Paint It Red

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There is was in all its glory—that perfect room. Everything was clean, in its place, and decorated tastefully. Unfortunately that room exists somewhere other than my home. I have kids so nothing is clean even if you were a clean freak working around the clock. Finding a place for everything and everything in its place? How many people really live like that?

I am one of those women who look wistfully at make-believe mock rooms in Ikea or Pottery Barn. Why does admitting that feel as if I need to go to some ten-step program for the decorative-challenged among us? Seriously … I want those rooms. I want every single one of them. Obviously you’d think I am a marketing person’s celebratory achievement but I am not. I am too frugal to spend money on matching photo frames when I already have an eclectic collection of mismatched ones.

My sister came to visit from out of state and walked through our new home looking but not saying much. Finally she could not keep it to herself anymore. She announced that I had to be one of the most decorative-blind people she had ever met. I asked her what she based this opinion on and without a pause asked me what the heck I was thinking when painting the rooms in my home yellow, teal, sky blue, ice lavender, and even one very red wall in my kitchen. I guess she had been shocked by our red front doors and it went downhill from there.

Okay, I know what you are thinking. How the heck did I come up with such a bizarre group of colors? The kitchen wall was red when we moved in. It is a deep purplish red and I loved the boldness of it. My silly collection of plates looks very cool on that wall. Alright I have a confession … those plates … they look like old pattern ware until you get up close. They have whimsical images you’d miss if you didn’t take a closer look. I guess you can say this represents my since of style. Whimsical.

My house is 3000 square feet of whimsy. I call it whimsy but others could call it “cast off.” My sister calls it “cast away.” I am the queen of repurposing things. My custom couches shaped like kidney beans are the color of eggplant. They were custom white couches someone else had decided they were finished with. I simply had them redone.

Consignment stores are my giddy little guilty pleasure and apparently my sister feels I am guilty of something else … the lack of ability to stick to a color scheme and some sort of decorating theme. I on the other hand feel that my home is full of themes everywhere. Why does a whole house have to have only one theme? She proudly showed me pictures of brown and white graphic prints all over her home, all the way down to the flooring in the kitchen. It looked like a model home. Everything matched. It was beautiful and her crowning accomplishment. She had a lot to be proud of.

Perhaps I am simply allergic to the whole “theme home” or “matching everything” mindset. My teal circular stairway with golden oak trim looks like a proud piece of artwork. It is bold. It is the center of our home. It reminds me of our honeymoon in Belize … the color of the sea. I love it. My husband made stained glass inserts for our front door with that color of blue glass. For us, it all seems to be exactly the color it is supposed to be.

We all are handed situations that we must work around. My home was designed by an idiot. It is almost like they were given a list of items to place in the house somehow even if it was illogical. There is one window in our main room which is half a yard across but eight and a half feet high. Ikea had the only window covering on earth that would fit that window without being a special order for an insane price. Remember I am frugal. This window covering happened to be the same color as my purple couches. I call this serendipity.

You are thinking I am nuts too. Purple couches, red walls and teal staircases … maybe I am nuts. Maybe the bozo who designed my home was doing drugs when they put the fireplace directly opposite from the built-in insert for a huge TV. What about the corner cabinet that they thoughtfully put a lazy Susan in thinking it would help make better use of the space but items fall back there and prevent it from actually being functional? Then there are the cabinet doors that open the wrong direction to block a doorway. I digress. We all are faced with design dilemmas.

When we bought the house the prior owner had just painted everything teddy bear brown. I have nothing against brown but the entire house was that brown inside and out. My paint choices were carefully planned out. I took paint samples and taped them on each wall all through the house. When the painter came to give an estimate he walked through quietly and then said “Interesting paint choices” and handed me a ridiculously large estimate. Why should it cost more to paint something in several colors? Paint is paint.

I picked ice lavender for all the ceilings. Yes that sounds bizarre but it is really white that is slightly lavender when the sun goes down. Depending on the time of day it looks like a hint of sky. I think it was an insightful choice and probably borderline brilliant. I think someone will steal this idea and we will start seeing everyone paint their ceilings a faint blue tone. My other sister did. Maybe she inherited that same decorating disability I have but less tragic.

My husband and I were combing two homes when we bought this home, painted it and moved in. Our furniture is all mismatched and two obviously different decors are intermingled. For two years we simply made it all work. My purple couches nestled in by his mission-style end tables and his bachelor couch with my claw-foot tables. I guess that look just grew on us. Maybe it was just comfortable to be around familiar things.

This last weekend we went and picked out new living room furniture and rugs. My out of state sister would probably be proud of me because we picked matching saddle brown leather recliners and loveseats. The rugs however are swirls of colors. Apparently some “real” designer decided that my color scheme was perfect. The rugs are swirls of purple, red, teal, yellow and brown.

Our new furniture will be delivered tomorrow and my husband was a little quiet yesterday evening. He admitted that letting go of his bachelor couch is painful. He says it is the only tie left from that time he was single. I smiled and said that if he could find a way to squeeze it into his “man room” or “cave” then he should of course keep it. I encouraged him to find a place for that couch but this evening he announced that he has made peace with it. It is at the curb right now looking lonely.

Why were we keeping the purple couches? Because of that silly ridiculous window-covering hanging on that ridiculously long window. It would be almost the same amount for a custom window covering as it would cost to replace the purple couches. I found myself in Ikea hoping to find that curtain in a new color but no such luck so it looks like the purple couches stay for now. I had to restrain myself from buying everthing in Ikea because I could easily see most of it in my home.

Two years ago my best friend had been astounded when I had told her over the phone that the master bedroom was painted sky blue and our accessories were brown. “Brown and blue? Do they go together?” she asked politely. Today in every store I went in to I saw all sorts of things in blue and brown. Maybe I am simply ahead of my time? Perhaps a trendsetter? I think so. Soon everyone will paint their ceilings white with slight tones of blue and lavender. Do you think my out of town sister will change her mind when that happens? Probably not. Whimsy is just not everyone’s style.

Do you think that the dingbat that designed my home thought that they were using whimsical designs? I don’t think so. Who puts three giant windows where the only view is our chimney? Yes I’d love to give that idiot some design advice. There is nothing whimsical about three windows facing your chimney. Of course that chimney is teddy bear brown. I guess someone out there may think that is a fabulous view. If I have to keep looking at that ugly chimney I might just paint it red.

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