When it comes to decorating, there is no such thing as a simple white. I didn’t understand that when my husband and I began renovating an old dairy factory in Upstate New York. I learned it the hard way.
During the past year we’ve added a small second story and redone the walls, floors, kitchen and bathrooms. On the last, I made my mistake.
As the designer on the project, I was responsible for choosing materials such as wood, marble and tile. When the contractor told me he needed my specs for the master bathroom right away, I rushed to a showroom to make the selections.
I wanted the master bathroom to be special. I chose a 3-by-6-inch handmade ceramic Field Tile in Dover White.
In the showroom, it looked great next to a sample of my sparkling Calacatta marble, which I chose to surround the bottom of the shower and for the sink countertops. Everything seemed to be going fine.
But when I showed up at the project to find the tiles installed, I was surprised to see a creamy tone that seemed almost dingy next to the bright white of the marble. The tiles were not white enough to be a good match.
Where did I go wrong? I compared the tile and the marble only under the glow of fluorescent showroom lighting, which doesn’t show anything accurately.
Paint is the easiest, least expensive way to transform a room or, in my case, correct a mistake. I decided to paint the walls a shade of white that would visually marry the creamy tint of my tiles with the crisp tone of my marble.
Finding the right shade wasn’t easy. I ended up using Pratt and Lambert’s Seed Pearl, which, as the name suggests, is multidimensional, like a pearl’s surface. So with walls painted and marble and tile installed, it all looks like it was meant to be.
Best of all, my almost $3,000 mistake was fixed by a $25 gallon of paint.
Elizabeth Mayhew is the author of “Flip! for Decorating.”
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