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Monday, June 28, 2004

Trading Spaces, anyone?

Well, I had something to say last night, it might have even been something earthshaking, but I was a little too woozy after huffing spray paint and forgot what it was.

We're in the middle of a home improvement project. Our last rehab project, the Harrison Street house, began with a sagging popcorn ceiling. Patching would leave a visible seam, so better to redo the whole surface. Which led to: let's tear the entire ceiling out up to the roof line and put in a beautiful tongue-and-groove cathedral wood ceiling. An experimental, custom mixed two-parts-pine-one-part-mahogany stain, a recessed lighting and stereo soffit, specially ordered cast iron fan, and we had one spectacular space. It took six months before we could actually move in, but everyone certainly admired our Architectural Digest living room.

Yesterday, starting out in typical fashion, G decided to thoroughly clean the bathroom. In our family, G is the cleaner, I am the organizer. I find creative ways to cram five people into 500 square feet of space, and when it's all picked up and streamlined, G moves in for the dirty work. Particularly the bathroom, and especially, the toilet. I've always resisted cleaning the toilet on the grounds that, quite frankly, girls don't make a mess when they use it. He brought out his pressurized pump, began spraying the shower walls down with some noxious rust remover and dumped some in the bowl for good measure.

His cleaning project morphed into home improvement when he thought a fresh coat of paint might be a good way to brighten the cramped quarters. We discussed color schemes. Then new hardware. Next came the idea to repaint the sink cabinet, in a very striking black gloss no less, to coordinate with the black frame of our Japanese-style woven grass paneled screen, screwed to the wall to camouflage the prison cell look of our bare concrete block walls. That's where the spray paint and the poorly ventilated space came in. And maybe, we thought, we should paint the interior of the shower stall in an accent color. Terra cotta? That would pick up the colors in the broken-tile mosaic floor and hide any future rust stains. Needed a new shower curtain and toilet seat too while we're at it. The problem, we soon realized, was the ceiling. Even with a fresh coat of paint, it would still look like the junky, 50 year old plywood lid that it is. G came up with the idea to attach strips of wood across the length of the room to give it a board and batten finish. Out came the saws and sawhorses, the air compressor to power the nail gun, caulk and spackle to fill gaps and cracks. Two coats of primer, two coats of paint. He's a professional, he can't help it.

24 hours later, and after a sweaty, sandy, salty day at the beach, all I want to do is take a shower. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

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