Lost on a Ladder

Painting…whether considered work or play, I love it! There’s just something about changing a room in one fell swoop that completes me, and all it takes is a can filled with liquid color and the willingness to do some work.

img_6743My mother often jokes that my house will never fall down; too many layers of paint holding it together. I’ve painted my 500-square foot/12-foot-high box ceiling family room so many times I’ve lost count.

Repainting equals refreshing in my book, and my keen ears could hear the desperate calls of my family room begging for a refresh. With a new sectional and rug on the way, the brown walls had to go. Researching my options, Revere Pewter was the undisputed choice.

The night before the painting escapade began, I cleared the room of accessories, lamps, and small tables. The next day I attacked nail holes with spackle, wiped down baseboard and window and door trim boards, and covered the furniture. That’s one thing about doing a thorough paint job – it’s a great way to clean a room.

With the painful part over, I began the cutting process. It started off well; low ladders led me along the wall where floor to ceiling height was normal, but once I started cutting along the ceiling on the ends of the room, I was reminded that it is truly a labor of love to paint this room.img_6747

As I carefully schlepped the 10-foot step-ladder from the front of the room to the back, I smiled knowing the cumbersome job would be worth it in the end. I went up and down that ladder more times than I want to know, moving it in two-foot increments. (Days later my legs would revolt for being treated so harshly.)

img_6749The thing about painting is you can lose yourself in the mastery. Although my thoughts were in each dip of the brush and in each systematic drag of it along the wall, they were also flitting about, thinking about walking on a sandy sultry Florida beach a few weeks prior, hoping my 99-year-old grandmother was being well cared for in the nursing home, and praying for those I knew who were suffering from cancer and other malicious diseases.

As I reached for those gnarly high spots that seem to refuse the soft caresses of my brush, I thought about my children living in Boston, Utah, and at home, and how this room was a part of their youth; holidays, friends, moments with precious pets who had passed.

My view, 12 feet up!

I listened to the radio, sang country songs, and was reminded of the concert we went to at Fenway Park last August. I thought about writing and art projects I intended to do, and couldn’t help but think the stairway by the front door needed a new coat of paint in the near future.

I also thought about the first time the room was painted, 17 years prior, and how my father-in-law, a professional painter when he wasn’t teaching 7th grade math, climbed a ladder alongside us in an effort to quickly tackle the beast.

At one point during the cutting process, I was reminded of my humanity. I had climbed the ladder, turning my back to the steps in an effort to reach a difficult spot along the ceiling, and experienced a brief moment of discomfort, the kind that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up for just a second. I wavered; getting that I’m going to fall forward vibe, but then, quickly recovered. Right then my thoughts took a different route; “Let’s not do that again Kathy”… dear ole’ mom would never let you paint again! Once the cold sweat dissipated, and with thoughts of safety crowding my brain, I tackled the rest of the cutting and quit for the day.

Day two would bring major changes. Rolling two coats over the brown gave me even more time with my thoughts. With each methodical roll of the paint, with each movement of the ladder, and with each refill of the paint tray, I was still able to lose myself in music, in thought, and in the irreplaceable feeling of accomplishment as the brown paint disappeared under the pewter. Without a doubt, painting a room that size can be daunting, from clean-out to clean-up, but time like that can either be used well or simply squandered. I’d like to think I used my time well.

img_6780By day three, after spending the morning doing touchups, I lost myself in the decorating process. It’s so much fun to recreate a room! With a few new additions, the challenge is to use what you have to make something look new and fresh. Just by placing accessories in different spots, you can achieve a new look.

img_6781Now with the room complete, I take a moment every now and then while relaxing on my new sectional, feet resting on the coffee table, candles and fire aglow, and I think back to the three days of work and the three days of thought, and I think, “I did good,” never mind the fact that once again I have also done my part to keep the house from falling down. I got “Lost on a Ladder,” and yet, never felt so found.


*Decorating Shout outs: “A little bit of this and a little bit of that makes the space home!”

*Marshalls/Homegoods: curtains and rods and pillows.

*Pottery Barn sectional, pillows and rug.

*Shell lamps made from my travels to Sanibel, FL.

*Accessories: years of collecting family heirlooms, antique and accessory store finds, beach shells and driftwood, family member’s artwork, and on, and on, and on.









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