Sunday, March 20, 2016

Already Bored of Retirement, the Insomniac Gets a Job

It was inevitable that eventually one would grow tired of knitting. And when family and friends cease to visit for fear of having another pair of socks or mittens surreptitiously slipped inside their coat pockets as they're departing, it seems now might be a good time to set aside the needles and start thinking about decorating the Little Gothic Cottage properly. One could  spend her seemingly endless amount of free time cleaning, but as she already dusted and eliminated the majority of cobwebs well over a month ago now, feels it unnecessary to repeat the experience until at least the winter of 2017.

It may come as a surprise to learn that other than one burgundy sitting room and one royal purple guest bath, the majority of the walls in the Little Gothic Cottage are still painted Lancaster Whitewash. Except for the ones painted Kendall Charcoal, a colour which is slowly creeping from one wall to the next, helping relieve the monotony of endless white walls without having to commit to a decision on a final colour scheme for the cottage.

When this bookcase was discovered in an antique mall recently, at 25% off an already reasonable price, it seemed an ideal solution to the problem of the ten unpacked boxes of art and home decor books in the basement, still needing to find someplace to live other than inside a box.

But when one makes the poorly thought-out decision to bring a new piece of furniture into an already full cottage, things invariably need rearranging. As it happens, the only available wall that could accommodate the piece was next to the first piece of furniture the insomniac's  father made for her when she vacated the parental home many decades ago. Forty-three years later it needs refinishing but first, all the books need to be removed from the shelves so they can be stored on the guest bathroom floor until the proper wood stain is procured and the drop-cloth located in the basement.

Luckily there are three bathrooms in the Little Gothic Cottage so there's no great rush.

An emptied bookshelf provides the perfect opportunity to paint behind it, but before a person can decide exactly what that paint colour should be, it's also likely she'll decide it's high time to wallpaper behind the fireplace since paint and wallpaper will need to complement one another.

Endless hours will be spent online searching for the perfect Wm. Morris wallpaper before discovering Blackthorn in the perfect colourway of black, teal, grey and burgundy. But at £148 per roll, one would need to sell at least one, if not both, of her offspring to pay for it.

She would also need to need to win a 1930's Everything you Need to Know about Hanging Wallpaper booklet off eBay to refresh her memory as to how unpasted wallpaper is hung, as she may have forgotten a few important details since taking a course on the subject over a quarter of a century ago.

So until such time as one can procure a decent price for her first-born or her next pension cheque arrives - whichever comes first - all of these projects have been set aside for the time being.

Fortunately the insomniac  did win the book, as it's practically a certainty she would, of course, have been facing the wrong way when hanging the wallpaper. Hopefully her beret and bow-tie are still packed in with her painting clothes so she won't need to run out and buy replacements, causing further delays once the wallpaper is finally ordered.

To keep herself occupied until all the pieces of the wallpapering project eventually come together, she started making a pillow from half of a beaded tea cozy, but soon put it aside when the sound of microscopic beads flying off in all directions as she was sewing began to get on her nerves.

Turning her attention to a small cabinet also recently purchased, she proceeded to scrape off pieces of paint with her favourite tool - Grandpa Smith's old kitchen knife, which has been sharpened so many times the blade is paper thin and sharp as a ... um ... knife. The cabinet is now being used to store sewing trims, despite labels clearly indicating it was meant to store Electrical &c.

Grandpa's knife is also perfect for releasing muffins from their muffin tin, making it important to remember to wash it thoroughly before putting it away in the kitchen drawer.

Being a different wood than the drawers, the cabinet top didn't take the stain as well as originally hoped and might eventually be painted black to match the wooden drawer pulls. Covered with a few decorative pieces, it doesn't look half bad and will probably end up staying exactly as is - and not because one hasn't a clue where to find the black paint either.

Another massive  project recently undertaken was the relocation of a burgundy floor lamp from the burgundy room, where it all but disappeared into the wall colour, into the grey room, where it displays a bit better. The light hasn't worked since it came out of storage seventeen months ago and needs rewiring. The tiny half-moon table was moved downstairs from the guest bedroom and, once the light is fixed, that end of the sofa will be a perfect spot for drinking tea and daydreaming about future decorating plans in front of the fire. And perhaps knit.

The addition of those two items and the subsequent moving of the sofa have now caused Ophelia to hang completely off-centre, and a new hole will need hammering into the wall to set things right. If a person is going to move a sofa, rehang a picture and patch a nail hole then, while the area is clear of furniture, they might as well add a black glaze overtop the grey wall to darken things up a bit, possibly extending it around the corner and eliminating one more white wall while they're at it.

Ophelia really doesn't look right above the sofa though - the colours, if not the subject matter, are too bright. It's likely she'll be moving into the master bathroom on the last remaining piece of bare wall that will accommodate a picture that size. Of course, one will then need to find something else to hang in her place. It just never ends, does it?

But since we're here, that beige lampshade really needs to go, and while in the basement rummaging around for the drop-cloth the insomniac  ran across this half-finished shade which should do the job nicely. This particular project has been “in progress” for roughly ten years already ... these things take time, you understand.

Before she could decide which project to tackle next, the insomniac  got a text from one of the owners of the Rockyview Hotel asking for her help in redecorating the entire second floor, currently under renovation. And how excited was she - not only for a legitimate excuse to drop all thoughts of actually starting any of her own projects, but also to find out each room in the hotel is to have its own theme. Which she already started thinking about and has a few suggestions based on local history, and sure to be a huge success with visitors from around the world: 

  • The Mad Trapper Room - decorated in the style of a log cabin occupied by a solitary trapper. Obviously, this room needs a lot of taxidermy to make it work. Eventually the poor fellow goes off the deep end after enduring one too many brutally cold Canadian winters.
  • The Pioneer Room - decorated in the style of a single-room prairie sod hut, occupied by a family of ten plus their animals. Eventually they all go off the deep end after enduring one too many brutally cold Canadian winters.
  • The Woman in Black Room - decorated in a Victorian style similar to Eel Marsh House in the movie of the same name. Comes complete with a ghost who will ensure any guest who chooses to stay in the room is likely to go off the deep end.

The themes have yet to be finalized with the owners, so one fully expects there will be minor changes before her work commences, but definitely feels she has a firm grip on the decorating style they're both envisioning.

The insomniac - having been a solo decorator up until now, unless you count the handful of times she's asked the long-suffering spouse's opinion on something while exiting the room before the poor man has a chance to even open his mouth - imagines she'll find working with others whose opinion she actually needs to take into consideration will be a novel experience. As will toning down her natural inclination to paint everything black, grey or burgundy. Or having to design an environment which doesn't encourage the growth of cobwebs. And is safe for vacationing families. Speaking of which, does anyone happen to know where to find the regulations on clearances for hanging antler mounts to avoid having guests accidentally take out an eye?

As for her own projects ... well, there's always next year. Probably take that long to find the silly drop-cloth and black paint anyways.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.


PostScript: In all seriousness, the insomniac  would like to express her gratitude to JJ and Sheldon for trusting she has the good sense not to decorate their hotel in the “William Morris meets the Munsters” style employed in her own home, and has unilaterally decided the “Buffalo Bill meets the Addams Family” style is far more appropriate for such an historic structure. She's quite sure you'll both be thrilled with the outcome.