Tonight as I returned from our rental home freshly painted with white walls and white trim I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey of white walls over my lifetime. This rental home, my first home was once full of color. It was a little sad to see the once bright and cheerful home, so hospital like.
I always dreamt of having a home of my own. A home with walls of color.
My parents divorced when I was 10, we lost our white walled house with brown wood paneling in the living room and all six kids moved into a rental with my mom. The walls were roomy and covered with 60’s wall paper of fake brick adorned with ivy. We lived there a year then mom re-married and we moved.
With my moms new marriage we moved into my step-dads house. A house with small white walls, more wood paneling and a new combined family of eleven children. Thirteen people under one roof and only three bedrooms. Let me say we had a few moments of insanity. Hardly a place to call home.
A bunch of teenagers, a few kids all packed in a sardine can, like a school of trout and tuna all mixed up. Two of the same species, with totally different upbringings and personalities. All I can say now, is we worked at getting along but we definitely had our stinky moments. I slept and lived at the house, but I never considered it my home.
Eventually a few kids got married and we moved to a different house with more room. This next house was my first dose of color. The kitchen was peach colored and three of the five bedrooms were: peach, purple, and bright blue. We weren’t in the house long when my step dad hired my step sister and I to paint the inside. We were in junior high and it was quite the project. I think it took us two weeks. But we got paid and we were happy. But it was a return to white walls.
I moved out as soon as I could at the age of 18 and lived with my sister and her husband for a summer in Spokane, WA. I lived in the basement with dirty cold white walls.
I then got a job in Hawaii and enjoyed a year of island life as a nanny. We lived in a beautiful valley that peeked out to the ocean a couple miles in the distance. My bedroom was the master bedroom which was the third floor of the house. I had shutter windows that lined the wall nestled in white walls.
I returned to Idaho and lived in a series of apartments with a series of roommates. A wonderful fun time of life for me, but every apartment had….. you guessed it…. White walls.
With a quick jaunt of living in Washington DC for a summer I was back in Idaho to finish college. I had run out of money for school and out of desperation to graduate before I was thirty, I moved back in with my mom and step dad. They were then in their 4th house and their 14 year marriage was on the rocks.
They lived in a beautiful home with square footage to spare. My youngest brother was still in high school, but everyone else has moved out and on with life either married or living in their own places. This house finally had a refreshing dash of color. My mom loves purple so she had a few walls painted in a deep plum color. The rest of the house was taupe with white trim. It was lovely. I only lived there a short time before my mom and I moved out.
A couple of moves later and more white walled living dwellings. I was craving color. Ocean blues, lime green, Tuscan red, lemon yellow.
I had finally completed college and gotten my first teaching contract. I was on the hunt for a home of my own. I was 27 years old and couldn’t wait to dive in and be a home owner and finally call a place my own.
Since I had chosen a career as a teacher, the funds were limited so I was shopping for a starter home. My dream was to have a 3 bed/2bath home with a garage and a yard. The market was on the rise so my choices were limited, but I did end up finding my house. I was overjoyed to finally to have a home. As soon as my house closed I was shopping paint swatches to get some color in this very bland white house.
My kitchen was a beautiful ocean blue, with lemony yellow and lime green accents. The main bathroom was Tuscan inspired with one red wall and clouds on the ceiling. My bedroom was a light lime green. The two remaining bedrooms were light yellow and taupe. There was a splash of light lime green in the living rooms as well as a pink wall for a short period of time. The home was bright, cheerful and warm. Such fun color. I loved decorating and designing with all of the colors.
I knew I couldn’t keep the variety of color forever. After owning the home two years the blue kitchen had to go. I retuned to neutral tones light beige and white trim. I loved it. It was fresh and clean. Trying out some Feng Shui, I knew the pink wall had to go if I wanted to welcome a man into my life. Low and behold it actually worked. The week I painted the pink wall white again, I went on my first date with my husband.
We got married the following summer and lived together in my colorful house. Five months into our marriage we moved into a new home. A home with off-white walls and white trim. A funny thing has happened. I love it. I have no desire to paint the walls. They feel fresh and clean and with all of the windows we have, it just feels bright and wonderful.
Earlier this month renters moved out and in anticipation for new renters I knew that it was time to paint my first beloved home. Back to the basics. I hired a painter and off he went sprayer and all, a return to white walls. I am sure I will have a colorful season again someday in my life where I desire to paint walls colors of the rainbow. But for now, back to the basics… of white walls.