lundi 8 février 2010

Enough messing around

Flamant paints

We won't discuss the weekend's color failure. Let's just say that I primed the room -- part of it -- for the third time after a color disaster. Worse than the Crystal experience, depending on your taste, but if you think you might feel oppressed looking at army green (the pot color sample didn't look like that) all day, then you can imagine.

I shudder.

This was the product of my husband's tenderly accompanying me to the store to look at other color options.

"Est-ce que tu viens dans le but de garder un oeil sur moi?" I asked, somewhat suspicious of his motives.

"Mais non! Mais si c'est comme ça que tu le vois, peut-être je ferais mieux de rester."

"Non, non. C'est bon." He was just being nice, after all.

"Mais si tu préfères que je reste --"

"Non, non. C'est bon." I threw the car into reverse, backed up along the street side of the house to back into the old parking space and head off to Leroy Merlin, where we spent nearly an hour and a half considering various paint colors. He was being especially considerate and pleasant, trying to accompany me on another of my paint color odysseys. We ended up bringing home practically exactly the one I thought I wanted in the first place, but returned to the store at the beginning of this project, about a month ago. A sign to him that it must be right. A sign to me that I was lost.

There was a reason why.

The time had come to acknowledge that it was time to stop going to the local Leroy Merlin store and to open my horizons. Just because it's Dulux Valentine's top of the line product, Architecte, in a range of carefully chosen and controlled colors, doesn't mean that I am going to find my bonheur.

Pas de tout.

I went and hunted out my 36 euro fold-out of Flamant's color chips in their line of 147 "authentic" colors. Here is contentment. Here is my bonheur.

Flamant makes paints that are intended to be applied by brush. Serious. They sell the special brushes in sizes up to 5" at some 25 euros, too, and I will soon own one of these. The paint has the quality of old chalk or lime paints, but they can be washed. You can apply it with a roller, but I am going to give the brush a try.

We already know I am a glutton for punishment, and a failed perfectionist (the very worst kind to be, or maybe the only kind, actually).

I am Sysiphe. I can apply paint by 5" brush strokes.

I also got out my favorite poster. It hung in my bedroom in Greenwich (or leaned against a wall; I don't think I could ever bring myself to stick a picture hanger in my beautifully painted wall), and it made the trip across the ocean in the container. Insane for a poster bought at IKEA in Elizabeth, New Jersey (yes, Sisyphe has been to New Jersery, many times, in fact, and most of those trips had nothing to do with large Swedish bog box stores), but I liked it. It made me happy. For a long time, it sat in front of the radiator next to the dining table. Then, my husband grew tired of banging his feet into it, and I saw that it had gotten some water damage, so I scarcely protested when he retired it to face the wall in the junk room, otherwise known as the petit salon.

I lay it on the couch and wiped off the spider remains and dust. I looked at the colors: beiges, pale ochers, grays on a light cream background. It is fragments of print in different languages and symbols, and I used to be able to look at it for a long time. The color was in here. Or, the key to the color was in here. I took it, the Flamant color chip fold-out, my coffee and a camera out to my future office and leaned the poster and color chips up against the only wall that won't change color. I had already given it far too much thought before leaving the dimness of the living room. I gave it too much more thought. I held the color chip fold-out against this wall and that wall, near the off-white wall and the dark wood of the windows, the sisal flooring and the orange of the adjoining guest room, separated by a bath done in wood, like a sauna.

Here is the question I was asking myself: should the walls be a color, like the ocher-beige in the poster, glowing when lit like the orange room, or should the walls be a background that suits the colors like those in the poster in which I could decorate the room? I wanted both. Which did I want more?

We'll skip the interior dialog. I decided on the latter at the expense of the effect of the former. It's a feeling thing. This room I want to be more neutral, quieter. I want the things that I put in it and on its walls to be more important than the color of the room. I want it to feel bigger and airier. I went with Abaca. It's on the page with the yellows, so it has more warmth than another color on the whites, Ficelle, that was similar in tone, in the oatmeal family. I could have ordered largish samples to stick to the walls, or very small pots of each, but I am impatient.

And, I have had enough.

Audouin has begun taking down the storage system in the petit salon, which he labored to build according to his ex's directions and never finished, and where the sofa we bought second-hand from a couple of guys in Paris will go. It's black and simple. It will face the piano. Yesterday afternoon, he was watching television instead of working.

"Tu ne veux pas continuer à démonter le rangement dans le petit salon?" I was trying for my least accusatory tone of voice.

"J'ai un problème."


"Je ne sais pas où mettre tout ce qu'il y a sur les étagères," he said. Where to put everything that is still on the shelves, after everything else that I packed in boxes to deal with later, is indeed a problem, but not one that can be solved by watching TV.

"Par terre?" The floor was the only thing that came to mind. I know who is going to figure out where to put it all, and now that I have ordered my paint on-line, I know who is going to have the time to do it while she waits for her paint, but beware: I throw things that can't find a home away. I headed upstairs and heard the sound of screws being unscrewed begin again in the petit salon.

I also need to make drawings for the woodwork and maybe some built-in shelving, where we can wedge it into this little space, filled with a big couch and a piano.

We were supposed to go pick up 12 m2 of solid oak flooring I had bought on eBay, but the guy turned out to be crazy and refused to figure out how to use his PayPal account to get the money I paid him. After listening to his temper tantrum on the phone, and using my most calming voice to keep him from going completely berzerk, I ended up having to do what he wanted, and started a claims process against him to get my money back.


There is someone else in Versailles who might be willing to break in half a lot of old oak flooring he is selling. I'll know this weekend. I'd have loved to have it for this weekend.

Anyone have any experience installing flooring? I'm about to cut my teeth.
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