We’re getting the first floor painted.  When we moved in around February 19th, or 25th, or whenever that whole debaucle came to fruition, the house was in a state of change.  Our mission: to De-Old-Lady-ify the place.  She had lived here for 62 years, so even if she wasn’t an Old Lady when she moved in, she sure was when she picked out all those floral wall papers.  Still, we knew deep down it would be a beautiful House, and an intensely personal Home, if we could just strip away the layers of Bag Balm, hair dressing, and Stanna Stair lift. 

It begins.  The previous owners, perhaps recognizing the non-appeal to modern homebuyers, began to strip the wallpaper in the living room and dining room.  To say it was a hack job would have been kind.  Though we stipulated in our closing papers that those rooms would be “prepped for paint” (i.e., completely free of wallpaper), what we found was the sellers grand-son-in-law (or something like that) scraping away at c. 30 year old paper with a tool essentially no more effective than a spatula.  Which left bits of paper and backing, scads of glue, and huge gouges where crosses and needlepoint used to hang.  No so simple as a DIY job, much as we would have liked to develop that pride in our home by undertaking the painting ourselves. 

But Aaron and his crew came in yesterday morning and turned the place upside-down.  Our belongings are covered in plastic sheeting and painters’ tape.  I walked the dog this afternoon on a luggage strap — his leash was nowhere to be found.  Mr. Apron’s beloved Bluetooth is somewhere between the mounds of what used to be our dining room table set, and what used to be our cozy living room.  I’m just grateful he had the foresight to rescue our stack of unpaid bills from the mantle, or they’d be long buried. 

Yesterday I came home to mounds of plastic sheeting and drop cloths, our walls covered liberally in spackle.  Today, it was a different story altogether.  Despite being warned by Mr. Apron on a 7:16am voicemail not to freak out when I see the wrong color on the dining room walls — it’s just a primer, he calmly soothes — I was still excited to see the changes.  I walked into a different house entirely.  Surely this was not our home!  In place of the scraped “faux-finish” we joked that the sellers had left us, I found our colors.  Maybe they have more coats to put down, or finishing touche to make, but the essence of this idea that had been forming in my brain is now on our walls.  Let me tell you about our colors, if I may.  Prepare to get hungry, as they all (except one) ended up being food-related.

Enter to a living room in a buttery warm yellow.  Turn to face the fireplace, and find an accent wall in “light eggplant” (my terms; I can’t remember the MAB paint names), with an offset fireplace in the same yellow.  The eggplant continues up the stairs, bring a richness to our upstairs hallways that is amazing me.  Go back down now, and into the dining room, where you’ll find a chair rail, separating two colors.  The bottom, where you’d find wainscoting if we were that cool, is a yellow one shade lighter than the living room.  The upper — squee! — is Cherokee Red.  Cherokee Red is a Frank Lloyd Wright color, the one he used liberally at Fallingwater.  It allows me to bring a small piece of architectural inspiration to our otherwise ordinary twin home in a suburb of Philadelphia.  There are no fewer than 5 replicas of our “style” home in the surrounding neighborhood.  But no other, I wager, has Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cherokee Red.  It’s a dark red, full of metallic rust, with insistent orange tones leaking out.  Mr. Apron convinced me to let the painters do the inside of the front door, too, and I suggested we carry the Cherokee Red there, too.  And damn! if that doesn’t look good!  Move back into our little L kitchen, and you’ll find Lemon Meringue (I did remember that MAB name), which I hope will complement our1950s decor, including a candy red dinette set (complete with red vinyl chairs), a kelly green canister set (with red and yellow decals), white with gold-flecked Formica (TM) countertops and backsplash, and authentic 1950s curtains: kelly green with red and yellow cheese graters, whisks, egg beaters, and spoons.  It’s going to be so cool when we put the furnishings back together, assemble a few shelves, and hang some artwork.  You’ll have to come visit!

I was going to vent about work today, about not having enough time to see all the kids because I had a meeting with my supervisor (“just 2 minutes” turned into 45), about her being critical of my report writing, which runs contradictory to the feedback I usually get from her, and having to rewrite the report, which is just another thing I have to do, and a colossal waste of time, as the report is just an exercise I have to do before I become a full and proper speech language pathologist.  But instead, I was struck by the infusion of color and overnight De-Old-Lady-ifiction our home had taken on as I burst through the door, hoping the dog wasn’t overcome by fumes.  And of course he wasn’t — we opted for low-VOC paint.  So overwhelmed was I by the colors, I decided to write about that instead. 

I hope that in the months and years to come, coming Home will mean I’m able to leave my work anxieties, frustrations, and agita at the threshold.  That I’ll really and truly feel as though I’m coming Home.

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