It all started because the milk was off.
Which meant no milk for my cereal or my morning cup of tea. Of course, I could have had toast and marmalade and a coffee (I drink my coffee black). But I don’t like coffee first thing in the morning, and I didn’t fancy toast and marmalade.
So – I decided not to have breakfast at all, but instead to go and do my normal weekly shopping and then have brunch when I got back home.
I have a dining room, but I haven’t really used it since my husband left 18 months ago – I just eat on the sofa and watch the TV. And to be fair, we didn’t much use it when he was still living here – only really if we had visitors.
I decided that I would do brunch properly – sit at the table. Set the table. Get the mats out.
I made scrambled egg with smashed avocado, on seeded wholemeal toast, washed down with apple and mango juice and followed by a cafetiere of decent coffee. I sat in the dining room and wondered why I don’t eat in there more often.
Correction – I wondered why I don’t eat in there at all.
And there are lots of reasons – but the one that stands out above all the rest is that it’s basically a very boring room. The walls are cream. The curtains are cream. The centre light is cream. The wallpaper is silver on – wait for it – a cream background.
There’s a clock on the wall but it stopped a long time ago and it needs an actual clockmaker to make it go again.
The room has no personality. There’s no life in there.
The only time I go in is to either put washing round the radiator, or on my way out to the garden.
There are bits that I like. With large windows, and the door to the garden at the side, it gets light from two directions. The fireplace is probably original, making it Edwardian. It has a high ceiling, and it’s a decent size.
So – what to do about it?
It needs warming up and it needs to be more interesting.
If money was no object, I would get rid of the cream curtains and go for something darker and more sumptuous. It’s a room that needs some sort of statement. I would also change the light fitting. But the thing that I think I might do is paint one of the walls.
So this afternoon I went to the well-known DIY chain that I work for, and collected some paint chips to see what I fancy.
The Edwardian fireplace has fabulous decorated tiles, and that’s where I’m starting. I’ve chosen colours that work with the tiles.
I’ve got them blu-tacked to the fireplace so that I can decide which I like.
Once I’ve got a short-list of two or three I’ll get some tester pots and set to work.
Quite excited. I’m doing this for me – I wrote about owning the space ages ago, and this is a room that is very definitely one that I’m not owning.
But I’m also doing it with half an eye on the fact that I know I’ll have to sell eventually – and at the moment the dining room isn’t very appealing. If I sort it out now, I get the benefit – and then when it’s time to sell I’ll get the benefit of that as well.
But, once I’ve sorted it out and made it a more pleasant space to be in – I actually have to use it. I have to get out of the habit of just slobbing in front of the TV at every meal. I have to find reasons to use it.
And to think if the milk hadn’t gone off, none of this would have happened.
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