This weekend was fairly weather-bysmal, and the dreariness was only amplified by the fact that it’s been sunny with a high of Prozac for the last week solid. And unfortunately (conveniently?) Noah also had a fever and cough, so we were homebound in the most homebounded way. However, we decided to use that time for good instead of for evil (uh, minus the 16 hours on Mario Kart) and cleaned the tar out of our house.
I always hesitate a little before saying “my” house or “our” house, because of course, we don’t own this house. Some really great people whom we really like hold the deed, which is partly why we love it so, I suspect. Over the last year and a half (!) that we’ve set up shop here, though, it really has started to feel like home, in a lot of ways.
Internet confessional time: I am not a very patient person. When I have a choice in front of me, I tend to make it pretty fast, and once I’ve decided on something, I’m ready for it to have happened 10 minutes prior. It’s part of the reason I felt so proud of my achievements toward a medical degree: it takes ridiculous amounts of yearage even to get to the point where you are eligible to be considered for a chance at a medical degree. It’s all. A bunch. Of. Baby. Steps.
So when we hauled all our furniture and baby gear and toys and more toys and even more toys lawmercy into this huge space in August of 2009, I had to have a stern talk with myself (slash L had to gently remind me one or 17 times) that setting up the space where you live so that it feels complete and together and reflective of your life is a slow process. And if you have two kids, one of whom still gums her food and uses knees and palms as a main mode of transportation, you can just go ahead and add (let’s see, what is today?) a solid year and a half to that progress.
So, we started by painting. First the study. Then the dining room. Then our bedroom and the kids’ bedroom. And we got a couple of new things that fit our new space, like our round white kitchen table and a porch swing (and porch lights!). But the room we left for last was the one room we spent the majority of our time in: the living room. It was this pale shade of sage green, that was completely lovely with the owner’s furnishings, but when we plopped down our lime green chair and olive green lamp next to the walls, it made the whole room seem dreary and drab somehow. Paint, it’s such a fickle bitch.
Plus, it’s a HUGE room, with both a fireplace and also the world’s longest continuous wall. It’s a room with lots of opportunities … if you are a person who knows what the hell to do with random furniture and other stuff in a vast empty space. Which I am not. I am particularly intimidated by the vast expanse of the wall. (The Wall of Life, by the way, came down with the painting job, and is being revamped and redesigned) Art! It confounds me! I can recognize what I like, but I can’t seem to put it into practice. Exasperating.
But! Soldier on we have, with the resources we can scrounge up, and I have to say, I’m really pretty pleased with what we’ve got so far. Here are before(ish) and after pictures, for comparison:
BEFORE: Walls have not been painted, don’t know WHAT the hell is on the mantle, (blank canvas, for one, still wrapped in its plastic), wall art is different (and sort of random), couch pillows are fewer and orange-r, carpet is more square-y and includes green, pale blue and orange, shelves are a mess. (Rosie remains exactly as mischievous.)
AFTER: Walls have been painted pale gray, mantle has now been simplified with a mirror I found at a consignment sale (which has helped bring more light into the room—an unintended side effect! Hurrah!), wall art (which I painted on a intoxicated whim one night, and which my sister finally said was terrible) was recovered with fabric from IKEA (I stretched and stapled that fabric like a BOSS), orange couch pillows were replaced with these lovelies, carpet (FLOR tiles) were rearranged into stripes and orange/green/light blue removed, shelf area has been cleared out and the back wall was painted “Poppy”—a color made for happiness, I’m pretty sure.
It’s such a cheery room, I think. I love color, is what I’ve discovered about myself, and this room has got it. Red on the back wall of the shelf nook? Yes please! Green lamp? Don’t mind if I do! Christmas lights left on fireplace mantle year-round? Is that even a question? The room is really taking shape, and I’m feeling more confident now when I say “our” house—even if we aren’t the bona fide owners.
And even though I still have this behemoth (picture truncates the full extent of the wall):
to outfit with art (help me), I just love sitting in here, doing my thing, watching Noah play cars, and Rosie put pearls in a blender, and feeling content that this is our space, and we are happy here. And that really, it’s not the color of the paint on the walls that makes that true.