Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Before And After

"The moment between before and after is called Truth." -Dainin Katagiri

When I'm working on projects at home, I love to take some Before shots to capture the way things looked when I started to work.

The problem is, I usually forget.

I guess I'm so excited to get to work, so fueled by adrenaline and enthusiasm, that my brain skips over "hey, let's take a few photos" and zooms right into DIY mode.

This happened once again this weekend. 

I was a full 24 hours into repainting the woodwork in my front hall before it dawned on me to capture my starting point.

Patient pup. 

So if you'd like to know where I actually began, please imagine this white trim - ceiling moldings, doorways, and wainscoting - in a light beige semi-gloss sporting a ten-year-old supply of scuffs and dings. 

If I squinted my eyes, it looked mostly fine but it was time.

What you actually see in this photo is the entry stripped bare, a gala festoon of Frog Tape, and the first coat of Bleached Linen. That's my go-to white for ceilings and painted trim all around the house. To my eyes, it reads plenty pure and bright with just a touch of warmth that feels cozy, crisp, and clean to me. 

Like every other painting project I've ever done in my life, when I laid down my paintbrush for the day, I immediately took up a cleaning rag. I don't mind the hard work of painting but lordy be, I despise the mess. So all the accessories get put away for the night, and the floor gets a good washing to be sure all the fresh paint freckles are scrubbed away.

Gracie, bless her, is waiting patiently for her walk. Eventually, we made it.

Now would you like to see an oh-so-satisfying After shot with the room restored to glory and everything back in place?

The yellow upper walls are staying the same. And they are not as shockingly bright in person as they appear in this photo. 

Well, me too. But I haven't taken a proper After yet. Because I'm not quite done. 

This is technically an in-progress shot: two coats of paint on all the trim but only one on the doors. ugh. There are five -count 'em, five - doors in this room. I've got somewhere around another five hours of work before I can fully re-inhabit the room.

Still, at this point, I decided it was fair game to rip down all the violently ugly tape and rehang the art. Later that same evening, I washed the outlet plate, and arranged for my husband and fourth-born to lug the dresser back into place. 

This little table was only here to hold my candle during my work hours. I've been painting for the last four out of five weekends, and I'm a bit sick of it. The flickering light and soothing scent of a quality candle provided a bit of the motivation I needed to slug through another day as a slave to the paintbrush.

Also, Harry Potter audio books are my secret weapon against painting drudgery. Jim Dale sure knows how to make the hours fly by. 

* * * * *

So as much as I enjoy the striking contrast of Before and After photos that capture a home transformation, I'm notoriously bad at taking them.

Mine are more like Kinda Before and Getting Close to After.

Which I realize is really not satisfying at all, and I apologize for letting you down.

To make amends. let me offer this shot of my red tulips as they break out into riotous bloom.


Though they are also somewhere between Before and After, they speak - as Dainin Katagirias points out - an achingly beautiful truth. 

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