During the 39 years I’ve lived here my landlords have always been cheap. They would make repairs only when absolutely necessary, like when the neighbors bathroom plumbing exploded and water came gushing out of the wall. Or when the City cited them for not keeping the facade painted. But they hated spending money and would never consider helping tenants with upkeep of their units.
Which was fine with me because it meant we could do what we wanted. When Jeffrey lived here he was hanging that 1930’s wallpaper with the old toxic glue they used. Then he’d finish off the trim with lead based paint.
In my day I concentrated more on color. And there have been many through the years finally ending up with an Aubergine dinning room and an Elephant’s Breath living room. My masterpiece, though, was the hallway.
The challenge there was the uneven walls where blistering wall paper and sunken plaster had just been painted over. The options were to have it repaired professionally or try to disguise the existing texture with more texture. So I tried my hand at a faux finish and went for the Tuscan stucco look.
My ochre and pale pink didn’t work, I didn’t have the technique. The separation of colors was too obvious and no matter what I used–brush, cloth, sponge, varnish–it didn’t look right.
I then found some metallic wall paint at Benjamin Moore and thought a shimmering bronze wash would pull it all together. It didn’t but the crown molding, which I had painted solid, was stunning. Five quarts later at $40 a piece so were the walls.
When my old landlord and building manager came by one day to check on the radiators they were taken aback by the hallway. Their Mandarin was too rapid fire for me to interpret but I have a feeling they were discussing the expense of covering up the bronze and not the beauty of it.
I’m busy dusting every nook and cranny and diligently cleaning the carpet in preparation for the Royal Service of Papers that I’m assuming will take place here. A section is being cordoned off for the media so they can get their money shot when the time comes.