Martha Stewart Has Left The Building

My Mom has nothing on Martha Stewart.  Before we moved here, she’d was able to artlessly blend the harvest gold’s and avocado green’s of the seventies with the mauves, slate blues and grays of the eighties and achieve a design balance that captured the absolute worst of both decades.  And she even managed to include op art from the psychedelic sixties.  Her blend of Danish Modern, Oriental, and Adams Family-inspired decor – all in one room – created an ambience that was both amazingly unattractive and bewildering in its lack of style and good taste.  Someone who hasn’t seen it might wonder if this was intentionally eclectic.  Sadly, it isn’t.  It’s just ugly.

And then there is her love affair with sponge painting, a nineties phenomena.  When she moved into the house in ’92 she sponged the walls of the guest bath – which is now our bathroom – in sea green and bright, cotton candy pink, and adorned the walls with ceramic angles, cherubs and embroidered fish.  And she didn’t stop there.  She also painted the bathroom door, the trim and molding, the ceiling, the cabinet (inside and out), the ceiling vent fan and every hinge in the room, pink.  She completed her decorating tour-de-force by covering the floor with a cheap wall-to-wall rug remnant of fuzzy, avocado green, rubber-backed nastiness.  And to further add to the general appeal, the bathroom was equipped with  a 40-year old tub-shower combo that had textured plastic sliding doors that had been re-caulked so often, and so poorly, that there was a thick, irregular ribbon of grayish goo along every seam.

A few months after we’d moved in with Mom, Bill and I came home with paint chips and cabinet brochures and dreams of remodeling the hideousness we had to face daily.  We were comparing colors against the existing, yellowing faux-marble counter top and the asbestos-based gray and yellow linoleum that had been successfully hiding for two decades under the puke-green rug, when Mom wandered down the hall and squeezed her way into the room.

“What are you two up to?” she said.

“Looking at paint colors,” I answered.

“What are you going to paint,” she asked, sudden suspicion in her voice.

“The bathroom,” Bill responded, placing a chip on the far wall near the floor.

“And why exactly would you do that?” she said defensively.

“Oh I don’t know,” I said, totally oblivious to the can of worms Bill and I had opened.  “Maybe because everything in here is pink.  And we’re not too crazy about pink.  Or sponge painting either for that matter.”

“Well I like pink,” she stated firmly.  “And I think this room looks just fine, and sponging is one of the latest ways to paint and besides that, I did it all by myself!”

“Latest way maybe twenty years ago,” Bill muttered before I had a chance to kick him in the shin.

“Okay, Mom,” I said, trying to calm her down.  “I didn’t know you liked it so much.  We’ll live with it for a while longer.”

“That would be nice, but you do what you want.  It’s your bathroom after all.”

We lived with it another year until the fiberglass base in the 40-year old tub ‘accidently’ cracked badly enough that we had to put in a nice, new shower unit – which somehow didn’t match anything else in the room.  Oh, my, what a shame.  Look out Martha, here I come!


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