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We’ve lived in our current home for three years now, and we were really lucky that the majority of the living space — the entry, kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom — was painted a nice, neutral beige before we moved in. And, of course, in the month or two following the move, we were all a-flutter hanging pictures and arranging furniture and putting up curtains so I could go back to my regular routine of shunning pants when not in polite company.

I was full of IDEAS for things we could do — so many projects! And then, they promptly fell to the wayside because, you know, life.

Finally, about a month ago, Jared and I were both home on a Friday, and I was a little ahead on my work, so I suggested we go to Home Depot and pick up some paint to do the hallway. This hallway.

Plain hallway

The before. Well, kind of before. Before we painted, but after we added the painter's tape. Obviously.

I wanted to go with a rich, deep red. Jared wanted to stay married to me, so he, too, wanted a rich, deep red. Good man, that Jared. So we picked out a color, got a, “Well, good luck with that,” from the paint guy at Home Depot (who neglected to tell us about Frog Tape until it we went back for white touch up paint to cover up all the spots where the RICH DEEP RED seeped past the carefully placed painter’s tape and adhered to the baseboards and crown molding. That was HELPFUL, paint guy.), and headed home with our treasured paint and primer in one.

There was a bit of cursing and perhaps a few Incidents involving paint where no paint should go (meaning on the ceiling … mostly), but by Saturday, we were done, even though we’d (at Jared’s suggestion, and because we had a lot of leftover paint, and because we hate to waste a good thing) added to the project and painted the half wall dividing the kitchen from the living room. And it was gorgeous. But it wasn’t actually done.

I had a vision, you see. I wanted a gallery of black and white photos, all in black frames with white matting, along the walls of the hallway. I selected and printed the shots I wanted to use (all of the pets), and bought a shit ton of frames, and got a bunch of those fancy magical 3M velcro picture hangers. You know, the ones that don’t put holes in the wall and are supposed to hold up to, I don’t know, several pounds?And can’t be applied until several days after you paint, as it turns out?

So we waited. And waited. And a couple of weeks later, we strategically measured and leveled and carefully followed directions and hung the pictures. And they looked amazing … for a few hours. Because that’s when they started crashing to the ground. So, um, yeah. I do not recommend the magic piece of crap 3M velcro shit. At. All.

Long story made every so slightly shorter, we opted for MonkeyHooks, which, overall, worked really well. And now, I swear, our house looks totally different to me. This single, little project has made me smile over and over and over, and while part of me is so glad it’s OVER, there’s another part of me that’s already planning what I’m going to do next.

(The office, in case you wondered. Or maybe a guest room. OR BOTH mwahahahahaha …)

Painted hallway

The finished product (with bonus Rudi)

A new hallway plus a chance to show off some of my favorite shots of the kids? Yes please!

PS – Yes, I know the two pictures of the finished product look like entirely different colors. I took them on different days and probably with different camera settings because I’m a doofus. But that’s part of what I like — it looks totally different from one hour to the next!

Now, what’s on your DIY home improvement list?


Some exciting news comes by way of the style blog for which I write — we have a fabulous new and improved site! Instead of StyleDash, it will now be referred to as the StyleList blog. StyleList is the AOL’s style channel, so it’s a really big deal for us to become united. It has a whole new look, and I’d love for you to check it out. Leave me some love in the form of a comment, if you have the time!

I had the BEST time last night.

I visited my old roommates — one who lives in Orlando and the other was in from NYC for work, and I had forgotten how much fun I have with them. Between the world’s largest pitcher of sangria, ridiculous desserts, and many bottles of wine, I laughed so much that my face hurts today. A lot. But it was totally worth it. We got just to the perfect point of drunkenness that repeating the same thing over and over gets really funny (you know, random things, like “Straight up!” as a response to EVERYTHING).

Aside from laughing to the point of causing pain (and drawing annoyed glares from fellow restaurant patrons), I just enjoyed soaking up the company of these two extraordinary women. I admire them so much, in many ways, but one thing I am continually envious of is each one’s sense of style.

I can ALWAYS count on R to wear something cute and classic — she always looks like she might have stepped straight out of a Gap ad (in a good way). And C has this incredible way of mixing classic pieces with something vintage or funky or totally original, and totally making it work. Always. Other than the scrubs …

They’ve both had this great personal style ever since I’ve known them, and it really makes me wonder when and if I’ll get some sort of signature style. Because, in all honesty, what I might wear any given day is a total crapshoot.

Granted, I’m not terribly likely to go very goth or punk (although I DO have super dark navy toenails right now, thankyouverymuch), but I might dress preppy in the morning and go with a boho feel later on and then wear something trendy to go out. And it’s all me. Or none of it’s me. Or maybe the “me” is the ugly baggy khaki shorts I wear too often because they’re soooo comfortable (and seriously unflattering — I am aware).

In order to have your own style, does it need to be categorized? Even “eclectic” has some connotation of purpose, and I don’t think I even have that …

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