Eggsactly what color is ‘eggplant’?

When you tell people you just recommended to someone they paint their house purple, you get some funny looks, communicating bemused disbelief. So, for the purpose of calming the waters, I have taken to circumventing my aversion of assigning names to colors. Instead of ‘purple’, I refer to it as ‘eggplant’ or ‘aubergine’ – a generic enough description to appease those prone to conveniently interpreting life via stereotypes. (Which constitutes the great majority of us, actually.)

Forgive me for once again mocking the paint-naming industry. Also, please forgive the ridiculous pun in the title, but I’m asking again: Exactly what color IS eggplant?

Image by Little Rivers CSA.

Image by Little Rivers CSA.

Unless I’m mistaken, the color ‘eggplant’ could truthfully fall anywhere within the range on the photo – and more – as they do come in other colors too. But okay – let’s go with the stereotypical ‘eggplant’. This kind of dark, brownish purple is actually a beautiful choice for an exterior. And it is certainly a great choice for someone who is sick and tired of your run of the mill grays, sages and beiges (or ‘blechs’ as I like to call them). Surprisingly, these colors are commonly used even in areas that aren’t confined by the ultra-uninspired options determined by the deadening minds of HOA steering committees. But, I digress…

A dark purple exterior color can go a long way in enhancing even a smaller abode. It adds a sophisticated sense of style, and becomes a fabulous opportunity against which to choose fun and and elegant contrasting accent colors.

Here, the green door cheerfully pops out of the luscious surroundings. The window trims were left white in accordance  with the vinyl windows.

Here, the green door cheerfully pops out of the luscious surroundings. If I wanted to get technical, I could very well argue that it too, is eggplant colored! (See proof in the first photo.) The window trims were left white in accordance with the vinyl windows.

And here, the sultry expanses of purple embraces the star of the composition - the newly installed redwood siding.

On this ranch-style home, the sultry expanses of purple embraces the star of the composition – the newly installed redwood siding.

As any Oregonian knows, those months between November and February can be overbearingly morose, so we painted some sunshine onto the wide eaves.

As any Oregonian knows, those months between November and February can be overbearingly morose, so we painted some sunshine onto the undersides of the wide eaves.

Here is the overall result. The client was ecstatic! Now all we have to do is introduce  a front garden that is more conducive to the slick, modern appearance of their house.

Here is the overall result. The client was ecstatic! Now all we have to do is introduce a front garden that is more conducive to the slick, modern appearance of their house. I’m practically salivating at the thought of the possibilities…

For comparison - here is a 'before' shot. I'm with the client - it looks endlessly much better now with that purple magic!

For comparison – here is a ‘before’ shot. I’m with the client on this one – it looks endlessly much better now with that purple magic!

After a few days of scraping, spackling and sanding this summer, the rear wall of my garage got its very own coat of purple. The area remaining behind it is destined to become a tiny, tropical garden room, adorned with spectacular foliage and hot, fiery flowers. The plantings aren't yet completed, but the bamboo in the foreground will give you an idea.

After a few days of scraping, spackling, (but apparently not enough sanding) this summer, the rear wall of my garage got its very own coat of purple. The area remaining behind it is destined to become a tiny, tropical garden room, adorned with spectacular foliage and hot, fiery flowers. The plantings aren’t yet completed, but the bamboo in the foreground will give you an idea.

The trim color I chose, is a dark, reddish brown that will also cover the moldings of the adjoining greenhouse. It's not a largely contrasting color scheme, but the two colors look absolutely scrumptious together.  I don't think the photo really does it justice...

The trim color I chose is a dark, reddish brown that will also cover the moldings of the adjoining greenhouse. It’s not a largely contrasting color scheme, but the two colors look absolutely scrumptious together. I suppose if one wanted to be cheeky, one could say that both colors represent two different types of eggplant…

These Canna lilies are not yet planted in place, but I  wanted to show you how great the foliage looks against that wall. Delicious!

These Canna lilies are not yet planted in place, but I wanted to show you how great the foliage looks against that wall. Delicious!

I suppose by now, you get the reason for my hang-up with the name-calling of colors, but just to be sure, I’m going to show you one more photo. When I drove by the house below, I couldn’t help bursting into laughter! Clearly the owner of this house desperately wanted to do something different – a mindset I whole-heartedly sympathize with, hold in high regard, and will enthusiastically encourage any day. But, ‘different’ isn’t always the same as ‘good’. Sometimes, when wandering outside of one’s comfort zone in an area of expertise other than one’s own, it really does pay off to hire a professional before committing. Or, at least get a second opinion. Still, comparing the color of this house with the expansive range of shades exhibited in the first photo of this post, you’ll probably find that this house too, could easily pass for one of the brighter versions of ‘eggplant’ – no? Either way, the owners deserve kudos for trying to do something other than ‘blech’. Better try and fail, than to not try at all. But, if you want to play it safe, please don’t play it safe by being boring. Instead, play it safe by asking for help. It usually pays off…

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About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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8 Responses to Eggsactly what color is ‘eggplant’?

  1. Ricki Grady says:

    I love the color and the sound of the word “aubergene”. To me, it evokes the deep, dark tones of the round grocery store variety of eggplant. Say “eggplant” and it opens the mind to the variety of purples you show in your first photo. I’m “dying” to see your purple wall in all its glory. Way to go, color gal, way to go!

    • annamadeit says:

      Scrumptious, isn’t it? Soon, very soon, I hope to have it planted up for the winter… If I could only stop running around so much, it would be done by now. 😦

  2. It’s interesting to hear that you prefer to use straight-ahead color names. I seem unable to think of any of the more nuanced words when describing a color: I felt quite pleased with myself for coming up with “wheat” and “gold” in my last post… I know that if I am ever tempted to paint my house an intense blue, I’ll have the good sense to consult with you before doing it, Anna!

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Jane – I know for a fact that you absolutely do not need my help when choosing house colors. You did a beautiful job with yours! My rant is in regards to utilitarian specifics, and how our experiential baggage gets in the way of proper communications. As for poetic descriptions, I like them as much as the next person. But people have such set (and radically different) ideas when it comes to communicating about color, that when it counts (as in deciding the color of their house) I avoid analogies like the plague. When I studied color at the Scandinavian Color Institute, we were asked to pick out a ‘salmon pink’ out of a fan deck. Not surprisingly, there were as many ‘salmon pinks’ as there were students in the class. Colors with names look different to different people, depending on their experience and their interpretation of that experience. If, instead of ‘eggplant’, I’d say ‘a dark, brownish purple’ I wouldn’t stir up the same number of preconceived notions. You get the idea, I’m sure… 🙂

  3. Kris P says:

    Color certainly depends upon the eye and not the ear, doesn’t it? That’s what paint samples are for. I always laugh (with frustration) at the catalog vendors who use creative names for color options, leaving me to wonder what in heck they mean (colors in catalog print being similarly deceptive). I love the house colors you show above (except, of course, for the last one, would be difficult to live with in a long-term relationship).

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