We have been driving about our city on weekends, snooping through open houses. Are we looking to move? Maybe, because we have a soon-to-be empty nest. But it's been nearly 25 years since we bought property.
I thought, let's find a cute bungalow or Victorian cottage, one floor for the coming years.
We toured magnificently-fluffed houses. Everyone, tutored by HGTV, puts out artful bowls of green apples, installs granite counter tops, unfurls crisp shower curtains. One untouched exception, a funky little place that smelled like a dank dishcloth, reminded us we don't have the grit for a gut reno.
There's nothing wrong with our house, except that one floor is now superfluous. The neighbourhood is vibrant, our elderly cat knows the sunspots on the floor, Le Duc's wisteria climbs, finally, as he wishes.
When I watch HGTV, I'm astonished by the renos people undertake strictly in order to sell. This seems like going through labour in order to get free coupons for baby gear.
Touring houses, I felt like a mark who sees the con but gets seduced anyway: vintage barkcloth drapes, cool! Look at that collection of flasks! These effects decamp along with the former owners.
A shrewd buyer ignores the art direction, notices the wonky window jams, the panel screwed onto the bedroom wall hiding... what?
I decided to stage our house and live in it: redecorate the tired bedrooms, put my shoes on racks, order fresh towels from Garnet Hill.
We spent a Saturday afternoon pouring sullenly over a ham-sized deck of paint (note: that word contains pain) chips. I dreaded making the decision.
Providentially, we met Canada's colour guru, Janice Lindsay, of Pink Colour and Design at a dinner party hosted by our friends Richard and Maria.
I booked a consultation; in under two hours, this consummate pro read us and developed sumptuous colour schemes for the most-in-need rooms. What a worthwhile service, and a delight to witness an artist at work. We're confident, relaxed and eager to begin.
If you'd like to mine Janice Lindsay's colour mojo– from the science and psychology of colour through inspirational examples of decor– hunt down her gorgeous book, "All About Colour", published in 2008. One used copy is on sale on Amazon.ca; the book is sold out on Amazon.com and Indigo.ca. Hello, library! (Note: Amazon.com asks $250 for a copy. What? The list price is around $30.)
And click here to see Pittsburgh Paints' Coming Home Collection, chosen and described by Janice.
I can't wait for her eye on the rest of the house. But one or two rooms at a time. We're here for awhile.