Extreme Make-over: Little Homewreckers Edition.

Sprucing up our home in the aftermath of toddlers

We’ve been in our house 10 years. Seven of them have included kids. Needless to say, the place has been looking quite lived in. Thanks to our three little bears, my Honey Do List reads like an insurance claim for Hurricane Toddler:

• Wall dent from repeated slamming of door,
• Wall scuffs from leaning with shoes on
• Moulding cracks from radio-controlled cars
• Hole in wall from mom kicking it in a fit of frustration.

You get the picture.

When the kids were younger, repairs were completely pointless. But with the twins turning five – and now able to comprehend the concept that Sharpies are for paper and golf balls belong outside – we decided it was time to restore some of the charm our house had when my husband, a general contractor, first built it. Yes, the shoemaker’s wife would again get shoes.

We’d begin with our entranceway, powder room and mudroom, the high traffic areas that had seen the most abuse, and were most seen by strangers. The Vanilla Beige paint I had so lovingly covered all those walls with a decade ago was now hated by my mate because it lacked “Wow!” His idea? Something rich, with lots of white trim to contrast. In my mind, that meant “lots of white trim to dust.” Unable to agree on the d├ęcor, we decided to seek professional help.

Our friend Jen is an amazing faux finisher, and we love every room she’s ever painted. We called her for a color consult. She eyed up our space, flipped through her swatches and instantly put together an amazing paint palette for our walls. In five minutes, she settled what we’d be disputing for over a year. Jen is like the couples counselor of interior decorating.

Jen also convinced my man not to rip out our tile floor or do any major construction. “Wait until you see how this place looks with fresh paint and decorative mouldings. You won’t believe it,” she promised. “Oh, and get rid of that mirror, that rug, and it’s time for new hand towels….”

Perfect. He wouldn’t have to lift a finger (so hard to get on his calendar since I don’t actually pay him), and Jen would take us from fugly to fabulous just by pointing her finger.

Jen said she would stripe our powder room, but all the straight-up painting and moulding work would be done by her painter, Jose Angeles, owner of J. Angeles Painting & Decorations. We called him, and exactly seven days later he started working. His men were in and out in three days, and the end result is stunning. The shoemaker’s wife is, like, totally in shock.

The next day, Jen and her assistant Michele went “shopping” around my house for accent pieces to redecorate with. Giving up my Type A Virgo need to control everything, I let them have at it, using their impeccable eye to hang and arrange pieces wherever. Turns out, the difference between TJ Maxx clearance shelf clutter and fine design lies in knowing where to put stuff.

This place looks so nice I feel like I am in a hotel. I keep finding myself struck by the sudden urge to clean it. Even the kids are impressed with where they live. They think twice before shoving each other into the walls. All this from a few cans of paint.

Next, we’d like to redo our living room. But first we have to get the kids to stop jumping on the couches.

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