Slowly and then all at once we fell in love with our new home (don’t gag, I’m sure we’ll come across a leaky pipe and the honeymoon will be over soon enough). On a wet and freezing day in September, we first dripped through the front door, marvelled at the high ceilinged living areas and imagined the wood burner roaring. A solid construction with bedrooms down the hall and a sunny yard, we admired the layout and felt comfortable, like it could be a place for us. At a very fast forward, we now find ourselves days out from settlement. I can’t stop smiling about our impending move into our new pad. A place to call our own. Our new adventure. And part of that grin comes from picturing me with a paintbrush. (Warning: if paint is really not your thing, stop reading now. It’s the topic du jour).
I’m a quick start and lack patience. I like to make things happen, now. I also love decorating, moving furniture around, and making a house a home (whoa, slow down Betty Draper!). These powers combined have me dreaming up lists of possible improvements to the property. A nightmare for Maia, who would just like to move in and enjoy it as is for a while. Enter compromise.
All walls sound and strong (thank you, building inspector), we agreed on an interior paint update. However, wallpaper stripping and appropriate roller technique are just the beginning. We are having real issues with the colour. Days, nights, and weeks of Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, emails, test pots, swatches and drawdowns later, we think we are finally decided. But, just how many shades of white are there, you ask? A lot.
Ever scouring the internet, I loved Benjamin Moore’s Simply White and White Dove (the former won BM’s Colour of the Year. Yes, there’s such a thing!). I’m also a sucker for a good name…j’adore.
In high esteem I also held Farrow & Ball’s All White, Ammonite, and Cornforth White. A curated selection always warms my heart, and none more so than the 132 colours of the F&B palette (the Scandi Easy Neutrals in particular).
Reassuringly, designers the world over said some of these were the best whites out (see also here, here and here)! ‘This is it,’ I thought, ‘sign me up’. Delving further, I jammed the keys trying to find New Zealand suppliers of the paint. No tracks or leads. And that spelt the end of my USA and UK born paint hunt.
Next up, I looked at Aalto and Drikolor, both with New Zealand connections. I always loved our family friend, Sally’s, home enhanced by multi pigmented Aalto paint. The colours have a depth and richness that really bring the walls to life. Four weeks post-enquiry though, and I am still waiting to hear back from the consultant in my area.
Then came Drikolor, a new initiative where dry, granulated pigment is stirred by the end user into base paint (see Everyday Needs’ range here). The company’s use of natural materials such as chalk immediately impressed me, quite removed from the vast majority of paint companies that use synthetic liquid. Unfortunately, I could only order a colour chart, not test pots through Drikolor. Not ready to commit on the basis of a swatch alone, I gave in to fatigue, relenting on my boutique and specialist search in favour of tried, true and trusted Resene. Because some things are better simple and, by now, paint was proving to be one of them.
My good friend Karla had recently painted her home and I was suddenly all ears for her advice (quite the stark contrast to a few months prior, when I would have drifted into deep slumber if someone started on The Range Whites and Neutrals list). Karla is expert! We pinned her recommended Resene drawdowns to the wall and waited for a sign. But we only got questions. Is this one a bit pink? A bit cool? A bit too grey? We wanted a white, but not too stark, but not too yellow, more grey, but classy. Kindly, my sister – a talent with all things colour – conducted ‘yes/no’ elimination tests on us. By some stroke of good fortune, we narrowed it down to one colour, coincidentally Karla’s very own choice. The victor? Wan White, an umber white, warmer than grey (neutral tone, LRV 82…).
Our friend Wan goes nicely with wood and concrete. There is also a bonus in that it is part of a suggested palette, which will help us newbs a lot with accent colours. And so, there we think we have it. Wan for the win, the dining area, living room, bedrooms and hall. Half Wan for the ceilings? Wanderful.
If you have any advice, or think we’ve made a terrible decision and instead should have gone Resene Black White (Blackbird did and it looks amazing!), please SHOUT below.