HOME PLACE - Recuperating time is redecorating time

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I've spent several days at home recently, following a not-very-exciting surgery. More pain than I voted for, for sure, but nothing to Facebook about.

However, the event provided more down time than I've had in 34 years, even if I had to move around every 15 minutes to keep blood clots at bay.

Kind of a deadly combo for me. Do nothing strenuous for several weeks, but do something every quarter turn of the hour. In other words, a prescription for taking an obsessive-compulsive person right to the top of Wacky Mountain.

It began in the living room, where I was ensconced on the sofa with my legs elevated. The old Flexsteel reclining sofa, the couch-that-will-not-die, all 1990s in navy blue.

In that position, I was in line-of-sight of the sitting room, where the new sofa was living, plush and warm caramel-y, with butterscotch-colored cushions. Like a fabric hug.

Hmm. Why it is I never thought of putting the blue couch in there, where the new rug and other items can embrace and distill its navy-ness. Then the new, yummy couch could get promoted into the living room. Genius.

That was just the beginning. My oldest daughter had volunteered to play nurse, meaning she was home for the first real length of time since 2004. Every night of my convalescence, we snuggled on my bed and set up Hulu Internet TV on a laptop. Oh my word ... do you have any idea how many Home and Garden shows you can access on Hulu? For free?

What was a small flame signaling change leaped into a bonfire, fed by episodes of Design Star, Kitchen Impossible and Color Splash.

Full on rampage is what we're talking. Up for 15 minutes? Sand the fireplace screen with steel wool. Next period of activity, cover the old-school shiny brass with black matte high-heat spray paint. It worked so well then, the brass floor lamp was next. Donated to me by a friend, it's a wonderful, hard-working lamp. But so very shiny.

Not now. Today it sports a fine coat of Rustoleum's Hammered Bronze, also out of the can. Looking all neutral and stylish.

Then there were the fireplace bricks. A peachy terra-cotta, they were no doubt unique in 1946, the year part of my house was being born. Sixty-four years later, the adobe-vibe had held me hostage long enough. Jared-the-color-guy at my favorite paint store babysat me through the agonizing decision of how just to cover those babies and release me from color prison.

Those bricks are now richly olive-khaki, in a color called Rain Barrel. Which look spectacular against the Merlot of the rest of the fireplace and close to my new couch.

Down came my grandmother's wedding-ring quilt, a 16-year focal point in that room. Suddenly, I had unbroken wall space to create a tableau of artsy-fartsy, all mirrors, overpriced sticks (Honest. Just sticks), a new clock pretending to be old and an antique print I grew up with.

And what about the old bench I employ as a coffee table? It was sanded down to wood, but wouldn't it look nice in the same color as the bricks?

It does.

Too, the mantel -- usually highly overdecorated with my "summer" doodads -- wears an air of sophistication with a few of my grandfather's books stacked just so and my grandmother's white teacups balanced atop. Plus taper candles. Nothing says "adult" like taper candles.

It's like I'm hosting my own home improvement show, only I change stages every 15 minutes.

I repotted plants, switched pictures around and picked up paint samples. I called the cabinet guy, met with a color consultant and renovated my kitchen in my mind.

Thank goodness I am back in the newsroom, unable to stare at my kitchen walls and imagine the quaintly-floral wallpaper covered in rich vanilla paint. That doesn't mean the addiction is laying low, however, serpent though it is.

Hammering out press releases and event advances, I think "house" and see a mudroom no longer painted to accommodate 2-year-old twins. I speak "garden," wondering aloud where I can put those Shasta daisies coming my way from a friend's yard.

The real world will intrude soon enough. I'll tamp down the house lust and wean off home shows. The taped-up paint chips will eventually loosen and fall. School-supply shopping will dent my budget and Christmas will be hard on the heels of that.

Still ... what do you think of white cabinets?

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

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