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I’m addicted to design shows on HGTV. Most people don’t know that about me. I love, love, love watching those before-and-after shows. (I also spend the GNP of a small country on design/home magazines on a monthly basis.) Not so much shows like “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” although I will watch that because I like a good cry. I also can’t watch “Trading Spaces” anymore because I hate watching Hildy cardboard someone’s baby nursery or lacquer their mattress. That’s not design, that’s just mean.

I’m more into shows like “Divine Design,” “Color Splash” and “Myles of Style.” I am fascinated by these designers who can walk into a home and size it up right away and know what to fix and how. I think I have a pretty decent sense of style and have done a pretty good job furnishing and decorating my house. I haven’t done anything too outrageous, extravagant or luxurious, but I’ve been told more than once that people feel comfortable and at home here. I’d like to think that means it’s a cozy place to come in, sit down and put your feet up—not that it’s a pig sty overrun with dog-hair tumbleweeds the size of puppies.

Our house is 23 years old and we’ve been there for nine. It was pretty much the worst house on the block when we bought it. We’ve done a few things to maintain it—new roof, painted the exterior—but I still have a wish list of things I want to do. Some items are as simple as retouching the paint in the hallway, and other items are as expensive and as extreme as renovating the kitchen. Periodically, we rearrange the furniture or swap the guest room with the office with the den.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been chiseling away at that list. Once we got the dog totally housebroken, we replaced the carpet (God, it was like moving again. Packing two rooms worth of books was a massive undertaking. My back still hurts). Last week we had a box light ripped out of the guest bathroom and recessed lighting installed in its place. This weekend I plan to repaint that bathroom. Right now it’s a sweet periwinkle blue and I want to repaint with a cooler slate blue. Ideally, I’d like to pull down that counter-length mirror and add a couple of framed mirrors over the sink, but I haven’t yet found what I’m looking for. Next week we’re going to have someone come and scrape that popcorn crap off the ceiling. I can’t wait because it will totally transform the house. I’m dreading that mess, though.

I watch these shows and take copious notes: “That’s an interesting way to fix that.” Or “Wow, I love that color. I wonder if that’ll work in our bedroom.” If Bill walks in while I’m watching, he groans because he knows it means we’re about to move something, paint something or knock holes in walls. Most of the time he’ll go along with it, but our biggest conflict comes over paint. He’s totally a white wall kind of guy. He likes the clean, bright look of white walls. I want to add color. I want to add warmth. I started to break him in gently, painting both bathrooms with soft colors. A few months ago, I really pushed the envelope and painted a hallway a lovely, rich chocolate brown. Bill loved it so much that we painted a wall in the family room.

Every now and then I consider doing something totally outrageous like turning a bathroom into a library—with bookcases, books, the works. Get it? Okay, something like that may work in a house with 12 bathrooms not 2, but I do think it’s important to add fun touches, to put your personality into your home—whether you own, rent or live in an apartment. Some friends of ours have a big, beautiful house that’s impeccebly decorated. But it’s not comfortable; it doesn’t feel lived in. My best friend lives in an apartment and it’s one of the most homey places I know.

I can’t wait to get started this weekend. I have a big Friday night planned—at Lowe’s. I have paint chips selected. I have mirror shopping scheduled. And I may even splurge on a new paint roller! If I’m really lucky, Bill will put on his tool belt. (Read into that what you will.)


3 Responses

  1. You should turn this passion into a vocation! Your excitement for this stuff really shines through in your post.I have almost no interest in decorating of any kind. But I’d be happy if someone wanted to come and do it for me — as long as I had some veto powers. Enjoy.

  2. I love HGTV too! Candice Olsen is an absolute genius, in my book. I have NEVER seen her do a bad remodel. And you’re right, Hildy is horrible. I can’t watch that show either, just because of her. Did you see the time (a few seasons back) when she stapled fake flowers to every single inch of the walls in a bathroom?! How on earth could you EVER clean that? I had an allery attack just thinking about all the dust that would accumulate. Ugh!

    Good luck on your weekend plans!

  3. As one of the people who has told you so many times how homey and inviting your house is (you’re lucky I haven’t just gone ahead and moved in!!), I was so touched to read you think the same thing about my little apartment! Awwww.

    You know what? XUP might be onto something, woman.

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