I’ve always dreamed of having my very own art studio, a little room devoted to creativity, beauty and inspiration. A room that would hold my massive collection of art supplies in such an organized way that my husband would no longer refer to my craft addiction as “hoarding”. This dream room would have plenty of storage, tons of natural light, and be so beautiful that one could not help but create artistic masterpieces.
When I toured my future castle my heart skipped a beat when I saw this room. It was an artist’s dream! Sunlight poured into the room. The original leaded glass window looked out over beautiful gardens. The built in desk, though not original to the 1927 house, was big enough to hold lots of art supplies and still leave a few drawers for my husband’s things. Oh, the potential!
The one thing that had never entered my fantasies of my dream art space was the dark faux wood paneling. It was clearly not from 1927, and I was secretly judging whoever had put it up over the original plaster walls. I had lofty theories about the importance of preserving original details in historic homes and was not pleased with whoever had chosen the paneling and skinny trim for this room. I gave the paneling the stink eye. My husband, in an effort to appease me and still be mindful of the budget, suggested that we prime and paint the paneling and trim. I was horrified! I could not allow such inaccuracies to exist in my historic restoration of this gorgeous home! Plus I’ve painted paneling before, and I didn’t like the texture and vertical lines on the wall (it may have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t use primer first, so the paint soaked into the paneling and was very streaky). The room had a dark and masculine look to it and it lacked the bright inspirational feeling I was hoping for. But I knew the potential for beauty was there, hiding underneath all that faux wood.
As much as I disliked the paneling and trim, there were so many other pressing issues to deal with, like the empty crumbling kitchen and the gazillion boxes waiting to be unpacked. The office/art studio project was put to the side for the time being. Several months after moving into the house we invited our family over for a workday and everyone pitched in to help us with house projects. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE our families? We couldn’t have done this renovation without them! Since we had a dumpster and a group of strong guys I suggested to my husband that we go ahead and rip the paneling and trim out of the office. I figured we could paint the plaster walls and replace the trim later. Might as well get a head start on the demo! I smugly told my husband that “nothing can be worse than the fake wood paneling!”
Famous last words. Just a tip: Never ever make bold declarative statements about how things can’t get worse on demo day. The universe hears you. And things can always get worse! I knew I was in trouble when I heard my husband hesitantly say, “Hey honey? You might want to come take a look at this….” By the tone of his voice I knew he wasn’t about to show me something wonderful like a secret stash of money he’d found in the wall. I knew it was something bad. Really, really bad. I slowly walked down the hallway, dragging my feet and dreading whatever it was that awaited me. What on earth could be worse than that paneling, I wondered? Then I turned into the room and gasped in horror.
The circus covered my art studio wall, mocking me and my vision of a room that inspired beauty and creativity. From far away it wasn’t so bad. The colors were bright and cheerful. But up close the clowns really bothered me. Why had I smugly taken down that faux wood paneling that would have looked significantly better primed and painted than this sight? This was payback for my snobby judgment of whoever had the good sense to cover those clowns with paneling when they converted the room into an office. Good call, previous home owner from long ago. Covering those clowns was the right thing to do.
The room became known as the “Clown Room.” With so many more important projects needing our immediate attention as well as a (surprise!) third baby on the way, we didn’t have time to deal with the clowns. So they stayed, marching across my art studio wall and mocking me with their presence.
They are still there today, although now we get a kick out of showing people that room. We usually don’t give people any warning as to what they are about to witness. It’s a fun party trick! You would not believe how many people have a clown phobia.
Life has been so busy the last couple of years that I really haven’t had the time or need for an art studio. The room currently acts as an office/storage/dressing room (our dressers are in there because we have a crib and changing table in the master bedroom). I am beginning to use the room more since starting the blog, so I anticipate that the days of the clown walls are numbered. And I’ve learned my lesson. No more judging people for changing the original details of a house. And for the love, if you ever buy a house with faux wood paneling just leave it up and paint it!
So when you picture me creating beautiful and inspiring content for the blog, just know that there are clowns peering over my shoulder. Don’t feel bad if there are aspects of your house that you wish you could change but don’t have the time or resources at this moment. Remember, it could always be worse. You could have a feature wall of clowns!
Have a beautiful day! Watch out for the clowns.