"DEAR COLOR THERAPY: I love your articles on Apartment Therapy. I have an alcove studio in Manhattan and want to paint the wall in the alcove area a Magenta color from Benjamin Moore. The rest of the apartment is bluish/purplish white, Whisper Violet from Benjamin Moore. I have never used bold colors before. Is that a good idea?"
I haven't been asked for free advice in so long that I was genuinely intrigued, especially at the prospect of turning said question into a column. Here is what I told her…
"I pulled out Whisper Violet, and if you want magenta, try Magenta 2077-10. I've compared it to a few old standbys: Hot Lips 2077-30 suddenly seems too girly; Dark Burgundy 2075-10 seems too similar to Whisper Violet (both are too blue), and Raisin Torte 2083-10 looks drab and incorrectly Old World, though it might be a tad easier to live with for many years. I once painted a whole yoga center Hot Lips, and have seen Racer Pink (Ralph Lauren IB51) used as an accent more than once."
All of this was determined in my own apartment in the time it took to heat up the throne, and the final call was hers. I also sent her links to my column on Bugambilia, and told her that magenta will probably take 4 coats of paint, as those deep tinting bases are transparent. As far as wanting a magenta wall in the first place, I said go for it and don't listen to your friends. It might want one or two strong design elements to support it, especially things from Mexico or India.
I was so anxious to see the result that I went to shoot the final photo myself. Look at this—looks great! She did indeed use Magenta and it's not too bubble gum, not too bright. In fact, that gives me the good idea to start an "ask the Guru" series once a month. What excellent fortune.
I could possibly do two or three more columns like this before the new year. Send a picture and your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. I may get twenty thousand inquiries, so I'll contact you only if I really like your idea.
- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter