Friday, October 10, 2014

ModLodge Prog

It makes sense that the room in our house that needs the most help is also the one consuming my thoughts and giving me bursts of inspiration. It does not make sense that so little actual progress has been made.

First there was the new black and white rug (now filthy and in need of replacement), then the white bar stool which I bought from Ikea so the two stools would be matching heights, and then, of course, the fireplace I painted. Not a total waste of the last year, but really disappointing when you consider what might have been.

In the months leading up to the new baby, I've tried to make myself aware of the ticking clock, in hopes it would motivate me to finish another task or two. It worked just the tiniest bit.

For one thing, I decided to do the whole room in grasscloth wallpaper. Why wallpaper? Because my only experience with it thusfar was a total blast. Why grasscloth? Because it costs three times as much as regular wallpaper.

But moreover, the results tend to be stunning.

As a wallpaper novice, it didn't take long for me to realize I wasn't actually sure where someone would go to buy wallpaper. The next time we were at Home Depot for whatever reason (there are literally thousands), I asked one of the employees to direct me to wallpaper section. He pointed me toward the back, past the lighting department. I searched aisle after aisle, not seeing any sort of wallpaper display.  I flagged down a different employee, who told me Home Depot only carries wallpaper online. I fought the urge to rat out the lying first employee who clearly had no soul.

Next, I went to online wallpaper stores and after perusing a few, I decided to order some samples at $4.95 a pop. Yes, you have to pay for them. Who knew?

After collecting 4 in my cart, I went to place my order online but kept receiving error messages or having the next page fail to load... the usual defects with online shopping that make you wonder if you have ordered 0 items or placed the same order 9 times over. I gave up and called the 800 number provided for help.

I expected the typical, tangible-yet-indescribable feel of a call center phone call. Instead as the line was answered on the other end, I could hear a muffled voice say, "Okay then I'll see you later," and then one of those drawn out diinnng donnng chimes you might set off walking through the entrance of a bait shop or a country dairy. Apparently I was calling... a place?

The woman on the other end sounded middle aged and kind. I read off my order, item number by item number, while she wrote it down. "Let me just get a pen, dear." Then I heard her input it into the cash register. It didn't go so far as to make the cha-ching noise, but it definitely had the unmistakeable beep beep beep of the keypad and an audible receipt printer. There was something delightfully retro about ordering anything over the phone, particularly wallpaper samples. I half expected her to offer to fax me a receipt.

Nearly two full weeks went by before the envelope of samples arrived.

Naturally you're seeing what I'm seeing, which is that the blue one is amazing. It's just so vibrant and daring. And, I mean, come on. Look at this potential!

I couldn't get Devin to see my point about this. The best he could do was concede, "Well, I think it's too much but if you feel strongly about it go ahead..." which is the most obvious trap I've ever heard in my life.

Instead I tried to get behind the two beige/tan options, not including this preposterous one I ordered to compare the difference between faux grasscloth and the real thing.

One night after some friends came over to watch Bachelor in Paradise, I had them weigh in on which of the two shades I should choose. (Seen here as top right and bottom right)

The crowd unanimously elected the lighter shade. I felt strongly about the dark. I think the general opinion was something like, "The darker shade will make it look like it was just gross old paper that was here when you moved in. At least with the lighter one it kind of looks like you did it on purpose."

Because everyone involved so far is clearly confused, I've put the wallpaper project on hold until I can make up my mind. (Blue! Blue! Blue!)

In the meantime, I can always make pillows.

Look at this magnificent set.

The green couch, which is actually a futon, lived in Oscar's room until we got him a real, official big boy bed. Then, it was moved to the Mod Lodge, displacing the chairs and resulting in a not-at-all final furniture arrangement. I'm not crazy about the green, but this is the only futon cover I've ever encountered that's truly reminiscent of upholstery. I've shopped around for others and turned up nothing. Plus, this is an Ikea futon which means it's some nonstandard size and if I ever bought a different cover it would turn out to be two feet too wide in one direction, and 5 inches too short in the other. So, for now it stays.

Anyway, the pillows. Aren't they great? They were the outcome of an afternoon of hard work by my friend Michelle and I. She picked up all the fabric for me while she was out getting her own fabric needs met. It started off with her texting me pictures, then it turned into a full on Facetime call with her leading me through the store. Aren't we just a couple of tech-loving millennials?!

Then she came to my house with fabric and kalamata olive dip. We ran out to Jo-Anns to buy 4 pillow forms in varying sizes. And I also planned to cover two longer, rectangular pillows that came with the futon.

Once we set to work, it took like two hours to figure out the first pillows because I sort of forgot how to use my sewing machine. One unexpectedly thrilling outcome of this experimental phase is that we realized we didn't have quite enough fabric to make the backs of both large pillows, so I subbed in a different pattern for one of the flaps.

I wish I was smart enough to say I did this on purpose. I love it.

After Michelle left I told myself I would have to make all of the remaining pillows right then and there because if I shoved the sewing machine back in the closet and set aside the fabric, it would be months before I ever got around to finishing it off. So, I powered through, finding that each pillow took less and less time. I even made one for the chair.

Now here's a look at the ModLodge in its current state. It's like the pillows have changed it all completely. A severely misguided and ill-informed houseguest might even think I intend for the room to look like this. They'd have no idea how in-between it really is! Even if it does look like this for the next year.

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