Marina Harvard’s house is so bright, she’s gotta wear shades.
Harvard and her three children were relaxing at the neighbourhood splash pad last Wednesday while the outside of their Fort Rouge house was being painted when she received a text from her husband.
"It’s REALLY yellow."
She and the kids rolled up to a house so yellow, it was shimmering in the sunlight. The house was already drawing a crowd.
"All I could think was, ‘No. No. That’s not ‘Butter Up; it’s the wrong colour!’" Harvard said Saturday, referring to the name of paint colour she thought she had chosen. "It’s horrible! People have been driving by and pointing. We’re hearing we are the yellowest house in Winnipeg."
Harvard and her husband, who did not want his name used, are first-time homeowners who were looking for a nice light yellow to go with the forest green trim on their house. To save some money, they wanted to keep the green trim but go ‘Butter Up’ on the rest of the house.
Harvard had used the paint company’s app on her phone to pick the colour. She said she didn’t have a colour chip or an identification number. When the contractor showed her samples of several yellows from that collection, she held up her phone and picked the one that she thought looked like Butter Up.
"It looked a little more yellow but still OK. It looked like Butter Up. It turns out that it looked a lot different in the sample than it does on the house!" she said.
Harvard, her husband, daughter Zen, 8; and sons Jayden, 6; and Quinn, 4, are following the old adage, "if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry."
"I couldn’t even sleep the first night. The moon that night was really bright, and it just shined off the paint and into the house," she said. "It was like we were communicating with extra-terrestrials. I feel like if there was a space ship out there that night, they would have thought we were signalling them."
Neighbours have said the yellow glow makes their house interior appear yellow, Harvard said.
"One neighbour said, ‘I don’t know why you’d do this,’ and another one said, ‘Well, if it makes you happy,’ but it doesn’t make me happy," Harvard said, laughing.
Sarah Geerligs, who lives next door with her parents, said she was home that day and watched the paint go on.
"At first, I was thinking the yellow was some kind of base paint. But then, it was, no, wait! That’s the paint!" said Geerligs, 17, adding that her father has jokingly suggested a paint job for their house to offset the yellow.
"My dad is saying that he likes it, and we should paint ours blue so it goes with it."
Harvard said plans to repaint are underway, and they have been warned it may take three coats of the new colour to cover up the neon yellow.
"It’s going to be beige. If we’re lucky," Harvard said.
Harvard said they are grateful the paint company and contractor, which declined to be named, have generously offered to help them out. The paint company said it will sell them the new colour at a discount, and the contractor said it will repaint the house as part of the original price at no additional charge.
She said it’s a buyer-beware story.
"It’s 100 per cent my fault because what I should have done was go down there (to the store), not look online, not use an app and talk to some design experts. They’ve already helped us so much," she said, noting she’s been to the store this time.
"The contractor, offering to repaint the house, that’s so awesome. I can’t ask for more than that."
Ashley works the general assignment beat.
Mike Deal started freelancing for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1997. Three years later, he landed a part-time job as a night photo desk editor.
Updated on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 8:03 PM CDT: Adds photos
June 24, 2019 at 6:31 AM: Fixes typo