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It was a very spe­cific colour with the name Ma­jorelle Blue. I saw it while on hol­i­day in Morocco and in­stead of buying a tin there, I de­cided to be clever and Google the colour when I got home and have it mixed here.

How dif­fi­cult could it be? Af­ter all, it is a well-known Moroc­can blue, named af­ter the Ma­jorelle Gar­den in Mar­rakesh where fa­mous fashion de­signer Yves St Lau­rent once lived.

Back home, I Googled Ma­jorelle Blue and re­alised the for­mula is a bit like Duck Egg Blue. The lat­ter ranges from a baby blue to light green, while Ma­jorelle Blue ranges from a dusky pur­plish-blue to an elec­tric blue. At the store, the man who mixes the paint was sym­pa­thetic. I showed him my photo ( above) and gave him the for­mula I found on the in­ter­net: 73% cyan, 72% ma­genta, no yel­low, no black. (Ap­par­ently, it’s nor­mal that the per­cent­ages don’t add up to 100. Hes­i­tantly, I gave him the go-ahead...)

I re­turned home and painted the wall but, sur­prise sur­prise, there wasn’t enough paint; I still needed an­other litre. I took a pic­ture of the tin, the la­bel with all the codes and the de­tails on the lid. Surely an­other litre of this spe­cial mix­ture wouldn’t be a prob­lem?

My builder Paul said he’d buy the paint for me. So I sent him pho­tos of the la­bel and tins and he stopped off at the store where I’d had the first litre mixed. That af­ter­noon, he phoned me, puz­zled: “Some­thing is wrong with the new tin of paint; it doesn’t match the first litre...”

Then fol­lowed a bro­ken tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Paul, the paint guy and my­self. Paul in­sisted some­thing was wrong. The paint guy said it was im­pos­si­ble and that he’d fol­lowed the in­for­ma­tion on the la­bel; it was ex­actly the same paint. I said that since I wasn’t there, I couldn’t be much help. I with­drew from the con­ver­sa­tion, say­ing I would check it out later.

That evening, I re­alised Paul’s prob­lem: the old paint was matte, the new paint had a gloss fin­ish. So I took a photo of the half-and-half wall, and headed back to the paint shop. Paul was right, no mat­ter what the la­bels on the two tins said.

The paint guy mut­tered, “Hmm, this is very strange,” and in my mind I could hear Paul gloat­ing. Long story short? It took an hour-and-a-half to mix the new litre of paint be­cause the branch man­ager had to first check, ac­cord­ing to the cash reg­is­ter, which tins of paint had been sold on that first morn­ing. And yes, the la­bel was in­cor­rect. The orig­i­nal base was in­deed a matte fin­ish, the sec­ond litre was a gloss. Ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror.

How did it hap­pen? No­body knows. But it’s a good re­minder: even if you care­fully make a note of your paint de­ci­sions, things can still go wrong... We hope this is­sue of Paint It in­spires projects in your own home. Send us pho­tos – we’d love to see what you’ve done!

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