Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kitchen Library

Today was a great day.  We met with my very great friend M who, amongst all his many lovely qualities, has been an extraordinary house painting artist for over 20 years.  I say artist because M doesn't just come in and slap a new color on the walls.  He wants the walls to sing.  He repairs the cracks, smooths the rough patches, makes things stronger than they were before.  He can guide you on colors and finishes, and which is even more impressive, he is honest about what can and should be done.  He doesn't tell you it is a two day job if it is a four day job.  Nor does he imply that an easy job is harder than it looks.  Craftsman and artisans like M are harder and harder to come by, so if you are lucky enough to have one in your life, treat them well.  Don't haggle with them on prices, and don't fight them on the important decisions like choice of paint brand or finish.  You will be so much happier in the long run.

We thought that we would start with two key rooms when it came to our fresh new paint, the Kitchen Library, and the room that is going to become Charming Suitor's Dressing Room.  The Kitchen Pantry, while showing the natural wear of a room in a 105 year old house that has not been painted in 18 years, is in fairly good shape.  Poor Charming Suitor's Dressing Room, however, has a wall in need of major repair before a lick of paint can even be contemplated.  Plaster and lathe is a cruel mistress, and time, humidity, steam radiators and badly hung heavy artwork can mean that a wall needs some serious TLC before you can gild it up with a shiny new color.  M looked me in the eye and told me so.  Told me that he wouldn't just paint it without restoring it first, even if we asked, because it would ultimately cause even more damage to the wall.  On the one hand, sad, because I really wanted to make that room fresh and nice for CS before he moved his stuff in, and now he will have to live with it for a while longer.  But on the other hand, I love M for protecting my wall, and not letting me make a big mistake.

In anticipation of the painting that is to begin Tuesday, CS and I turned this....

Into THIS:

AREN'T YOU AMAZED AND PROUD? Well, don't be.  Meet my new dining room.

YIKES!  Good thing we aren't having any dinner parties anytime soon.

But even though the dining room looks like a tornado hit it, knowing that this room

which I have not seen empty since January of 1994, is going to be all smooth and fresh and a sassy new color in three little days makes my heart go all pitter pat. 

Anyone else have a major project they are excited about these days?

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. I have a major upcoming project but it's outside, not in. We're having a 40 ft. blue spruce removed that the original owners of our house stupidly planted 5 ft. from the driveway. In the years we've lived here, we've carved out the bottom of the tree so it doesn't scrape the cars in the driveway but it's time to suck it up and just have the tree taken down. I don't like killing trees for no reason but this one has started getting large bare patches, kind of like mange, so I don't feel so bad. Once it's down, I will have a huge spot to create a new garden in the front of the house. So I also get to pick colors and decorations, but of the garden variety. Since it's sleeting in Michigan right now, I'm not going to be decorating quite as soon as you are.

  2. I don't have an upcoming project, and it's making me a little twitchy.... ever since I bought my house 10 years ago, I've been working on it, bit by bit. I've always had a DIY project on the horizon, and now that I don't have one, I'm not really sure what to do with myself! Don't get me wrong, there are still things that need done, but they aren't anything I can do myself, and are either really expensive (new windows) or boring (new driveway).

  3. I'm currently working on some DIY projects. I recently recovered a cheap target lamp with some fun fabric and am looking at changing up the color scheme of our living room by making new throw pillows for our sofas. I spent the weekend making my own natural cleaners and scrubbing baseboards, moldings, window sills, walls etc. I'm in love with my new lavendar scented cleaner and the fact that it's pretty much chemical free means i scrubbed for hours on end and my hands are all dry and cracked! We're moving this summer, so these are the only types of projects we can take on until we're in our new place!

    I can't wait to see the kitchen library! Any hints on your color scheme for the room?

  4. Oh Stacey, you made me laugh! When I saw the empty room I said, "Wow! Where did they put all the stuff?!!" Then I burst out laughing as I scrolled down to the next photo!

    We are nearing the end of a 3-1/2 year house building project. There were tears, maniacal wailing, and lots of frustration. Now we live in a breathtaking home and all the sacrifice has been cashed in on crystal chandeliers (oooh!), fabulous wall art (ahhh!), gorgeous furniture (oh!).

    Hopefully you can get through this reno without the maniacal wailing!

  5. My husband and I spent the weekend repainting our den. We obsessively repaint our house. Strangely, I love it!

  6. I have to fess up here and say YES, I do have a project I am working on. I have always wanted a room straight out of Morocco, (as opposed to my Straight Out Of Compton room that I have now), anyway, I am stealing an idea from you to make it work. Gold, Blue and Red CARPET TILES instead of trying to tile or paint the floor with all three colors. So thanks for the great idea. Melissa Nunes/Austin, TX

  7. Spring is in the air here in Georgia, so I'll be spending my weekends handing over my paychecks to a local nursery and Home Depot to make the raised flower beds in my background beautiful. I bought the townhouse last summer almost exclusively for the gorgeous tiled first floor and the tiny backyard that had been bricked and surrounded by raised flowerbeds, topped off with a swing and little picket fence.

  8. Stacey, Sorry it's been a few days since reading your blog - - when I read what your undertaking you made my heart cringe a little. Plaster and lathe are a nightmare - - I started with a small spot in my spare bedroom - - oooh then that lead to a ceiling that had to be replaced and then by doing that we apparently drove something loose in the master bedroom - - oh holy cow - it became the nightmare that never ended.. Well, it did, and it's heavenly now -- but the pain was severe and I give anyone who has dealt with this a lot of credit because it is nothing short of craziness. Good luck, to both you and CS..