Monday, February 16, 2009

Painting Her Room. Finally

My daughter has wanted her room painted for years. She chose the colors. She begged. She pleaded. She was tired of the all-white walls that to her mother, when we moved in to this apartment 9 years ago, looked so airy and loft-like. Especially set against maple wood floors. Except, in the bedrooms, the floors aren't wood. They're beige berber carpets that have seen better days. So my girl, arriving at adolescence, looked around at this sea of pale and decided she had to have some color in her life. Purple, she decided. But time passed she grew out of her purple phase. Apple green walls with pink accents, she then decided.

We went to the paint store and bought little samples of pink and green paint. We painted squares on one wall and wrote the names of the colors next to the squares in pencil. My daughter began to hope. We observed the colors in all phases of light and dark, then chose one, Acadian Green, and went back to the store for the gallon can. My daughter looked around her room, analyzed how difficult each piece of furniture would be to move, and decided that maybe we'd just paint two of the walls green (accent walls, she explained) and leave the wall with laden bookshelves contrasting white. The opposite wall with the large window would also be white, but we'd add a punch of color with some curtains. Now we had a plan.

We went to Linens and Things and bought the pink accents: a pink and green comforter, complementary polka dot and striped multi-colored cushions, a big pink bolster. We bought a new bed with pretty scrolly white ironwork on three sides. We dressed it with the new pink-accented bedding. And the white scrolly ironwork just sat there, lost against the white walls. My daughter invited her friends, her cousins, everyone who stopped by, to write messages on the wall behind her bed. Graffiti in the form of large hearts, bubble letters, pencil hieroglyphs, mazes, and love notes flourished on the walls. My daughter and her friends showed no restraint. After all, the walls would soon be painted over.

Still, the can of green pain sat on top the the buckets of Decorator White eggshell paint that we'd dug out from the depths of our hall closet. The containers of paint sat for months, inexplicably in my son's room. They became beside tables of sorts for him, a repository for all the college catalogs and postcards and brochures that arrived in the mail. My son applied for colleges and now the acceptances began to pile up on top of the paint cans. Finally, my daughter figured out what she needed to do. Mom was fine with the retail efforts, she realized, but to actually get the room painted, she would have to enlist...Dad!!!

And so, this long President's Day weekend, she and her dad are finally painting her room. And I am trying to stay out of there because I have endless suggestions for how they can do it more efficiently, and how not to track paint onto the carpet (in only one spot so far), and how to prep for neat edges and how much to complete before taking a break. I realize now that I couldn't quite paint the room with my daughter because the process kicked up all my worst OCD traits. The chaos in there right now gives me the shivers. But my daughter and my husband are doing it their way, cheerfully painting each wall and willy-nilly shoving obstacles out the way. I have no doubt that by the end of the day, the transformation will be complete. Then it will be my turn again. Wresting order out of chaos. Shopping for the pretty accents.

As I've often said, my children hit the dad lottery. Today, my husband has made our girl very happy.


  1. Oh, boy. I have paint and supplies gathering dust in my utility closet while my master bath has bare drywall (I did manage to remove the ugly 1974 wallpaper, but that was as far as I got).

    Can I borrow your husband? :)

  2. Lol, Ellen. Yes, he's something special.