Nesting With a Vengence

I’ve spent most of my adult life living in apartments with white walls, white kitchens, and beige carpet. You brighten things up with colorful art and accessories that you bring with you from place to place. Even the Emerald Bay house mostly had neutral walls and carpet, at least until I did some renovation. So that’s what I’m used to, even though I’m someone who loves color.

When I saw my Meadow Lake apartment in July 2021, I didn’t really compute that I could change things because, well, it was an apartment and you don’t change apartments. I moved in 3 weeks after seeing it, then spent 10 weeks in rehab before coming home almost exactly a year ago. I concentrated on functional things because it was necessary – but my home didn’t bring me a lot of visual pleasure. I did try to screen in the porch but that didn’t work right because the sides were done with solar screen that cut off my line of sight and blocked the light.

Well, things have certainly changed. I didn’t exactly do things in any planned order, but everything works. My floor was replaced with new luxury vinyl plank in a lighter wood stain than what was here before, which brightens everything. I bought a new couch and coffee table for the living room, with lots of bright print pillows. I’ve ordered a teal lift chair that should be here this week.

The kitchen was completely transformed. I replaced the granite with something brighter, and just had the cabinets painted off-white with a blue/green paint called “Swimming” on the walls, which makes the cabinets pop. I have black cabinet pulls that work with the black appliances and are easy for me to open using my grabber. Everything is fresh, clean, and bright – so bright! The kitchen feels twice as large and I love looking over at it from my chair.

And today my porch screen was fixed, with metal trim and bug screen replacing the dark stuff that was there. MUCH brighter and it opens my view and my world.

I’m really happy with the changes. It feels like me. It feels like home. I spend so much time home, especially in my chair, and I hadn’t realized how much the dark floor, cabinets, and blocked porch view impacted my mood. I plan to stay here for a long time and now that feels like a gift and not a sentence.

Making House Decisions

I’m making choices right and left; you’d think I’d been contemplating making changes to the house for years. Well, er, um, I have been, just not thinking I could actually do any of them.

In the last two weeks I’ve made decisions about a whole bunch of things.

  • Cabinets: I’m not painting them. I like the wood, and the dark wood trim in the kitchen, and I’m keeping them.
  • Countertop: I visited three granite yards, one of them three times. Such pretty colors and patterns! And the prettier the pattern, the pricier the slab.
  • I picked Giallo Napoli Granite. I fell in love with the purple splotches that look like little drops of wine. This wasn’t my first choice, but when I went to pick out faucets and sinks, I saw a counter on display made out of this granite. I just loved it, so I went back to the yard to look again. It’s hard to envision from a giant slab what a smaller section will look like, so it was great to have the chance to see it before I committed to my first (and more expensive) choice. It didn’t appeal as much in the slab but looks amazing as a counter, and I’m very pleased with it.
  • I picked a faucet and new composite sink (no sink picture; sorry, but here’s the faucet). The double sink will be “chestnut” which has a little sparkly in it, with a low divider between the two sides, making it easier to wash large pans. The faucet has a pull-out sprayer on the end that pulls back with magnets. I’m also getting a new disposal.
  • Yesterday I picked out a porcelain floor tile and a marble and glass tile backsplash. It has rough stone with both frosted and shiny glass, and is pretty neutral. Here they are with a small door from my cabinets and my granite sample. Because the cabinets are heavily grained and the granite is busy, I wanted neutral floor and backsplash that wouldn’t fight with either one. They will really brighten up the space, and the floor tile is textured so it won’t be slippery.

Still not sure what I’m doing about paint colors – so many! so many that look almost alike, except some are pinkish or tint yellow or green or are too dark or whatever. But it’s probably going to be one of these:

To help me figure it out, I’ve ordered more 12×12″ peel-and-stick samples from These are so cool and so easy – they paint the squares with real Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore paint. You peel off the backs, then slap them up on a wall – or cabinet, or ceiling. Whatever. Easy to peel off and slap up on another place to see how it looks in different light. Right now I’m leaning forward Kilim Beige but we’ll see after the samples get here.

I have an estimate from one contractor on all of the work requested, including screening in the back porch, reworking the garage dryer vent, and painting the bathrooms. The bottom line is below the number I’d mentally set as my limit. I’m pleased and relieved to know I can actually do this, with money left over for soft changes like window treatments, a new couch, and new seats for the dining room chairs.

I stopped by the cemetery today to talk with my mom about changing her kitchen. I know she’s not actually there, and I’ve talked with her here at the house. But I just want to feel that she’s okay with the changes I’m making to her home. And I think she would be. She would want me to be comfortable, to make this place mine. She wouldn’t be going as fast as I seem to be in moving forward, but she would support me – and go with me to pick things out. I miss you, Mom.