Saturday, March 5, 2011

Decorating and Life

"Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living. There's more to life than decorating." Albert Hadley

That sounds like good advice, and it is. BUT.....what if you take great delight in decorating? What if it's a passion of yours? Then I don't think you'll just decorate, be done with it, and go do other things.

I do love decorating. I also love so many other things. There's just not enough hours in a day to do all I'd like. So I do a little decorating here and a little there. It really never ends.

Take the kitchen behind me in this photo. Twenty years ago when we first built our house, the trim around the windows and doors was a Mary Engelbreit kind of green. I really liked the contract with the white walls. But after ten years, I wanted a change.

So I painted the trim Phillipsburg Blue from Benjamin Moore. Another ten years go by, and I'm tired of the blue. But this time I'm thinking of changing the walls, too. After watching Julie and Julia and seeing Julia's french kitchen, I think maybe the blue-gray walls and trim might look good.

So I painted one wall like that and am still considering it. Another movie, The Secret Life of Bees, had a kitchen painted yellow with white trim and red shelves. I loved it! I already have red shelves, so I painted another wall yellow. It made me happy until I stood in the kitchen and looked through the dining room into the foyer where those walls are a golden yellow. The contrast was not good. So no yellow walls. You can see the yellow on the wall behind me in the photo.

I'm probably going to paint the kitchen floor black and white checkerboard to match the laundry room floor which connects to it. That will require a week when most everyone will be out of the house, except me. Maybe when Darcie goes to summer camp?

So I'm still trying to decide what color to paint the kitchen walls. Oh, and then there's the ceiling. I had decided to paint it white again. After twenty years of woodsmoke from the stove and cooking without an exhaust, the ceiling is a little dingy.

But then I got the book Perfect English about English country decorating. I love, love, love that style. It's exactly the way we live and the look is perfect for this house; different textures and patterns that blend together without jarring the senses, comfortable clutter, and, of course, books everywhere. Wellies in the corner and a cat on the couch. So comforting.

Anyway, in that book they were talking about how sooty ceilings were just another wonderful layer of time, and I'll have to say that I agree with them. My two biggest inspirations when designing this house were the two houses of my grandparents. Their cabinets were handpainted with white glossy enamel with butterfly hinges. You could see the brushstrokes. So when it came time to order our kitchen cabinets, I made sure they didn't spray on the paint but painted by hand; and attached butterfly hinges.

My contractor looked at me as if to say, "You're kidding, right?" He rolled his eyes more than once during the six month building period. I'd just giggle and walk off.

I keep getting side tracked. So I'm thinking about NOT painting the kitchen ceiling. I still can't decide what color to paint the walls and trim. Maybe I'll just go ahead and do the floor first and then that'll help me decide on the rest.

I'd like to be done with decorating, but I just don't think it's ever going to happen, because I love the process. So I do a little bit here and a little bit there between my other pursuits, and that's the way I like it, uh huh, uh huh.


M.K. said...

I clicked over here to leave a comment, and then I was hit -- smacked really -- by that gorgeous photo on the top of your page. It's stunningly beautiful - thank you!

The mental life of an artist looks so appealing to me. Seeing your house as a canvas (how can a person call that just "decorating?), must be wonderful. Please keep us posted on your kitchen developments. Some of us need help in the 'inspiration' department!

Graceful said...

We are so alike -- I am continually repainting stuff. I love the idea of a fresh look. Right now it's the antique desk in my sun room. It was my grandparent's. My grandfather painted it a beige streaky faux-antique look many decades ago. I am in the midst of giving it a fresh coat of white paint. I love it!

Coming over from M.K.'s place...and yes, I agree...that header photo is stop in your tracks beautiful. Thank you for giving me a breath of spring today in the midst of Nebraska March doldrums!

wayside wanderer said...

I like the way you match your kitchen in the photo. I love redecorating every now and then and paint seems like the best way to do that. I can't wait to see what you decide to do. I hope you post about it.

GretchenJoanna said...

I just found another blessing of blogging: I can read about artistic people and their home decorating projects and get all my satisfaction right here, without putting on my painting clothes or hanging plastic masking sheets. Thank you!

(I really like the red and yellow idea!)

Nancy said...

I with you,,,,,feel the same way....things need changing around once in a while and I decorate in my sleep....always looking to see how I can change something and make it don't feel have alot of company......

Your header is so beautiful........and keep us posted on your changes....

Vintage Reading said...

Hi, you post has inspired me to tackle some long awaited painting projects. Love that quote!