Joanne Palmer: Are you a Quart Queen? |

Joanne Palmer: Are you a Quart Queen?

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— If you have more than three quarts of paint in your garage, dust off your tiara and get ready to preside over your kingdom!

Few things in life are more confusing than choosing a paint color. Looking at a postage-stamp-sized paint chip in the store is an exercise in futility. Buying a quart of it to take home will be the start of your reign as a Quart Queen. Once you try it on the wall, it will look nothing like the paint chip in the store. So you will be forced to go back and get another quart, which will look worse. So you dutifully will head back to the store, and the cycle will repeat and repeat and repeat until you throw your tiara at the wall and scream, "Let them eat paint!"

At this point, your loyal subjects will hightail it out of the house for fear of being beheaded. You will be alone in your castle with nothing but your corgi for company. There will be little to do but stare at an entire wall splotched and splashed with colors of paint.

It's only going to get worse.

Faced with dwindling sales, paint manufacturers are upping the crazy-making ante by choosing names that have nothing to do with the color. Consider Synergy, by Sherwin-Williams; Hey There! by Ace; and Old World Romance, by Benjamin Moore.

There is a method to their madness. According to a recent article in The New York Times, "In a redoubled effort to capture consumers' attention in this sputtering economic recovery, some paint companies are hoping to distinguish their brands with names that tell a story, summon a memory or evoke an emotion — even a dark one — as long as they result in a sale."

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In some instances, it seems as though they are trying to scare consumers into buying. Which may explain, but probably doesn't, Martha Stewart's Darkening Sky and Tempest. Benjamin Moore has Stormy Sky. Pantone has Turbulence and Tornado. But try as I might, I could not wrap my head around Dead Salmon, a corpse-like color from Farror & Ball, an English paint company.

Dead Salmon?

Eww. Yuck. Grotty to the max.

Picture for a moment the following exchange during a barbecue:

"Darling! I love the color of your kitchen. What color is it?"

Dead Salmon.

Would you rush out to buy it? No. But you might rush out of the house.

And so I present to you the Steamboat Collection, a compendium of names that may or may not represent the colors found in the Yampa Valley but may evoke a memory or emotion which will inspire you to buy the paint.

Beetle Kill, No Sun for Three Weeks, Aspen Leaf, Rodeo, Barn, Gondi, Powder Clause, First Tracks, Free Heel, Subi, Cowboy Up!, Happy Hour (accent colors: Hangover and DUI), Snow White, Mud Season, Altitude, Pickup Truck, Dog, Trailhead (accent colors GPS and Search & Rescue), Firecracker, Tubing, Fly Fishing, Garage Sale (accent colors Sore Back and LIFT-UP), Fleece (accent colors: Puffy Coat and PolyPro), Olympians (accent colors: Gold and Silver), 3 Jobs, C-Ya!, Rope Drop, Cell Phone, 4-Wheel Drive, Ski Bum (accent colors: Overdrawn Checking Account and 2-For-1s), Three Wire Winter, Snow Shovel, Snow Blower, Single Track, Snow Rake, Let it Snow, Season Pass, Lost Pass and last, but certainly not least, Cow Pie.

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