Wednesday, 7 January 2009

It Shouldn't Be This Hard

I'll be the first to admit that I've been blessed with many talents, and I am extremely grateful for each one of them. But there is one area in the talent department that I am lacking. I wish I could design a space, carry out my plan, and love it.

My whole life has been beige. Living in rental homes and using hand me down furniture, I have become used to making do with what I have and truly appreciating not having to spend precious funds on a place to sit. When I was a kid, my mother didn't really do anything with the house. The walls were white and the furniture quite neutral. Even now, when I consider painting a wall or making new curtains, I decide the money could be better spent elsewhere. It's just an excuse so I don't have to pick paint colors, curtain styles, or flooring.

This year my husband and I decided to put a wood-burning stove insert into the fireplace. We should be able to cook on the surface that extends from the wall, and it will provide heat for our home much more efficiently than the fireplace. (We also consider it part of our emergency preparedness plan.) It should be that simple, but it isn't. To be able to have the insert be up to code, we need to put in some tile. It should be easy enough to pick the tile we like, get it put in and love it - right?

We went to the tile store this afternoon and showed the salesperson pictures of the room. She decided we should go with black slate. My immediate reaction was "not in my house." I kept it to myself and listened to her reasoning, which all made sense except I really didn't like the black. Our whole living area is beige, furniture, walls, everything except for the red brick of the fireplace. It just felt like the black would overpower the room.

When we came home, I found a piece of black fabric and put it on the floor where the tile will go. Decision made, I don't like it. I can see how it would work if the room was darker and richer in color, but as it is the black tile and the black stove would become the focal point of the entire space, and not in a good way. Now the dilemma. The parquet flooring in the room is quite yellow and I have never liked it. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace it anytime soon, so it has to stay. Therefore, the tile needs to match that floor, but I don't really want to match the tiles to the yellow, because I keep hoping I'll be able to replace the floor sooner rather than later.

Any decorating in our home has to happen in stages, so I'm trying to see the big picture. This is where the decorating talent would really come in handy. In my head, there is a vision of how I want the space to look. I have a few paint swatches put aside, but I'm too worried about putting the wrong colour on the wall and then having to leave it there because we wouldn't be able to repaint too soon.

It shouldn't be this hard. I wish I could walk into a store, pick something and have at least one person (with good taste) approve and tell me how good the room will look when finished. I still don't know how I'm going to pick the right tile, but I need to decide soon so the stove can be installed. I think I need a fairy godmother who is an interior decorator.


Josi said...

I so feel your pain, Steph. I get all excited about ideas and either do it and feel I should have done something different, or I ignore it for fear I'll hate it. I go to other people's homes and am amazed at the colors they put together. I like black though--because it's easy to match with some picture frames or something dark like that. Ironically, my husband is great at this. He'll choose colors I think are horrible and it turns out beautiful. He's mostly done it with his offices, but if we get a new house I'm gunna have to step back, I can't stand the stress of it.

Pink Ink said...

Yes, the dilemma of remodeling, only to find that something else nearby needs remodeling, because of the first project...

If you don't like the yellow parquet, you can always cover it up with a hardy rug that has the colors you like.

I too have been paralyzed worrying too much about how colors will look. If you don't like the black, go with your gut feeling.

Good luck.

ali said...

You definitely have to go with your gut on the black tile Stephanie. If you hate it now, you'll probably hate it when it's installed, only even more because you'll resent it and the saleslady for sucking you in.

If you have to stick with the yellow-ish parquet floor for now, then pick a tile that's in the warm family (same color family as the tile) but in a tone that you actually DO like. Like a chocolate brown, or even a red brick color (which would be easy for you to adjust to since you have the red brick now).

You dont' have to be matchy-matchy (DON'T BE!) but you can and should stay in the same color family, i.e. warm colors. You should know this from your sewing, silly girl.

You DO have talent in this department, you just have to think of it differently.

Imagine you're making a dress and you have enough fabric for the skirt that's this yellowish color. How would you accessorize the dress, finish the top and such? What complimenting colors would you use?

Be creative in how you approach this problem and i'm sure you'll find you DO have the skills to make a great decision that you can actually LIVE with.

Post pics!!

Anonymous said...

One thing to keep in mind with the tile that you pick: if it's going behind the stove, it needs to be darker in tone because, believe it or not, dark stone will hold and radiate heat better than light. Even if you do closest to the stove dark and lighter around the edges, that will help distribute the heat better when you're using the stove.

I'm with you, I would hate black, but go for a dark brown - it's classic, especially if you have (or get later)woodwork or furniture that matches the tone.

And, I agree - do post pics!

Jen said...

As far as painting, I usually start with one wall. It's not very expensive to just paint one wall, and its amazing what it can do for a room.

I think with your description, I would go with the dark tile and put a nice rich red behind it (rich, not bright).

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for the encouragement and advice. A neighbor and I went to a movie yesterday and then we went out and picked tile. I'll have to post before and after pictures.

Melissa said...

I think it IS that hard. Please send that fairy design mother my way!

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