Restless in DIY

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I saw the signs early. It started one Sunday morning on a faded hand me down sofa as I watched a marathon of design shows. First, I rearranged my furniture several times until I moved it back to its original setting. The next step I took on to my path of do-it-yourself chaos was a few hours on the laptop, picking out colors for the wall, window treatments and new furniture. I did this for a few months before I jumped into action. I was restless in DIY world.

Once decided on my color palette, I ventured out to the stores. It was a bit unnerving that everything I wanted was not only available right there, no backorders, no waiting, but also, it was all on sale or on clearance! I purchased a beautiful leather sofa, an oversized chair, and a lamp that tied it all together at a third off the regular price. I left the furniture store in a euphoria of shopping bliss.

The paint store on a Saturday afternoon was empty. No one in line, only three young men ready to aid me in my painting purchases. A half an hour later I was on my way. Excited to see the new (aged olive) paint on my wall, I painted a one square foot area to make sure I could live with the color. I could not. So, back to the PC to find another accent color.

A week later, I had a new color (Ralph Lauren’s Killim Red) window treatments that I wanted, again all on sale and two rolls of Scotch blue painter’s tape. I did everything right this time. I meticulously placed the painter’s tape on the woodwork, some ceiling area and along all borders. I repaired all the little nail holes with toothpaste because I forgot to buy putty. This works great, as long as it’s white toothpaste, just fill the hole, let it dry and sand. I purchased good quality brushes and rollers, which I strongly recommend. It made all of the difference and if you take the time to clean them up every day when you’re done, they will get you through the whole project.

I painted a twenty-foot high stairway, a living room, fireplace mantel, dining room and all the trim. The trick is I did it slowly. It took me almost a month. I never became overwhelmed or exhausted from the project. I didn’t make the little mistakes that I made previously on my attempts to redecorate because I had a steady hand. Once all the painting and touching up was done, I started with the new window treatments which turned out to be the most frustrating part of the whole project. Again, it paid to do it the right way, measuring tape, drill, and a good ladder but those studs can be a bitch.

I became a bit creative with a few black and white framed photos of my own work. I recycled some wood to make a chair rail in the dining room and I freshened up an old dining room table and chairs with a fresh coat of paint. The furniture was delivered and I was at the last few minutes of my show when I pull it all together for the big reveal.

The magic began. All the new and old blended together as if purchased with the same intent. My home became a warm collection of old European elegance with a touch of modern simplicity. I was shocked at the way all of my things were cohesive to the work I had done and then I got it. This was my style, my taste and over the years I had been true to it, I just didn’t put it all together.

The lesson, pay attention to all the things you’ve collected over the years. You don’t have to throw out the old to make way for the new. Take your time, plan everything out and spend the money on good supplies. Add a few new pieces or update a few old but most importantly, surround yourself with the things that make you feel good. I’m no longer restless as I sit on my chair, my feet on my weathered leather ottoman, (a hand-me-down) in a room of warm red’s, gold’s, and various designs and textures. I’m proud of my work, it feels like home. The kitchen, however, is screaming for attention but that’s another show.


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