TRYING TO “KNOCK IT OFF!”

Decorating should be a younger woman’s territory. Younger than me, anyway. Yet, I found myself in rapt, slack-jawed attention back in 2014 when I discovered LiveWellNetwork’s DIY Knock It Off! on PBS (see the videos here.) Every week, Monica and Jess took on hapless homeowners who couldn’t figure out how to decorate on a dime.

Several months ago, just after Richelle’s “new” home ownership had crossed the 3 year mark, I finally made the trip out to Middleburg, Florida (The Burg) to see it. In defense of my slovenly friendship, The Burg is in the boonies, also known as BFE or Better Fetch Essentials, like a toothbrush and an overnight bag.

As we walked into her beading craft room, I felt Monica and Jess excitedly tap me on the shoulder. It was the bold, turquoise curtain hanging at the window that did it. I had never seen anyone decorate with aqua or turquoise and mix in lime green accents. It was beautiful.

“We should paint this wall a pale aqua as an accent wall,” I suggested.  “And hang some adjustable shelves over these file cabinets.”

Richelle agreed shelves would be great.

“The shelves could be 6 inches apart – just enough for those clear plastic shoe boxes like I’ve got in my Rubber Room,” I further suggested.

Richelle pursed her lips. “I got rid of a bunch of those shoe boxes when I went to pretty boxes.”

We talked about my decorating project and settled on a budget of $200. I’m not sure Monica and Jess ever had to transform a room on $200. I had nothing to dampen my enthusiasm as I was truly ignorant of just how much those adjustable shelves would ultimately cost and it’s a cinch Monica and Jess never mentioned it.

The holidays intervened but at 10:30 on February 6, I showed up with a can of paint. She answered the door still in her jammies. I started worrying about her commitment to our painting date.  I mean, wasn’t she EXCITED to paint her wall with Jamaican Aqua?

Richelle had past experience with a paint roller but I did not. It was only after streaking her peg boards with a paint brush before switching to a paint roller that worked wonders, did I happen to mention that I had become a ripe old lady never having painted a wall inside or outside a house. You should have seen the look of undeniable horror pass across her face. She was clearly broadcasting that she would never, ever have let me loose in her house with a paint brush sopping with Jamaican Aqua if she had known this. I quickly assured her that I had watched countless YouTube videos on how to paint. I even told her about the tip I learned from Crazy Guy at the paint store about saving your wall roller thingie in a plastic bag so you could leave for lunch.

Neither Crazy Guy nor my Master’s Degree from YouTube impressed her.

“Had I known you planned to use my walls as your personal canvas,” she sputtered, I would have barricaded the door.” She always did have a caustic lip on her.

After that, I got blamed for every stray streak of paint but I want you to know the errors were not all mine.  She managed to paint over an electric socket with the roller. How do you not see an electric socket? And how does one miss seeing a giant fire extinguisher box? There was also that incident where she was outside rollering the second pegboard when one of the support ends collapsed. These “supports” were four miniature saw horses I had borrowed from Poppie’s paint shed. I heard some swearing from the back yard but I was up to my elbows in my own issues. I did peek out the sliding glass door and saw her straightening the end support only to have both the middle and other end fall, in synchronization. And with so much past painting experience under her belt, why did she not remind me to use the painter’s tape? I had an epiphany about the painter’s tape at the end of the first day as I drove back to civilization.

It’s embarrassing to admit it took us 6 hours over two days to set up, paint and clean up afterwards for ONE accent wall that turned a corner and TWO peg boards. Between us we used one ladder, one paint roller, and one large paint brush to paint the accent wall. Oh yeah, we also used one very small artist’s brush from Richelle’s personal stash to paint the edge between the wall and the ceiling. It might not have taken so long if she hadn’t been complaining so much of abuse. She claimed that every time I got tired of doing something, I’d announce that she could finish the job.

I also would have liked all FOUR pegboards painted aqua but that’s how it is with decorating. You have to let the client do it their way even when they’re wrong.

Poppie’s death intervened but last week I finished sewing the gathered curtain for her window after countless interruptions. Yesterday, we put the curtain up. I have similar curtains in my living/dining room and a bathroom but Momma made all of them. I was disappointed with my curtain for Richelle. I searched the internet for info on whether to double or triple the length of the rod but couldn’t find much. I think I doubled it when it would have been fuller had I tripled it.

The photographs aren’t the best because Richelle is NOT a morning person and I was not allowed to arrive until after 1 p.m. I never take photos in full sun because it causes what I refer to as “blow outs.” Her window gave me countless photographic headaches. Nevertheless, I now share our Knock It Off! decorating attempts.

RP shelves and curtain-6213
Standard white shelves and brackets from Home Depot
Gratefully installed by my brother
Close-up of one end of the shelves
Close-up of one end of the shelves
At the corner wall; I avoided the red and aqua fire extinguisher
At the corner wall; I avoided the red and aqua fire extinguisher
Opposite view of cabinets
Opposite view of cabinets
Peg boards on opposite side of room
Peg boards on opposite side of room
Chest of drawers she painted for opposite wall
Chest of drawers she painted for opposite wall
Wind chime-like thing hanging from ceiling on opposite side of room
Wind chime-like thing hanging from ceiling on opposite side of room
Close-up of curtain fabric
Close-up of curtain fabric