Monday, November 2, 2009

See Kate Conquer: "They're not perfect, but they're not purple!"

Every morning when I wake up, this is what I see: my growing stomach that is home to a child (or a minotaur) and four pairs of purple wardrobe doors (we've got another pair in the hallway serving as a closet).

Are those closets or a wall of bruises?

These are fairly standard IKEA closets, although most commonly seen these days in the less-offensive white. How we ended up with purple ones is beyond all reason and logic. My guess is that one of the IKEA designers of the 1970s was recovering from a bad acid trip and convinced his boss, also recovering from said trip, to sign off on a huge production order and the student housing organization that owns our apartment couldn't resist the great deal being offered by IKEA's head honcho in order to off-load the terrible mistake that these acid trippers had made. And here we are, thirty years later, still reaping the consequences. But who can say for sure?

When we first moved in here, my dream was to take down the doors and hang gorgeous, flowing fabric from floor to ceiling. I'm glad we never got around to that, as the number of dust bunnies that find their way into our apartment is enough to convince even PETA that sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. And so, we've lived with the purple doors.

We lived with the purple doors until we redid the floors, which I wrote about here and here last two weeks. Then, as the world seemed to open up with possibilities, we found ourselves inspired. Again, under the gentle direction of our friends, we got ourselves some paint. One day while Keith was working I took off all the door handles and started to work on bringing our purple doors into the 21st century.

The process has turned out to be just slightly more involved than I was initially thinking, which explains why it is still a work in progress. While I first thought this could be “my” project to work on, Keith has graciously stepped in as I find myself more and more tired with less and less vision for seeing things through (35 ½ weeks pregnant, remember?).

In our small living space we have no choice but to paint the doors in shifts; no more than four at a time can be painted. Once the doors are down, we've got to take the hinges off which is made more difficult because the screws are somewhat stripped from a previous encounter with an over-eager electric screw driver. Then, because the doors are dusty like everything else in our apartment, they must be wiped down. Finally, the painting may commence.

When I was started out these doors were requiring four (!) coats of paint on the outside, and two coats on the inside (we decided a little purple show-through would remind us of our humble beginnings... and save paint). Keith showed me how two thick coats of paint is far better than four thin coats. But, we still need to wait for one side to completely dry before flipping the doors over to do the single coat on the inside. Finally, there's usually a little touch-up work required along the top and bottom edges, and the putting back on of all the hardware.

This project has been in progress for about two weeks, but is looking like it will be finished in the next few days. Already, the effect is astounding to me, as not only do we not have purple sore spots that just never seemed to make any sense, but also a whole new palate for the light to play off of. Even at night, when I am getting up to pee for the umpteenth time, my path to the bathroom is “lit” by the soft shimmer of the outdoor lights reflecting gently off my white wardrobe doors, instead of disappearing into the purple that use to lurk.

the half-way finished results

We are not professional painters, and we were perhaps a bit over-eager to rehang some of the doors as they are already exhibiting a few scratches and nicks here and there. But, as Keith said last night, "They're not perfect, but they're not purple!" And I'm really thrilled about that.