I can't believe it, but the paint job on our would-be nursery is done.
We had a few interruptions in March -- birthdays to celebrate in the first week, out-of-town guests in the second, and a visit to D's parents to prepare for -- and the trip itself took out the first week of April. But the new face on the room is finished: primed, painted, molded, caulked. Now all that's left is to clean up.
For many reasons, finishing this room was much more satisfactory than completing the previous one. We were so burned out the first time that I think all we could manage when we'd finally hammered the lids back on our paint cans was to close the door behind us, mumbling obscenities as we trudged away. I don't think I even bothered to take the "after" shot to post next to the "before." Don't get me wrong -- we were happy that the room was no longer an eyesore, but it was a guest bedroom that we weren't going to use on a daily basis. It was a lot of effort for not a lot of immediate return.
This room, though -- we're hoping it'll have plenty of use in a year or so, if we're lucky.
The thought has been on both of our minds as we've slowly erased the evidence of previous tenants in that once cave-like space. The dark, dreary blue that covered the walls when we moved in was also swiped on the ceiling, smeared on the door frames and baseboards, even spattered on the window -- a careless job that made for pain-in-the-ass repairs, which we'd already had to do in the other room with much trial and error. We didn't have the skills to remove the baseboards for recoating, so D resorted to using a painter's taping spatula to shove old sheets under the baseboard edges followed by pieces of corrugated cardboard, all to shield the carpet while I painted over the damage. It was maddeningly slow. But with every drop of blue we obliterated, the room felt cleaner. Lighter. More and more the nest we've wanted it to become.
Transforming the room has also been unexpectedly meditative. Because we haven't taken extended breaks (on the order of months) in between phases of painting, there's been a rhythm to the process as we've worked our way around the room for each step, like the repetitive circling of wanderers in a labyrinth. And with each turn, we've talked about what we remembered from childhood, what made home feel right. The colors in a favorite blanket, the books we particularly liked to have on our shelves. We'll never know what these things might be for our own children, of course, until they discover all this themselves, but the walls are ready. Down to the seams around every door.
On our final afternoon of work, as D circled the room for the last time with brush in hand, I had to laugh. He'd pulled out a fine-tipped model from his days of taking watercolors on vacation with his parents to capture landscapes, birds, and bugs on paper. Now, he was dipping the brush in a tray of pale green latex paint, dabbing with painstaking strokes at imperfections along his caulk line. The tiny featherings of white paint that had bled through our taping job when we'd applied the last coat on the molding were in no way visible to me, but he wanted everything to be flawless.
"No baby will ever notice," I teased.
But D just grinned. You wouldn't want him to, his eyes said to me as he reached to place his last stroke.
12 hours ago