By Lynda Shadbolt
Jim and I bought our house, overlooking The Great Green Meadow, 30 years ago. I just can’t believe that much time has passed! We walked into the house, with our really lovely real estate agent Bill Kulas, and we decided within 30 seconds that we wanted it. We hardly looked around. It was the location that we loved immediately. Walking distance from town, overlooking a pond (which became a meadow within a year) and space for gardens. The house itself was the perfect size for us and didn’t need any work to be done. Everything was in good shape.
The house was built in the ’70s and the walls were paneled and there was a mustard yellow carpet throughout. It was vintage! Jim loved the brown paneling and said the house felt cozy and grounding like brown rice. I agreed for the first couple of years, and then started to crave colour and light. I eventually painted all of the paneling a variety of colours over the 30 years. My goal was to make the inside of the house feel like a garden – many colours and cheerful. I achieved that goal, and all you have to do is visit our house and be surrounded by the green, blue, yellow and red colours to feel my vision. Madeline tells me she felt like she grew up in a box of smarties. Either way, I liked it. I’m not going to lie however, as I always really wanted drywall in the house. We talked about it for at least 25 years.
But like everyone, we have been busy going on adventures, working, prioritizing time with Madeline etc. So the drywall project sat on the back burner until this year. And right now as our daughter packs up her life to head off to Queen’s University, Jim and I are packing up our living room and kitchen and this fall our upstairs will get renovated. And now as we pack up our books and art I find myself looking at all the colours and the space and being so grateful for all of the great memories that we have had in this very eclectic space. We’ve had so many dinner parties and house guests stay here and love it.
There are so many stories. Our first Rotary exchange student, Marianna Mora Cano from Venezuela, painted our kitchen cupboards for the very first time. I painted our kitchen red when our first dog Mollie died because I missed her so much. The blue floor was bought by my last paycheque when I worked at Bark Lake Leadership. Our stained glass lamp was bought by the first $500 that I made teaching yoga. The yellow wall was painted when Madeline was a baby. She napped for 20 minutes every day (seriously, that’s all) and I painted 20 minutes at a time. It was winter and I painted the wall to look like a giant sunflower.
My husband has been so patient over the years because I am not a neat painter. He loved the brown rice but grew to appreciate the garden. Our new space will have white walls to start. It’s a new beginning for us as empty nesters, and I wonder how the space will look 10 or 20 years from now.