Here it is…the project which will forever be known in our family lore as…THE BEAST. Some of you thought I’d never blog it. Some of you thought it might actually spell the death of me. Some of you have heard me cry one too many tears into my coffee over something as silly as a built-in bookcase. You were all correct.
It started off innocently enough. After passing a major professional certification exam, Greg was looking for a project. Something requiring a saw, a lot of dust, and many hours spent alone in his garage. Taking a long look at the bookshelves we purchased and stained right before our wedding, Greg asked, “What if I turned these into a built-in?” He said, “If you design it, I’ll build it, if you will then paint it.” I was nearly giddy with excitement. He had me at built-in. Our bedroom has always been blah, and I swore I’d never mess with it. Who sees your Master Bedroom? Um…I’m an idiot. Decorating is not for women who bandy about using the word “never”! The Fates were listening. So was The Beast.
Little did either Greg or I know that the picture above would represent the cleanest our bedroom would look for 5 months. Greg’s part of the project took only a few weekends. I wanted something not mid-century modern (doesn’t match my house), not Victorian (doesn’t match my house), yet not too plain (plain would match my house, and nobody wants that). Basically, I wanted the bookshelves from Marley & Me, where Jennifer Aniston sits, waiting late into the night for Owen Wilson to return from the Vet. Make the bookshelves featured in 5 seconds of a film we watched 5 years ago. What can I say? I’m easy to please. Greg’s only wish was for the bottom to include storage, so he built all of the lower panels to pop out with magnetic pulls. Men. So practical. Women. So…not.
It wasn’t until after Greg finished it I realized the entire thing would have to be painted with a brush. AND OH MY GOSH, the entire room was now WRONG. Women understand this decorating dilemma. You change one pillow, and suddenly the entire house needs a full-scale Better Homes & Garden overhaul. One stinkin’ pillow you bought on clearance at Home Goods, and you’re going to spend the next 6 months screaming at your budget, spending your free time on Houzz, trying to reconfigure your entire house. I did what any reasonable red-blooded American woman would do: I FROZE. Greg got so sick of me waiting to paint, he put everything back on his shelves. As you can see, I protested.
The bed sat in the middle of the room for over a month, surrounded by storage containers. I thought it was a hoot. Greg did not.
I finally started painting. And painting. And painting. I painted so much I had to sleep with a brace on my band, and I awoke in the night, arm in air, painting in my sleep. At one point I broke out in full body hives. For a month. I considered torching the whole thing. I began to imagine it was possessed. But little did I know, the hives would be the easy part. The built-in lights I envisioned in my head were nowhere to be found (for under a trillion dollars). So Greg made them for me. Yes, he’s great, I know. I should be nicer to him. But you know what? He’s not perfect. Every night he makes this homemade chocolate sauce for his ice cream, and he never washes out the bowl. OK, I’m shutting up now. He’s perfect. I suck. This much we already knew and I’m digressing.
It took 3 trips to the hardware store, the purchase and returning of 3 sets of lampshades, and once they were in, we realized the curtains wouldn’t fit behind them, so Greg had to remove the entire thing and start over. But finally…there was light.
My side of the bookshelves (we married, but our books did not; you understand.)
The glass piece on my wall inspired the entire color scheme for the room, which went from a way-too icy blue and taupe, to a soft grey with slate grey and tangerine accents. and all white wood (from oak…remind me next time to choose colors which match my furniture). There is some cobalt blue as well, but in so much as you’ll see it in a vase and in tiny portions of paintings and pictures. My Mother-In-Law and I found the large plate at an Antique Mall and we both agreed, it was the inspiration I needed to push forward.
My Mother-In-Law also brought back the center vase from Prague (oh how I love Prague), and we spent a really fun afternoon collecting other pieces of glass at a new favorite antique haunt. I’ll gather additional tangerine glass as I find it, but true tangerine is not easy to find. It’s often mixed with red or yellow. Not to worry…this project has taught me patience. Lots and lots of patience.
Greg’s side of the bookshelves.
From there, I had to repaint the walls, change out all of the bedding, switch out the overhead lighting, find new curtains, throw out the bedside tables, find new ones that somehow match, but are actually antiques I needed to refinish, remove and patch the old sconces by the beds, find new bedside lamps that matched the new scheme, lift the bed, refinish the headboard, remat and reframe the oversized painting above our bed, refinish my dresser, frame and rehang the pieces on the large wall opposite our bed, and find something new to go above my dresser because there ain’t no way my ugly mirror is going back up on the wall.
I have purchased and returned and second guessed nearly everything you read above. Twice. Have I said this before? I love-hate redecorating? It’s perfectly awful? It’s so expensive and time consuming. While the juice is often worth the squeeze, the process is just too painful.
What’s left on the list? I’m halfway through the bedside tables, and I have to repaint my dresser. Everything else is done, and just reading about it makes me nauseous. These curtains are a compromise after a certain decorating fabric store stopped carrying the fabric I had chosen for the windows (and my sister later told me was not a good fit anyway; finally, a snafoo works in my favor). I only looked at about 100 sets before giving in and getting these, which still need hemmed and steamed. IT NEVER ENDS. So tell me, do I hem to the window seat, or do I hem slightly above it to the window ledge? Please share your thoughts, because I have no idea.
And as for the voice inside of me that whispers I’m terrible at finishing projects? Shut up you fart jockey. I tamed the Beast!
P.S. I can hear Reader Lydia right now, asking out loud if I’m taking the duck off my bookshelf. The answer my dear, is NO. That’s The Local Duck, but don’t ask me why. He introduced himself to me when I was 8, and with me he has remained. He’s loyal (and local, but I don’t know what that means, and I’ve been too shy to ask). I like that in a duck. Lydia is throwing up a little bit in her mouth, staring at that 1980′s pine green eyesore, but Lydia is loyal too. She’ll forgive me. Eventually.