Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nirvana Minus Two and the crooked thing

Readers found that the Blogtopian dictum, Everything is Lovely, even if it isn't, was severely challenged by the delightfully froufrou lampshade covers in the last post, so we'd better leap swiftly back to the safe territory of white paint. Yet is it so safe?


That bookshelf above was brown wood until a week ago. Now it's a soft, clean white, and my heart is at rest. With this project, we've reached a stage I call Nirvana Minus Two, as this was the third last item of furniture on the painting list. Soon the whole house will be gloriously white.

Certain people will be cross, of course, as the shelf is made of oak, and oak, especially here in Ireland, is one of those "you benighted philistine, you painted that fine piece of wood?" materials. Modern oak, not stately old oak. Is that acceptable?


Just in case it's not acceptable and you need rapid distraction, here's a close-up of the crooked Moroccan perfume dispenser behind the armchair. It's still crooked.


And a close-up of the books. See that top one? Dream Gardens, at which I look sometimes in an attempt to determine how to transform my own G into a DG so as not to feel left out. I came across an article on the dear amusing Hattatts in it, and realised that I think of all you lovely blogging people out there as being fictitious, and am ever so surprised when you become real in print. I shall resolve to meet more of you this year, but not until I have replaced my broken eyelash curlers and am looking my best.

44 comments:

  1. You are the vanguard of all things desirable to be sure Mise. I have two nasty pine bookshelves which need a transformation job, as does the room they are in, so white it is then, can I be a coward and reach out to shades of off white and still be in with the crowd, this is the question.

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    1. You must, Susan, you must. Pine will rise up against us in suburban fury if we do not take action.

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  2. If you come to meet me Mise, you need to come as you are.

    I am relieved that you painted that thing white!

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  3. Well, we've just put in a new banister in white oak, but you'd probably want to paint it too! There's humdrum nautural white and chic PFW white and I know which one I've got!!

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    1. So long as it looks well with your new blind, Mags, we need fear nothing in this life.

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  4. Hello Dearest Mise:
    Oh that we had your courage to dispense with all that dull mahogany and oak with which we surround ourselves, and which we are told is so totally unfashionable, and convert, as you have done, to the crispness of white in all its glorious shades for, as we are certain that you are aware, one glance at the Farrow and Ball paint chart informs that there are many to choose from. In defence, here in Budapest, we have painted the entire apartment 'Limewhite'. May we, therefore, be considered as your acolytes? Do you, on the subject of 'white', know of the way in which Stephen Tennant transformed his mother's house, once he had inherited it, into the most gloriously white confection? Nothing, but nothing, was spared!

    And how very kind of you to have provided a link here to our blog. Indeed, yes, we do exist and once, in a previous life, had a garden which Andrew Lawson and Tania Compton were kind enough to include in their book.

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    1. To paint your lovely mahogany, dear Jane and Lance, would be as unthinkable as daubing the magnificent Hungarian State Opera House white with neon pink accents.

      And I shall seek to match the splendour of Stephen Tennant's décor - Cecil Beaton may fling accusations of albinism at me from his grave but your support will surely console me.

      May your limewhite walls resound this year with splendid gaiety.

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  5. Mise! I keep saying it but you are funny and good for you that you can curle your eyelashes, if I try, I will pull them all out most certainly... Also, you could have told me about the DG book before I did what I did to our yard! I can just hope that some of the plants survive till spring...
    And painting oak!? You did not...

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    1. I did not, Zaneta, if that is what it takes to retain your friendship.

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  6. Ah, that Nirvana - I thought, after Kurt's demise, you were reflecting on the disintegration of the 80s rockers.... A fine way to seek nirvana, though - through the perfection that is white paint - well done on losing the dark oak. Nothing finer than a touch of Farrow and Ball's Wimborne white.......

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  7. A perfect symphony of white and pink!

    I have just come in from standing out in the dark holding bits of pine and MDF whilst they were cut into bookcase length bits. Bats flying about my head, owls hooting above it. The pencil cutting line merging further into the gloom with each passing minute.

    What a damn sensible idea. Get an old oak one and paint it.

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  8. How lovely the bookshelf looks. And how reassuring that you aren't the only one who gets lectures about painting "that lovely wood".

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  9. Seeing The Hattatts in that book would have been very exciting, Mise. I'm glad you went ahead and painted the bookcase. I will feel much better about myself if I ever paint my not-even-solid-timber sideboard silver.

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  10. Snap! I painted a bookcase recently too. A week before Christmas actually. It was a pine one which had haunted me for years and I kept threatening it with a paint tin. In the end it was a can of spray paint that did the job. And like you I can now rest easy that the job is done. Who knew paint could satisfy so many women?!

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  11. Such a pretty colourful room, love it!

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  12. Can you tell us what the two other things are?

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    1. A child's wardrobe and a sideboard, Amee. Horribly brown. You must pop by and see them before they are scoff-proofly white.

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  13. I applaud your bravery! What great satisfaction to know there are others in the world compelled to do the unthinkable. My mother in law did the opposite, she had beautiful green (so vintage!) walls and worked very hard for days to remove it and bring them back to their former glory. It makes me sad every time i see it.

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    1. Thank you, Mrs Brown! Given your talent for bringing bona fide Virginian beauty to lifestyle, your approval is much appreciated.

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  14. I loathed that lamp cover but I pine for your painted oak bookshelves....get it? PINE for them?

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  15. I am married to a man who thinks that to paint wood, any wood, even old wooden crates so far as I can tell, is sacrilege. My new studio is to be an ode to Annie Sloan white chalk paint ... a girl has to have somewhere to hide out!

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  16. Painted wood doesn't bother me one bit. I have also be known to paint old (100 years - gasp!) wood, so fear not. I've not been following for long, but I love your posts, you make me laugh!

    S x

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  17. I know you are real because I have seen you in a magazine.But how do I know I am real? I was on the radio once but even that didn't convince me.

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    1. Where would we find you in the BBC archives, Lucille, to play softly on loop in the background during dinner-parties?

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  18. Nothing wrong with painting wood. Our Rossmore bookcase looks quite shabby chic after a coat of vintage white paint (or maybe just shabby?)

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  19. YOU PAINTED OVER OAK????
    Just kidding Mise! You are indeed priceless and I am sure to wear a big grin each day you post!
    White paint? Big sigh! The Gaelic side of our little clan would never hear of it but I love the quiet bliss (and the never ending possibility of a new palette each time the whim comes over me...which happens often as I am such a dreamer!)
    Blessings Dear Friend,

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  20. Absolutely acceptable! I love how fresh and pretty it looks--perfect with your chair and cushion, which I covet.

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  21. Paint can always come off, right? And it's more worth stripping from good wood than from cheapo board, if someone further down is particularly bothered.

    Personally, I think white-painted wood is lovely. And those pink and orange candles, in their white candlesticks against the white wall and popping jauntily with your jolly armchair, are fabulous. They remind me of Ben Pentreath and his coloured candles - which is a very good thing.

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  22. "further down the line" is what I meant to say. My poor old brain cannot keep up with my nimbly typing fingers. Too many night shifts.

    Thank goodness for blogs like yours to keep it cheery, if slow, in the lull hours.

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  23. I was going to berate you for painting that wood - but considering it is 'modern oak' I will let it slide just this once. I dream of having a home where everything is painted white and furniture is pinkly upholstered ... but the muck from the ducks would never mesh well with those colours .. so camouflage colours it is ...on a side note I love the tennis skirt lampshade and just 'made one' for my Mum. She was ever so impressed with my, eh, sewing skills (ha ha!).

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  24. But it look so lovely white! Love the candles too.

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  25. Oh, how I relate! I'm trying to gauge painting kitchen cupboards with Husband's trip to Myanmar or such. I have a wood bookcase that is begging for paint as well.

    What I really want to know is how can I paint the floors white in my knitting room. There will be murder but I'll like it. Will you direct me? Will you come and help me?

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  26. Hmmm. Not so sure about that tennis skirt, but I do love that pink armchair. I'm reserving judgement on the oak.

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  27. Beautiful and most definitely is ok if it was modern oak... Happy new year - I am extremely late back to class this year I fear... x

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  28. I like how the question posed by the book 'What shall we do today?' seems to be answered with 'Sew Cath Kidston'. Is Cath aware of this? Does she want to be sewed?

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  29. I do hope you are back soon. I've had an almost three month (unplanned) hiatus. It's hard to get back into it.... xxx

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  30. Well, now what will I do?! =/

    Enjoy life while you're gone. I'll just happily graze amongst the 'oldies' here if I need a fix of 'perspective'!

    =]

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  31. I will be also doing the unthinkable and painting over much cherished (by Aberdonians) oak. I will likely be struck down by the Scottish forefathers. I for one love the white!

    Have New Year to your whole family x

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  32. Mise, I admire your actually knowing and admitting that you are going to be taking a little hiatus (hopefully, very little), as I can never admit that I am on one and leave everybody hanging in the lurch, which my mother reminds me of on a daily basis!
    I wish you every good thing while you are 'away'...enjoy the peace, and may your soul and spirit fill up with so many 'lovely' things during this time that you'll feel the need to share them all once again in glorious rapture (no pressure though).
    All the best...
    xo J~

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  33. I hope all is well with you and yours, and that you won't be Dúnta for long. x Angela

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  34. Mise - what has happened - I tried to leave a post on your most recent (albeit let's be honest January 23rd post) but alas - my dear are you alright? I do understand that the overwhelming pressure of creating lampshade 'covers' from ballet skirts can indeed wear one down in ways that one was not even aware of. I do hope you are bravely battling on, and I will happily see you on the other side as it were. All the very best, Annie x
    Good grief what is that incessant pinging coming from the oven....? Oh dinner for the hoards...tootle pip, and chin up, etc

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  35. Just popped by for a belated visit and saw that you're on a wee break. Hope all is well with you and you have a good rest.
    xxxxx

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  36. Hello Mise

    Your friendly voice is very much missed from blogsphere. I hope you are keeping well and enjoying summer

    Hugs to all

    Helen xx

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