Been There, Done That: Happy yellow walls and a sense of accomplishment

I did the best I could to use my time off between jobs wisely; I tried to get to all those things that there just never seems to be enough time to do. Of course, I didn’t get to all of them, but I did knock one big one off the list — I painted the living room.

Well, most of it. I didn’t move the hutch, but it hogs almost the whole wall anyway. And I didn’t move the computer desk for pretty much the same reason. You can’t really even see the old color behind them.
I started with the bar that divides the kitchen and living room. It was going to be a nightmare, which is why I did it first. If I could accomplish that, everything else would be a cake walk.

The dividing wall-post needed to be yellow, including one little sliver on the kitchen side but the rest needed to stay the sky blue I just painted the kitchen. That was the hardest part, taping it right so I didn’t paint over the blue.

The living room side of the bar was just a big rectangle under the actual “bar,” which was like the reward I deserved for surviving the other side.

Taping off at the ceiling proved to be a challenge due to the open beam design of the living room. Textured beams, I might add. Whoever thought textured ceilings was a good idea never had to get painter’s tape to stick to it.

I decided to paint the rest of the living room in sections. In my 20s, 30s or even 40s, it would have been a one-day job. Now, it’s more of a two- or three-day ordeal.

Moving the couch was no easy feat, especially considering there is a recliner in each end. Its days here are numbered as we have our eye on a loveseat replacement at about a quarter of the weight.
I learned that throw rugs make great drop cloths — nice straight edges that hug the baseboard and they spread far enough into the room to be useful when I stop to watch something on TV with a loaded paint brush in my hand.

We currently use my parents’ former dining room table as our puzzle table, which takes up a considerable amount of space in the corner between the couch and the computer desk.

Underneath is our Beagle Boy Cletus’ hidey-hole, replete with a giant bear, one actual dog bed and at least 10 blankets of various sizes. Let me just say Cletus was less than impressed when I moved his entire operation to the other side of the room while I painted.

I tried to reassemble it the way it was, but he wasn’t buying it. He avoided it altogether and just stayed in the chair, all droopy and depressed. And he made a big show of rearranging everything when I finally moved the table and all his stuff back.

I made sure I took before and after photos, showing the newly painted fun and sunny yellow and the dark and dreary llama (that was the name of the color we picked 20 years ago). I never realized just how dark it was or pondered the fact that we tolerated it for so many years.

When I got to the corner with the TV, I just left it connected and slid it out from the walls. It was a bit of a pain to carefully step over the cords and cables, but not bad enough to even consider unplugging anything. I didn’t want to have to make an appointment with the cable guy to get the TV up and running again.

When the painting was done, it was amazing how much brighter and happier the room seemed. And how dreadful our curtains looked.

They weren’t dirty, we had just washed them about two weeks earlier, they just looked old and very tired.
We went to our local thrift store and lucked out finding three sets of smoky gray satin-ish curtains with valences that just matched the new paint. The excess I trimmed and hemmed off the bottom turned into three pairs of tiebacks.

Then we got to work on hanging up some pictures. The grizzly bear, the cool Mediterranean scene, and the car clocks that we moved here 27 years ago and never got around to hanging up until now.

Eventually, the old paint behind the hutch and the computer desk will have my OCD screaming like the dirty little peach patch behind the fridge in the kitchen did, but for right now, I’m OK with it. And very little time got wasted during my unexpected February vacation.

Laura Nethken
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