Admit it, now you've got the song in your head. But this post isn't about Carly Simon. It's about my house.
16 years ago last night, my husband and I spent our first night in this house. We weren't even fully moved in. Most of the furniture in the house was the new stuff we'd purchased. Our bed was just our mattress on the floor in the spare bedroom. Let me tell you, getting up off of that at 7 months pregnant wasn't tons of fun.
We'd bought this little 2 bedroom ranch because we saw the potential. Sure it was ugly from the outside, but you couldn't even see if from the road because of the random overgrowth of plants and trees in the front.
The inside had great rooms with one small problem-- the decor. The previous owner liked country. And not country chic. Straight up country with florals and wallpaper and different colored carpeting and little hearts and Amish people.
Obviously, we had our work cut out for us.
We took down wallpaper and pulled up carpeting. We installed hardwood floors. We painted. We redid everything but the bathroom (pure 50's brown bliss) and the kitchen. We knew the kitchen would need a major overhaul but it was functional for the time being with its 18" wide oven and Philco side-by-side that put off so much heat it melted the chocolate in the neighboring cabinet.
One of the things we noticed was that the previous owner, in addition to wielding a mean stencil, was quite adept with contact paper. There was contact paper on the cabinets. There was contact paper on the wall (a quite good patch around the telephone jack). There was contact paper on the stovetop. There was even contact paper (4 layers of it, actually) on the kitchen counter.
She was really good at contact paper.
Eventually, we put a massive addition onto our house, including redoing, well, everything (partially the plan and partially due to an incompetent contractor). Due to the contractor's incompetence (and frank shady business practices), some things in our house were never finished.
Like our kitchen island. It's massive--10 feet long. We designed it that way. It's where we eat every day, reserving the dining room table for Thanksgiving and storage for every piece of crap that floats through our house.
Our contractor painted one wall in the kitchen but not the rest. It was fine. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do there anyway. The kitchen is open with the dining room. Now mind you, we designed this ourselves, 13 years ago before "open concept" was the most asked for item on HGTV.
So for a few years, we just had white in the kitchen. Eventually, I put a backsplash in.
But the underside of the island, the one that faces our dining room, was only primed. Cleaning it was next to impossible, as the primer couldn't hold up. The drywall even began tearing. All in all, a real eyesore.
Because of the granite countertop, finishing the backside of the island in something like wainscoting would be a massive undertaking. One my husband has no interest in exploring.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across some peel and stick tiles at a craft store. Suddenly, I knew how I was going to finish the island. The hubs hated the tiles I purchased--they were Moroccan inspired in blues, yellows, and reds. He thought they'd be too busy and loud on a 10 foot stretch in our island. He was probably right. After a few days of combing websites, I finally found a tile I liked at Lowes. This morning, after dropping my son off at swim practice (7:30 am, totally awesome!), I made a pit stop and bought the most perfect peel and stick tile.
Within a few hours, the island is done. However, the irony is not lost on me. 16 years after we laughed at all the contact paper in our kitchen, here I am, contct papering the kitchen.
And now I totally understand why Mrs. Julian contact papered everything. My house looks pretty and it was in my wheelhouse to do it. No contractors, no husbands, no mess.
As Carly so eloquently said, "If you're willing to play the game, it's coming around again."
Telling stories of resilient women with humor, heart, and a happy ending, Kathryn R. Biel is an award-winning author of numerous women's fiction, romantic comedy, and contemporary romance books. Her newest book, Seize the Day: The UnBRCAble Women Series, #2, released November 7, 2019.