Fifteen years ago, when we were house hunting to move up from our starter ranch house, we were lucky to be in the proverbial “right place at the right time” with a new construction home. We had never dreamed that we could be the proud owners of a brand new house, and here we were. We were able to make minor changes to the builder’s plan to suit our needs, and make decisions regarding things like appliances and carpeting.
When it came to the interior paint colors, we simply went with BBB throughout the house. Basic Builder Beige. You know the color, that neutral, safe hue that goes with everything when you first move in, looks clean, and is easy to paint over when you are ready to customize to your own liking.
As the years have gone on, we have painted, and often re-painted, much of the interior. The kitchen was the very first to be painted, a bright sunny yellow – which now, 15 years later, needs to be redone again. That’s the funny part. The illusion is that you don’t need to do a thing to a brand new house. No repairs and updates needed like when buying an old home. It is clear sailing for years to come, right? Wrong. Sure, we don’t have the same issues as a historic home owner faces, but there are still projects that pop up regularly. There are cracks from settling, there are the room changes to meet the needs of a child growing from infant to teen, there are equipment failures, and after many years of being well-loved, there is plenty of wear and tear.
So bit by bit, we are doing what I’d call “refreshing and refluffing” the house. Being on a typical real family budget, I figure we’ll have the house exactly the way we want it 10 years from now, just in time to start all over again. Thus the joys of home ownership.
Deciding on themes and paint colors for each of the rooms really has been a fairly easy, quick process. The dining room went through a couple of changes before landing on its current sage green. The living room, a lovely lavender. My son’s re-done bedroom is a cool-teen-guy-pewter. The guest room is now periwinkle. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the love of my life, my office/writing room, is pink. Each project has been fun to imagine and bring to life.
Until now. There are two areas of the house that still, 15 years later, are adorned with the original BBB color: our master bedroom, and the foyer/hallways. I have had a vision for our bedroom for at least half of the time we’ve lived here…but it always slides to the bottom of the budget priority list for two reasons. First, because my husband and I (and the dog) are really the only ones who see the room regularly, so no rush to update it, as much as we want to. And secondly, once we start on the bedroom, it will require more than just a fresh coat of paint. It needs new carpeting. There is an attached bathroom that will need new paint, and repairs made to a stained ceiling. There are settling cracks that need filling and sanding. And my vision includes extras, like borders or mouldings, and my husband’s vision includes all new furniture. Therefore, bottom of the list.
That leaves the foyer and hallways. Still BBB. And I’m sick of it. I declared to my husband in a bold, determined R.W. way, that this winter we will get it repainted. We decided long ago that unlike some of the other rooms, this project we will not take on ourselves, we will hire a painter. I made up my mind on that after the first terrifying image popped into my head of my husband trying to balance a ladder on the stairs to get the overhead wall space painted. So, we have been saving our pennies, we have a painter in mind, all that’s left is choosing the color. As I said, every other room has taken me about 10 minutes to pick out the new look.
Yet something is different this time. I have just not been able to find the perfect color. I have gone through piles of swatches, and have now purchased three different sample paints to apply to the walls. Each time, I’ve thought “This is it, it will look great!” only to put it up on the wall, and instantly say “nope. Not it.”
Now, every time I walk through my halls, those swatches taunt me. And because I’ve swiped these color stripes on my surfaces, I’ve made that commitment that we must finish this project. My husband the other day paused to look at my veritable rainbow and said “sure glad we don’t have any plans to host guests anytime soon.”
Today, as I added the third “nope, not it” color, I began to get a bit philosophical about why this time I’m so challenged. Perhaps it is because it is such a large area and I’m intimidated. Perhaps it is because they are interior walls with little natural light, and every choice looks worse in reality. Perhaps it feels like a bigger commitment, as I don’t see us re-painting this area again any time soon, so I’m afraid to make a mistake. Perhaps it is because I’m not an interior designer and just plain lack the skills for design.
Or, maybe, it is more akin to something like writer’s block. I’ve been so looking forward to getting these walls updated and refreshed, now that it is go-time, I’m stuck. Like when I excitedly carve out time to do some writing, but get mired in the “where do I go from here?” quandry for my novel. Or I have a thought for a blog post, but it just doesn’t work. Maybe, it is like when you’ve been saving for so long to purchase that special dress, the day comes, and when you put it on, you start doubting its appeal. Or possibly, it is just a matter of hitting tilt. We R.W.’s spend our days making so many decisions, it seems reasonable that at some point we will reach our limit. I remember the same thing happening when we were picking out our appliances for the kitchen, all those years ago. I was standing in an appliance store, and I no longer cared what color or style my stove was going to be. I cook. A lot. I do really care what features my stove and oven have. But that day, I had hit tilt. I looked at my husband and said “I just don’t care. Pick something.”
And so, I may have reached that same place with my hallways. I have one more color swatch I’m going to try. And if it turns out to be a “nope” as well, I’m going to just choose a fresher newer version of BBB and we’ll go with it. I need to get past this block. I need to be able to figure out where I’m going next, get those words down, that paint on the wall, and feel great when its done.
In reality, when it is all done, very few people will ever notice those particular walls. Those hallways are just a part of the whole house. Just like a written chapter, or a special purchase, or yet another decision, is just a part of our very full lives. Best of all, if something doesn’t come out quite right, we can always re-paint, re-write, re-consider, return, and eventually reach the point of satisfaction.