Neighbor paint color dilemma

Trying to get a duplex painted. 4 people involved. The neighbor and J own their respective sides. J is renting to a tenant. I'm J's boyfriend.
These 3 women decide on a color and the paint guy comes and paints up a sample. However, nobody really likes how the sample looks so J and I step in, put a hold on the paint guy, then go way out of our way to get some more paint chips and meet with everyone to pick out more colors. I felt like we needed to pry a color choice out of the neighbor. She's soft spoken and Hispanic. She didn't think we'd like her choice, but we still needed her input and buy-in. After a few more colors are picked out, we came back the next day with 4 more quarts and paint a bunch of sample patches again. There was a grayish color the neighbor was fond of, a cream color the rest of us seemed to like but the neighbor didn't, a khaki color one of J's co-workers really thought would look good, and a red color tenant wanted for the doors. Great. Personally, I'm okay with just about any of the second set of colors. Neighbor wasn't around after we put up the samples, so the decision would have to wait.
J calls neighbor the next day and neighbor says she likes the "light" color. J, for some reason, doesn't question why neighbor now likes "light" color when she didn't the day before, and assumes, probably not too incorrectly, that "light" meant "cream". The cream was far and away the lightest color of the bunch - almost white. The gray was a light gray, but still much darker than the cream.
Painter comes and slaps up a coat of the cream over the whole duplex. Probably 600 - 1000 in labor and paint. Neighbor freaks when she gets home. Neighbor calls J and says she really said "grey" - that her accent must have gotten in the way. I must tell you that J speaks about 2-3 languages and has vocabulary for about 3 more. Light is pronounced "light". J is still thinking she's half responsible for the result of the misunderstanding.
I didn't hear the conversation with my own ears - however, I say if she said "light" - she got "light". Also, I think if she was so adamant about the color, she could have played more of a roll in getting the samples and being more clear about her decisions.
What do you think - help pay for the change, or kindly tell neighbor she's welcome to any color change at this point that she's willing to pay 100% for?
- Nate
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No good deed goes unpunished! :)
Sounds like you & J went the extra mile, somehow there was a miscommunication.
Where was the neighbor during the first coat? Has the painter been paid? Who's on the hook for the "wrong color" if the neighbor refuses to pay for the color she doesn't like?
Tell "kindly tell neighbor she's welcome to any color change at this point that she's willing to pay 100% for?"
I've recently been through a similar process on replacing a fence with a block wall.........several concepts & quote cycles in an attempt to satisfy a continually changing set of "asthetic" requirements......I finally told my neighbor & his wife could have exactly whatever they wanted AND on their schedule if they paid for the whole thing.
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Nate wrote:
Lock neighbor and J in a room with a third, neutral person. Have neighbor and J each put their first two choices in a hat. Have neutral party draw the winning color(s). If either neighbor or J do not like the color, they can move. Simple. Quick. Final. Their choice. If they do not like the chip when it is up, it will be a learning experience - do more work next time you want the duplex painted. I don't like people who don't take responsibility for the process, but do all the complaining when the results don't suit them.
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Nate,
With the painting done it seems moot but your friend J is in the wrong for failing to find out what color "light" is. You clearly indicate that the neighbor liked the gray color in the second samples and that she did not like the cream color. It is odd, at the least, for J to decide to paint the house cream when faced with a definite no from the neighbor. J's decision that "light" meant cream is hard to understand. But the job is done. So, is the color so bad that the neighbor can't stand it? Can J live with the gray color? No prep work would be needed to change the color at this time so if it has to be repainted it shouldn't be too expensive. I think that the neighbor should pay for 1/2 of the cream paint job. J and the neighbor should talk this out and if the neighbor truly can't live with the cream then she and J need to find a color they both can live with and J should pay for the second paint job.
Dave M.
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It sounds like there's only one coat of paint up. You probably need another anyway. Even if you don't, an extra coat won't cost that much compared to the scraping, priming, etc. Just change the color now, easy to go darker over a light base coat. Make sure the neighbor is there when the painter starts or paint a board and get her to write "OK" on it.
I wouldn't push the issue of the money, personally. It will probably only be a few hundred bucks to do another coat, and you can't put a price on good relations with the person who owns the other half of your duplex.

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Well, as long as you're using your half as a rental, you can... If you were trying to LIVE there, it would be an issue. As it is, though, OP can just say "Oops. Sorry." and leave it at that.
--Goedjn
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J's boyfriend needs to stay out of the negotiations even if asked for advise. Let the two women totally deal with it & each other !
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wrote:

Hi Nate,
It would seem to me that in these negotiations over color, if I were J I'd have defered a little more to neighbors color input rather than my own, since J doesn't even live there, but rents the place. Clearly a miscommunication, assigning blame is not helpful in resolving the problem now. I'd probably try to involve the neighbor and ask her how she thought it should be resolved. keeping the discussion focused on resolution, and not on who's fault is is should help.
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if you ASK 10 people what kind of pizza they want, you will NEVER make everyone happy. if you just show up with 3 pizzas, everyone will eat.
or to rephrase it, sometimes its easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
the painting is done. all thats left is the crying. if you bend to the whim of this woman it will never end.
randy

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Each person selects two colors. Then each neighbor has the option of removing any one color they choose. The remaining go into a hat with one randomly selected. This way everyone has input and also power to veto.
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