Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | January 8, 2003

The perils of purple

How quickly I forget the perils of purple.

A few months ago, while my husband John was on a business trip to Europe, I finally succumbed to pleas from our daughter Katie and agreed to paint her bedroom her favorite color – purple.

After selecting the perfect shade to match the background of her comforter, Katie and I spent a few days shuffling furniture and drop cloths while transforming her walls from Arctic Frost to a medium purple hue artfully dubbed Behind the Scenes. Two coats, several touch-ups and lots of splatters later, the bumpy walls contractors use here in California were transformed and Katie was thrilled.

Unfortunately, Mom was not.

I have just enough perfectionist in me to intensely dislike the squiggly line created at the junction of the bumpy purple walls and the bumpy off-white ceiling. I much prefer the smooth walls I’m used to from the Midwest. But facing the lavender dilemma in my daughter’s room, I determined that I had two choices: paint the ceiling Behind the Scenes purple, or install crown molding.

I quickly rejected painting the ceiling, which I felt would turn Katie’s already small room into a cave. Besides, I hate painting ceilings. So off I went to purchase crown molding. I placed the lengths of crown molding on the garage floor and primed and painted them with the Arctic Frost trim paint the builder used throughout our house.

Installing them, however, was a chore that awaited my husband upon his return from Germany.

He was not thrilled, even though it was a chance to use the spiffy pneumatic nailer he bought when we changed most of our first floor from junky builder-grade carpet to wood a year ago.

The molding sat in the garage for a couple of months, and periodically John would haul out some graph paper and mull the angles and cuts required to hide that hated squiggly line.

Katie’s room, which has a doorway set at a 45-degree angle, now sports five of the seven pieces of crown molding needed to encircle it. By the time you read this, barring a power tool injury or measuring error, the crown molding project I sprung on my husband should be complete.

I watch enough HGTV to know better than to imagine for one moment that the bedroom project will be complete when the crown molding is installed. The junky builder-grade carpet now sports some very up-front Behind the Scenes splatters – maybe it’s time for a new floor covering in Katie’s room, or perhaps we should do the whole upstairs in one shot? I’m sure you recognize that I’m suffering from the famous “while we’re at it” syndrome that plagues do-it-yourselfers. At least I do.

Toward the end of the painting portion of the project, I offered to paint Andrew’s room in his favorite color – red. Andrew, wise beyond his years, declined, noting that he’d like to have red walls, but it was just too much work.

Unlike his mom, he’s well aware of the perils of purple as well as the risks of red.

But I’m now thinking of painting our master bedroom walls a dramatic shade of blue. However, I’m not sure my husband is willing to look at another piece of the inevitable crown molding any time soon. I do have a plan: As soon as his memories of the menace of moldings begin to fade, the rollers, brushes and masking tape will reappear. After all, if we need to replace the upstairs carpet anyway, why not use it as a drop cloth for another project first?

Yes, yes, I know: I’m at it again, ignoring the dangers of DIY.


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