My hands—and the baseboards in my bedroom—are covered in white paint. Making slow painting progress on this apartment while tuning into live coverage of national news is a thing that I’ve taken to doing. I started painting our apartment on the day after the Presidential election. Our living- slash-dining room has a fresh coat of white paint and a repainted ceiling and trim that I have nearly finished but not completely. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I painted a giant canvas floorcloth to cover the cracked vinyl of our dining room. Half the walls in my kids room have one coat of white paint, the rest remain the same baby-formula yellow they were when we moved in. Last week, James and I finished painting our bedroom walls, which are now a soft grayish green.
Like lots of people, we’re living in an apartment in progress. It’s not a construction zone in here. There’s no demolition or remodeling happening, just the kind of slow and steady improvements that have always been central to the way that I approach making a space my own.
As a writer in an industry that butters bread with big reveals, it can feel like a risk to write about the smaller stuff. There’s nothing particularly sexy about filling nail holes or repainting moulding, but when time or budgets or people power are in short supply, knowing which small improvements can change the feel of a place starts to feels like a superpower.
Some of the progress happening in my apartment is toward big changes: a bedroom painted anything but white is a first for me and making (and living with) a wall-to-wall canvas floorcloth is too. Other improvements are so small you’d have to live in the place to notice them—swapping out a shower head, or re-painting french doors, or removing thirty feet of internet cable that leads to nowhere—but isn’t that the point?
In both cases, I hope sharing the ins and outs of the process might offer other folks a bit of encouragement to likewise tackle simple transformations that make the places we call home feel just a little bit better. Toward that end, I’m starting two new series. The first— Apartment Progress—will share the particulars and pet projects underway in this place. The other—Small Improvements—will be geared more concretely toward encouraging folks to tackle similar bits of fine tuning themselves. Still not sure a fresh coat of trim paint can change a whole room? Allow me to convince you.
Farrow & Ball has generously supplied the paint for the projects that I’ve tackled in the apartment so far. More details to come, but for folks who are curious, the color in our bedroom is Cromarty in the new Modern Emulsion finish. The trim is All White, in an Eggshell finish.