Sunday, July 17, 2011

An open letter to Benjamin Moore: Thanks for making me fat and cranky!

Dear Benny,

Can I call you Benny?  Cool, thanks.  You may not know it but we have quite a relationship.  I knew you were a man whore when I got into this (and to be frank, I've certainly had others as well...) so it's okay with me if you don't remember me and this relationship stays decidedly one-sided.  It's simpler this way.  

Just to let you know, some of our past highlights took place in my bedroom:
This is Wedgewood Grey.  My cat Charlemagne and the ghost of the former owner of my house helped pick out this color.  True story.

And then there's my guest room for hobos and drifters:
Ok, this is an old picture... I swear I have sheets (not that the hobos mind) and the pillows are long gone.  But there is a nice buttah color in the background that I've forgotten the name of...

You even made an appearance in the KITCHEN OF THE MILLENNIUM in Soft Chamois:
Mmmhhhh.... soft and chammy.  

In addition to making my rooms sparkle, I like that you sell at Ace Hardware because that's my preferred store of choice for homey things.  They've seen me so many times on a Sunday morning in my pajamas buying chemical gloves, steel wool, paint brushes, those tiny cans of Pringles you sometimes have at the counter, a shit ton of Holiday decoration and on and on and on...  I have to drive clear across town to get to a big box store and I feel like I have to "put on" and where "real pants" when I go in there.  Judgey assholes.   

You can see I'm a fan, Benny.  I was especially excited when I saw your trend book last year and noticed that we both love the work of Kate MacDowell.
I don't actually know what's in this book because it's $75 billion dollars...
I feel like after all of the good times we've had together I've earned the right to be honest with you.  My living/dining room is currently the color I like to call 'Zombie Pit Stain' green and needs an update before it starts to eat my brains.  Therefore, I'm beginning the process of picking a new paint color and if you don't know what that process looks like let me show you:
No the flowers aren't for you, they're for me.
It's like a color bomb went off on my coffee table.  Painting is fun but you make choosing a color (something I squee hard for) a fucking nightmare that is in no way related to my inability to make a quick and definite decision.  

You have custom pints I can buy for like $27 each and I go through on average about eleventeen of those each room so that's not really an economical option.  I could buy the tiny pre-made samples which are cheaper but you only have about 7 colors and I think we've JUST discussed how I need dozens of options to pick from.  Needless to say I squeed my panties when I found out you had giant super swatches but cried like I was on an episode of Celebrity Rehab when I realized there were only about 30 colors offered.  WTF??

My color picking process is this: I buy some tiny pre-made samples, whatever the closest giant swatch is and use those in conjunction with whatever custom pints I have at home (from you, Benny, or even someone else I have laying around the house) and then use ancient astronomy methods to triangulate the closest color I think I will need.  I'm looking for something less Herpes peach than Manchester Tan but not quite as heartless as November Rain... 

I won't cut up my fandecks so once I have a better idea of where I'm going, I STILL go and grab the paper swatches from Ace and cut them up into giant confetti-like squares and reorganize them to fit on the nautical chart I just made.  What's the GPS coordinate of the most awesome color imaginable for my living room?  It's either Silver Satin or in the Bermuda Triangle of the rainbow...  Or maybe Balboa Mist is what I need but it might be even more filthy whore than November Rain...???  FUCKING HELP ME!!!  

I have to narrow it down to my top 2-3 guesses from the paper swatches before I go spend a jizzillion dollars on your custom pints again.  Then I just go home and make my own super swatches on scrap pieces of cardboard laying around the house.  Ooops, looks like Balboa Mist WAS indeed too whorey.  Now I have to add my failures findings to the color map and triangulate the newest position on the rainbow yet again.  Shit, I could find the Red October before I could find a paint color I like.

The pressure is so intense I usually resort to shame eating to soothe my nerves.  Thanks a lot, Benny.  I still don't have a color picked out AND I can't even wear my real pants anymore because they don't fit!  Yet another win for Ace and my leggings, though.

NOBODY tests out purple and teal, Benny.  WTF?
You know, all this sounds batshit crazy even to me and I have a pretty high tolerance for neurotic.  You need to get on this IMMEDIATELY!  The super swatch is seriously the way to go.  I understand that you offer your most popular shades in the store but you can't even offer the rest on the internet to purchase?  SURELY this is less expensive than all the dumb little tiny samples on that ancient rack in the store.  I know no one buys them but me because they always have that dried pudding skim on top when I open them letting me know they've been there for years.  YEARS.  I will gladly pay for the super swatches and then keep them filed neatly in my color library.  Less mess AND they could fit in a 3-ring binder.  Hell, I'll loan them out to friends!  This saves you money, packaging and makes my life infinitely easier.  And thinner.

People will tell me to go to Sherwin Williams or Farrow & Ball but I think we both know that the SW range of colors is boring as hell and I'll just use the fandeck from F&B and have you match the color because there's no way I'm paying for their paint.  I probably won't even pay for their fandeck either and just try to steal it from a designer.  OR if you're gonna be a bitch about it I'll take that F&B color and have SW match it because their paint containers have that little handle on them and that totally trumps your stupid can.  I bet they have big swatches I can order from the internet too...  Your move.

Now, you need to start making some super swatches and I have to go clean off my coffee table and put up all of those tiny swatches and samples and tiny cans and confetti collages and home-crafted super swatches into the storage room I've devoted to paint.  It's next to the hobo guest room.

Yours in fabulosity,

Madame Sunday

(Update post script: so it looks like you might (?) be able to order swatches even though they don't tell homeowners about it on their website, a google search reveals nothing and my Ace told me no such thing existed.  So either way it's a website fail and - sadly- an Ace Hardware fail.  Rant still partially applicable. I still might steal a F&B fandeck...)

(Update post POST script: so I feel like a criminal but I set up a fake company name - although I do have ModernSauce business cards so I guess it's not that much of a stretch - and gave my order a fake project name and ordered samples.  That were FREE!  I feel a bit guilty but this is what you drove me to do, Benny!  A life of psuedo-crime.  For paint swatches.)


  1. You need their color sheets which are offered to architects and designers:

  2. Exactly. And it should be pretty easy to sell them to people who AREN'T architects and designers. Thanks, Raina.

  3. Raina beat me to it. I was going to say the same exact thing.

  4. Honestly, I didn't think us non-designer people could order them since they website is split into two separate areas and they are not available in the "average folk" section. Now I have to go register my fake ModernSauce business account and order some swatches I guess!

  5. I think we live parallel lives. I have a collage o' color going on in my hallway. On most days, I lean toward glossy inky navy. Sometimes I think plummy purple is best. Damn. Can't. Make. A. Decision. Glad to know of those big sheets.

  6. Story of my life. I have a deep plum/chocolate hallway btw and love it! While I'm asking for the moon, I think BM should make the large super swatches with a small sample of each type of paint on the edges so you know what each finish would look like. I'm a genius.

  7. Surely the gold, purple, and teal SW picture is to paint a Mardi Gras float...otherwise my brain cannot deal with it (implode!).

  8. I just use white.
    Architect's don't have these problems

  9. Architects are so lucky with their lives free of angst and crankiness.

  10. Your fake business account idea is the way to go, in my opinion. Before I operated my own business, I did that a lot.

    Hopefully your recent internet discoveries, or deceptions : ) will help alleviate the crankiness : )


  11. I did it. Fake business account. Feel a little bad but not bad enough to not get free swatches. Hell, do they know the kind of free publicity this blog post just gave them?! They should be thanking ME! I do feel a bit less cranky now... ; )

  12. hahaha oy vey. Well I'm glad it all worked out! Still stupid they don't sell the mini premixed jars online. BM has the best colors! true story!

    I effing hate picking out colors.

  13. I think I'm the only idiot who didn't know you could order swatches like that... oh well! I don't hate picking colors I hate the DECISION part about picking colors. I could spend forever in paint chip land but then I remember that other people have to look at my walls. My friends are so high maintenance.