On the first weekend that I have ever had to myself in my own home, with my husband and children camping, I sit down to read the newspaper and my kitchen wall is mocking me. How have I not noticed those grease marks, the finger smudges, and at least a billion tiny flecks of blu tak on the wall. I am trying to ignore it but I can’t. I need to paint it.
Really? Now? Why? I know I should treat myself to a massage or go for a long walk, take in a movie or even read a book. What on earth has come over me deciding to paint my own kitchen wall. I do not even know where to buy paint, but this wall is staring back at me now, laughing at me, cajoling me into its dare.
I may not have thought this through but there is a shop across the street that I am sure will have exactly what I am looking for. But I don’t know what that is yet. One concern I do have is that my newfound determination is to paint 1 wall. Not the entire kitchen. Can I find a match?
Farrow and Ball is an English luxury wallpaper and paint company that offers the most beautiful subtle colours with the most incredibly sumptuous names, all the while, seeped in British history. Even if you have never picked up a paint brush or can barely spell DIY, it is just impossible to resist wanting to bathe in these paints once you see them. Even the pot is gorgeous.
I am now distracted by all the samples and I had no idea there were so many variations of white. Lime White? House White? White Tie? Maybe Winter White or Jane White? Or maybe that was the skirting board and I really need Thread or Light White. This was supposed to be the easy part.
I am slightly tipsy from soaking in all of that colour, but I restrain myself from choosing anything without White in its title. I choose two samples and walk home. I have all afternoon and there really is no rush anyway. At home, I mark the walls with the samples on a corner of the wall, make myself some lunch and let them dry. It’s a match! Winter White.
Even though I have NEVER done ANY home repairs before (I know, shame on me) I must have awoken a primordial painting power within…I have an urge to put masking tape around the skirting board and wall lamp fixtures. Maybe that is just common sense? I return to F&B and now need advice on how much to buy. I still think in pints and quarts but am advised to start with a 2.5 litre pot of paint (that’s about 2.2 quarts).
I stop at a hardware shop and purchase a paint tray, roller cage, roller brush and a few extra paint brushes for good luck. I get some polytherene sheets, and even buy an extra (cheaper) pot of Dulux in case I need to touch up the skirting board. I also buy sandpaper to try to smooth out the rough spots that 3 years of finger painting and toddler masterpieces have left on the wall.
I have so far spent about £49 which seems like a hell of a lot for 1 wall but if I get it right, I think it will be worth it. So here goes…roller brush into tray, get some paint and apply to the wall. But the roller brush already looks like a wet rag and after 2 strokes I am dripping blobs of paint on my feet and getting my brand new shiny plastic cover dirty. Just keep going. A few more strokes and now I’m not sure Winter White is a match. It looks too textural and way too blotchy.
I think maybe I should have started on the other half of the wall. I move down to see if it is smoother down at the other end. But I mustn’t forget to get those stains in the middle of the wall. So away I go with up and down W formations. My arm hurts, there is paint dripping from my hair and I have a wall full of Ws. My kitchen looks like I am lost in Wonder Woman promotion sets. It’s horrible.
I decide to start over at the top. I need the step ladder to get to the right hand corner of the wall but it is too close to the conservatory glass, and I have to bow my head while I stretch my wrist backward to reach into the spot. My nerves are rattled and my neck and shoulders are now covered in paint. I am also certain that any air traffic flying above, looking down through the glass, will surely call emergency services concerned that a crazy winter white witch practicing contortion found her way into someone’s home.
All of this while my husband and children are lapping in luxury in the middle of a forest. I now wonder if I can find a painter that does emergency calls on Saturday nights and I can jump on the train and go camping.
I turn my back on that wall and go upstairs to run a bath. As the paint washes off of me, I am no longer in love with Farrow & Ball and their perfectionist paints and quality ingredients. Who wants to bathe in Mouse’s Back or Pigeon coloured paints anyway.
When I go back downstairs, I forget why there is a ladder in my kitchen but then I smell the fumes and remember what I was trying to forget. But it doesn’t look too bad! In fact, I think it looks pretty good! The W formation is quite prominent in the middle of the wall and the wall lights are not painted properly, but I think I can get another coat on and be happy about it. It is 6pm. I have cultivated and transformed this wall. I pop the cork on a bottle of Pinot Noir.
2 LARGE glasses of pinot noir (or any burgundy will do, really)
2 more coats of paint
WARNING: Do not attempt to paint anything else, including the town while on your own