Pandemic Improvements

About a week before things started to go wrong with Brutus, I decided that I couldn’t stand the dining room anymore.

The city was in lockdown, I had read through all my library books. The library had been closed since March 17th or so. I was re-reading all my own books.

I spent several weeks fussing about color possibilities. The large windows faced north, which makes any color read greyer/bluer. I really liked BM Queen Anne Pink, that I painted the bathroom and foyer – but in this room it read like an ugly muddy lilac. I considered BM Georgian Green – which was a darker version of BM Castleton Mist I used in the living room and powder room . The green would really make the red in the stained glass door pop. But then, on the main floor I would have a green living room, different green dining room, green powder room, dark Essex Green bedroom, different green kitchen floor, and a different green back porch. This was probably too much green !

Finally I decided to use the same color from the stairwell and upstairs hall – BM Hathaway Peach. It was a bright vintage color that was cheerful, and wouldn’t battle the greens in proximity.

I ordered the paint online, then had to call ahead to pick it up. Riding the bus to and from the paint store during the lockdown felt like a forbidden activity. The paint store was locked but they would put your order outside the door for you to take away.

Dealing with a sick or possibly dying pet makes your energy feel very scattered and distracted. I primed here and there, painted here and there. What should have taken about 5 days start to finish (BM Advance Enamel paint needs to dry 16 hrs between coats) took about three weeks.

This was the beginning BEGINNING from the listing. The almost black trim with the very dark garnet walls was just too grim in a north facing room. The first winter I fixed the walls then painted it a butter color. I didn’t love it, but it was better and much brighter:

Then I had to do it all over again.

The ugly grey was scraped and primed with adhesion primer. At least whatever product the previous owner used was much better on the main floor, and didn’t scratch off so badly.

Usually after about half a day of working on a room fills me with sorrow as it just looks so much uglier and hopeless.

You get a sense of how intrusive the gas station’s excess lighting is after dark.

Then I painted and painted – Brutus was doing okay.

I used the same BM Hepplewhite Ivory for the trim as was upstairs in the hallway and several other rooms. The room seemed nearly impossible to photograph. The colors looked completely wrong on a sunny or cloudy day, with or without electric light.

It felt like a positive improvement at least ?

I had looked for several years for a pair of antique stained glass windows to obscure the unsightly gas canopy and filter that ugly blue light. Many pairs had come and gone on Kijiji – with unattractive patterns or the wrong orientation or too far away.

The garden was finally looking a little better, and I thought it would be nice to have open curtains during the day.

I tried to order blinds from Ikea – but at the beginning of the lockdown their site didn’t seem like it was working properly. After I had been in a queue for a very long time I was quoted a shipping price of $ 79.99 for a pair of 32″ blinds and a set of sheets. Normally the shipping for this would be about $ 15.00 CAN so I cancelled. I looked on Ebay and prices were nuts, too.

Then one day in July there was suddenly a vintage BNIB pair of wooden Ikea mini venetian blinds, in the right size, and nearby on Kijiji. They wouldn’t have been my first or second choice but they would do. And they did.

Open curtains at last:

1 Comment

  1. The room we use as our office has both south and west facing windows. The sun in winter is brutal through the south facing because of the lower sun angle. Due to the layout of the room and location of the radiator, only so many configurations are possible for the furniture.

    We’ve tried a variety of things for window dressing within our budget since nothing we had prior to moving here worked, and none have been perfect. Wood blinds or interior wood shutters are something I’ve kept thinking about in all this time, and now I am envious of your find.

    The finished room looks wonderful. Nicely done, as always.


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