I decided it would definitely be worth it to do a few household changes while Alex is in St. Louis. Nothing drastic, nothing expensive - just enough to make him take notice when he gets home. There are several projects that I really want to complete, and if I am anything like my mother, I will no sooner get done with the very last project in the house, and I will want to completely redo the kitchen - the first thing we redid when we moved here.
I didn't think far enough ahead to take any pictures of what I was dealing with to begin with, so I'll have to describe. Think to yourself if you will about the impracticality of have a large sunken living room floored with off-white plush carpeting - and having cats and people who spill on a regular basis. Yep. It was time to rent a carpet cleaner and deep clean that carpet! The cat vomit and spilled coffee stains were getting so bad that I could no longer cover them with an area rug. It took 6 fill-ups and 6 emptyings of black, filthy used water, but these floors feel SO nice right now! Even the cats are purring their approval and rolling around on the clean feeling.
There are many things I love about our living room and many things I dissaprove of. I love the size - 14' x 18'. I love that it is sunken from the rest of the house and there is a nice big landing area. I love that it has a fireplace and windows and a high ceiling and that it invites guests to relax and feel welcome.
I don't like that the fireplace is located at the bottom of the stairs, on the farth north wall. It's hard to arrange furniture around it. The windows and back door are in weird awkward places. I don't like that the room sits on the freezing cold ground in the winter time with absolutely nothing to protect it (as opposed to the slab that the rest of the house sits on). But worst of the worst - I absolutely DETEST the artificial, black walnut, wood paneling!
This house was owned by Alex's grandparents for 40 years - almost to the day. They have an old-fashioned sense of decorum. No wall colors. No floor colors. Black trim. White furniture. We do have a gorgeous handmade staircase and chandelier - made by Grandpa. But every room in the house was white. Except for the small bedroom - artificail oak wood paneling - and the living room, as I have already described.
I am too small, and don't have enough time, to undertake the removal of said wood paneling and honestly, I don't even know what is under it. But I am not afraid of paint, I am quite fond of stripes, and I have never been afraid to try an idea on a big scale. I began with the landing and a can of primer that I found hidden away in a cupboard. Pretty soon that dark, ugly, marred paneling began to lighten! It actually took the primer very well! The landing started to feel more open and appealing, dare I say, even larger?
I had an idea of what I planned to finish this undertaking with. The living room is our 'cottage' room. I approve very strongly of the 'lake/beach cottage' look of light neutrals, accented with watery blues and greens. We have a lot of art that follows this appeal. I literally marched into the paint store, stood at the sample wall for approximately 30 seconds and walked to the counter with my decision made. Two shades of sandy beige, one very pale and one slightly darker, in two different finishes (satin and semi-gloss), and 18 hours later, I almost have a striped room! I decided to alternate the colors on the pieces of wood paneling to create that sweet cottagey feeling when you walk into the room. The colors are so subtley different that it isn't a pop-up-in-your-face stripe, but its there and feels very calming. It's the most uncommitted decision I have ever made when it comes to paint.
The living room, due to its size, will have to wait for a few weeks. But at least there is an idea being brought about as to its eventual potential. And because I will have finished it before that husband of mine returns on Friday, he isn't around to tell me NO, and he won't complain because he won't have had to do any work. :) I shall have to put up a picture upon its completion.