Thursday, November 30, 2023

Jade Dragon

On a swatch, it's one thing. in a large room, it's overpowering.


As the husband and I settle, or try to settle, into the house, something has us bamboozled. 

Where are we going to hang the art?

We don't have priceless works, but we have a few that have been in the family forever.  And this house, at 112 years old has an interesting problem - a forty-foot-deep living room that has two big bay windows, two huge arches, a fireplace, and as little wall space as you can imagine.

Honestly, many open floor plans "for today's living" don't even offer that kind of space.  

The walls in the living room were, at one time, Sherwin Williams' Jade Dragon, a color that has darkened over the five or six years since the room was last painted.  What color is Jade Dragon? The same color as Margaret Hamilton's make-up in The Wizard of Oz.

Said living room will be painted a far lighter hue come spring, but in the meantime, we are pulling nails, and patching, which meant, finding the remnants of what was in the can of Jade Dragon in the basement, dry as the desert. 

So I spent an hour and a half at Sherwin Williams today waiting for my turn.  All I needed was a quart of this concoction (I am a Benjamin Moore kind of guy) watching other painters who got there before me, strut around. 

I spent most of the time looking at my paint fan (that quasi booklet of every paint color that Sherwin Williams makes, they give them out if you ask) and trying to decide what color we could paint the living room if I didn't hate dirty Jade Dragon so much. 

Then my mind had a thought: Jade Dragon is a perfect drag name. Not for me, but for someone else. Neither the Husband nor I do drag, still, we have drag names. The Husband's "drag name" is Taffeta Darling, after Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein. 

Mine is decidedly more Shaker: Bubbie VanAken®, an homage to all the Jewish bubbies that lived on Van Aken in the 1960s and 70s, who furnished their houses in Glitzy Louis the XVI furniture. 

Anyway, after the rough trade painters were through, it was my time.  I told Miss Thing at the counter what I needed and his reaction was "Really? Do you really need that color? I mean I never would have thought you were a Jade Dragon type of guy."  I told him that we evidently were in sync, that I wasn't, but that I needed it for touch-ups.

And we talked about colors, and the names of the colors. And what a job it would be. 

"Could never do it," said he. "My names would be too honest for Corporate."

I could see his point.  I mean, one of S-W's biggest selling colors isn't a color at all, it's a shade: Agreeable Gray.  It's not too light, not too saturated. With white woodwork, it's a totally safe bet. 

I told him I would have named it Safe Choice Gray.

"And who wants to go safe when you paint a space?"

Which brought us back to Jade Dragon. 

"This color cries out for bird of paradise wallpaper, with banana leaves."

So I left, a can of paint in hand. The spots have been touched up and are now drying. 

And before you know it, the sun is beginning to set. 

Tomorrow, another adventure. 

But tonight, it's all about covering Jade Dragon up with art.


  1. I want to see that "bird of paradise wallpaper, with banana leaves"!!! Jx

  2. I've always liked Benjamin Moore also, but since Sherwin Williams is headquartered in Cleveland, I might look into giving their paint a try, at least the premium variety. If you see flying monkeys circling your house, you'll know that you matched Margaret Hamilton's* shade perfectly.
    *As I'm sure you know, Hamilton was also from Cleveland, and went to HB.

    1. The Hathaway Brown she went too was down in Hough, before the move to Shaker in the 1920s.

  3. Thank god when the time comes you will be moving towards a more adventurous color than agreeable gray.

    Several years ago I painted my condo SW-7073-Network Gray. I was renting out my condo and my management company said it was time to get rid of my choice of colors that I had painted. My painter and I went back and forth over the sheen of the paint. I wanted a light gloss. I believe they call that Satin/Semi-Gloss. He wanted Flat. Being over a 1,000 miles away I gave in. What a terrible choice. Now that I am back in my condo I will be painting again. The flat was indeed a bad decision. The touch-ups after each tenant is glaringly evident.

    I follow this color designer Maria Killam out of Canada-- She advocates picking wall colors last. Yea, you can do the opposite but it seems harder. Get your couch, pillows, art work and such together and then find a color that blends everything together. Try a moodboard. She stresses to always to put your color swatch in front of a white background. She goes for the big color chips the size of a large tile.

    I just can't wait till the black and white, and gray trend is over. It has gone on far too long. Just like skinny jeans.

    I looked up pictures of Jade Dragon. The picture has kitchen cabinets painted in that color. That might be agreeable BUT a whole wall is another story.

    1. Oh, yeah, paint is always last. Its easy to pick paint, its impossible to find fabric that matches some obtuse paint color.