Advice Needed: Repainting the community after 12 years
From: Rebecca Reid (
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 07:04:21 -0700 (PDT)

At Pioneer Valley about 10 years ago we had a good and, I think, successful process for repainting all of our houses. We formed a color committee of about 5 people who were passionate about color. The first thing we did was talk to people informally about house colors and get a sense of who cared and who didn't, and what they cared about (fitting in with new England aesthetic, looking similar enough but also distinctive in some way, having a yellow house, etc.). Then as a committee we got hundreds of color samples from the local paint store and created (3? 5? 7?) possible different kinds of "pallets" --one was bright colors, one was New England colors, one was variations on one color and its complement and the like--and put them up in the commonhouse for comments. Most people didn't actually choose one of the pallets as ok, but they tweeked them and there was a definite leaning toward certain colors. We took these and created another pallet. Then we posted this and asked if there was anyone who couldn't live with it or who still had their heart set on a specific color. There ended up to be a few people who didn't see what they wanted--one wanted a dark green but she was the only person who did, and I forget the other two. We talked to these people individually trying to find a way that they could be satisfied. One way that worked was to make it so that people could have any color trim they wanted. One person agreed that one of the colors was close enough. At the end there were 2 or 3 who weren't happy with it. We brought the final pallet to General Meeting and began by apologizing to those people for not being able to find a solution that included them and asking whether we could go forward anyway. I think because they felt truly heard and worked with, no one objected. We ended up with some interesting trim colors. I felt good about the process, and I think people are fairly satisfied with the colors, and they certainly aren't beige! They are light yellow, dark yellow, barn red, greyish blue, soft green, dark brown and something we are calling taupe (dark, greyish, greenish, brownish. . .) Some people used one of these colors for their trim, others chose something completely different. People have painted their doors all sorts of interesting colors. It took a while-several months, because we talked to everyone and kept at it. But it was worth it.
Rebecca Reid
Pioneer Valley
Amherst MA

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