Back in the day, I was on the recently-divorced, broke as a joke, single-mother budget. Classy, I know. For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of living on that particular financial diet, it's not really very exciting. At the time, I think I was making about $10.00 an hour, decorating was not my priority. Survival, and diapers, quickly became more important than Pottery Barn, which was a fairly painful realization. Years later, I am still in the same house, still a single mom, but have managed to find creative ways to decorate that don't always involve laying out the big dollars at the pricey decor stores. I have lost count as to how many gallons of paint I have utilized trying to change the aesthetic of every room in my crib. In fact, if I were to have the house surveyed, I suspect there may be less square footage from the layers of latex that I've brushed and rolled throughout the years. I'm going to go ahead and blame that old TLC show, Trading Spaces, for my painting problems. For years, that poorly-produced show got me through some lonely Saturday. Although most of the designers were usually fairly sloppy with their work, which annoyed me to no end, I typically ended up in a home improvement store buying paint the next morning. Thanks Vern and Genevieve!
One room that has always troubled me was originally supposed to be a bedroom. When the house was initially purchased, said bedroom was missing doors and the closet hadn't been built out. I think the realtor said it was a den, so that's how I left it, a den. My son was learning to talk at that point, he understood me to be saying 'ben' instead of 'den' and so we actually referred to the room as such for a few years. Lame.
I know I have painted Ben, I mean the den, at least seven times, and I'm probably forgetting a few painting episodes. It has been kelly green, builder's beige, white, hunter green, lime green, yellow, and the most horrific, that whole episode with the Brown Ralph Lauren Suede. Talk about a nightmare paint application, and an equally hideous result. I honestly never gave more than five minutes thought to paint color, just a wild trip to the paint aisle, and the next thing I knew I was rolling on a color that I would grow to hate within days, sometimes only hours. The before scenario was straight up IKEA. Not horrible, not special, not anything. My friend Natasha always refers to ordinary, plain, unnoticed men as "wallpaper." That's what this room has always been, "wallpaper." It makes me sad to look back at it, I had kind of tried to block out the massive IKEA addiction that I once suffered.
When I started working from home several years ago, I didn't have any office furniture. I had the above boring room, and an SUV packed full of new work files to deal with. I look back now and wonder what I was thinking because I didn't even give one moment of thought to what I would do with my office. I went down to an expensive furniture store and purchased basically the first thing that caught my eye. Well, that's a lie, my parents bought it for me, because they are super sweet like that, but still, I picked out the furniture without even thinking about it overnight. It's weird I didn't select dark wood, I always pick mahogany or black. But, I still love it.
I used to just waltz into Home Depot, grab a Ralph Lauren paint chip that looked semi-appealing, and immediately have two gallons mixed. GASP! I KNOW! Who does that? No test swatch on the wall, I didn't even bother to see what the color looked like in natural light, just blind faith that I would like it once I'd spent the cash and put in the effort. I certainly had a much more 'zen' approach to decor back in those days, but I was rarely happy with the finished product. One must always think these types of decisions through, I believe that. PS, on one of the den painting fiascos, I dropped a full can of "Catamaran Green" paint on the driveway, it lives in infamy. Sometimes when I walk to the mailbox, I can still see traces of it in my neighbor's gutter.
I have literally spent years of my life sitting at the above space, and while I still like the furniture, the room is just like my friend's description of boring men, "wallpaper." Earlier this year, my boss wanted to see pictures of our home offices to inspire the new hires. I guess he was expecting something more "me" from my office. Twice, he mentioned that he was shocked that I worked in such a boring space, considering how I usually like to "roll" in life. It's pretty bad when a straight dude points out that your decor bites. I decided at that moment, I was going to create an exciting new space that would change my life, or at least change my boss's mind.