Friday, 3 April 2020

Fifty Shades of Green

As described in a previous blog entry,  painting the Entrance Hall at Balintore Castle has proven unexpectedly problematic. Here is an update on the saga.

From the remaining evidence, the original wall colour was a very slightly yellow cream. I suspect this was to all intents and purposes the Victorian version of white - whether it had discoloured over the lifetime of the castle is uncertain. Where there has been a particular colour choice in the castle, I have tried to put this back as it was. However, where there was just a neutral colour or evidence of wallpaper, I have taken this as a cue to seek inspiration for a new colour choice.

For the Entrance Hall, a large tin of British Racing Green was duly bought. Despite 5 coats, the paint never once painted true. It somehow defied the lays of physics, and from the one well-mixed tin of paint, various shades of green appeared. The resulting patchy appearance was unacceptable. Gregor was definitely unconvinced by the racing green and I speculated on the possibility of sabotage. :-)

patchy "British Racing Green" paint

Anyhow, the racing green was darker than I had wanted or expected and it had quite a high proportion of black in it. So while I had got to like the effect, when a replacement green was chosen from a different paint company, I went for something lighter and of a more intense green shade. Everyone I showed the colour charts to picked out an "Emerald", as I had myself.  :-) With the builders and my friends on board, the order for two 5 litre tins was placed.

When Greg opened the first tin, a shocking pastel green was revealed, almost a pea green. See the top tin in the photo. When the second tin was opened, a much darker green was revealed. See the bottom tin in the photo. The dark green was lovely and was precisely what I wanted, so I presumed this was the emerald, and I contacted the paint company to send me a replacement tin for the pastel error. The company seemed to be in denial that the colours could be different saying that their mixes were checked against colour charts and I had to photograph labels for them, which revealed the same mixing codes.  Finally, they sent a replacement tin. However, this time the green was a new one matching neither of the previous tins. :-( See the middle tin in the photo. Despair was setting in. The green was between the other two in tint, nearer the darker one, but still distinctly different.

three tins of the same (?!?!?!) "Emerald" paint

I requested yet another replacement tin but the company were reluctant stressing that they could not have made a mistake, yet admitting that the colours in my photograph were very different. Eh? They wanted to collect the tins of paint I had already been sent instead. At this stage I was made to feel like a criminal i.e. cadging extra cans of paint from them. I communicated that my previous purchases from them had perfect colour matching, is an attempt to reinstate my bona fide customer credentials, However, once I agreed to the tin pick-up, the company said they could not pick them up as they were not in their original packaging. Eh? I tried explaining that the packaging was just black plastic shrink wrap, and there was no way this could be recycled but I could wrap in an equivalent manner myself and duck-tape the top. No response on this, but finally they agreed to send a second replacement tin.

Anyhow, the second replacement tin did match the first replacement tin - phew! Presumably by the laws of probability this has to be the true Emerald. The first two tins must have been a momentary hiatus in the mixing shop. The Emerald painted true thankfully. There is still some cutting-in to do with the Emerald as well as some patching-up work, so I cannot say whether the war has been won yet, just the previous battle.

The Emerald shenanigans consumed many evenings of email work and delayed the re-painting of the Entrance Hall by a month.  However, I like the colour very much indeed and cannot wait for the new oak mouldings and skirtings to be installed in the room, as it is the contrast of the rich green and the dark oak that gives the real Baronial pleasure. Colour perception is a very odd thing, as we painted over the British Racing Green with the more vivid Emerald, the racing green turned brown!

correct "Emerald" paint in situ


  1. Hi David, this happens more often than one realises even with bug names. The trick is to not mix two pots on the same wall in case and of course any colour next to the paint colour affects the hue, light of course being another important factor. Love you choice, goos luck hugs from France xo

  2. Whit's fur ye'll no go past ye. Hahaha

    (What's for you, will be yours.)

    1. Thanks. This was one of my Mum's favourite sayings. Not quite sure what this means in terms of the multi-hued entrance hall saga, but I hope it indicates a satisfactory upcoming resolution.

  3. If it is meant to be, so it will be. The paint issue must be quite a challenge, David. Good thing it was sorted out.