Purple Stripes

I’ve been meaning to blog this particular topic for some time now. It is my living room, in my new house. I decided, in uniquely Livlife fashion, that I simply couldn’t live life without “something different”. I decided that the something different should be stripes and that they should be done in my favorite color. Purple.

The idea was sparked by Project Runway. In its eighth season, the workroom was decorated in pastel purple stripes. I was instantly transfixed. I spent more time studying the walls than the contestants. I kept thinking…I could do that. When I put in the offer on my house, that whisper became louder and louder until I finally said it aloud. I told my mom, I’m doing random-width purple stripes in my living room.


That was pretty much her response. And the response of everyone who heard the idea. I think, that unless you saw the inspiration, the idea was pretty difficult to reconcile in your head. Even those of you reading might be a little worried I’ve gone round the bend. But, when you see it, it is a whole different story.

I ended up deciding that there would be four different colors of purple. Then it was a hunt (seriously, Home Depot and their three different palettes, Ace and their four different palettes, Sherwin Williams and three palettes, and Benjamin Moore) for paint samples. I finally found the four purples of my dreams. Concord Grape. Plummy. Kimono Violet. Vigorous Violet. For the curious, Plummy was the color that started it all. When I saw it, I knew instantly that it was the purple I had been looking for. Concord Grape is then one segment darker on the same sample sheet. They were perfect. I didn’t like the softer colors nearby, so we kept hunting. Eventually, Vigorous Violet popped for me and Kimono is one darker than that. I held the four together and I knew they were the right colors. It was amazing.

They were dark colors, and I knew that, so it influenced my original design. Fortunately, I have a high-vaulted ceiling and a long (20′) wall that would absorb dark colors well. It was clear that this needed a professional touch. Not that I couldn’t do it, but it would be really hard. Plus, the highest peak of the vault is over the staircase and well…that just seemed dumb to attempt it myself. (And by “myself” I mean my mom…obviously).

So, the hunt for painters began. I used a website that I adore called Servicemagic. You simply put in your location and what the job is (anything in home remodeling/repair) and they will connect you to local contractors in your area. They go so far as to have the contractors call YOU so you don’t have to do hardly any work. I loved it. I got four appointments out of it and I set up one on my own. ¬†Five different painters came out to do the estimates.

I won’t bore you with the details, except to tell you this. My dad, upon hearing that I was alone, in my house, having four strangers come to meet me said to my mom, “she’s by herself? Call her every ten minutes.” Cute, right? My mom called once and told me that and I asked her NOT to call me every ten minutes, I would be fine. And I am.

I chose my painter, Jim, during the phone call, before I even met him. When he called me, I just got this gut feeling about him. I knew from his voice, his demeanor, what have you, but I knew. He was the first painter I met with and I liked him even more. I told my mom that he was the one before we met him and then after, she agreed with me. She said there was just something trustworthy about him. He knew his stuff and was so genuinely likeable. But, I know that isn’t why you choose a painter–I needed numbers. After all the estimates were in, his was second lowest.

I didn’t know what to do. So I called Kelly’s husband Mark. Actually, I was talking to Kelly and asked if I could talk to Mark. Mark is someone I know and trust and his opinion means a great deal to me. I know he’s smart and super-professional, so I wanted his opinion. (Not the first time, and I doubt it will be the last). He told me that if I wanted Jim, I should give him the chance to lower his bid. I never even knew that was an option. I followed Mark’s advice and ended up with the painter I wanted at the price I wanted. It was incredible! And Jim actually thanked me for giving him the chance to adjust his bid. (If you’re in the market for a house painter and want a number…let me know. I’ll happily recommend Jim from Moving Presentations!)

So, eventually we got it scheduled and Jim showed up and painted my house. End of story.

Nah…not even close!

What happened was that before he could paint, he needed to know WHAT to paint. I had to design and create a diagram for the crazy stripe wall. I came up with a template and moved color and spacing around. While I wanted it to look random, it couldn’t actually BE random or it would drive me crazy. Jim worked off the template and painted the stripe wall, the staircase wall, the living room and the dining room. He did it all in 1.5 days, by himself. And it wouldn’t have been 1.5 days if he hadn’t had to let it dry overnight to finish the stripes.

Here is my living room the night before Jim came:


The staircase wall is to the left, the “stripe” wall is the right. I didn’t do “before” shots of the dining room because..well who really cares?

Here is the same shot after night 1:


Crazy, right? The staircase wall is finished–that is Plummy from floor to ceiling. The stripe wall is 1/2 done. Every other stripe is finished.

Here is a second shot of just the stripe wall:


I couldn’t quite fit it all in, but that is about 18′ of it.

Here is the final result:


Incredible, right? I was actually speechless when I saw it for the first time. And if you know me…that’s saying something.

Here’s just the finished stripe wall:


I tried to get as much of that light streaming in as I could so you could really see the colors, but I am not that good of a photographer. Apparently I should stick to designing stripe patterns, I rock at that.

This is the dining room:


That wall is directly opposite the stripes. I decided to bring in some purple so the room didn’t look lopsided with bright and dark purples on one end and a soft, pale, gray on the other. The wall color is Sleigh Bells by Benjamin Moore. I then pulled some of the Concord Grape down that way and did just a few touches.

And, lastly, we have the stripes, as viewed from the Maine Lobster kitchen.


Pretty, right? I know. My house is awesome. Fully of color and whimsy. Just like me!

And, if you stuck it out, you know why I took so long to blog this. It was just a long damn post.

Wrap It Up

I’m guessing, if you read my previous post, you’re wondering how it all shook out? I figured I’d share the scoop.

Wednesday went pretty much the same as the previous day. Me, changing my life around and cancelling appointments in order to accommodate everyone and getting screwed over time and time again. It didn’t happen Wednesday.

Thursday I was busy at work…all day. Still, I carved out two possible times to get this done. 10:30 and 3:30. I told Sonya that my preference was 10:30. She called me back and said 3:00.

This was the moment I lost my tenuous grip on control, on calm. I was mad, people!. I’d done enough giving and I just wanted my f*#$ing house! I told Sonya no. 3:00 wouldn’t work, as I’d already said, it had to be 3:30. She said that didn’t work for the title company. I got fed up and said that I don’t care. I’d moved enough stuff and it is MY workday that we’re messing with. She then wanted to move it to after work. I said no–I already had to work late to try and catch up on all the stuff I didn’t get done while dealing with this crap all week.

I said 3:30. No more options.

She tried to change it…again. I lost my temper. I called Sonya, my friend, and yelled at her in her voicemail. I told her I was sick of being the one to bend. I said that I am the client and others should bend for me, not the other way around. I told her it was happening that afternoon, at 3:30, no more excuses. I said if the title company couldn’t make it work, we would get another title company. There’s plenty of those running around. I also said that if Sonya couldn’t make it work, I’d call her boss and see if he could get the job done for me.

It wasn’t nice. But I do think it was necessary.

Eventually, I got my way, which is a bit of a joke, because none of this went “my way”. But, Sonya and Jessica came to do the closing paperwork on Thursday afternoon at 3:30. However, because of some reason, they didn’t have my keys ready, so I STILL didn’t actually have my house. Then, they had the audacity to tell me that it was my responsibility to go and pick them up the next day at Sonya’s office. At noon. Sigh–this entire process was bullshit, from start to finish.

But, Friday at noon I took possession of my keys and finally, finally, FINALLY, I was a home owner.

Because of a promise I made to my mom, I didn’t get to go to my new house until about 5:30 that evening. For the very first time. My mom wanted a picture of me unlocking my front door for the first time, so I promised her I would wait until she could be there to go and unlock the door. The picture is very cute, but I don’t have a copy to share. I’m going to print one, frame it and leave it on my mantle, so come and visit if you want to see.

When I got to the house, it turned out that Sonya had been there and left me presents. She left me towels in both of the bathrooms and the kitchen and soaps in all those rooms as well. She also left me a brand-new bottle of my favorite bourbon as a homecoming gift. It was very sweet of her and it made coming home to my new house so much more memorable.

Friday night, I just hung there with family and a few friends that dropped by. I got to show off my house some and just be there. Just be. It was good.

Saturday, my mom and I ran errands and bought the paint for the master bath. She then proceeded to paint the bath in about four hours. It was impressive. I taped and puttered and chatted at her for assistance. Now, my bathroom is finished and I can’t wait for the rest!

Sunday, I didn’t even go there. I worked all day at Hamline and then decided to wait until my trip there on Monday night to check out the dried bathroom paint. (It looks amazing!)

Monday, I bought the paint for the bedroom and my mom and I went over to get started painting that, after work. Unfortunately, the color I picked was Behr and so I bought Behr paint. Terrible idea. Behr paint sucks. It was like painting with pea soup. So thick it barely spread on the walls. Plus, it showed every brush stroke. I am not happy. Now I have to take it back to Home Depot and see if they’ll give me a refund on this terrible paint. Then I have to find a different brand and get them to color match to my sample, because one wall is nearly done and I love the color. Just another headache. Gee, owning a home is so much fun. (Kidding, I really am enjoying this and the closing was such a horrendous process that this all seems like a cakewalk).

I also need to buy a new light fixture for the entryway, because the one that is in there is circa 1985 and it’s very obvious that it is.

So, painting and prepping is the daily task (you know, after work and all) for all my days. Moving day is scheduled for 10/30. I hope to move everything on that day. Then it will be all about the unpacking. Can’t wait.

I’m churning with excitement for the moment when I walk in the door and it’s all finished and it looks the way I envision it and it finally feels like it is mine.

That will be the wrapping that makes it all worth it.