Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Husband's a Stripper!: "Room for Improvement"

"We're heading to West Cork to see a friend, and Mr Dreaming Aloud is stripping..."

So read my text to a friend who invited us to meet up this weekend...

Stripping...wallpaper that is! Get those visions of my dear hubby out of your dirty minds right now. Actually talking of dirty... no, we'll get to that later. Back to the wallpaper...

There are certain areas in any home which make your heart sink... Mine was the hallway. Always the hallway. From the first moment I stepped into it, on our first viewing of the house, I hated it. It could be summed up in three words:

Orange paint-effect wallpaper.

The rest of the house was beautifully decorated and detailed by a woman with exquisite taste. 

But the wallpaper was hideous. And the first thing you saw when you entered the house.

But this was not the only problem in the hall, oh no, over the three years we lived in the house we have also added our own...

  • lots of rips to it - as modeled by two of the prime culprits - don't trust those cute faces!
  • a huge coat mountain just inside the door, filling the whole space under the stairs. Well, in truth it was coats on top, with a central core of unpacked picnic and swimming bags, endless bags of books packed by our three-year-old, odd shoes... (somehow I forgot to take a photo of that!)
  • a hideous Argos shoe shelf which again only sported odd shoes, as all shoes worn on a daily basis were variously scattered around the sitting room floor, or lying in wait at the bottom of the stairs.
  • our nature table took root on the top half of the dresser a couple of weeks after we moved in, it was joined by library books, unopened post, foreign coins, random bits of Lego, all of which I had to pile up into a leaning pile of crap to take pretty pictures for you on the blog!

So there we have it. Our house. I felt SUCH shame any time anyone, especially neighbours called to the door. Because their hallways are all clean. And light and bright. And  most definitely not full of shit. I, in all honesty, was composing a pretty sign that I was going to put on the front door which said - I spend my time writing books and painting which is why our house is a mess.... But was just trying to figure out how to make that sound clever... 

And then, as my humour went into hibernation and my feelings of despondency about our family pit grew, I was approached and offered money to redecorate a room in my house for a promotion called "Room for Improvement", run by the lovely people at Money So I said hell yeah - I'm like that, I like free money. Especially money I can throw at my husband whilst he sweats (if you know what I mean!!) ... He is a fine stripper you see... I happen to be married to a man who comes from a long-line of obsessive DIY home improvers. He enjoys it, relishes it even. And I love the results!

The point of this exercise? To show that with just a little money you can make big transformations in your home. And as you know, Dreaming Aloud is all about creative transformations, both inner and outer!

So a plan was formed. I would, with heavy heart, take my kiddies down to West Cork for the weekend to visit my soul sister and her children, where we would sit on the beach and drink wine and not-stop-talking-for-the-whole-weekend. Whilst he would hire a (wall-paper) stripper, buy paint and spend the weekend slogging away. I had the tough end of the deal, I know, but hey!

So just as we were about to leave he informs me that Mr Google says a wallpaper stripper machine thingy is a last resort, that it should just pull down quite easily. So I take an overhanging corner, the one that has made me cringe with shame every day for years... And pull... 

I groaned... The noises I start making were most definitely X-rated! 

If you are like me and you get a slightly twisted sexual pleasure from squeezing blackheads (especially other peoples'), peeling sunburn or picking scabs, then you will understand QUITE how much fun this was. I may have referenced that this was as pleasurable as my most fun bedtime activity. This received a rather odd look and curt reply from Mr Dreaming Aloud - I feel I may not be on the receiving end of such pleasures for a while to come.  But I digress. 

The children on hearing these strange noises coming from their mother and seeing me pulling down the wall coverings enquired if I was supposed to be doing that. When I informed them I was, their next question was if they could too? So between us we pulled down the hideous paper (except for one small wall, behind the coat mountain) in under five minutes. They take after their mother, I think, from the squeals of glee coming from them!

And then we left him to the "real work". We piled into the car. Had a spiffing weekend of jolity, including a sleep over!  And came home to THIS!!!! 

Yes, this is my house! For the cost of a tin of paint, roller, tray, some wood and nails. Pure, beautiful, white walls - certain members of the family have been strongly talked to about NOT redecorating it in the kindergarten style!

Mr DA officially moved a mountain - look - clear empty space!!!!! That's like an endagered creature in our house!!

I almost ran down the road to get my best neighbour friend in before it got messed up, she of the tidiest most beautifully kept house containing three young kids perhaps in the whole of Ireland. But it was bed time, so I didn't! So do call round soon and see us before it gets messed up!

It feels a little like our own private art gallery, with paintings by my dad, my uncle, two soul sisters/ daughter's fairy godmothers, my mother and me...

It's focal point our very own dedicated nature table... to celebrate the seasons and share creative inspiration with all who enter our home.

And shoe rack... made with reclaimed bricks!

I feel very, very proud of my home. And my husband. What a man!


  1. It's beautiful -please tell me there's a mountain of crap hiding behind you as you take the photos?!

  2. Thanks Liz. The crap mountain was under the stairs and spilling out into the narrow corridor - it is now ON the stairs, threatening that we break our necks every time we go up or down, and in my son's room awaiting "sorting"!!!!

  3. Wow, just beautiful! There must be something in the air favouring entrance hall/porch makeovers!!!

  4. wow well done Mr DA, it is beautiful and my god the light, it looks so bright and airy. I'm sorry that you had the hard end of the deal, it was awful spending time with you and I hope it is at least years til we have to do it again ;-P love to you all x x x x x

  5. Laughed my head off reading this, I relate wholeheartedly to the random mixup of crap, hahaha!!!! Looks very chic, and nice to see Mr Dreaming Aloud on here, well done him! ;-)

  6. Ha ha ha, very funny. Your hallway looks amazing, well done!

  7. Thank you ladies for your appreciation of both our talents!! xx

  8. Your post made me laugh. We have a sign in our hallway that says. WELCOME, Although our house is quite a mess, come in - relax - converse. It doesn't always look like this... Sometimes it's even WORSE!!!
    Bee x

    1. Ah, now there we are, that's the funny sign I should have put up. But we don't need it any more. 3 weeks later it's still clear!



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