#25: Welcome to Our Facility

#25: Welcome to Our Facility

I have to tell y’all about my house. Because, well, it’s unique. Someone stood in our driveway this morning and asked, “Is this a ‘facility’?” True story. But first, back story.

I’ve been a hobbyist interior designer since I discovered Martha Stewart’s Living just out of college and Kelli and I covered our garage sale-grade furniture in our first apartment with sheets we’d bought at an outlet. With those sheets, we covered a couch (floral), loveseat (stripe), and dining chairs (solid). As ghetto as our “reupholstery” job was, it was actually kind of cute.

In my late 20s, I bought a condo and began painting the walls the night of closing. The place was quite pretty, while a tad schizophrenic (cobalt kitchen! yellow and red living room! purple bedroom!). My next endeavor was a house I bought in an up-and-coming Atlanta neighborhood. In the eleven months I lived there (the decision to move overseas intercepted my long-term plans), I painted cabinets and walls and trim, made curtains and valances, and seeded a new lawn, among other things. I still remember the kitchen’s slate floor with the chili pepper red cabinets. Yummy.

Then I lived in Eastern European apartments for 5 years. While there were some interesting design choices (hello day-glow orange bathroom tiles!), I was content and made it all work as much as I could on my budget and with Ikea’s help. There were serene spots in the apartment that were lovely to me, and where I could curl up with a good book without being distracted by chaos.

When Randy and I married, I moved into his bachelor pad, and together we did some decorating, renovating, and check-writing as needed. It wasn’t perfect or magazine-worthy, but oh, there were some lovely spots that made my little heart happy. The built-ins that my dad and Randy built around the fireplace. Our master bath with a clean, tiled shower and garden tub. The girls’ sweet bedrooms all decorated and painted.

SO. Ahem. Now I find myself here.



Our reasons for moving were fantastic. In 10 years or so, I think this house will be great. It has everything we said we wanted. Mudroom, laundry room, garages for more cars than we’ll ever own, living space for two family units, acres of fenced-in land to garden and for our girls to explore as they grow up. We sold at a great price and bought at the bottom of the market. Wouldn’t change a thing. It has a certain charm for us. We’re not sure anyone else has been charmed yet, but that’s OK. It is sprawling and unique.

But, oh, the dark varnished trim. The bathroom fixtures in a color that, to our horror, Kohler still sells called “Mexican sand” (that’s toilets, sinks, and showers/tubs in four bathrooms, people). The fruit and vegetable-adorned backsplash with red (yes, red) grout. The nice front entrance no one ever uses and tired back entrance that everyone uses. The fireplace (with bulky brass and iron insert) that doesn’t quite line up with the windows across the room. The windows that don’t quite line up with the porch columns just outside. The porch columns that in no way line up with the walkway or driveway.

I’ve said often that I’m not sure an actual architect was ever involved in the building of this house.

We’ve lived here eight months now, and I haven’t done one thing beside rip off a layer of wallpaper border (yep, we have those too!) in one bedroom. This isn’t like me; I am a girl who has always moved in quickly, unpacking to the point of getting all my pictures up on the wall by the end of moving weekend sometimes.

To be fair, I’ve never moved with children – a 7-month-old and 2-year-old at the time. And, we’ve had other renovation priorities. It took us six months to get my parent’s place finished and now we’re working on “Randy World,” a fraction of the space he had in our old house that housed a recording studio, his office, and a home theater. (New “Randy World” is in a former dog kennel, so you can insert your “Randy’s in the doghouse” jokes here.)

But still. I think I’m sort of overwhelmed. Where do I start? Like, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself and our budget by painting our kitchen cabinets and then having to live with them against the current beige/tan racing stripe Corian countertops. Do I just start with painting the trim? But exactly how toxic for children is the cocktail of TSP, oil-based primer, and latex paint needed to paint the dark, varnished wood?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I’ll keep you posted!

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