Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Book of Redecoration (King Parker James Version)

Okay, so revised plan #6 (I'll spare everyone the details on #2 through #5):

A grand total of ONE full dining room wall is Mink. (Let's play HGTV and call it THE FEATURE WALL, shall we?)

When we put the primer over the green walls, they turned a lovely shade of pale bluish-green, and I could not help but notice how bright and expansive the dining room looked in a lighter color (Revelation #1). I also could not help but notice that the primer-created shade was not unlike Wyeth Blue, my initial color choice (Revelation #2). Benjamin Moore had been out of samples of that color, but I had grabbed a tester of Palladian Blue, which seemed to be a similar shade, on my way out of the store, intending to try it in the bathroom. I slapped some of that on the dining room wall and could not help but notice that it was the same color as several decorative accessories that were in that room (at that particular moment, heaped in a pile on top of the "Island of Relocated Furniture" floating mid-dining room) (Revelation #3).

I went back to the BM fan deck and discovered that Palladian Blue was on the same card as Wyeth Blue - just one shade lighter, and one of my initial concerns with Wyeth Blue was that it was a shade too dark. Revelation #4.

I called my mother, who had phoned earlier in the day raving about a brown room in Traditional Home that had a light blue ceiling. When I shared my successful experiment with Palladian Blue, she basically shrieked, put the phone down, and then I heard the sound of frantically turned pages before she returned to the line and said: "Ceiling paint: 1/2 formula Palladian Blue." Her coveted ceiling, my test patch on the wall - same color, with just a little extra white mixed in. Revelation #5.

After my trip through the Book of Revelations, we determined that the remaining dining room walls should be painted a diluted shade of Palladian Blue above a (currently non-existent) chair rail, with Mink below that.

Meanwhile, we'd already gone rogue in the living room, painting all but the area above the mantel a great taupe-y shade called Greenbriar Beige. At the last minute, we decided that Mink above the fireplace would (a) make the architecture of the fireplace jut-in more pronounced, (b) better highlight the art that hangs over the fireplace and (c) create a sight line from the dark brown fireplace area to the dark brown leather chair to THE FEATURE WALL.

As Mink out of the can looks exactly like Hershey's syrup, "Toast with Nutella" is out as a description for the overall concept. New name: "The Hershey's Bar with Almonds Suite." (Note to Hershey's parent company: Formal naming rights are available at a very reasonable price point.)

So . . . in keeping with the Biblical theme of this post, I can report that our rooms have received a (wait for it) coat of many colors. Second, and final, coat goes up tonight, with touch-up tomorrow. FYI, if you have never painted with Benjamin Moore, here's my testimony (STILL with the religious stuff): it is SO worth the extra money. No drips, no splatters, and you can pretty much get away with one coat. Can I get a witness from the congregation?

Chair rail was purchased at lunch today. I had text messaged Parnell (1) the SKU information, name, dimensions and pricing of the molding I selected along with (2) the relevant aisle number at Lowe's and (3) directions to said aisle. Notwithstanding the foregoing, he declined to make the purchase on his own, so I had to meet him at the store. Insert comment about general male/husband quirkiness here. (Btw, he was immediately on board with the chair rail concept . . . in part because it permitted him to break out THE LASER LEVEL. Okay, I admit it - the thing is terribly useful, and terribly fun.)

Can't wait to send photos, primarily because it will mean that our work is substantially complete, and we are all so ready to get to that point. Over the weekend, I kept hearing my Blackberry vibrate, and I finally realized that in our haste to move everything to the center of the room it had been transported (along with the centerpiece bowl in which it had been housed) to the interior of the Island of Relocated Furniture. Excavation ensued . . . . Now the remote for the dining room fan is missing, meaning that we cannot turn on the overhead light, so painting in that space has to take place before dusk. Oh, well - we work well under deadlines.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Here I Go Again . . . .

Long before I knew my husband, I knew what color the living room in our first house would be. I had carried around the image (ripped from one of my mother's home decorating magazines) since college - maybe even late high school. But that was then, and this is now, and after ten years of being defined by my "Cactus Pine" walls, I am ready for a change. Credit (or, if you're my spouse, blame) my friend Melanie for (1) picking the coolest paint colors for her recent home re-do and (2) letting me borrow the Benjamin Moore fan deck. I really, REALLY wanted "Wyeth Blue" to work for the living/dining rooms (and I do plan to use it in the master bathroom), but it lent itself to some of the same issues that I have with the current green walls. Fact is, we have a LOT of "personal effects" (okay, let's call them what they are - "tchotskes"), many of which are multicolored, some of which clash with the green walls now and others of which would clash with the blue (which is a really pretty, cloudy pale blue with green mixed in - but I digress). While I'm pretty much to the point where I could part with all of the tchotskes, shedding nary a tear, the boys (the big one included) aren't having any of that, so the solution, as I see it, is to create a neutral palate and minimize all of the visual distractions that I can - given that, evidently, we are quite sentimentally attached to some elements of our visual clutter.

So which neutral palate to create? Rugs that I want to keep, and our Mitchell Gold sofa (which has not lived up to its hype, but it cost a small fortune, so it's staying), are taupe-y (or, according to MG, "Toast"). Other upholstered pieces are a dark chocolate brown. Case goods, in keeping with the age and style of our home, are late 19th century/early 20th century Arts and Crafts pieces in tiger oak (a warmer brown, midway between the other two shades in terms of intensity). Did I mention that Melanie picked the best colors? The best of the best being her kitchen/dining/living room selection - "Mink," a luscious dark hue reminiscent of the richest, fudgiest chocolate fudge. I've been obsessing over it since I saw it at her place - but I wondered how it would work amongst our festival o' brown tones. And then, like manna from heaven, arrived this month's "Elle Decor."

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on "The Godiva Room," above. TGR is owned by one Mr. George Stephanopolous and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, with whom I appear to share my decorating taste. Toast-colored drapes against a chocolate fudge wall. Ingenious! I am totally stealing the idea - and Melanie's "Mink" walls to boot. To seal the deal, I made my weekly recon trip to my fave antique dealer at lunch today (having found, and passed, on the perfect storage cabinet for my currently furniture-less west dining room wall - reconsidered, went back, and it was gone!). Lo and behold, I found the most gorgeous piece - oak, leaded Tudor glass - but the stain was a little bit darker than our other oak stuff. Dare I say it, a mink-ish shade? SOLD! Totally justifies the color scheme, and will look so good as the focal point on that wall.

Or, I should clarify, one of the focal points. We have a lot of photos of the boys, and to say that they are eclectically framed would be an understatement. Goldleaf, silverleaf, dark wood, bleached wood, whitewash - we have it all. And I recently identified it for what it is - a terrible eyesore - particularly with the frames as they are currently haphazardly displayed about the room. Enter magazine clipping #2, from Southern Living:

Love, LOVE the idea of putting the photos on a plate rack, after repainting several of them (I'm keeping some of the gold ones, and the wood tones that match our furniture, but the rest are getting whitewashed to match the mantel and crown molding). Of course, with two boys, it's a foregone conclusion that all of the frames would vibrate off of their shelves and crash to the floor within the first fifteen minutes . . . . Enter ingenious gadget #1 - the "Frame Riser" from Pottery Barn.

Current, Connor-and-Parker-proof plan is to create a plate rack effect on the wall (can't afford a good one, so I'm going to get creative with pieces of crown molding and architectural salvage stuff) and mount the frames to the wall with their little frame-y bottoms flush with the shelves, so it looks like they are propped rather than hung, and the Frame Risers will allow me to move some of the frames to the front for a three-dimensional effect.

I also like the toasty wall color in the Southern Living image, and I'm considering making the fireplace wall an accent wall (using Benjamin Moore's "Taos Taupe").

Cabinet for the dining room arrives tomorrow, and I fully anticipate that I'll have acquired paint and started painting before then. I just can't wait to get started on our "Toast with Nutella Room."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday, Monday . . . .

When I fired up Pandora this afternoon, the first song on the playlist was New Order's "Blue Monday," which had me wondering - random chance or a wink from the Pandora gods (goddesses)? The next selection was an uptempo ditty by a band called Suicide Commando off of an album titled "Bind, Torture, Kill." At this point, I decided that Pandora clearly has a serious case of the Mondays - and also, evidently, has profiled me as a devotee of synth pop (which is somewhat true).

My Monday has been decidedly un-blue - I went to the dentist this morning anticipating that X-rays would reveal that I had fractured a molar, requiring both a crown and a root canal. Actual diagnosis - I am a princess, and the bleepin' pea is in my mouth. Even the smallest mouth "issue" (in this case, a slightly receded gumline) unleashes a furious bout of tongue-prodding, inflaming the nerves and making my teeth feel huge and out of place in my head. I go to sleep, grind on the offending teeth all night, and wake up in tremendous discomfort, ready for another round of totally counter-productive tongue-prodding. The prescription - Sensodyne and a custom mouthguard. Heck of a lot better (healthier, more economical) than a crown and a root canal. I'm wondering if I'll have an easier time sleeping through the night with the mouth guard in place. Goofy that I am eagerly awaiting the phone call to tell me that it's ready for pickup?

Mad props to Dr. Raulston for not selling me a bill of goods. If you are looking for a dentist in the Metroplex that will tell it to you straight, give her a call!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

On Friday night, I volunteered at the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life," registering participants in the ACS's third Cancer Prevention Study. This is the first time that North Texas has been included in a CPS. Like the first two studies (begun in 1950 and 1980), CPS3 will track participants over two decades in an attempt to draw conclusions as to how lifestyle factors make you more or less likely to develop cancer. Today, we accept as fact that second-hand smoke and obesity are connected to certain types of cancer, but we only know these things because of the CPS program. Thus - as the child of two cancer survivors - I felt privileged both to have the opportunity to help with the registration campaign and to get to sign up as a participant. The commitment is such a simple one - an initial blood sample and a survey in the mail every other year. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy . . . .

We got up early on Saturday morning and stopped by the TCU Athletic Department's annual "garage sale." We were looking for tennis racquets (not sure why - we have six or seven between the four of us) and other sporting equipment, but by the time we got to the stadium all that was left were football and baseball jerseys and other apparel items. Saw a lot of grown men buying used football jerseys and wondered - what do they do with them? Wear them to games? If you don't have an actual connection to the team (either played at TCU or have a player as a family member), isn't that kind of - well, silly? I did think about getting one to use as a table runner if we ever get our act together and start tailgating.

Then we went to Yoko Donuts (formerly Yoko Sushi and Donuts - two food items you don't often see on the same menu, and you don't see them on the same menu at Yoko anymore, either!), which may have the best glazed donuts I have ever tasted. Between mouthfuls, the kids shared their career aspirations with us. Connor wants to be an Air Force pilot/cryptozoologist/Lego designer (apparently simultaneously). Parker wants to be a superhero - specifically, the Blue Beetle. I admire him for going with a less obvious choice - less obvious means less competition, right? His choice also evidences a certain maturity in terms of recognizing his own limitations: becoming Superman was out of the question, since (unless Parnell has been keeping something from me for the last fifteen years) neither of his parents hails from Krypton way, but any mortal, I am advised, can become Blue Beetle. You just need to find yourself a magic scarab (or, apparently, the scarab has to find you).

Saturday afternoon I met with some Junior Woman's Club folks to discuss plans for our May home tour. Our club is housed in Margaret Meacham Hall, one of the most beautiful historic homes in Fort Worth. Very few people have been inside it, and we are hoping that they will be willing to pay $8 per head to tour the home and learn about its history. (At one point in time it was a funeral home, which makes me think that we're missing an opportunity -"Mimosas at the Haunted Mansion," the ultimate girls' night out fright house experience?) We'll be asking local antiques dealers to stage various rooms as they would have existed in the house's heyday. Hopefully, the event will be a big success and will transition into an annual event.

Finally, today was the JWC Easter tea. In keeping with this year's art theme, the tea was styled as "A Tour of the Easter Bunny's Private Collection." Loved, loved, LOVED the table decor (egg cartons as paint palettes!) and the giant egg "masterpieces" on the front lawn. Got a great picture of Parker between Warhol's Marilyn and a Picass-egg. But the "Scream" egg was my favorite!


Happy birthday to Robyn! (Okay, it was last week, but this is the first blogging opportunity that I have had in awhile.) Her birthday dinner was a blast - Tex-Mex and margaritas at Joe T's, followed by Black Forest cake from Ridglea CC. Baby Greenleigh (pictured here) is a recent convert to the BF cake (but, given that she's a baby, she's a recent convert to pretty much everything!). We gave her some at the Moormans' Christmas open house, and she was instantly hooked. Love the way that her eyes are tracking the cake in this picture . . . .

Is anyone else wondering why the billboards for the Kimbell's "Art & Love in Renaissance Italy" exhibition feature Joey Tribbiani from"Friends"? (If you live in FW, take a good look at the guy in the middle of the painting, wearing what appears to be the Renaissance equivalent of a black leather jacket, and tell me that he doesn't look like Joey, complete with the patented Tribbiani "How YOU doin'?" expression. Or perhaps one of the T-Birds from "Grease"?)

Seen on a woman shopping at the Montgomery Street Super Target: a t-shirt that said, "Life is Better Blonde." Did I mention that she was brunette? Like, REALLY brunette, and it was obviously her natural color? I'm hoping that she is a big fan of irony, because otherwise we're talking about someone with a major self-image problem.