Monday, July 08, 2013

evita, get off that balcony

The longer I live in Mexico, the more I realize that some of my earliest impressions were simply mistaken.

Take colors.  If you had asked me how my neighbors use color, I would have responded that there is nothing pastel on the Mexican palette.  My impression was that homes were painted in bright, primary colors.  Tints as broad as a drag queen's gestures.

But I was wrong.  And in that there is a tale.

My house needs a makeover.  Not major cosmetic surgery.  Just the fresh makeup of new paint.

Landlady Christine tells me that it has been eight or nine years since the house was last painted.  That is a good run for paint in our humid, briny environment.  But she was certainly correct.  New paint would spruce up the place.

That was the easy part. The hard part was picking new colors.

Christine and I could not even agree on the shade covering most of the house.  She thought it was mainly orange.  To me, it looked rose with an orange tint.

So, we decided to take a look around the neighborhood to consider the colors used by our neighbors.  Taking into account the current colors -- that might bleed through.

The first thing we noticed is that most houses around here are not painted in bright tints.  They may be bright for the conformist tastes of upper middle class homeowners in Seattle or Edmonton.  But the paint on most Mexican homes is rather subdued -- and, when two colors appear, they are complementary.

There are some that push that theory.  But even the most colorful consist of colors that work together.

One of my favorite movies is Moon Over Parador.  The flag of mythical Parador is white, salmon, and teal.  And I have always liked the combination.  Maybe something like this.

Or the classy combination of yellow, white, and green used by my local eatery -- La Rana.  Amazingly the combination seems to avoid the look of an Oregon Duck souvenir stand.

Even though I am not very partial to purple, this combination works very well here.

Actually, that wall reminds me of a classic federal style house in my former Salem neighborhood.  About ten years ago, the neighbors decided to paint it similar shades.  It was a scandal.  And the owners stuck out the criticism.

Then there was the artist home.  A very nice combination of sandy peach with light green.  Unfortunately, it was too light to avoid our potential bleed-through.

But the place that most struck our fancy was just a block away.  The combination of orange terra cotta and blue highlights was close to the current paint.

I did learn one thing.  Almost every home owned by Mexicans had very pleasant color combinations.

With that information in mind, we looked at paint chips and came up with three nominees.  To me, they look as if they could be the first draft of South Park characters.  But one of those three will be the new makeup donned by Casa Nanaimo.

And there is a winner.  But that will be my little secret for now.

The painting starts on Monday morning.  I suspect you will get a peek before too long.

One thing is true.  I will no longer live in the Casa Rosada.  My Peronist pretensions will no longer find an Andrew Lloyd Webber outlet on my balcony.

But referring to the place as the Cats house does not seem to be an improvement.

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