Nothing is as constant as change. Sometimes change is forced on us, but sometimes it’s fun to change things just because. Especially around the house.
The popping seams and failing glue of our kitchen laminate recently forced us to replace the counters. We ended up with beautiful Corian in light gray. The color is perfect with our white cabinets and the cobalt blue accessories I’ve collected over the years. New counters necessitated a new window valence, and a new utensil caddy to replace the red one that no longer looked right. Searching for these items led me to cutting up long curtain panels to make short valences, and to the garden department of Lowe’s, where I scored a cobalt blue flower pot to hold the utensils. How delightful! I believe this is called repurposing.
Even when my current belongings aren’t falling apart or becoming unglued, I like to change things every so often. My living room is beginning to show its age. The couch and loveseat are begging to be slipcovered. The coffee table is a battered relic, having survived almost forty years of kids, cats, and feet resting on it. The walls are so . . . white.
I don’t think of my house as ever finished. Like life itself, little changes are always presenting themselves. The scarred, water-ringed buffet with beautiful bones looks like a good candidate for painting. The person who shares my home, however, is horrified at the thought of painting furniture. Wood is sacred, not to be tampered with.
To demonstrate how stunning painted furniture can be, I transformed a dilapidated oak dining room chair, a $5 garage sale find, with a beautiful shade of turquoise paint and installed it in the bedroom (which is also due for a makeover). I think it’s the cutest thing, draped with a colorful scarf. He tolerates it. But that’s marriage, you know.
Another project I’ve been dying to do for several years is to paint the fireplace. The reddish brick is conflicting with my color scheme. It actually screams “Here I am! A red fireplace!” We’ve been discussing this project for several years. The conversation goes like this: Me – “Can I paint the fireplace?” Him – “No.” Because fireplaces are also sacred.
Don’t read that last sentence as sarcasm. His feelings are as valid as mine. We’re partners in this house. But I think we’ve negotiated a compromise. I’m going to whitewash the fireplace, or maybe graywash it, which isn’t as drastic as a heavy coat of paint, and allows some of the brick to show through. I can’t wait. He’s a little nervous. That, too, is marriage.
I see our house as a painter sees a canvas. An opportunity to be creative with color and design. I believe it’s one of God’s good gifts, and that he appreciates a well-designed room more than I do. Just look at his magnificent world, with its gorgeous colors and variety of landscapes. God is an artist, and he lets me be an artist by decorating, and redecorating, the space I call home.
Which leads to a secret desire of mine. It would be on my bucket list, if I had one. I want to learn to use power tools, so I can build a gazebo in the back yard. But I’m not sure a five-foot person has the physical strength to handle power tools. I don’t know if I have the presence of mind to not perform an accidental amputation. The other day I held the end of a 2 x 4 so my husband could cut off the other end with the table saw. When I realized the proximity of his hands to the merciless, whirring blade as he guided the board through, I trembled.
Power tools may not be in my future, but I can dream. If I ever actually learn to use them, I’ll need to be supervised. Maybe a gazebo kit is a better idea. All the pieces would be precut. I’d need a power drill, which would be fun, and possibly the most powerful power tool I could be trusted with.
When I mention new projects for the house, my husband, who loves to give me a hard time, will say, “The furniture. The curtains. The walls. The fireplace. Am I next?” Apparently he feels he’s in danger of being updated. Or replaced.
To which I sweetly reply, “Of course not. But let me paint the living room and get it out of my system.”