FINISHING touches

I’m not sure how clearly I was thinking to bring painters in so close to Christmas, but I’d gotten to the point I couldn’t stand my bedroom for one more day.

This is a grand place built by shoe industrialists around the turn of the 19th century. It has good bones, and has stood the test of time fairly well, even when it literally stood empty after its longtime owners died.

The folks who had it before us started a well-intentioned rehab, trying for an exact period makeover, although with Federal, Greek Revival, and colonial farmhouse roots, it’s hard to know which way they were going.

Suffice it to say their color wheel was unusual and we had to look beyond it as we considered whether to buy.

But, we fell in love, and after we moved in I flew to Home Depot frequently for paint jobs ranging from replacing ridiculous wallpaper with denim cats in cowboy hats in my daughter’s room, to covering dirty salmon and dark purple in the dining room with something more summery called sand.

In fact, we are slowly turning this stately dame I call The Big Old Lady into a summer house, with soothing pastels, bright white trim, and a comfortable, lived-in feel. It’s OK that the ocean is 20 miles away. In our hearts it’s right outside the door.

Last summer we called in the painters for a major redo of the downstairs and front porch, transforming one hideous period paint job after another. Think deep avocado, as just one example. In fact, we gave them the house key and left for Rhode Island, returning a week or so later to nirvana.

This time we had nowhere to go, and went about our lives amid paint vapors and clouds of 200-plus-year-old dust. Their target was really, really (really!) old bedroom wallpaper with blue, pink, and purple bridal bouquets holding together unstable horsehair plaster and dirty, moss-green walls in the adjoining bath.

After what feels like an eternity they are finally gone, leaving a trail of creamy peach and sea foam green behind. It’s a little greener than I planned, but I can deal with it. And even so I look at my room and smile, finally able to exhale and relax. I know I will be comfortable in there and I can’t wait to make it my own.

Yes, it was inconvenient. And at some points I joked that the painters may as well have moved in, they were such a part of the routine. But they have gotten the job done to help this house become a home. And that’s something I’m going to be able to live with … if only we could now just focus on the kitchen …

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About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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