Re: Advice Needed: Repainting the community after 12 years in residence
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 12:57:04 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 15, 2010, at 10:58 AM, Kathy Kelly wrote:

 Anyone have any
experience with how they went about figuring out a palette or letting go of
a palette at this stage of coho life?

When we painted we approved a process of residents looking at paint swatches and making a decision about them. The Facilities Team and then the Board approved the process.

I and others got paint chips from the paint store and I sat in the piazza numerous hours tripping people as they went by to have them look at samples. There were three (predictable) groups:

1. Repeat the colors we had
2. Repeat with slight modifications because they were too light
3. Radical change from cool to warm palette.

We ended up with the slight modification choice and got quarts of paint to paint walls. THIS WAS VERY IMPORTANT. The light, etc., changed colors completely. We went thorough 4 whites for the trim before finding one that worked.

There were only a few people who were ready for a complete change. I told them that if they would go with the slight modification, I would strongly support them the next time we painted. In the end, we should have switched because when the painter arrived, he said the ready mixed exterior colors wear like iron and they had good red's and browns, which our color switch people wanted.

If you can use pre-mixed colors, use them. Next time, I think the hardiness will win the day.

I conducted the process but it was not my proposal. Each time I thought we had a choice I posted it on the bulletin board and sent out emails asking people to comment. When I ask for comments, I have at least one other person for people to respond to in case they don't want to tell me what they think. I find this to be a good practice all around.

There were lots of emails and swatches posted and the final colors were also on the walls.

STILL, some people said there had been no consultation and I had acted without consulting. As often happens here, people did not participate in the process but were waiting for the final consensus discussion/ decision in a meeting to say what they thought. They were also all no change people.

But the process did not call for a decision in a meeting. When final colors were to be posted and if no one objected, that was it.

Even people who were on the board and _approved the process_ had not participated and were thus were upset.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the painters were due the next morning and there was no time to change.

I'm not particularly happy with the colors as a final group. I think it looks like palette by committee.

Another process that I didn't hear about until our process was approved, was to hire a color consultant who proposed three sets of colors for the community to choose amongst, with prior consensus that these were the only three sets of options. Choose one.

I think that would have been _much_ less work and perhaps have resulted in a more cohesive palette. We would have been relying on the designer having seen the colors on other buildings and known they worked.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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