When I was a little girl, I inherited a big old bedroom set. It had been my grandmother’s, and then my mother’s, and now it was mine. It was made of solid oak and had many pieces- a big-girl bed, two large dressers, a vanity, a night stand and a grand mirror. It had a myriad of lines and curves and the kind of detail that has long since retired in the furniture business. A young man, with skills probably passed down from his father, built those pieces with his bare hands, sanding the curved drawers just right, and crafting the intricate headboard. It fit together like a puzzle, each side carefully slotting into the next. So much thought and love went into this work of art.
It may be the only thing of any real value that I’ve ever owned.
Each time a new generation inherited it, the bedroom set was painted for them. For me, it was painted a pale speckled yellowish-green. I didn’t pick it. I never quite liked the color. I found it dull and uninteresting. But it was all mine nonetheless. And it lived a whole life with me. The outwardly curved posts on the corners of the bed would be the cause of many a bruised thigh and the grand mirror would rotate annually with my latest pictures and ticket stubs. Quotes and stickers would hide on the inside corner of my nightstand so only I could see, and the inside of my vanity drawers held the signatures of my girlfriends, signed like a yearbook.
When I left home, the bedroom set stayed. I didn’t have a place of my own for years, and even when I did, I certainly didn’t have room for an impressive set of this size.
This opulent set will be my daughters one day, I thought. I imagined my daughter, what she might be like, what colors would inspire her? Since I always disliked the drab green I decided I would give my daughter something fun, something bright and modern.
One year, I read an article in a decorating magazine about the richness of mixing the old world with the contemporary. It was a perfect mix and representation of the values I wanted to impose. I imagined her jumping up and down on the big bed, just as I had as a girl.
That’s when I knew. I would paint the 100-year old antique oak bedroom set in a stunning bubble gum pink.
I decided I better get started. I slowly got it out of storage, piece by piece and begun my work.
It turned out beautifully. She will love it, I thought.
After I got married my husband and I began our own journey and the now bubble-gum pink bedroom set was sent into storage, all ready for its future.
But, all these years later it sits in an empty spare room. Not inspiring anyone.
When I sanded and primed and painted this set so many years ago now, it never even dawned on me that one day I might not have someone to give it to. Ah, the naiveté of youth. It’s a gift, really.
I have decided, this spring, to re-finish my antique bedroom set once more. This time, I’m thinking a subtle grey.