I had pulled up to Anthony’s house around this time last year, notebook in hand. The task of the day was to talk to Anthony about paint colors for his home. Drywall was almost finished and the volunteers would be moving onto painting within the next few weeks so choosing paint colors would be of paramount importance.
Anthony is 87, although you would never guess it; he’s as sharp as a tack. He has opinions and is well read about everything from the Fair Tax to Obama. So I was certain he would have opinions about what color he would want to paint his house. As usual, Anthony was inside chatting with the week’s volunteers. Anthony spends most of his days inside with the volunteers. While he isn’t able to actually participate in any of the ensuing tasks, he has plenty of energy to chat and tell story upon story. And the volunteers love it. This particular day was no different.
After cornering Anthony, I begin by asking him if he’s had any thoughts about painting. “Well, actually I have been thinking…” Anthony has owned his house since 1955. He proceeds to tell me that in the 50+ of his living there, he has never painted over the original color, which was described as “funeral gray”. “I’d like to do something a little more cheerful.” When asked what colors he found cheerful: “Well, now don’t think I’m crazy, but I just keep coming back to pink.” Pink. Huh. Not what I was expecting from an 87 year old man.
My color theory from college came rushing back. Pink can be a pretty overwhelming color. It actually can be an agitator. And to top it off, we had already chosen the cabinet and floor color which was going to be oak. Oak and pink don’t really mesh. Does anything mesh with pink? Luckily, Anthony had also mentioned that perhaps orange could be a good second choice. So off to Home Depot I go to find some paint samples.
A few days later finds me back at Anthony’s house. I’ve gotten several samples for him to choose from. I have successfully talked him out of painting the entire house pink. We choose an orange for the main space, green and blue for the bedrooms, all in very bold, yet cheerful, hues. The bathroom has yet to be chosen. Anthony doesn’t seem too excited about any suggestions. Finally I ask him, “Anthony, if you could paint it any color, what would it be?” “How about pink?!”
Back to Home Depot. I return with every sample of pink they have. It takes Anthony all of 25 seconds to choose the most bold, intense pink in the lot. Some may call it Pepto Bismal. Heck, the man’s 87. If he wants a pink bathroom, he’s going to get a pink bathroom.
A couple weeks later, painting ensues. Day 4 the team has moved onto the bathroom. Pepto Bismal Pink is going up. Anthony is making his daily check-in on the process. He walks into the bathroom, looks around and exclaims “Now that’s the cat’s meow!” The color is a success.
Anthony now has, by far, the most colorful house we have completed. If it is anything, it’s cheerful and bright. And almost everyone who visits finds the pink bathroom the highlight.