pick the best name. My white is Sugar Cookie and I love it.

  84. I blame the education system for incidents like these. Complete lack of logical thought and an inability to function on one’s own. Its like going to a fast food joint and saying, “I want half a dozen chicken nuggets.” And the pimpled cashier says, “You can only get 6 chicken nuggets. We don’t have packs of half a dozen nuggets.”
    I must say it is bizarre that no plain white was available. I don’t shop for paint often, but I do recall containers of white paint sitting on the shelves next to the customizable base paint. Sometimes it can be worth going to Home Depot instead of a specialty paint store when you just want the basics.
    The white looks white to me.

  85. I am loving following the reno…I keep checking back. hmmm, is that a YH body on a ladder w/a paint can resting on the shelf thingy, paint brush in one hand and camera in the other hand. Wow! I would have dropped the camera in the paint by now. Say – has the sock seen the room yet? Love the nice white (that would be a good name…

  86. You are right…. that is just plain white.
    But I felt exactly the same as you when I went to choose the main colour for the walls of our house. I wanted a nice neutral beige (we were selling it and wanted it to be as neutral as possible to apeal to the future buyers)….. apparently there is no such thing as just plain beige paint…. I ended up with “antique linen” – but to me it was beige….
    Good luck with the painting

  87. Steph, the crazier you get, the funnier you get. “…a life and death decision about a truckload of babies and kittens.” You may not know your whites, but your sense of humor is obviously still intact. πŸ™‚

  88. This reminds me of my trip to the hardware store to buy black paint. I had the boy, then “Bob” and then a male customer tell me there was no way I could buy black shiny paint. They drew a blank and two of them scattered when I finally asked “Well, then, how do people paint things black?” The boy gave me some tremclad rust paint and off I went. My dresser looks beautiful!

  89. Once you step back from this experience you will realize that your asking this poor boy for white paint is like a muggle asking us for yarn. To the muggles of the world it’s just yarn. For us, it’s just white paint. WE ARE PAINT MUGGLES.

  90. This reminds me of an incident I witnessed at the cheese counter of my favorite market. A customer clutching a list like a life line asked the cheese man for feta. The cheese man said, Greek or Bulgarian? A look of panic crossed the customer’s face and he said, What’s the difference? Now I know that this man’s wife sent him out with that list and if he brought back the wrong thing he was in serious trouble. I hoped for his sake that he would make the right choice.

  91. I had repainted my apartment after i took the lease over from my mom. My husband and i were in the paint store choosing paint colors. As i was looking through the beige colors, i saw it. The color that was destined to be my bedroom color…Llama. Easily my favorite color of semi-gloss latex paint.

  92. Actually, there *is* plain white paint. Almost all paint starts out white because titanium dioxide (cheap and abundant) is used to make it opaque, and TD is white. Aaaaall the other shades are TD white with colorants added. Next time you need plain white, tell them. “Give me your maximum coverage good trim paint (specifying latex or oil, of course)” and when they take down the can to mix the colorants in so that it matches a paint chip, say, “STOP! Give me what’s in that can. *Now.*” Bet it’s a good enough white. Truuuust me. I watched a show on paint once, which should tell you something about my social life.

  93. Ah yes…I recognized it right away. It’s Snow White.
    Now all you need are the 7 dwarfs to help slap it on the trim.
    My husband recently painted out bathroom using glossy paint. It glowed in the dark. When he went away for 3 days I re-did it. He still hasn’t noticed.

  94. That reminds me of the scene in “Mr Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse” where Myrna Loy explains her colors to the painter!

  95. There is no “white” They all have a stupid name. I learned this when I wanted to paint my bedroom in our first ever home we paid the bank for. I wanted to paint my trim white. They don’t make it. I just left it the way it was and painted the rest of the room green. Easter egg, green as the handy dude that was there fixing all our leaking water things called it.
    Not what I was going for, but still, it was my house, I can paint it when ever color I want. (It would go well with your yellow)
    Paint on sister!

  96. Thank you. I needed that laugh. Sorry that it was at your expense though. My friday only includes kids home from a day off of school, pouring rain, and spring fever.

  97. As a future recommendation (in case you ever catch the doing-anything-ever-for-the-rest-of-your-life bug, pick out your colors or other materials before jumping into a project. You can then approach the problem with a clear head and little stress. No more eye twitches.

  98. As the daughter of someone in that industry — you think you were frustrated? Try being the specialty paint mixer trying to mix a color for someone who doesn’t understand the shade is going to be lighter once applied to the walls.
    And you do know he probably selected the most expensive can, right?

  99. Now what if you’d been the clerk, and the paint had been yarn?
    Thanks for making me laugh – probably added another 15 minutes to my life span.

  100. Next time (assuming there is one), you should grab a ball / skein of yarn out of the stash that is the right color, and then tell them to match it. They will be happy to find the “right” white, and you can knit from the other end while you are waiting.

  101. You’re making progress…trim, then walls, then move everything back in. Again, may I suggest calling in the teen-aged boys? As long as they’re hanging around the ladies, you might as well take advantage!

  102. I recently had this…discussion with my boyfriend.
    Him – ‘Why can’t we paint it the color that comes in the can? Just white? Flat white, it will look good!’
    Me – ‘Because it will look like we painted the walls with primer! It’ll look unfinished! And it will be too white! It has to be a color of white!’
    He bought that, and now we’re painting the walls something called ‘new light’ or whatever. I like the white – he said ‘yes, ma’am’. Ha.

  103. Having been on both sides I can understand. I sold paint for years and I paint professionally as well.
    Its worse when a customer comes in and asks for “off white”. There is just so many and no one wants to pick out the wrong color for themselves let alone for someone else. I feel for you.
    Looks fabulous by the way.
    PS my love says your sanding guys need to be shot.

  104. Our bedroom is painted blue. That’s the color on the can, and it’s fancy paint especially designed for Pacific NW winters, etc. The look on the clerk’s face when I said I wanted “blue” and then showed him the paint chip was priceless. I think the company named the color that just to mess with people.

  105. But you are going to be so in love with what you’re done that you’re going to do it over again, somewhere else. I know that sounds incredibly far from reality right now, but I speak from experience. It must be the same imperative that makes women who already have one child have another one after they forget how much it hurts. Good luck, my dear.

  106. I hope you have sat down and had a glass of white wine by now — because I totally understand where you were but think of it this way — he felt about his white paint like we, or at least I, feel about blue yarn… there are sooo many blues all different and then you get a different dye lot and it is all different again.
    But it sure is a pretty white. And the room will be fabulous — and you are a LOT braver woman than I am!!

  107. After I put a coat of Ceiling White (nice name, huh!)on my twice-primed living room ceiling, and cover two walls with Moody Blues and two walls with Serenity (all four covered once with tinted primer) I plan to make a trip to the hardware store and replace my 28-years-missing trim with some that’s made of PVC and is WHITE all the way through.
    And no one will ever know – ta-DAH! – that I didn’t paint the trim!

  108. It’s not exactly like “any yarn.” After all, you answered all those questions about latex and gloss and all. It’s not like you just wanted any old paint!

  109. As many colors of whites as there are in wools are there colors of paints. The paint manufacturers just name them funny…. The work must have made the artiste in you run and hide.
    I too refinished floors…once. A life needs such an experience, if only to bring one to the understanding of the “back breaking” labor of our hired hands. I am HAPPY to pay them. I am amazed you took on such a project without the faithful Joe. Next time, let him know you will not be able to knit if you cannot sit for more that 5 minutes at a stretch. The arms and fingers need the back!
    Irene in Austin :>)

  110. And this is where the high, high pedestal that you are on trembles just a hair. I cannot believe that you think it doesn’t matter which shade of white needs to go on the trim. After all your careful fussing and experimentation with colour in both your knitting and painting, for you to say that one
    white is the same as another blows my mind.
    Or perhaps your obsessive-compulsiveness does not rival mine. This, too, rocks my world view. I am deeply shaken.

  111. Sears used to make a paint called “Non-Yellowing White.” I loved them for that.
    I refinished a floor once, when I was young and stupid. I did it by myself, with a sander my cheapskate ex said “we” could manage just fine. It, the floor, I mean, didn’t look nearly as nice as yours when I finished, and it wasn’t in nearly as bad shape as yours when I started. (Did that come out right? No, I don’t think so. But anyway, you are doing a fabulous job on the bedroom makeover and I say you go, girl. Have a beer. Have two beers.)

  112. Although I really understand your frustration, the story kind of reminded me of trying to explain to a Muggle the differences between two yarns. I mean, try explaning to a Muggle how STR in the Harlotty colorway is totally different from any yarn/colorway combination. They’ll look at you and say, “It’s yarn. Brown and green yarn.” And then you will say, “That will be $17.85 please.”

  113. I just had my yarn sample cards out last night. Now I’m imagining if I went into a yarn store and said “I’d like some blue sock yarn.”
    Do you get a vacation when this is all over?? πŸ™‚

  114. Captain paint chip does not know the glories of fibers (or fibres, because I know they are equally correct). He does not understand the difference between merino and alpaca and buffalo and camel. He does not know that cotton does not bounce back like wool does. He will never know and never appreciate the difference. He probably wears acrylic socks. His loss.
    We all have different things that are important to us, and he simply does not focus on something that is truly versatile and good for all mankind, he is focused on paint chips. That is his happy corner of the world.

  115. Gotta tell you, be careful with white. I once painted a small spare bedroom “Arctic White.” I really couldn’t go in there without risking snow blindness on sunny days. I repainted it within a week. Something tan. Whew!

  116. You are charmingly devoid of notions of color theory. Having said that, you neeeeeeeeddddd a friendly colorist geek to go paint shopping with you, because there is no such thing as Plain White. And no, I’m not the mom of clerk #1, just a kindred spirit.

  117. Steph.. I know it sucks.. but just think about how lovely it will be when it’s finished, and how much Joe will love it!!

  118. Nice white!
    The shade of white doesn’t matter too much anyways – the reflection of the color the walls will be in later are going to give the white its own shade.
    Great job!

  119. Oh man, this post gave me a twitch. I really hope that he picked the most neutral white possible. (No offense to you or anything. I had to explain to my mom why it would be Unacceptable to leave our cieling indian white instead of whatever greeny white I had picked out because it wouldn’t match. I will be sad if your next post is about how the walls don’t match the trim.) Actualy, I was sort of surprised you didn’t care about the white, given your recent post about your visual arts background.

  120. My father painted every surface in every house we lived in the same color: Candlelight Ivory.
    Any other color just wouldn’t say “home” to me.
    Can’t wait to see this when you’re through.

  121. So I’m at the computer, I start laughing hysterically, and the teenage son, recovering from rotator cuff surgery yesterday and therefore in pain and not feeling wonderful, comes immediately out with a wry, “You’re reading Stephanie again, and no, I don’t want to know!” Kids.
    And it’s a beautiful shade of white, too.

  122. But what if Captain Paint Store (CPS) had – upon hearing of your fibrely, knitterly prowess – come to you and stated “Oh Wonder Woman of Fibre (WWOF), please knit me a pair of woolen wonders to sheathe my feet for they are chilled in this harsh Canadian winter!”
    And you, WWOF, replied “Why yes, fine Captain, I will. But what colourway would you like these made in?”
    And CPS, stricken by the complexity of the question asks “What colourway? How about grey?”
    “Grey?” asks WWOF, dumbfounded by the generalness of his request. “What colourway of grey? Perhaps Misty Mountain Grey, or Flecked Stone Grey or Playful Dolphin Grey or Dragonfly Grey, or Steel Grey or African Grey or..”
    Not fully appreciating the subtle differences between the many grey colourways, and only understanding that his feet were freezing, poor CPS stared as if in a trance at WWOF and mumbled “Grey. Just warm, tenderly warm woollen handmade socks in grey is all that I request!”
    Ahhhh, the complexity of it all πŸ˜‰
    The reno is looking marvelous and I hope you finish soon so as to enjoy a well deserved relaxing time with your knitting!

  123. How about sheep breed whites to add to your selecting pleasure? congratulations – you just invented a new designer white “Plain White”!

  124. ‘Cloud White’ by Benjamin Moore is the best white – E V E R. I think it’s what you’ve got.

  125. Obviously paint is their yarn. May someone spring a dinner with drinks and a hot bubble bath after on you!

  126. Um…
    First let me say, Stephanie, I really think you are the bees knees. Really. I look forward to your blog every day. YOur writing is great and I love the socks. And the first clerk does have something to learn.
    BUT because of the perfidy of paint companies everywhere, there is no plain white these days. And he was right to ask about the color of your walls.
    There is a place in heaven for the second clerk and his expedience.
    I just hope that you are happy with the choice when all is said and done.
    Janet Who Really Doesn’t Like the Navaho White on her Bedroom Walls That Her Husband Chose, “Because Linen White Was Too Pink.”

  127. Um…
    First let me say, Stephanie, I really think you are the bees knees. Really. I look forward to your blog every day. YOur writing is great and I love the socks. And the first clerk does have something to learn.
    BUT because of the perfidy of paint companies everywhere, there is no plain white these days. And he was right to ask about the color of your walls.
    There is a place in heaven for the second clerk and his expedience.
    I just hope that you are happy with the choice when all is said and done.
    Janet Who Really Doesn’t Like the Navaho White on her Bedroom Walls That Her Husband Chose, “Because Linen White Was Too Pink.”

  128. I’m even worse than Captain Paintshade. I picked a color of white, but when we painted it in the hall it was too dark – there is umber in my white. So, I had to have them make it 75% strength. But I used the full strength for the wood paneling in the den because there are tons of windows and the light works better with the vaguely darker shade.
    And then I had to mix Sorcerer and Xavier Blue to get the right turquoise for the bath.
    And the bedroom is Butterfly Bush (yellow) with a quart of white added to tone it down just a tad.
    I do the crazy paint thing. I chalk it up to the art degree. Although it might be the MBA. I can see colors the way there are sounds only dogs can hear.

  129. I am totally sympathetic, having painted both a bedroom and a main bath with LOTS of trim — anyone who’s painted a ceiling knows that all of your sanity vanishes after that adventure, and that when you’re insane, the subtle nuances of white just don’t matter one rip!
    But then again, after hiring a painter who thought 930pm on a Saturday night was a perfectly good time to show up to work on my dining room, I’ll gladly lose my mind painting my own ceilings… at least I know what I’m in for.
    And yes, I did fire the guy.

  130. My boyfriend works in the paint department of Home Depo in Toronto. (He is really an artist, a potter. But must pay the rent somehow!) And he comes home to tell me tales of couples who come in a spend hours trying to decide between colours that often all seem to be white. You are right, it should be simple. but what about yarn colours? Have you not, like myself, spent ages finding the perfect colour or feel of yarn for a project? I know you have! Thanks for the laughs, can’t wait to see the finished room.

  131. I went through this same thing with my HUSBAND when he was painting our son’s room BEIGE. BEIGE BEIGE BEIGE. He kept buying cans of beige and painting a strip on the wall….no, he didn’t like that one….off to get another one. I am telling you, I was about homicidal; and he wonders why I don’t want a gun in the house.

  132. First, I must compliment you on, even rave about, the accuracy and feeling with which you captured the redecorating experience. I live in a 100 year old house, and we are in our 4th year of ‘restoration.’ I was tickled with your ceiling painting entry. You are sooo right about the ceiling painting. Just imagine painting a beaded board ceiling with a brush, three coats–it multiplies the pain geometrically.
    Your floor refinishing entry was great. I’m lucky I didn’t have to do that. I couldn’t have stood the dust and the noise. I’ve been loving these entries, from the electrical nightmare, the careless workers, the beauty of the clean, restored surface, to the humor, frustration and plain craziness.
    HOWEVER, you’ve lost me now. The shade of white is a big decision. You will live with it for years. *sigh*
    OTOH, I understand what you wanted. You needed a base white. That’s the paint before color is added. That’s just plain white, and makes a good trim for any paint color derived from that base. Simple.

  133. I go to a paint place that does sell Plain White. After a few years it turns off-white anyway.

  134. Even trapped in crazy-making reno land you are as witty and readable as all get out. Just don’t try and tile your bathroom, I beg you!!

  135. Well just imagine someone going into a yarn store asking for some plain white trim yarn. Wouldn’t you ask which white and what color the rest of the project is?
    And it is not just latex or oil. Try wool or alpaca or cashmere or cotton or linen or…..
    Okay, I better run away now. Hope I didn’t make the twitch worse.

  136. I know it’s been said before. It bears saying again.
    Imagine walking into a yarn store and asking for white yarn.
    A blend?
    What weight? Novelty? Two-ply? Cabled?
    I feel for that paint dude, and if you weren’t so whipped by home reno I know you would too. Poor Steph.

  137. Although I’ve laughed out loud every day this week at reading your project woes, I am also rethinking my decision to repaint my own bedroom this weekend. Maybe I can live with the beige….

  138. Last year I decided I wanted to paint one wall in my living room a nice lovely warm terra cotta shade. When I went to the store to get paint I realized that the color I had in my head was not on any of the samples. I picked out a dozen or so color samples, came home, taped them all to the wall, six months later they were all still there sans the ones that had already fallen to the floor behind the stereo. I would never ever be able to pick a white, I would have just resorted to tears. By the way, my husband and I have been renovating our home for 10 years. I have been living with the plain unpainted drywall in our office for about six years now. The work we did in the beginning needs redone and college is looming large for our daughter. But it’s home and that’s all that matters. Go Steph. Can’t wait to see the pictures of the finished product.

  139. oh my god – I’m the paint-store-guy!!!! But I won’t talk about it for fear that the twitch will become a seizure…
    hehehe – regardless, it will look very nice when you’re done! πŸ˜€

  140. Guess it’s sort of like going into your local yarn store and asking for white fibre, I’m sure that would cause a bit of a knee jerk reaction from the clerk….lol

  141. Last time I decorated I went with Pearly Gates for the trim. It was the white with the nicest name. Came in matt for the ceiling too.

  142. Okay dudes, even though I don’t know Captain Paintshade’s motivation for sure, and even though I TOTALLY get our Harlot’s frustration, I have to stick up for the clerk at least a little. Imagine this: YOU are the paint dude with a customer saying “YOU PICK–JUST WHITE!” so you pick what you think is a perfectly acceptable shade of Just White but as it turns out, it’s a slightly warm shade of white whereas the customer’s wall and decor are decidedly cool tones and so the Just White looks like Not-Painted-in-20-Years White and the customer comes back and rakes you and your boss over the coals for your incompetence. Your boss then rakes you over the coals some more because it is Store Policy to NOT choose colors for the customer, especially not choose when you’ve got NO FRAME OF REFERENCE, for precisely this reason! Does this sound like the kind of grief you’d be willing to take for minimum wage? Not me! And if you’ve EVER worked a customer service job, you KNOW that it is rare for LOGIC to enter the equation so it wouldn’t have mattered that the customer DEMANDED that YOU choose. If we went in trying to find just the right shade of white and a clerk acted put out by our attention to detail and said “just pick one! it’s WHITE!” we would not take it kindly. Fortunately (sort of & given the circumstances) Stephanie was likely to be REALLY easy to please on this matter. (Give me paint, must paint trim, just want to be done, any shade of white will look better than what’s there now.) But please, let’s not throw too much negative energy at the paint dude. It sucks when you’re trying to do your job RIGHT and people yell at you for it.
    For future reference: when you want an all purpose, generic Just White–ask for BASE White. You know, the white they start with to make all the other pretty colors. At most you might be asked to choose between warm & cool, but if truly BASE white, it will be neutral.
    Harlot darling, you know we are all DYING to know the color you chose for the walls!!

  143. OMGosh. I was in a brand spanking new house today in probably the 2 mil price range and there were white paint chips taped to the fireplace, which, oh by-the-way is already freshly painted white. I thank you for enlightening my clueless self about the importance of the right white. Who knew?
    Chin up, you are nearly finished!

  144. Oh dear. I saw where that was going as soon as you said “white please.”
    Obsession is obsession. You know that. And you know that obsession is normal.
    The problem is when you’re ready to drop from exhaustion, making a decision is overwhelming. (What do you mean you’re out of the shampoo I usually buy and I have to choose a different kind out of the 12 million varieties in front of me?! Aaauugghhhh!!!! This leaves me staring at shampoo bottles for at least 20 minutes!)

  145. I swear that picking the paint color is the hardest choice to make in a remodel. One tip, though: Save some of the paint in a mayonnaise jar that is labeled “plain white trim master bedroom”. That way you can take care of the inevitable vaccuum cleaner and other chips in the paint with no problem. Paint cans are never labelled properly and it gets hard to match the colors — because other trims and baseboards in your house will be painted over time, but with a different white!

  146. I notice that neither Linda nor Ian, who convinced you to paint the ceiling, are in any of the pictures of you while doing it. Weren’t they there to help?!??

  147. You’re having marvelous luck with this renovation, Stephanie. So far you’re getting a “dining out” story at least once a day. I too look forward to the story of your wall color choice. And I wish you a peaceful finish to your renovation with a paucity of bloggable material since I know how stressful it can be at the time.

  148. just a whiter shade of pale, methinks – linen white is the optimum “white” for all house paintings – especially ceilings and trims – trust me!
    but on a totally other topic, and since I know Joe is into music, here’s a shameless plug for my son, Julian, the rock star (or so I think he’s gonna be)who will be in your neck of the woods Sunday eve …
    Venue: Hard Rock Cafe Toronto
    279 Yonge Street ()
    Toronto, ON
    Time: 8pm
    Type: Full Band Show
    Cover: $10
    Age: 19+
    playing with Michael Glabicki (of Rusted Root) and MiG
    if anyone can check him out, please try to do so!
    his website is http://www.julianvelard.com and he’s worth it, even if I do say so myself!!
    just a proud mom, back to trying very hard to finish up the second sleeve of my vintage (2003) VY Oregon cardi in the autumn colorway …
    if this is not appropriate for this website, then please feel free to delete at will –
    thanks, and keep knitting, painting, and rocking on!!

  149. Oops, I think you missed a spot!!!
    I ducking and hiding my face now, lest you poke my eyes out with your knitting needles in your exhausted, crazed condition. πŸ™‚

  150. I’m with the woman who can see colors the way there are sounds only dogs can hear. Crazy Paint Lady. Order color cards from Europe made with natural pigments then try to match their more subtle tints at the local huge home store, since some of the European ingredients are illegal here. Buy several shades of the target color, paint them all on the wall, stare at them for a while, get new samples, repeat process. I have two rooms at present with large areas “swatched” waiting for decisions. It amazes me that no one ever comments on them. And yes, dear Harlot, were it fibre, you would perceive every single nuance. Actually, I’ll bet you do with paint, also. You are just renovation fatigued. BTW, It’s looking really good, beautiful, beautiful floors. So what’s the new wall color?

  151. This seems like a job for the TV show ‘Trading Places’ (the one with Renee). It all sounds too much like work.

  152. HA! Yeah, I’ve had that conversation…only with my husband.
    “Tuxedo or Nantucket?”
    “Tuxedo or Nantucket?”
    “Um, do you mean Toledo or Nantucket? ‘Cause I’d say Nantucket; Ohio is’t really on my list of destinations at the moment and…”
    “No, silly, the color!”
    “Which. White. Paint. Do. You. Want. For. The. Trim?!” {the exasperation of his tone cannot be expressed through the cold medium of the Internet}
    It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t already know which one he wanted. Why he asks my opinion is beyond me. I am as good as color-blind. 50/50 shot, that’s what I’ve got. “Does this white make my hips look big…?”

  153. We all want HARLOT WHITE!!May be shaken but not stirred up too much or it goes slightly over the EDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!.This is a very normal stage of sleep deprivation, DUST, fumes and muscle pain DIYitis. Hang on to the last strand of your rope.

  154. Girl, what are you doing up at 2:27 AM posting? It’s looking good… and it does look white in the photo, but it could just be my monitor… haha

  155. At the risk of provoking your never-ending disdain, I have to say that The Dude was right. However, he could have handled the situation much better. He could have asked what your main color was and then picked out a white that would go with it. I mean, that white and the color will be married for years to come…until you decide to paint again and, at the risk of sounding smug, I don’t think you’ll be doing that any time soon, right? So the white and the color have to be compatible. They have to blend and contrast and bring out the best in each other.
    There. I said it. (And now I’m ducking.)

  156. STOP!!!!!
    You paint the walls first and the trim last!!!
    Oh dear! See, if you paint the trim first then when you paint the walls you will smear paint on the new white trim and you will be so mad at yourself. Trust me….Please. I am just trying to save you some steps, brain cells and paint.
    Darn…hitting send and hoping!!
    But it is a very lovely white

  157. I can’t believe you’re doing this all by yourself–and that you didn’t obsess like I do and have to have everything you need before hand. One trip to the store for me, thank you. I don’t care how close it is.
    HOWEVER–the paint guy was right, and as a knitter, you should know it. Picture putting a bluish white with your bohus instead of a warm white and you’ll know what I mean. I’m typing this right now in a pale yellow room with the WRONG color of white trim. It needs a bright crisp white and it’s got a beigy white and it bugs the hell out of me. I’m just too lazy to move the huge computer cabinet, etc., etc., and paint it.
    Anyway–my hat’s off to you and all your energy–you remind me of my sister-in-law, whom I adore. But when I want to sit and drink and knit, she’s up for a go at “let’s remove the wallpaper to see what the wall looks like.”
    By the way, the other commenter was right–my husband used to supervise builders for a contractor. I’ll bet anything that guy sold you ‘white linen’.

  158. Oh hon, I am sorry. I should have anticipated this when you were showing us Benjamin Moore paint chips. I could have told you to just go ask for a quart (or a litre, since you’re in Canada) of China White, which is about as close to plain old white as you can get.

  159. >standing ovation< You really are an inspiration, you know, between the socks and the Bohus and the reno. That IS white, by the way. Your tale reminded me of a story a friend told me: she had taken a newly-arrived Russian refugee mom to the grocery store to get some staples for her family’s new apartment. They got to the cereal aisle and she almost had a total meltdown. Have you ever really LOOKED at the cereal shelves in the average grocery? THOUSANDS, and then you get to the cooked ones! She’d have been happier if there had been Rice Krispies and corn flakes and that’s it.

  160. Dude, you have no idea. I’m married to that guy. I’m pretty sure we have 3 different whites in the house, and I don’t have a clue what they’re called.

  161. YOU DIDN’T TAPE OFF!!!!! You could’ve finished the bohus in the painting time you’d save by simply taping round the trim before painting!!!
    Oh the inhumanity of it all!!!

  162. Hear hear! I have a gallon of “pure white” (I checked the name) sitting in the bedroom ready to go on the trim. I think it’s actually the base that they use to mix the other colors.

  163. Paint Dudes just make you want to scream. I had a paint guy tell me there was no blue tint in the color gray! I swear, I preferred the primer, at least that was gray. And don’t get me started on gloss – semi-gloss – eggshell. My fav white is G-113. That’s the color number. its a lovely eggshell finish (not too glossy and not flat). Its a nice “off-white” but white… ohhh eye twitch, gotta run…

  164. This made me crack the F up. There is a reason you’re a writer for a living and not a home decorator. It’s this entry. Seriously.

  165. Ok the story was funny….but I am finding the comments hysterical also. Everyone with a painting opinion.
    Here is mine….I painted one entire house inside. This one – I hired out. Best money spent EVER!

  166. Does nobody READ the comments before saying ‘it’s just like buying yarn’ for the 8 millionth time?
    It isn’t, because you knew all the details except for the color of white (and why there’s colors of white just beats me – there weren’t when we painted in Germany!). It’s not like going in and asking for just yarn, it’s like going in and saying, I need worsted weight, wool yarn, for a hat, and I want blue. How hard is that?
    And even if he wasn’t allowed to choose for you, my god how hard is it for him to say, ‘well the most basic one is ___.’
    Honestly. I’ve developed a twitch that could almost give yours a run for its money!

  167. I usually just buy paint that has been marked down because it was mis-mixed. As a result I never have to decipher those silly little color cards or expose my ignorance of paint to the world at large. Besides, I can buy a whole gallon for a mere $5.00. The only problem is that it’s rarely enough to paint more than one wall. As a result we have ecclectic walls. πŸ™‚

  168. If you ever need Plain White Paint again, you can get it at Clement’s Hardware in New Orleans, on Magazine Street. You can go in there and say, “I need plain white paint” and all they will ask you is, “Quart or gallon?” and “Gloss or Semi-Gloss?” and “Bright White or Antique White?”
    In fact, you can also do a book tour stop while you are there. Not at Clement’s Hardware Store, although they do have crochet hooks, sewing needles and some sewing thread there, but at Octavia Books a few blocks away. All your fans won’t fit in the shop, but I bet the folks at the dojo next door would share their space.

  169. Sherry’s right: Ceiling, walls, trim. Now you’re going to have to do your cutting in very carefully and without benefit of liquor and the liquor is so important. :\

  170. A local paint store used to have a sign posted behind the main desk that said, “Any husband choosing colors must have a note from his wife.” Somehow the sign disappeared when the store moved, but, um, I can see that it would need some updating these days. (They were just kidding, of course.)
    Stephanie, your experience reminds me why I have avoided redoing the kitchen, bathroom, and first-floor bedroom for 10 years, ever since I bought this house! Hang in there.

  171. Contractor: What color do you want to paint the kitchen?
    Me: The same white as is in the dining room.
    Contractor: That’s not white.
    Me: Huh?
    It’s “Cool Linen”.
    Ok. Whatever. Paint the kitchen the same color as the dining room.
    Some people are paint — un — extremeists.

  172. When you are finally free from your yarn exhile in the land of the redecorating (I feel your pain… I have a permenant dual citizanship pass to that land) look around for a book titled “The Interior Life” by Katherine Blake. The main character goes through the same self-imposed pain of the paint shop as you… and unfortunitly is NOT rescued by a kindly shop helper.
    By the way? The trim looks great.

  173. I know I’m late to this, and this may make you want to hurt me, but…I am housesitting for my mother-in-law. She has “white” wall paper on the ceiling in our bathroom. It is peeling. I was showering this morning thinking that it would be nice to take it down and paint her ceiling for her, so that it wouldn’t peel anymore.
    and all I could think of was “but which white should i paint it?!?!”

  174. Oh I remember when I had a similar experience at Benjamin Moore 3 yrs ago. I knew the sales guy from when he was little and when I asked for white trim paint I was staggered by the huge, HUGE selection of chips I was presented with. When in the Hell did it get so complicated? I was paralyzed by the belief that I would choose the ‘wrong’ white and everyone who came into our home would know it.
    Whichever paint the guy sold you – it looks fantastic and quite simply…white.

  175. I’m sure in the 200+ (!) comments on white paint, someone else has made the connection between paint and yarn. You’re an artist (textile and otherwise); of course you know that there are different whites, and that some are bright, some are muted, some are warm and some are cold. BUT, is it really something you *need* to overthink. No. Now for a sweater that you’ll be knitting for months and wearing for years- YES. Overthink away! Then, there is no such thing as “plain white”. Right?

  176. Sales clerk #1 ~ is to paint as you are to yarn. This must be what it is like for our dear ones to step into the yarn store and say “I want some yarn for my wife/girlfriend/mother.” Yes, thank the goddess for Sales clerk #2 and all the yarn shop workers who help those looking for simple in the land of subtle. But really, ya gotta feel his pain (maybe after yours has subsided a bit more, I mean).

  177. Not that this will help you at all, but I bet Rowan (and any number of other yarn companies) has at least a dozen different white yarns. Yarndex gives me these:
    eggnog, squirrel, igloo, snowball, bleached (they used that on a couple of different ones), organic, ecru, winter white, nippy, drift, natural, cotton bud, ghost, dessicated, goose, frosty, tusk, white hot, antique, white (original!!), snowman, cream, porridge (and that’s where I got tired)
    I can’t decide which is my favorite, but “squirrel” and “dessicated” are definitely up there. I would also like to have some of whatever they were smoking when they came up with some of those. πŸ˜‰

  178. Hello Master Renovator,
    A lovely white it is. But more importantly, my husband wants to know if he can use the name “Captain Paintshade” in a future humorous speech or story that is already churning in his brain since I read this to him.

  179. Your encounter with the paint store person reminds me of the Dennis Miller obscene rant about wanting coffee flavoured coffee.
    paint good – house good – soon over harlot – take heart

  180. Okay, after all that, I really, really want to know exactly which white you wound up with. Most expedient clerks would have given you the oh-so general Decorator White. However, since you were so loudly calling for a true white, I think the clerk gave you Ultra-White.
    Blame the plague of whites on the Cilux company. It introduced the first explicitly shaded and named whites a few decades ago. I loved them.

  181. I once worked at a paint and wallpaper store. They had not only 7 kinds of white trim paint, but they had a special mixer for custom orders. You could bring in a paint with no label and no color name and if you needed more, they could match it.
    I was never allowed near the machine, only left to flip aimlessly through the stacks and stacks of wallpaper books.

  182. Um, excuse me, but you are an artist.
    you know there are warm tones, and cool tones, and browns, and greys.. and that white isn’t just white.
    you know that if you put a white egg and white white rice and cottage cheese on a white plate and place the plate on fresh snow, that everyone of those whites would be different.
    You know details matter. i understand that at this point, you are tired, and don’t want to deal with some details.. they don’t matter enough.. but well there isn’t just ‘white paint’.
    but i am glad someone relieved you of the responsibilty of chosing. I wouldn’t want to see you arrested for causing a scene in a paint store.. (even if would make good blog material.)

  183. Speaking as someone who is driven practically to pulling out her hair over people who come into my yarn store and say “I just want yarn. Just. Plain. Yarn. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THESE QUESTIONS?! JUST GIVE ME YARN!”, I know this guy’s pain. Substitute the word ‘yarn’ for ‘white’ in the above, and I have had the conversation exactly.

  184. Speaking as someone who is living with a few paint colours I regret, I just went into the local clothing/dry goods emporium to pick out the “right shade” of white yarn for my sweater. I had two to pick from, and they were different, all right. One looked better than the other with my base colour (which I had with me). When I next pick out paint, I am going to take off my glasses, and NOT READ the names on the paint chips. I find I want the paint with the lyrical and fanciful name I like, further confusing the issue.

  185. The SAME thing happened to me. First I got some color cards to bring home and choose the trim color – we have these weird vinyl windows which we can’t paint. Then I went to chose the wall color and it was a nightmare. I had chosen Fresh Linen and thought it would be a hoot to get Soap Suds as kind of a theme, no luck, the base was out of stock. So then much hemming and hawing, this available, no, this, no. Finally got the smarts to ask what was available: Swiss Coffee. I brought it home and the husband has the nerve to say it looks nothing like Swiss Coffee. You could imagine I was in no mood to debate the finer semantics of paint naming. That white will get you every time.

  186. Hmmm, yes – I scanned the comments and didn’t see this (could be wrong though). When I wanted white my dear step son asked for untinted white –
    you know, what they start with when they mix paint. Worked like a charm – it is very, er, umm,

  187. Your level of frustration reminds me of the time I tried to by a large iced coffee at THAT U.S. CHAIN when Jim was in the hospital a few years ago.
    “large iced coffee, please”
    “grande or venti?”
    “Just a large iced coffee, please”
    “you need to say grande or venti”
    “I don’t know, just a large iced coffee please”
    “you need to say grande or venti to make an order”
    I DID start to cry and said
    “my husband’s in the hospital and I just want a large iced coffee please!”
    What a freakin’ mess!
    At least you didn’t cry!
    And the second clerk deserves a hug, the first – an atomic wedgie!

  188. You have so inspired me! I just spent the last 2 days removing wallpaper from the guest bathroom. Easy you say? Once the paper was off, there was ANOTHER layer of tan paper underneath which took soaking and scraping to get to the painted (white) wall underneath! And now I have to choose a paint color……….ARRRGGGHHH

  189. There are different kinds of “right”. The paint guy was right about paint, but not right about customer service. An important principle of customer service is to determine how much the customer cares, and to properly serve that level of interest. I’m a consulting engineer, and some of my customers want to hear all the details of the process, and others just want a finished answer and a key to turn it on with. And if I don’t figure out which, I have an unhappy customer.
    A thing I find interesting is how many people seem unable to realize that their particular obsession is not (and should not be) shared by everyone. It’s like the dentist who always seems to think you should spend two hours a day on your teeth, or all those schoolteachers who each felt that his subject/class was the most important one and each gave you enough homework for all of your classes put together.
    A friend and I have a running joke. When she begins to go on a bit about organic homemade cat food, or homeopathy, or nineteenth-century novels (any of which I am happy to hear about in small doses), I ask her if she wants to hear the entire history of the Jeep (which she is not interested in, even in small doses). And then we can go back to talking about things we’re both interested in.
    The room looks like it will be great. Joe will come home to a very pleasant surprise. Provided, of course, that the color scheme does not wind up having to incorporate the strewn-about bits of some floor guy or paint guy or other tradesman who pushed you over the edge. πŸ˜‰

  190. Stephanie, You now know the real life an interior designer. It’s the hairs standing up on the back of your neck when the client says, “I love blue. You know, that plain shade of blue.” The same with white!!! Shreeek! Don’t get me started!
    Deb in Fl

  191. The only thing that could make me happier than your post today would be if I somehow magically knew where the paint guys blog was.
    Cause you just *KNOW* he was talking all about YOU today.
    love and laughter,

  192. I find it oddly comforting that so some people have had the *same* experience.
    As I was pondering the baffling array of paint chips that were “white” a friend asked if there was a “Samoyed” white? Or an “Aurora” white. Well the Aurora Color was actually brilliant Orange but we did find a “Polar Bear” White. And I took that one. Because I’d be able to remember that I painted the walls in honor of my dogs. And maybe it would camoflage their shedding.
    Its a perfect white.

  193. It sounds like his paint is to him what your fiber is to you! Can you imagine the look on your face if you worked in a yarn shop and someone came in and said, “Dude. I need pink yarn…any pink, just put it in a bag…”
    I’m not sure who I have more sympathy for, you or Paint Dude!

  194. A woman walks into a yarn store and says “I would like some wool please. I don’t care. Any wool.” πŸ˜›

  195. We are so behind in the UK, we only have 1 shade of white trim paint to choose from, unless you go for very posh paint! Also, someone earlier commented that you wouldn’t walk into a yarn store and just ask for wool. I own a yarn store and it happens every day…

  196. Oh, Stephanie. Looks like you need a serious wine and chocolate binge, preferably while soaking in a luxurious bubble bath. I also never knew there were 87 million shades of white until I was helping pick out colors for a friend. As far as paint names go, when I worked in a game store, we sold miniatures and paints. One line had such descriptive names as Blood Red, Snot Green and Skull White.
    As for Captain Paintshade, while I can understand his dilemma, after working retail for over ten years, I can’t abide crappy customer service. I would have been tempted to respond in a less than genial manner. “O.K. I’ll just pick one. You stay right there. I’ll bounce these cans off your thick head and take whichever one lands closest to the register.”
    Good luck with the finishing up. It’s looking great.

  197. Oh ghod, I have been on the wrong side of this very conversation many times, back when I worked as a picture framer. I understand your pain and don’t want to align myself with the paint guy’s crazy, but all of those whites sort of do make a difference. Still, when a customer hasn’t got the energy to pore over hundreds of white choices (who does, really?) you just give them something in the middle.
    Sorry. I’m a dork (and colour is my job).

  198. I have to admit that I was laughing so hard at your description of Captain Paintshade that my family wanted to know what the joke was. Thanks for a good laugh with a familiar twinge of “been there, done that, didn’t go so well”.
    BTW, your white woodwork looks Maaahvelous!

  199. I am always amazed by paint color names, lipsticks and nail polish. I always say I want that job—I envision a bunch of people sitting in a room getting really smashed throwing out all these descriptive words… Ü

  200. Of course, having seen you do this, I now think that I should do some painting…lord knows my son is tired of sleeping in a room that is “pink” (even though it’s a gentle rose shade, and I tell him this without batting an eye or cracking a smile…and that if Pete Rose can live with his last name, he can live with sleeping nestled in that rose-colored room…). My husband will regret this “can-do-it-ness…I’m sure of it!!

  201. Not to side with Captain Paintshade, but I work in a clothing store and get this all the time…”I have a brown skirt at home and I want a top to match it.” There are lots of different browns. “Well, lots of colours go with brown…” “No, I want a top in the same brown.” “Did you bring the skirt with you?” “No.” How am I supposed to know??? That being said, I usually try to steer them in the direction of a contrasting colour…or tell them bring the skirt with them!!

  202. I sympathise. When I painted my place, I wanted off-white. It was miserable. They all looked the same. I settled on a creamy off-white that happened to be named “fuzzy sheep.”

  203. Holy cow. Thank god someone else was there to pick for him! The whatever-white color looks great, as does the rest of the bedroom so far. I’ve gone bridal dress shopping, so I know the pain of “white” never being just white. Good for you, taking a stand against white!

  204. Canadian Tire sells a ‘trim’ paint that only comes in white. Plain old white. We’ve used it on every piece of trim in our old house and are using it as we fix the new house. We hate decisions too.

  205. OK….I think I now understand the joy and sanity of “Trading Spaces” and “While You Were Out.” They have a TON of people to do all the grunt work and pick out some fancy-named WHITE, etc. When you go on those shows, you get to attach cute little beads to lampshades and make pillow cases and paint walls….and you always have a partner helping you. Don’t they always look so happy? That is because they know there is a TEAM behind the scenes, doing most of the difficult work! See, Stephanie, there is a benefit to that…that’s what you needed….a TEAM to help you.
    Good luck as you finish. It looks so beautiful already….just think of that first night, passing out in your bed, and looking up at that (unnamed) WHITE ceiling and think of how much easier it will be to clean that delicious floor! Joe is one lucky guy, and I’m sure he will LOVE what you’ve done.

  206. The trim in my living room is exactly the same shape as yours. Never before have I seen a trim the same. Those little groovey designs are good for collecting dust at my house.
    Jalia in Pueblo, Colorado

  207. Oh, lord, honey. Remind me sometime to tell you about the six minutes of my life after culinary school when I thought I wanted to be a wedding cake designer, and about the job that convinced me that this would not be a good career path for me. (Hint: Southern wedding. Bride and mother want a “pure white” cake, the kind that necessitates the use of Crisco and artificial vanilla. No, the pretty creamy off-white you get from butter and real vanilla is not white enough.) Like Imbrium mentioned about paint, total lack of pigment is not a possibility in icing, either, and you can go bonkers trying to hit the “right” white.
    Of course, now you know I want to have a Paint Muggle t-shirt made for you. πŸ˜‰
    (To Barb in Texas: Your mention of Sears’ Non-Yellowing White made me laugh out loud. It reminds me of a paste food coloring made by Wilton called “No-Taste Red.” At first I thought it was a value judgment, but no, it was a shade of red that didn’t have the foul aftertaste of all the other shades of red. Scary, kids!)

  208. As someone who’s been in the paint industry, I can say that it’s the ultra-picky people that have trained clerks to be that way. When the 1000th customer freaks out because that shade of blue was just a little too blue and then shows you a color exactly like what you gave them and says, “I want that instead”, it tends to send one around the bend, color-wise.
    Whites are even worse. Most of us are simply of the “white is white is white” school, but it’s the crazy people with nothing better to do than worry about acheiving the absolute perfect white that ruin it for everyone.
    It takes most paint clerks about 6 months to a year before they get out of that I-can’t-possibly-choose-for-you mindset. The trick is simply confirming your choice with the customer. Usually I just ask what color everything else is going to be, pick a white that *may* work with that, ask if it looks alright to the customer (which it usually does with those in the exasperating last stages of a remodel), then ring them up and send them on their way. It’s liking making a choice without actually taking the responsibility!

  209. I’m glad the other clerk was there to help! You are a brave sould to take on that much work over just a few days! Do you read ALL of these comments? If so, I need an answer to a question about your floor! Do you like the pine boards? I have my own long and lengthy floor story (posted about briefly with a pic on 2-17), and the latest is that a pine plank floor may be the easiest solution for us. After 3 years, dh and others convinced me not to sand down the existing floor of many types. So it’ll be a new one, and the planks won’t require (so we’re told) installing 3/4 inch plywood first. And check out this ceiling trick… our br needs some attention, but to do it right it needs the ceiling torn down and maybe the wallpaper that has 5 coats of paint too. Needless to say, who wants to do that? It was white, and very dirty. So I sponged some terra cotta and ochre-ish colors over it…good enough. Then I looked up. ICK. So I sponged some very pale blue (I have some paint dyes and was playing around w/ them), and VOILA! The blue looked like fresh white and the dirty white looked peach and the whole thing looks like lace. MAGIC!

  210. It is lovely (wanna come paint…er, play at my house?). Seems like nothing is simple when one is remodeling/renovating. For future reference, you might parallel shades of white paint, with shade of white yarn. Perhaps thinking that way, you will understand the neuroticism of the paint guy πŸ˜‰

  211. We built a house a couple of years ago, and did so from a distance of 2,000 kms. Our property and contractor were here on Manitoulin Island, and we were in Manitoba. Pretty much everything was done by email.
    Anyway, there was a panic at the last minute when we were finally moving in, the truck full of furniture was on its way, and we had company coming to stay as well. Question was: what colour to do the dry wall. We have a lot of pictures, so we said “white”.
    You can guess the rest. Blue-white, taupe-white, cream-white????? The contractor was a good friend and we trusted him with everything else, so we just said: “Rob, we couldn’t care less. Just white-white, please.” And so he did. Problem solved. Maybe there really is a white-white. Who knew?
    Of course, now that we are in, and have our pictures up, the paint store beckons. Maybe just a tinge of blue would set off those woodland prints?
    Somebody restrain me.

  212. Oh my, laughing out loud , just think of ALL the stories you can tell your grandchildren. Lord —YOU won’t need to read from a book !!! Once upon a time your Granmom decided to renovate and paint the bedroom etc etc etc

  213. Okay, I haven’t waded through all jiminy-billion comments in detail so maybe someone else has thought of this. But it finally occurs to me that I know exactly what Steph meant when she said “just plain white.”
    Steph is a painter (the art kind) and she is accustomed to making her own white tones. Most of these start with a big, honking tube called:
    “Titanium white”
    Which is “plain white.”

  214. The dude clearly has the same passion for paint as knitters have for yarn. What if someone came into a yarn store and asked for “just a blue yarn”, not considering the fibre, sheen, preparation, thickness, drape, texture and all the other million things that matter.
    Forgive the paint dude. Sounds like he has the potential to become a fibre enthusiast too.

  215. Haha. But they should have painted samples for you. Then you can see the difference in colors really well. Remember how you thought your ceiling was white and it’s actually taupe? It’s like that. I just know that Angel White looks a bit “softer” and ultra white makes your eyeballs hurt. Vanilla is a little more cream colored antique is a little more yellow I think. ^_^ Yay for paint!

  216. I recognize that trim πŸ™‚ We had it in our former house.
    The best bit is, if you go back, they should be able to look up they ‘white’ you have, and just give you another can.

  217. There is an old movie called “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” starring Cary Grant and Myna Loy. In this movies is a great scene in which Mrs. Blandings (ML) is choosing paint colors with the builder. She goes on and on about yellow, but not bright yellow, more of a butter yellow, like the center of a daffodil, etc.” At the end of the scene the builder says to the painter,”We need yellow”. If you have ever built a house(We’ve done 2-so I know we will be married forever because we didn’t murder each other in the process) it is the perfect scene. Rent the movie!!

  218. Wow! Nice white! Really!! And someone else did mention this, but taping off, although a massive PITA at the outset, would give you loads of knitting / drinking / white appreciation time at the end…
    What I have always wanted to know, is who are the people who name the paints, and how can I get me a job like that??

  219. The white looks good.
    Before you do the walls, use masking tape to tape plastic over the trim. Do this at the same time – or before – you use more masking tape to tape the plastic drop cloth to cover the entire floor. Then do the detail work around the trim edges, then use the roller, probably starting from the bottom and painting up to the top. (I think – it has something to do with the way drips work on paint versus on unpainted wall.)
    When she was in her seventies, my mother decided to lighten the (old drywall) ceiling, but she didn’t paint it – she washed it, standing on wobbly step-ladder.

  220. I once worked in a fabric shop and a customer came in and said she needed enough fabric for curtains. “Okay, there’s a formula for that. How big are your windows?” I said, cheerfully. “Oh, just the regular size” she said. Me, slightly less cheerfully, “Um, there is no regular size, I need t….” “All windows are the same size, just cut me enough fabric for the curtains, you idiot.” I kid you not.
    All my white paint is “Polar Bear White”, of course.

  221. this reminds me of the episode of SATC where carrie paints her apartment and miranda guesses the paint is “ecru” and carrie says it’s “eggshell.” of course mr. big guesses it as eggshell.

  222. There is no plain white because the company that owns the “Plain white” trademark went into a financial tailspin about fifteen years ago. They were bought out by a refinancing firm but no longer sells paint. In fact, it leases widget designs to chinese manufacturers that are going to make those annoying little toys that will fill the $.25 vending machines. Besides, you didn’t really want “plain white,” you wanted “whitewash white.” “Plain white” is closer to “Pale pearl” than it is to white.
    This is the same kind of phenomenon that you will encounter if you ever attempt to put any type of siding on your home. In the siding business, it’s even crazier, of course, because not only do you have as many colors as the paint business but you have the multiplying effect of different siding materials (brick, cement, vinyl, aluminium, clapboard, etc…) and shape (do you want feaux brick or real brick? to you want the Dutchlap or the New Hampshire Premium? What’s the diffeence, well, the dutch laps are 4.5 inches and the New Hampshire is a 4.25 inch lap). Oh, you want blue? Do you want the oxford blue or the Cremeaux Blue. Oh, no, the dutchlap doesn’t come in Cremeaux Blue, I’m sorry. Oh, that’s the only combination that you want? Well, we can get it but I’ll have to send the company a sample and they can get you some custom siding that will… Oh, you write books about yarn, that’s your sole income? You’re not a high powered investment banker? Oh, well, uh, you can’t have the dutchlap in Cremeaux Blue. I’m sorry, it will cost more than your house is worth.

  223. Monte Python has nothing on you Ms Harlot! I read it to my husband who is a Python fan, and even he was impressed.
    You made my day.

  224. It really is amazing how many shades, tones, or whatever the right word of white there are. But I know the problem of too many choices and it is impossible to choose when you’re tired, cranky, exhausted, … The paint guy should have showed you some painted samples – no, not those awful tiny chips, but the large samples that are available, but no one knows about them.
    There is a painting at the Oakland Museum of California called “What is White?” by an artist named Squeak Carnwath. On one side is a grid with hundreds of squares. In the squares are blobs of white paint (blue white, yellow white, grey white, etc). On the other side are script words that go with white – elephant, rage, hot, etc. One day a dad who was chaperoning a group of kids looked at the painting and commented that he was a house painter. He knew about “white.” We just had the outside of the house painted a steel blue grey. We thought we wanted a white that had some blue in it – looked cheesy. Luckily, I can to the conclusion before we’d gone very far. And I could say to the painter that what I wanted was really “white-white.” He knew what to get. Stephanie, the room will look fantastic.

  225. Hey, be nice to the imagine it from his point of view but in a yarnstore. “I would like some yarn” “what kind of yarn?”, “you know, the string kind, you choose” “Oh I can’t choose your yarn for you, what do you want, acrylic, cotton, wool, cashmere, buffalo…etc” I don’t know anything about electrical outlets but I installed a digital thermostat and basically put the wires where the color codes told me. My friend Linda and I are planning to represent Chicago when you’re at FIT.

  226. I feel bad for the poor paint store guy. He’s obviously good at what he does and is highly knowledgeable. While I feel for you, I understand where he’s coming from as well. There *are* a lot of different whites, and yes, they are different. Don’t be too hard on the poor guy.

  227. Having worked in my LYS, let me just say that I’ve been the clerk to hand a person a nice skein of yarn. Just yarn. And some needles. Just needles.
    Whatever Needles work for whatever yarn.

  228. Okay, so as soon as I quit laughing so hard I cried, I read this out loud to my boyfriend (who has a degree in architecture and a minor in sculpture and is my go-to guy for picking out colors that go together). He looked at the final picture and said, without even pausing,”Oh, that’s Vanilla White.” I can’t tell if he’s yanking my chain, or if he’s being serious. Now I’m curious – is he right?

  229. Can I just say that you are inspiring? You have explained exactly how so many of us feel on sooooo many different occasions in such perfect prose! Your use of words is so brilliant and inspiring. I am a Literary/English major who loves to knit and just wants to get on with her life (oh- and did I mention that I am 32?!). I, as many others do, consider your writing to be something which puts into words which I normally cannot. Do you see what I mean? I can’t even put that into words!

  230. That reminds me of a commercial I saw a few years back. It was of a kindergarden teacher giving a lesson in colour to her students, ie. what colour is the grass? they shout “green”! what colour is the sky? “blue”! etc. The part that cracks me up is when she points to her mouth and says “what colour are my teeth” and the kids respond: off-white, beige, and my personal favourite: mother-of-pearl!! That cracks me up every time! (it’s a commercial meant to promote all those whitening toothpastes)

  231. Oh so funny. It’s probably pointless commenting (I’m sure the sentiment that it was “funny” has already been mentioned) but I can’t stop giggling.

  232. Don’t they just do “pure brilliant white” ? It’s the just-give-me-white standard here. And it is exactly what it says on the tin, and costs less than any other paint colour. It’s the staple non-colour of my trim and ceilings, and jolly good it is too.

  233. I’m one of the many who choose the name, not the shade of paint. That said, I think a great many paint companies would do well to cater to that half of the population by instituting clever and witty names for their paints, instead of the standard flowery ones that we all know and love/hate. Example:
    “Desperate House White”
    “Casper The Friendly White”
    “I Don’t Care Which White”
    “That White”
    “Granny’s Ankle White”
    “Not Once Confused With Black White”
    Surely somebody is on this one. Right? Somebody?

  234. nice white
    The other side of my brain says you may want to know which white you have. You know, so you know what to tell the guy if you want more regular white next time.

  235. I love picking out whites. My bathroom has “glamorous white” trim b/c it makes me feel glam. The rest has Snowy Egret white b/c I liked the idea of “snowy” white.
    It looks great!

  236. *snicker*
    As an art major with far too much a fixation on tints and shades, thanks to my dad…I understand the paint guy’s side. I couldn’t pick the white without more info, either.
    My mother, on the other hand, is very much like you in the whole “white is white” thing. I swear my family has had this exact discussion at least twice in the past five years. Reading about it happening elsewhere(aka your life) amused me to no end.
    Glad you like your white, regardless of what “color” it is. It looks great.
    Oh, and your best bet for plain white is to ask for the base/stuff they use to mix colors with- it’s about as “generic white” as you can possibly get.

  237. I know that you know that there truely are a ba-zillion variations on “white”, which to you at that moment didn’t matter, but to the Captain Paintshade MUST matter each and every moment of his working life. Your ability to capture the moment is wonderful and the object of much envy on my part.
    Did you notice if the backup clerk was holding a wooden broom handle?

  238. I need to throw in my 2 cents worth. My walls are painted a funny sort of colour, it’s very neutral but definitely not white. It’s closer to a very very light olive-grey-brown. The name is “white canvas”, and white is something that it definitely isn’t! Beware paint names – it appears they can call it anything they like, white or not!

  239. Seriously, you DO have to admit, that it’s kind of crazy-funny that the woman who wants “Plain White” trim paint, is the very SAME woman who ordered SOCK YARN in many hand-dyed colors including “Monsoon”. Really. Think about it.

  240. Paisley Womble sent me the link to your blog..she felt it was funny in a macabre kind of way. She, unfortunately, got into the middle of a white paint argument between hubby and I. What is it with men and Antique White! If he had had it his way, the whole house would have been in bloody Antique White.
    I insisted on Cotton Tail in the Lounge room and biscuit in the family room. Only Paisley Womble backed hubby in the Antique white stakes. I was about to kiss off my marriage and my friendship with Paisley Womble of nearly ? years (oh bugger – it has been a long time that now I can’t tell you how long we’ve been friends)when I pulled out my negotiating tactic of delaying the decision and plying my hubby with wine before the actual decision is made!
    Now here is the killer – I move from the Lounge room to the family and can’t tell the difference. My husband concedes that the Cotton Tail is nicer than the antique white – but still believes we should have done the guest room in antique white.
    The only consolation in all of this is that we only have the kitchen to finish tiling before this round of renovations is over!

  241. Reno’s are hard, but so is working in the service industry these days. To the clerk the different shades of white are as varied as the blends and weights of wool.
    That said I am highly biased, I work in a paint store and have been yelled at for picking the wrong white or making choices for adults who will later come back and blame me for their slightest dislike of the project.
    keep slogging on Harlot, your project is looking great.
    p.s. I agree with you though, white is white. πŸ˜›

  242. I, too, was astounded by the huge range of whites available. Sherwin-Williams has a white called Nebulous White. I bought it–just cuz of the name. Now I have Nebulous White kitchen cabinets. I’ll enjoy informed all visitors of this fact.

  243. You forgot panda white. I had nightmares about panda white paint. my sister sent me for panda white paint, and I came home with the wrong shade. She made me leave, get back on a bus and ride across town to get her the correct shade of panda white paint….*shuddering* I think I need a nice cup of tea after that. I think I’m having flashbacks……

  244. We just went through the same ordeal. My friend and decorator has been suggesting colors for our kitchen remodel and when it came to the white for the trim I thought I was home free. How many whites can there be? HA! In then end I made her choose; I totally delegated. And you know what? I really like the slightly-yellow-warmer-than-all-the-others white she chose. I guess there is a difference!

  245. I am amazed! Twins! I KNOW a Captain Paintshade with an obsession about “which white?”! I never knew he had a brother who lived in Canada…I mean, it is SO far away from his store in San Diego, California!

  246. Come on now, you know you never could have been that cavalier about white YARN! Give the guy his obsession – it doesn’t involve pointy sticks. Perhaps he’s a pre-convert to the land of Knitting?

  247. It’s unfortunate that your guy didn’t know his stuff better, because there’s probably a really fancy designer colour (white, to the untrained eye) called “Ordinary White”, so subtle that even its designer can’t recall what makes it special. Or you might have had luck had you asked for “Virginity”. I’d bet almost anything it’s a shade of white. I want a job naming paint colours.

Comments are closed.