November 8, 2010

The Pink House

Posted in Home tagged , , , , , , , at 7:17 pm by Liliana

The Pink House

The Pink House

My family and I have been living in the same house for eighteen years. It is a good house and suits us well. The square footage of the house is not extravagant, but it has many rooms so each family member has a quiet, private niche. The house is full of colors that we love, colors that make us comfortable and happy.

Our dinning room is terra cota red, the living room is sea foam gray, the kitchen light green. My bedroom is dusty blue, the guest room sunrise yellow. We have adapted the space to suit our needs and made this house thoroughly our own.

I remember the first time Jeff and I saw the house.

When the real estate agent stopped in front of the building, Jeff didn’t want to come out of the car. Not because it was dilapidated or haunted looking. No, the house was in excellent shape, well cared for. But it was completely pink. Pepto-Bismol pink. In cold, dark, overcast Midwestern atmosphere, as close to Canada as one can get, the house stood out. And not in an agreeable way.

It did not fit the climate, the town or the neighborhood. And to put it simply, the house was ugly.

Its outside appearance was only the beginning.

Of course I made Jeff go inside. I was curious.

The inside was also a sea of pink. Every room was either painted deep pink or had heavy, pink vinyl wallpaper. The ceilings were pink. The kitchen counter was pink. The appliances and the ceramic tiles were avocado green. As were the heavy carpets that covered every inch of floor space.

The house had many rooms, big windows, and elegantly proportioned living spaces. Under the carpets, we were told that hardwood floors were hiding. I knew there was potential. And I also knew that we could get it for a good price. Who else was foolish enough to buy a house this bizarre?

Jeff was nervous. It was hard for him to see beyond the ostentatious colors. And he was worried that with three young kids (one of whom was a baby) we just didn’t have the time to take on so much work. He asked me if I could live with these colors. I said I could.

I thought I could.

But once we actually moved in, I couldn’t take it. I didn’t feel comfortable in these rooms. And I was terribly embarrassed every time we had visitors.

So one day that November, eighteen years ago, two weeks after we moved in, my mother, sister and I, set to work. We attacked the living room first, then one room after another. We pealed wallpaper, pulled down faux-marbled mirror panels, painted walls and cabinets, stripped the carpets. We painted everything white, not because it is my favorite color, but because I needed a clean slate. It took months to get rid of the pink walls, and years to get rid of all evidence of what the house once was.

That first summer, we had the exterior painted a light gray. Our neighbors came over and thanked us gratefully.

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