Dressing the Walls

IMG_8035One of a homeowner’s great pleasures, and often greatest frustrations, is decorating the walls of the house. Some people like a stark look, almost nothing on clean walls. Others hang zillions of photos – family, or vacation, or nature, or animals. Others hang artwork (however you choose to define it). My old kitchen had walls with LOTS of pictures and art and photos, because I had a lot of wall space and LOTS of chachkes.

My new kitchen has cabinets and brick, not exactly conducive to attachments. It also has a very clean, spare look, also not exactly welcoming to chachkes. I had a lot of chachkes hanging on the old cabinets, from the windows, on the refrigerator. I didn’t want to repeat that in the new kitchen. But there was a wall that cried out for artwork. I knew from the design stage that there was a wall that would need something.

I thought I’d found the perfect picture to hang on the wall between the basement door and the doorway to the front hall, above the new radiator. I’d found it in July at a street fair, when I bought another picture from the artist, Linda McAdams.IMG_9532 As I realized when I started looking for dish towels and oven mitts, there is no way that RED will work in this kitchen, and the “perfect picture” had a big red and white striped beach umbrella (that’s why it was perfect and I loved it *grin*). I was a bit bummed, to tell the truth. My friend and I started idly perusing Linda’s website via my phone and discovered that besides her beach/ocean series, she had an Italy portfolio as well. So many of the colors were the same colors as the brick backsplash in the kitchen – warm, rustic, brick. My friend was clicking through the mini pictures when I stopped her. “That looks like Castel Sant’Angelo”, I said. We enlarged the photo and sure enough – it was Castel Sant’Angelo.

I LOVE Castel Sant’Angelo. When my son and I were in Italy a few years ago, one of our best experiences was touring Castel Sant’Angelo. IMG_9531We spent so much time there, loving every floor, taking a zillion photos, staring out at the bridges across the Tiber. Originally Hadrian’s tomb, various popes turned it into a fortress, attached to St. Peter’s Basilica. We both took panoramic shots of the river and Pons Aelius (sorry – we switch to Latin for this *grin*) and the 10 angel statues decorating the bridge. We spent our whole time there exclaiming how much my husband would love to see it – structures, architecture, archaeology, history. All 3 of us adore those fields. *grin* And for B, who I know reads this blog – we love talking about Hannibal and elephants, too. *grin*

Once I saw that photo I knew I had THE picture for my kitchen. 3 of my friends had seen photos of the kitchen with the back splash and said it reminded them of Tuscany/Italy. I’d felt that way also. IMG_9538 Here was a picture that was the right color, the right mood, and a reminder of an extremely happy time. I had to have it. I contacted Linda McAdams, gave her the measurements for that space, gave her my credit card and within 2 weeks – there it was. I also learned a lot about how to hang artwork on a drywall (not plaster wall) that was hollow – the pocket door is behind the wall – no long strong nails could be used. A friend had recommended Command hangers (I’d never heard of this fantastic product before) but although I DID buy various packs of Command hangers for future use, we ended up using High and Mighty hangers, which are designed specifically for drywall.

My sister “discovered” the art for the doorway between the breakfast room and the kitchen. It was in my dining room. I’d bought it many years ago with a bonus check I’d received, due in part to the work I’d done in virtual worlds. The piece was mounted on a dark wall. IMG_9537It SHOULD have been on a lighter wall but we never did get around to repainting that wall for that purpose. The piece, therefore, has probably been overlooked by most visitors for years. Now it has a place of honor over the new doorway, with lots of light from the skylight and a clean white wall behind. I can enjoy it every day when I sit at the bistro table.

I will probably put back at least one of the pieces that used to be in the breakfast room on the driveway-side wall above the table, and very possibly put them both back. I’ll have to get that done before the “come see my new kitchen party”. 🙂

Renovations Resume

IMG_8765We passed the inspection earlier this week and we are now back on track! The drywall came in on Wednesday. I was so out of practice of renovation blogging that I forgot to take a picture of all of the drywall boards lined up in the kitchen. I wasn’t home Thursday but when I got back there were walls! It is amazing how the size of the room seems to change depending on each new stage. I’d gotten used to the BIG kitchen area. Now it seems small again.

I fled the house again on Friday so I have no idea what it sounds like when they are building walls and ceilings, nor when they begin filling in the cracks. What I DO know, however, is that drywall makes lots and lots and lots of white dust. IMG_8780We grilled on the deck last night for dinner. The front hall looked much the same except that I cleaned it already. 🙂 And that even if no work is happening in the basement, there is sufficient banging and thudding upstairs to create dust and chips and mess downstairs. So much for all my vacuuming and dusting last weekend. I had to sweep up debris again last night when I went downstairs to wash some dishes. I am longing for a kitchen sink with running water.

I’m still a tad ignorant about the whole drywall business. I gather there is still more to be done, that it (something) takes multiple coats. They are due back on Monday to do more whatever. In the meantime my painter stopped by on Friday and chatted with the workers. It seems as though he might be able to prime the walls and paint the ceilings beginning Wednesday or Thursday. I’m told that depends on how quickly the walls dry, which is impacted by humidity. New Jersey. Summer. Rain forecast for Monday and Tuesday. There will be humidity.

IMG_8781After the walls we get a floor. That will be wonderful because despite all of the warning, and despite knowing better, I keep walking through the construction bare-foot. Yes, invariably I find sharp things on the floor. Much like stepping on Lego blocks – no serious damage to the foot but EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

Where was I hiding while the seams and cracks in the wall were being filled? A friend had invited me to go down the shore with her for the day. IMG_8772Twist my arm. 🙂 I promptly rescheduled my dentist appointment, cancelled one of my meetings for Friday and sent my regrets for the others. I’d much rather be breathing salt air, and hearing the sound of wind and waves and happy beach sounds than breath white dust and hear hammering. I’ll have plenty of that on Monday, I’m sure.