Renovation: to make like new again


Happy New Year 2013! —“to make like new again”.

Renovation of a room opens up all sorts of creative opportunities that can be exciting for some of you out there. Depending on the room, just deciding what color paint to use on the walls can get one giddy. Not so much me. It is true.

I’ve watch my mother and siblings go through the process of gutting kitchens and reinventing them with cabinet brochures, paint swatches, floor samples, wallpaper sinks, counters and appliances. When I did my kitchen it was a necessary evil to get involved in. One reason is that the kitchen is so small that there weren’t a lot of options to change it. My first choice was really to have a bigger kitchen. My second choice of cherry cabinets was nixed by my brilliant contractor brother who said the kitchen was too small for dark wood and “it will get darker over time”.  Rats.  My third choice was light birch with chocolate laminate counters. Tell me why I now have yellow cabinets and a granite counter?  Thank goodness it’s pretty.

I admit that I have a deficit in imagining when it comes to home decorating. As an artist, it is just a little embarrassing to labor over the 50 swatches of varied white paint swatches only to find out I picked out the exact same tone that was already on the wall. So much for a healthy change.

Why am I sharing this? Well, there are different kinds of visionaries in the world of environmental decor. My preference is to work the interior walls like I would a canvas. Paint them all white, put in neutral toned furniture (perhaps one statement piece per room) and then generously throw color around with the accessories- drapes, pillows , paintings, sculpture. I’ve even started to eliminate rugs and put in wood floors. An area rug will be fine.  I think I prefer this type of decorating to a professional makeover (which believe me, I give lots of credit to interior designers) for three reasons. 1- Simplicity- it’s just easier not to have so many choices and easier to execute, 2- Future changes can be made more often. Yes, it is likely I will get bored of a pattern on the sofa or wall paper- accessories can be changed more often for new visual interest, and 3- economical- let’s face it- anything with a designer name on it costs more.

The master bathroom that we renovated I deferred to a simple solution. I could find no vanity cabinet that I liked that would fit in the space. I designed what I wanted and had my brother build it for me. With his final touches, I did not have to settle for something I didn’t like and it was not at all  costly to have it custom made.  After I’ve admitted a passion for white walls, I actually chose a yellow wall paint. You do have to warm the room up a little.

Okay, the final point of this – look at your environment, your home. It reflects your inner self. No surprise if you keep an organized house, you may run an organized life for yourself and your family. If you create cozy spaces, you might be a nurturer to those around you. If you fill your space with comfort, your friends will be comfortable there too.    If all of your chairs are hardwood or you don’t have any chairs, my guess is that, to borrow from Greta Garbo – you “vant to be alone”. If not, maybe some soft cushions?

Assignment- pick one small change you would like to make- unclutter a corner, clean out a drawer, make room for change and it will be easier.


1 Comment

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One response to “Renovation: to make like new again

  1. Nancy Barry

    Enjoyed your writing. I like white and uncluttered in my life. One of these days I’ll start on a corner in my basement….maybe in the spring? Love, Nancy

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