By Ingrid Sapona
One of the reasons I continue doing this column is because –
even after all these years of introspection – rarely a week goes by that I don’t
catch myself in a behavior or with a thought that, if left unchecked, can subvert
my happiness or contentment. As I’m sure you guessed, the past week was no
The complex my condo is in has two 12-story towers with a
central connecting foyer at the bottom. Each floor has a long internal corridor
with units along the edges. There is natural light at one end of each floor. The
hallways were getting a bit run-down so a couple of years ago we began making
plans for re-doing them.
The condo association struck a committee to work on the redecoration.
The committee chose a design firm, and at the annual meeting the designer explained
his ideas and vision. Then, late last year we were presented two choices and
asked to vote for our favourite. I was impressed the way they presented it – it
wasn’t just small samples of wallpaper and paint chips – they did an actual
mock-up by one suite.
The choices were similar and both were nice and, by majority
vote, one scheme was chosen. The work began in March. Initially we were told
they’d complete one floor at a time, but at the last minute they told us they
would be doing the whole building at once. I wasn’t sure how that would work,
but one day a crew arrived and things just started happening.
One morning as I headed down to the gym, for example, I saw
that all the light fixtures down the hall had been taken off, leaving just the lightbulbs. Another day they tore out the moulding around
the door frames. A few days later up went new moulding. One morning when I came
back from the gym all the wallpaper was down. I was only gone 65 minutes and it’s
a long hallway. They were amazingly fast and efficient.
It’s also been interesting to see the progress made on other
floors. Every time the elevator doors open on a floor I look around to see the
progress on that floor versus on my floor.
After the reno began, a friend was over and I took her to
see the mock-up. Though it had only been up for about four months, both of us
noticed the paint around the doorframe had a fair number of minor chips. I knew
what caused them because the same thing happened to the pre-reno paint around
my door. The chips are caused by keys dangling from a keychain as you insert your
door key. The chips are particularly noticeable with the new paint, however,
because it’s a very dark (almost black) charcoal gray. I made a note to myself
that I’d have to be super careful with my keys from now on.
A few days later, when they painted the stainless steel elevator
frames and doors the same dark charcoal, I sent an e-mail to the committee about
my concern that chips and dings to the paint will be particularly noticeable. I
suggested they ask the designer if there will be any varnish or protective overcoat.
They said they’d look into the matter, which is about all they can do, I figure.
Then, one day last week I came home mid-afternoon and the
hallway looked rather dark. It was an overcast day, but even the end with the
window seemed darker than it should have been. I looked more closely and saw that
they had taped up a thin plastic drop-cloth over the window, but it was not opaque
by any means, so why was the hall so dark?
Ten seconds or so later I realized why the hall looked so
different. My heart started pounding as I noticed that the ceiling, which was
white when I left, is now dark charcoal. Yup, the same colour as the doorframes!
In case you’re wondering, no – the ceiling by the mock-up was not painted, nor
was there any mention of it being painted.
I tell you, I was in shock. My first thought was that the
crew must have made a mistake. The very next thought I had was that even if it
was a mistake, it’s so dark, there sure as hell is no going back. The dark
ceiling made the long hall look like a lane in a bowling alley. The bare lightbulbs
dotting the corridor walls didn’t help either!
Actually, it was the glare of bare lightbulbs that helped
calm me. It was when I thought about the lights that I realized that the hall (and
ceiling) will look completely different when proper light fixtures are up. In
other words, I realized the project is still very much a work in progress and,
as such, it’s not very useful to be concerned about individual details.
There you have it. What can I say? I’m a work in progress
© 2015 Ingrid Sapona