Monday, September 19, 2011

What does Hatchet do with those "extra" three hours a day?


Here it is, almost a month later from our first day of school and I haven't said a thing, have I?

Once I dropped the kids off to school, I did what comes naturally to me: immediately jumped into a gigantic project. Some women might have taken the opportunity preschool afforded them to enjoy their sudden freedom. You know, caught up on all of those books they'd put off; taken the time to pull a few weeds; signed up for a class; or done something decadent like eaten bon-bons while watching trashy TV. Or maybe even edited a few photos. No. Not me.

I started painting the living room.

Given three hours a day, I jumped into a project that would take up 6 or more hours a day, every day for weeks on end. The living room, you see, is the single largest room in my house. It has 14' high ceilings at the highest point, 12' high at the center of the room, a 3/4 wall, and is all of a piece with the kitchen and dining room which means that any changes you make in the living room you have to plan to make in the kitchen and dining room as well.

It always starts innocently enough. After having remodeled Caitlin's room, I knew that I wanted to do our master bedroom next, but I also knew that as soon as spring hit I'd have no interest in painting until the fall. I was right, of course, but the room I decided to work on first turned into the living room instead of my own. Why? Well...let me show you.

I'm warning you ahead of time, these are seriously embarrassing shots.

Here's what you would see upon entering my humble abode.
This wreck is my front entry way. Welcoming, isn't it? It says, "Welcome to chaos!" and possibly whips a shoe at your head. Watch your step!

Above is the door that leads to the garage. We deposit our keys and things on the hooks, so we don't lose them randomly around the house. This was one of the smarter things we set up in the entrance. However, with the introduction of 3 other people into our household, it just wasn't enough organization.

Here is the view looking down the stairs at the shoerack and front door. The rack was forever loaded with shoes that no one ever wore. Why is that, anyway? And papers. And bills. And hats. Large boxes that need to be recycled are regularly tossed down the stairs to wait for some kind soul to drag them out to the can. How long do you suppose that took, normally? [Shudder!]

Why yes, that is a piece of wire you see at the top of my door. It's a hack job for a wreath hanger because my actual wreath hanger went on walkabout. Can you blame it? 

Starting in early August, I changed the front entrance to this.

Suddenly, life was looking up! A storage chest for the shoes. Now they're all in there and you can't see them! Three hooks - one, two, three! - for the three children. A small ledge (from IKEA, because I had to see what all of the hoopla was all about) for bits and bobs and sunglasses. On the wall to the left is a metal file folder for mail. Ahhh!

Once the twins started school, all of this would change. My inner decorator was fired up and raring to go!

Note that I left all of the bits on the hooks so you'd see those bags. In those bags are items for several crafty projects that I can't shouldn't start until the painting is done! One birthday wreath for the twins (Unless I don't get my act together in time, in which case it will suddenly be a Halloween wreath.); the almond contact paper is to darken the window over the sofa to enhance the movie viewing experience; there are pillow forms in there that will become throw pillows for the sofa made with fabric leftover from the dining room chair re-upholster I have planned; a paint pen and clear contact paper to change out the need for mini blinds on the sidelight and yet retain privacy; high heat paint to black out the brass detail on the fireplace and metallic spray paint to change out all of the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel. My god, people! I've gone and bought a glue gun!

Fresh paint!* Painted trim! Accent colors! More hooks! A mirror! Woo!

This image doesn't do the accent wall justice. The color is called "Burled Redwood" and it's a lovely, deep, cinnamon-y red. The door is "Knight's Armor" grey, the walls are "Vanilla Brandy" and the ceiling is "Honey Beige" (Are you hungry now? I am!). Lots of earthy tones. I'm letting my inner druid drive my inner decorator's color choices.

It's a whole lot easier to keep it neat, now that there's some place for most things that come in the front door. I'm still working on getting everyone to actually put their shoes into the storage chest automatically, but it happens more often than not.

I've also been painting the rest of the living room, building a storage space for all of the toys that wander our house and making plans to finally decorate my house. You know, like grown-ups apparently do. I've only been living here for 16 years!

I've got to be honest with you: painting just this entrance way was terrifying. Imagine being 14' up in the air, with the ladder blocking the doors and looking down the flight of stairs to the basement below. Not only do you get the thrill of potentially falling down 14 feet, you'd get the extra 6' to the basement should you misstep. It was a total cardio workout, going up and down the ladder in that corner! Gaaaah!

Today I finally finished** the part of the 3/4 wall that faces the living room, updated the last bits of trim (Except for the stair risers and railings, which make me exhausted just looking at them. The mere thought of having to remove them, sand them, prime them once or twice, paint them and seal them with polyurethane just makes me want to weep with frustration, so I'm leaving them for the very last thing I do. They may wait until after the bedroom is finished, depending on just how much looking at them bugs me on a daily basis!), painted inside the coat closet and started refinishing the handrail that leads upstairs. Once I have the closet door back in place I'm calling the living room finished!

Of course, in order to do that, I have to wash, sand, prime, paint and seal the door knobs and hinges....

I'm insane.

But by gosh! By golly! By gum! This room is going to look ab-so-fricken-lutely smashing when I'm done!

You're gonna love it! I already do.

* Why, yes, I have already threatened the Destructo Twins with death when they looked like they were about to start writing on the walls. Thanks for asking!

** When I say "I" painted, I really mean it. Eric has been replacing switches and outlets and their covers from almond fixtures (soooo 1990s!) to white, handling the children and moving heavy ladders for me. Him no paint. Him cook and do laundry.
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