One of those whims you get sometimes

I should preface this with a sort of disclaimer. I don’t know, to be honest, what kind of disclaimer could possibly cover this – but I’ll give it a shot. Here it is. My excuse.

I’m currently living in the house that ebay built. It truly is the funniest little hodge-podge of who knows what. I’m living overseas, and I know that it’s temporary. We’re sort of in scrounge mode – short timer’s mentality in a sense. Typical grad student story. And what this has done is give me one gigantic chance to sow my wild decorative oats. I can make this little English farmhouse as zippity-do-da as I want, and who’s going to care? I currently possess in my living room, a rasberry colored velvet sofa, complete with fringe, that I paid 1 pound for on ebay and we drove to London to pick up. Some killer curtains that were obviously made to fit a room with 15 foot windows . . . and they are yellow (and I mean YELLOW) with humongous pink cabbage roses. (Wicked cheap at a charity sale.) Then there is the court cabinet – a festive little unit that we have hidden a tv in. It’s a completely indescribable piece of furniture – I don’t think court cabinets ever made it to America. Well, definitely not to Idaho anyway. It has a carved cupboard door in the top, and big carved pineapple posts – and then drawers and cupboards in the bottom half. I’m awfully afraid that I’m about to do something unforgiveable to it – I’m thinking a super-glossy cobalt blue. (Maybe.) I also have not one, but two Welsh dressers that are about to get a coat of yellow paint. (I’ll keep you posted on how that one goes.) A beautiful oak draw leaf table with huge carved legs – I wouldn’t dare do anything awful to that. It’s too gorgeous – but was ridiculously cheap on ebay. Anyway, all I’m saying is that I’m feeling sort of free as the wind blows on my color scheme at the moment. And the more I think about it, the less does that excuse what I did to the piano – I think I may have just confessed all the rest of my decorative sins instead of explaining away this one . . .

Anyway, I just finished this little project. We bought this piano on ebay about a year ago, and since it was such a shabby little thing that no one would ever bother to look twice at, I decided to give it a dash of zing. So I painted it an incredibly glossy sky blue, and then thought it might need just a little bit of something extra. On went the branches and flowers. The trouble was, I did just enough on the branches to give me the satisfaction of seeing what it was going to look like . . . and then I just moved on to other projects. That left the poor red bird sitting there in the middle of nowhere for almost an entire year. I hadn’t gotten those branches done, and time wore on. So yesterday I decided enough was enough and it was time to give the bird a place to sit. So there it is. I finished. And now I can, without a pang of guilt, turn my attention to painting my Welsh dressers yellow.
Here’s my favorite part of this piano: the bit that says Oxford on it. Fun, eh?
And finally, here is a closeup of the bird that finally has a place to land. (It’s glossy paint – there aren’t actually white flecks all over it.)
Anyway, when we move back home to America and I’m the wife of a PhD and we’re settling in for a while – maybe then I’ll have worked all this sort of thing out of my system and will be ever so dignified in my decorating. Maybe if you came over for dinner then, you would find a house that is very solemn and mature and acting its age. Maybe then you would find muted colors and gold tassels and tapestry pillows. Maybe my home will be behaving itself, sticking to standard procedures, and tastefully avoiding glossy paint. Maybe.

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26 thoughts on “One of those whims you get sometimes

  1. Oh my, you speak to some insane inner color explosion inside of me. I’ve had various pieces of furniture that I’ve sometimes contemplated painting in wild ways. With our student living, I can’t do anything too permanent to the rentals. When I have my own home, my own kitchen…then I can’t speak to what colors will invade. I hope my future kitchen is paint-able, because my aunt once had hers bright blue and yellow. (The yellow being rather like the color of this site.) And my parents once painted a couple of walls a deep red. Those walls have burned into my memory. The only experiment I’ve tried thus far was painting a bedroom green and yellow with the blessing of our landlords, but we moved shortly afterward and the next people painted over, which was probably good sense on their part. And I was too timid with the hues, anyway.

    Or to ignore the ramble, I think the piano is absolutely lovely.

  2. Wowzers and Holy Smokes.

    I love it.

    My house is a little too well-behaved for my taste. I think my inner-crazy color personality frightens my husband. It probably should, as I doubt I have quite your quantity of flair.

  3. Confession: Seeing that you had posted here I dashed over to the Fortnightly Purse hoping to see my name emblazoned with pomp across the top of the page as the latest winner. Patience has never been a strong point with me…

  4. My grandfather died nearly 10 years ago, following my grandmother by a couple of years. When my mom asked everyone what we wanted from the house, I put dibs on the bed my grandparents had bought for $3 on eBay…er, I mean at an auction 😉 about a year after they married — a heavy, ancient thing that was of no value as an antique, but had a very strong place in my memory. And my mother was born in that bed, so that’s a pretty cool association. The trouble is that I live 425 miles away, and have never owned a large vehicle, so the parts of the bed have been sitting there tucked behind the headboard of my patient mom’s bed for about a decade. I got as far as spray-painting a base coat of yellow, but I really need to get the monstrosity back to Baltimore so I can go at it with a high-gloss yellow and all manner of ornamentation. All of which is to say that your piano is a delight, and I am in favor of your continuing on your path of joyful whimsy in re decorative pursuits!

  5. The piano is lovely! And really isn’t there something charming about a piece that is purchased for a song and can’t get any worse because you just feel so free to have a go at it.

  6. I want to see that raspberry sofa, the cabbage rose curtains, and the court cabinet! 🙂 I’ve always wanted to paint our furniture as well… Our dining room table would look splendid in a pale yellow with a sage green border and flowers stenciled about… but my husband is, as you might say, a little too mature and dignified for that. So, I enjoy seeing your whimsical decorating pursuits! 🙂

  7. Great job! Any chance you’ll post pictures of the rest? I’m a PhD wife and you have me inspired…………..

  8. How cool! You’ve done really well with that piano! And don’t get boring when you get back to the US – doing what you’re doing is way more fun!

    And yes, more pictures, please!

  9. I can’t believe you did that to a piano!!!!! Talk about guts (and I must admit a bit of resistance to it being a pianist) – but I bet it makes practice time for the kids a bit more inviting – who wouldn’t want to play on that? Love the green books up top – great contrast.

    Our house down here in Mexico is all white walls and tile. I haven’t been brave enough to do anything wild – though often tempted. I’m sure if I had a buddy down here to give me a push, there’s no telling what would happen.

    Have you considered painting your floor?

  10. Love the piano Bekah! I really, really want to see it in person before you become that sophisticated PhD wife back in the States. I so want to convince my husband that I need to take him to England for his 44th birthday next Spring. I want to get him a tee time at St. Andrews also. I’ll keep you posted on how many of my wants are realized before we descend on you in Oxford. Happy painting!

  11. Oh, this is beautiful! What’s funny is that it looks just like our piano, except of course that ours is dull wood. Unfortunately, it’s been in my husband’s family for quite a while, so I don’t think I could get away with the paint. How DID you paint so well by the keys without getting any paint on them, though? We need prep work tips! Did you sand? prime? tape? drape? I LOVE transforming ‘junk’ into something lovely. Your piano is a gem!

  12. O.K-I’m literally drooling over that gorgeous piano. So beautiful, so chic, and I’m crazy about birds. (I seem to be embroidering them on all the purses I make). Thanks for the inspiration, I’m now looking about my house for a project to tackle!

  13. Yeah, um, don’t “grow up” as far as your taste. I love the daring aspect of it, and adore the creativity. Beautiful work on the piano. I just might turn mine into something painted some day once I get the stupid porch done, and everything else I put off.

    And I am jealous you are in England. Really jealous.

  14. Absolutely swell post! After reading this, my dear Mum and I have really started seriously considering putting our long time dream of painting our beautiful sounding, but ugly instrument, in some wild colour with artwork and all! I much agree with Emily in Austin though some tips on the how’s, especially sanding or tripping back the existing lacquer would be helpful. Whenever, I think of doing this project, I visualise keys and interiors coated with sanding dust! Would love to see some pics of those yellow curtains with the humongous pink cabbage roses on them, they sound a treat! Thanks for another very inspiring post…

  15. I absolutely love it and hope you never get whatever-it-is worked out of your system. I just painted one of our bathrooms lime green. It has no windows and was a horrid little hole before; now it explodes with cheerfulness. Mission accomplished.

  16. o OK, I have to comment. The piano looks interesting.
    But……..why don’t you show photos of all of the other interesting things you have described? A picture is worth 10,000 words…and all that.

    Love to see your e-bay life!

    Mark L.

  17. I love the piano, but can’t you leave the Welsh dressers and court cabinet their original lovely wood? Unless the wood isn’t lovely – then you could re-finish it… but why cover beautiful wood grain with glossy paint? 🙂

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