split-personality.

(Have I used this title before? Possibly. Oh, well.)

So. My house has a bit of an identity crisis. Or, maybe I am.

We live in a 1960’s split-level. I would tend to say that it’s mid-century modern, but someone else would probably say it’s not, so there’s that. :) It has a fairly open layout for its day – from where I sit right now, I can see three levels of house – a beamed ceiling and a cool double-sided fireplace separates the kitchen/dining room from what we are currently using as a family room. The kitchen also has an indoor charcoal grill, although I haven’t used it. :)

I had wanted to live in a two-story Colonial. Wait. No. I had wanted to live in a bungalow – then, for several reasons, we decided to look further out of the city, in the suburbs and I changed my wish list to a colonial-style house.

I did not want to look at split-levels at all. At all, at all.

We bought our house in the summer of 2009 – which was the summer of the $8,000 tax rebate that did not have to be repaid. When we started looking in February, we were seeing houses that had not had showings since November or October – but after looking for a few months, the market was saturated with buyers and with inventory all at once.

What that meant for us? Is that the “good houses” went super fast. And the rest? We muddled through.

We ultimately decided that the two story was out of budget. And the other houses that we were seeing were…well, pretty awful.

So, we opened up to seeing split-levels.

This was the first split-level we saw. It was our wall of brick and the beams that sold me on this house. Then, the potential for a fourth bedroom? We could really see the potential and the layout was really great.

Once we finally got the house (after losing it, once – I think I told that story?), and moved in, we took down the paneling in the lower level, painted the first two colors we found that we could agree on – sans trying out the color at all – and it was just…okay.

My first foray into paint was our front doors. We have a set of double doors that I painted a brick/clay red on the outside and white on the inside. The red? Oh, LOVE. I was hooked.

And I started painting trim.

I do like the white trim, but…I kind of regret covering it up. And that I kept going.

I wonder, now, in hindsight, if I had painted with more saturated colors to begin with, rather than the washed-out blah colors I had used, if the wood trim would have looked okay?

Baseboards wouldn’t be that hard to bring back or replace – but the windows. That would be tougher.

I had rationalized when I did it that we’d eventually be replacing the windows, anyway. (Which is true!) But I hadn’t actually thought that at some point I would start to like the trim.

So. For now, anyway, I have stopped painting the trim until I can figure out what I want to do.

What I would really like is to have a cohesive whole-house design. But I’m struggling which way to go. I keep trying to go more traditional, but is that really my style? Is that me?

When we moved into this house, my mom kept saying how much this house was like me. And it’s true, after we lost this house, I compared every single house we saw to it and they didn’t compare. The things that I loved were the beams and the fireplace with pretty brick that went all the way to the ceiling.

But when we moved in, the very things that I liked were some of the things I found hard to work around.

The fireplace, mainly.

At the time, everyone on the blog circut was doing washed out cottage-style rooms. (Kind of like now, but in taupe, instead of gray.)

And I had the worst time tying in my orangy brick fireplace. My mom mentioned more than once that I could always paint it. I’m glad that I didn’t. Although I didn’t love the orange, I couldn’t just paint out the one thing that I couldn’t get out of my head after we saw this house.

So, after trying to work against our fireplace, I decided to work with it.

Originally written 4/21/13, published in March 2016.
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