The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Interior Decorating – the Stars are Aligned

My weekly horoscope:

Aries (March 21-April 19)
You will swing your focus to home, family and your private life for the next month. This will manifest in several ways, depending on the details of your own life. For starters, it makes you want to focus on your home more than usual. You might want to cocoon at home and sort of “hide.” However, for many of you, this focus on home will mean tackling home repairs, home redecorating projects and even home renovations. Some will become more involved with family members, especially a parent. And because fiery Mars enters the picture on Wednesday, June 24, you will also have to be patient with family members to avoid arguments. And there you have it.

You might want to cocoon at home and sort of “hide,” dear reader. Next weekend, we wallpaper. Oh, Reiner is an Aries, too.

In the meantime, here’s an earlier post that bears a re-run. It sets the stage for that which follows!

***   ***   ***

By now you’ve read about my housekeeping habits and know a bit about my personal dress code. Therefore, I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I tell you that my taste in interior decor is… missing in action.

That does not mean that I don’t have an appreciation for the well-appointed room. I like light and airy, clean lines, uncluttered surfaces. Like this:

Very similar to our home office. Two stations and a cast iron frog paperweight.

Very similar to our home office. Two stations and a cast iron frog paperweight.

Let me show you some swatches from the room that I occupy pretty much 15 hours a day.


Ok, how about we step back a bit and get the whole enchilada up for display. It’s a largish room, about 23 feet long. We each have a computer station in either corner of the longest wall. It’s dark.

Mission Control

Mission Control

You still with me? You probably have a few questions. Let’s see if I can anticipate them.

Q: OK, Maggie, you like light, why is it so dark?

A: A valid point. There are two east-facing windows that are shuttered. I cannot understand it, but Reiner prefers them that way. It’s a privacy thing, I think. As for the wallpaper (shudder), replacing it has been on the list of things to do for quite some time. You will note, however, it is not on the list of FUN things to do. We purchased rolls of textured off-white paper and they are aging nicely in the storeroom.

Q: Wallpaper!? Why not paint?

A: Why not, indeed. When I purchased the house eight years ago, the sellers had completed a major renovation of the place. They restored most of the painted wood trim, and updated the windows, plumbing, and all of the “mechanics” as well as drywalling all of the rooms. All of them, that is, except the living room-slash-mission control. The walls underneath are the old lath and plaster jobs, probably full of horsehair. And there are at least two layers of wallpaper. To redo the walls “properly” is not something that interests us, in terms of money, time, or desire.

Q: Fair enough. But that doesn’t explain the mish-mash of textiles in the furnishings.

A: Yeah, well. Remember those seventeen moves I was telling you about? In my more generous moments, I like to think of this room as an homage to all of the living rooms I have known. The plaid loveseat and it’s mate in the den came free with the Cambridge condo. I deliberately purchased the reclining  wing-back easy chair, also one of a pair, in my London days. I say deliberate in that the colour and the form are nods to the furniture in my childhood home. The woollen oriental patterned rug is from my first time living-on-my-own living room. This was in my late twenties and it was scary. I survived. Did the rug help? Didn’t hurt.

Q: Would it be fair to say that you like natural colour and texture?

A: Aren’t you the astute observer! I prefer natural, unpainted wood, stone, green. The TV stand is a unit that was built by my sewing machine repair husband. It too harks back to the treadle machine that was stored in my brothers’ bedroom. We played any number of fantasy games around that prop, among them spaceship and operation room (an innocent version of playing “Doctor”).

Q: Are you sure you understand the meaning of the word “uncluttered”?

A: Smart ass.

Q: It’s quite the showpiece. When can we expect the “After” to this “Before”?

A: There is a very good possibility that THIS summer might be THE summer for the project. No promises, though. But when we do get around to it, you will be the first to know!

See? Every well dressed office space has a frog

See? Every well dressed office space has a frog.


Photo Credit 


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52 replies

  1. Dear lord how do you get your blogging done – that much sensory input should short circuit the brain to the point the breaking and watching TV at the same time could be strenuous and here you are producing these at times hilarious tidbits and sharing them with others. Sorry that is probably really rude but …. wow that is a busy busy room not awful just so busy I think I’d feel the need to nap after working in there for say 5 minutes. Mmmm that doesn’t sound polite either does it – ok lets just say I love your blog and fear deeply that room. lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! My secret hope is that by posting the photos here some HGTV producer will contact me for a free remodel, simply to eliminate the profanity that is my parlor.
      Not that it makes a whole lot of difference to the stimulation level, but the walls are the noisiest thing in the house. We don’t have music or TV playing. That said, did someone say “nap time”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well now isn’t that a clever idea – that room would certainly catch the attention of one of those reality makeover shows – crafty thought. As for nap time – there is always time for a nap in fact legislation should be passed enforcing nap time.


  2. I actually love the room!! It looks super cozy. Little more light, yes, but it would be a wonderful room to read/write in. At least for me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We just purchased a small home that is full of peeling wallpaper. Oh my….how I hate wallpaper.


  4. Love your Q&A, Maggie, especially calling yourself a Smart Ass…so funny. We have only moved 14 times in our married life, and live in those realtor-approved neutral shades…always. I have this secret urge to move a final time in retirement and paint the walls in primary colors, with rainbow carpeting !! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “A: There is a very good possibility that THIS summer might be THE summer for the project.

    Think of a renovation project as a transition from “Some day, we will get to this” to “Some day, we will finish this”.


  6. I like the room. It’s reminiscent of my mother’s old house with the roses. It also was very big in the 80s or so. “They” say a room is boring if there aren’t at least 8 to 10 different patterns (that includes textures and finishes too). For more light you could put sheers or an opaque cover on the windows and open the blinds. All that said, I am sure you will enjoy a more contemporary look. I have a texture wallpaper in my family room and I just love it. It warms the place more than paint but it doesn’t add “busy.”


    • Glad you like it, Kate. I always apologize for the outrageous look, but I’m comfortable with it. I recall the 80s when the cabbage rose was big in fashion and decor. I suspect the former owners got a good deal on leftover wallpaper when they redid this room in the 90s.
      Sounds like we are of like mine as regards the textured paper. I also hope that the texture will cover the lumps and bumps on the walls.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel your pain as I embark on massive, MASSIVE renovations of the place we moved into a couple months ago. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think the decor is homey. Everything looks cozy and welcoming. I would want light, though.

    The Smart#ss crack cracked me up, too. : )

    I enjoyed seeing your frog and introduced him to mine. Mine bears a crown and is a tad snooty, though. I have no idea why. He’s done nothing for ME todate, and kissing him yielded nothing but cold, cold disappointment.

    I am considering gently touching my hacksaw blade to the base of his crown as a call to action. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The thought of redecorating makes my gut clench and I think your approach to the wallpaper issue is sensible. It will save your marriage, too. I so enjoyed the dialogue between you and your logical self. Just a piece of advice: Hide the frog during the reno. It could be used against you.


  10. I hate it when the storeroom eats the wallpaper. Hate it so much I do not purchase wallpaper. You should see the mess when the storeroom burps it up.


  11. My God. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different patterns in one room! It’s amazing. Am thinking to fund your renovation perhaps you should sell tickets….market it as “Historical Decorating Themes” or “The Room with Something for Everyone!” It does actually look quite cozy….am wondering if you would feel like you’re in hospital if you redid it and went for those clean lines? Seems very sterile after seeing this!

    On another note, I greatly enjoyed how you wrote this……very funny!


    • It is the perfect setting for a reality show. Because I’m sure there will be many, many episodes. Like the one in the flea market today where he saw an antique scraper and said he needed it to peel the paper from the walls. “We’re taking the paper off?” I asked, incredulous. “It was my understanding that the paper was staying!” And so began the first squabble of the project.


  12. Clever, clever way to write the post.


  13. I think Mission Control looks nice and cozy! Yes, I would die from lack of light…Half the reason I bought this house was the light, lol! But, I don’t question why you’d re-wallpaper, now living in my second old house and I don’t question the shutters, because when I lived in Georgia, the front window faced west and publicly! So I get it, on both counts.
    We are also great fans of wood. Having lots of wood means we need light colored walls and soft pieces.
    I really love your rug, which is how old now?!? Lovely.
    I also love that you’re an Aries, that you’re both Aries.
    As to whether you get it done this summer? It’s been almost a year since I started the back hallway. Heh. I hope you show me up!


  14. Hey! Hub’s an Airies !😀. No wonder I like ‘my Maggie’ so much!!

    I gotta say I was taken aback thinking you managed to renovate into that contemporary, pileless room of serenity. Thank God, that’s as unattainable for you as me. Really? People keep rooms that uncluttered??

    We had the old walls and wall paper you talk about – Dad stripped and re10-papered several times. Watching him ( and listening to Mom’s gripes and critiques) cured me of EVER wanting to do ANY home improvement project whatsoever. Hub has the same aversion I do.

    Good luck with yours. Posting about snafus or smooth sailing is grist fir the mill 💖😍


    • People keep rooms that uncluttered only in the movies and only in staged real estate ads.

      This is going to be our first renovation project together. Already, given the preamble, (or should I say, pre-squabble at the market this weekend when he claimed he needed to take off all of the old paper) I think I shall designate myself the documentation expert and leave it at that. For the sake of everyone concerned. Because you are absolutely right – if this ain’t grist for the mill, nothing is!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know – I have a couple friends who live like that or at least relish cleaning up often because they constantly entertain in clutter-free homes. I had to let the friendships slide – one was so OCD it affected our relationship (she tried to make me a clone of her) and the other gave me too much self-induced pressure to reciprocate on clutter-free hosting dinners. I finally figured out I didn’t need/want those kinds of friendships.

        I feel for you; life is hard enough without renovation squabbles. Some couples relish these projects; others, not so much! Put us in that latter category 😔


      • PS you know where to email me if the need arises 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I have done better at uncluttering my life due to being in a one bedroom apt. I am blessed with 2 grown children with families. They took what I offered them in odds and ends, pots and pans aND after being the older sister, one who was the hostess with the “mostest” they are in charge of holidays.
    As far as your rooms, they are prety, homey and yes, a little “busy” with patterns.
    I look forward to seeing the swatches come into a and either a simple wallpaper with tiny print in light colors or paint applied to your walls.
    This was fun playing interior designer with you! 🙂


  16. Hahaha, thank you for anticipating all my questions! Don’t get too carried away! That first room you show is REALLY empty with no personality!


  17. War of the roses? My goodness you have been patient! I would have probably done a stop gap paneling job (in a grain to match the floor) to lighten up that room until a proper reno could be done. I would prefer wood over roses. But to each their own and their level of tolerance. Excellent presentation of the topic with your alter ego, it sucked me right in.

    The thing that this post brings up for me is the whole new obsession with the minimalism thing and spartan, antiseptic living space. The word clutter has become a very bad word. To me a space should look lived in and inviting, not look like you are afraid to use it (as in the first photo). As far as the clutter thing goes, I am hopeless because of my organizational mindset. We seem to organize our space in one of three ways: everything out (things out in the open where you can see them), everything away (everything out of site, in a drawer or closet), a place for everything and everything in it’s place (well placed items and all those knick-knacks in a nice cabinet). I am mostly an everything out person, as things I use everyday I prefer out in the open and handy, where I can find them. This spells trouble in the clutter department as I tend to leave things out all the time. I could never mentally survive if I lived in a space like the first photo, without my creature comforts handy.Maybe the frog is a working frog – eating all the clutter-bugs when no one is looking? For me it just looks so unnaturally sterile. I would take the roses over emptiness but that’s just me.


    • Hey, Steph –

      While I have an appreciation for the clean and simple, I have never lived that way. Except, that is, when the house has been staged for resale.

      BTW, we shall see how far the patience extends – there’s a full moon on Wednesday – which happens to be a national holiday – stay tuned!


  18. “… I like to think of this room as an homage to all of the living rooms I have known.”
    Love this thought 😉 What a fun post, Maggie!


  19. Hmmmm. I would have probably just painted the wallpaper. I’ve got a badly uneven wallpapered wall in my lounge room and when I decided it was time to renovate, years ago, I got no further than tearing off the loose strips. So, it’s been unsightly for – gosh, I don’t know – must be ten years now, but could be twenty! When watching TV, it’s at my back. I don’t actually notice it. Until now.
    Anyway, you did a great job with your wallpapering project.

    Liked by 1 person


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