Those of you who know me, and probably by now those of you that don’t, will have established having followed this renovation over seventeen weeks that I’m a woman who knows her own mind. My mind isn’t a particularly clear one …. I can certainly be indecisive…but I’m headstrong nonetheless. Trouble is, my mind is about all I know. What it is becoming demonstrably clear is that I don’t know very much about choosing colour.
Today I began the exciting task of painting the chimney breast. I say exciting as theres something infinitely more pleasurable in painting accent colours than there is in washing the walls with white even though the paler end result is ultimately just as beautiful. However, as I stood back to survey the results I realised with anticipated horror that my earlier doubts this week had been founded….the two colours neither complimented nor effectively contrasted with each other. The whole ensemble simply looked uncomfortable which was exactly how I was starting to feel.
I had to make a choice. Go with the olive wallpaper or go with the sage walls. The wallpaper was more expensive….so I opted for that. Gathering up brushes and rollers I set about washing them with the garden hose, there now being no kitchen tap, in preparation for a bit more laborious white walling.
Meanwhile arguments of a childhood nature raged upstairs with four grumpy workmen squashed into the same small space. P ventured out into the garden.
“What’s all this, why are you not hard at work?” he asked as I crouched on the lawn, rinsing through my equipment.
“I’m annoyed.” I said ” I’ve just wasted two days painting the room the wrong colour. I’m about to paint it white”
“Oh, that’s no good” he said sympathetically.
“How’s work upstairs?” I asked.
“A nightmare. K’s like a bear with a sore head today” he jabbed his finger up towards the bedroom window “and if he’s not careful I’m gonna tell him.”
Instead he told me what adhesive he needed me to get hold of by the following day and, having nodded my agreement, made his way back upstairs to resume arguing.
A few hours later K appeared.
“Knock knock” he said, entering the lounge “and how’s M today?”
“Annoyed” I repeated “the colours don’t work”
“Mmmmmmmmm, these two” he said, pointed towards the chimney breast and alcoves.
“I’m painting it white” I said “I’ll keep the chimney colour and the wallpaper. Lose this sage. I like it….but it’s wrong. Anyway, do you want a coffee?”
“Yes, I will” he said.
Relieved to have a break from the lounge I led K through into the kitchen where, flicking the kettle on, I recounted the news of a successful switch of the toilet cistern plus the purchase of a few other bits K had needed.
“I feel a bit bad not making the others a drink.” I said as I handed him his coffee “do you think they would want one?”
“I don’t care” he replied shortly. “P’s bloody doing my nut. I’ve just been down to Selco to get board, two sheets he wanted, now he says he needs four.”
“And he’s been insistent that he’s going to get on with the fireplace today….the bloody fireplace…..and I keep telling him, I want him to do the shower!”
“Well I’m getting him adhesive for tomorrow” I said “so he must be doing it then”
“That’s another thing!” K cried “he’s got you getting adhesive….I’ve just bloody been to Selco!”
I shrugged. I didn’t mind. P spends ten minutes each morning playing with my son, letting him press buttons on his drill and pretend to lift huge lengths of twobyfour….I don’t mind an odd trip to Topps Tiles if its needed. K, however, hadn’t finished.
“I could understand it from a 16 year old boy” he added “but a 60 year old man?” he paused, words and anger spent. “Do you want me to whip that rad off so you can paint behind it?”
“No no no, you go home” I urged. ” I’m fine, I can paint round it, its fine”
And with a thank you for the coffee he made his escape.
A few minutes later P appeared.
“I’m just coming to see if C has a hammer drill I can use tomorrow so I don’t have to bring mine…” he said venturing into the snug. “Problem is….where to find it……ah! Sweet as…….even has the right drill bit.”
“Excellent” I said.
“That bloody K has been doing my head in today” P moaned, gathering up the drill.
“Oh really?” I repeated
“Asked him for four boards…he brings me two….I tell you….” He thudded upstairs shaking his head.
Shaking mine I continued with my painting until a knock at the door signalled the arrival of Mr Pest Control, a man with, it was to transpire, a disproportionate air of authority and importance for someone who really just finds holes as opposed to mice.
“I haven’t hoovered up these droppings” I said pointing towards the area behind the fridge “as I thought you might need to see where the party has been taking place”
“Some people” he said leaning Tommy Saxondale-like on the island “collect up the droppings and show us them on a saucer. I just say “yep, I’ve seen one before.”
Informed, it appeared needlessly, with my version of their comings and goings he boisterously set about arming himself with his foam gun in supplement of the AK45 of his fantasies and with underpants showing stuffed his wire wool, squirted his foam and laid his bait. Once done I asked him to look behind the washing machine and tumble dryer. He reluctantly began to pull at the dryer…before stopping.
“Nah. I’ll scratch the floor”
“Doesn’t matter, just do it” I urged.
“What are you going to do with this floor anyway?” he asked “sand it or what?”
Struggling to keep the offence from my voice I explained that it had been done already. He busied himself, oblivious, with more hole-stuffing.
“That should do in there.” he said brushing his hands theatrically on his trousers, “Whats in here?” Opening the Worlds Smallest WC with more force than neccessary he stared in as I said,
“Now you’ve sorted the mice, have you got anything to deal with those fish?”
Peering in at our colourful mural he adopted a sarcastic tone.
“Oh no…..you don’t want to get rid of these do you?”
I explained that I’d been teasing, we had put it in for a bit of fun but were wondering if it now felt a bit ‘beach bar’.
“Mmmmmmmmm,” he said as he shut the door and turned away “didn’t wanna say”
With all likely entry points blocked and paperwork signed, he started to pack up his weapons.
“You might hear them trying to get in” he said “or if you hear them actually inside they’ll take the bait and die”
“Great” I replied “not behind my cabinets I hope”
“Cant guarantee it love. Right…..” He picked up his bag and flung it on his shoulder “Got to get over to North London now. Nightmare.” And with that this Very Important Man departed.
Later this evening, ears tuned for scratching (I heard a bit…..hoping it was a mouse…note the hopeful singular……trying to get in as opposed to succeeding) I trawled the internet for lounge inspiration. A current favourite web haunt of mine is a blog by Abigail Ahern offering design tips and tricks and inspired by her encouragement to everyone to ‘go dark and bold’ I wondered if that was the answer. An olive room, lightened by the white of the ceiling, woodwork and curtains, warmed by lamps and broken up by artwork, photos, mirrors and the like is a scary thought but….Abigail promises….it will change my life.
Arriving home from a night out S cuddled up.
“Are you ok pet? You are quiet.”
I turned towards him.
“I’ve an idea. Will you trust me on it?” I asked.
“Er… what does it involve?”
“Paint” I said
“Oh god” he groaned.
“I’m annoyed I’ve wasted a week…but I think I have a solution”
“It’s not a waste if you think it was wrong” he said sleepily.
Taking that as an agreement, I closed my eyes resolutely deciding to have a go at the apparent transformative powers of the ‘dark side’. I may not know much about colour. This time I’m trusting that Abigail does.