The Biggest Surprise Yet!

Every year or so, for the past 10 years, my husband Ed goes on an extended fishing adventure with his buddies to New Hampshire.  This excursion usually consumes as few as nine or as many as eleven days.  In the early days of these outings I was less than pleased that he would be gone for so long a time.

That was until I realized I could use this time alone and on my own to accomplish the many projects on my wish list.  The wish list consists of those things that are needed to be done yet often extend beyond my sweet husband’s comfort zone (read that as costing too much money!).  Sometimes these projects are small and sometimes they require lots and lots of planning to accomplish.  Mostly, it is like Christmas in July!

In year’s past I’ve repainted rooms, installed new cabinets in our laundry room and ordered and installed new linen drapery from Pottery Barn in our Carolina Room (that is Lowcountry speak for Family Room).


I’ve purchased new furniture to house our media equipment and contracted with Custom Audio Visual in Bluffton, SC to upgrade our home theatre (very small and intimate room with great surround sound) and replace our 27″ Sony with a Samsung 40″ HDTV (did I mention it comes with 3D glasses) and new DVD player and receiver.  Sandy, the owner made it possible to complete the project just in time.  And this surprise was a big winner!

Each and every time my husband returns from his trip he is has been delighted with the new changes and even more delighted to not have been involved in the purchase decisions.  My secret projects, while he is away hooking brook trout, have become a “surprise” that he has come to expect and enjoy.  It has become our little “thing” as he makes plans for the next year’s outting.

I have found that increasingly the focus of the projects I plan are intended to enhance the quality of our lives and to complete a project that lessens my husband’s need to expend time and energy on household and garden chores.

This year’s project was the biggest and most challenging to date.

I decided that I would make arrangements to have the pergola that extends across the back of our home and all the trim (soffits, fascia, windows and doors) painted while my husband was away.  This is something we’ve talked and talked about and decided this was the year to take the big leap!

I completely underestimated the time it would take to complete the project (2 full weeks) and as a result the work would not be completed before Ed returned home.  More importantly, the opportunity for the BIG REVEAL was lost.

My lack of planning in no way constituted a sense of urgency on the part of the paint contractor.  Nelson’s Painting is well known and in big demand.  Having said that they were very accommodating and were at least able to get all the prep done while my husband was away.  This meant that when he returned from his escapade he would have to endure the part of the project that required our home be shrouded in plastic wrap for several days to complete the paint work!  Life in a windowless bubble is very interesting.  Here’s just a little glimpse of what he came home to –

Rewind a bit.  As I planned for the project, I thought I knew the exact combination of colors I wanted to use. And off I went in search of the paint.

Did I mention that all the trim and the pergola were white, so I had no starting point? And who knew there were so many shades of gray or greige (the new beige).  And what are the appropriate colors for a Country French design home in the Lowcountry, anyway?  I am one of those folks who prefers shopping in small boutiques – fewer choices, less confusion.  I had to get the color right.  This was part of the big surprise and it needed to be pretty perfect.


Walking into the Sherwin Williams paint store and seeing the wall of all those lovely colors was more than I could grasp in one sitting.  Good thing there was lots of prep work to do.  It gave me more time to figure things out.

It took three trips to Sherwin Williams and several nights on the Pintrest, Houzz and the Sherwin Williams website to make a firm color decision.

In the middle of the night the right color came to me – I wanted the trim to be the color of the soft gray on the face of my lovely Ragdoll, Sadie.  And I wanted the accent trim to be the color of the tips of her ears. I was moving in the right direction!


And I found it in the color Pussywillow.  Have you ever had that “this is exactly the color I’ve been looking for feeling?”.  That is how I feel about Pussywillow!  And I have never been so relieved.  I could not afford a mistake.

I paired Pussywillow with Colonade Gray and Peppercorn.  And it works.  And the painters were greatly relieved.  They were living with my indecision and getting more nervous by the day.  As much as they wanted to know the color choice, they wanted to be sure the result would be something they could be proud to show prospective clients.

Now for the reveal! 

I am only going to show you a little bit of the finished project, with a few before and after shot for effect.

I have work to do to pull everything together, but I wanted to share with you the dramatic difference I think the right paint color made in the look of our home.



After the shock of the plastic wrap experience, my husband (and I) are so pleased with the results.  After living in an all white home for 17 years, the touch of color is so noticeable to us and we love that it is subtle yet elegant.  And we think it definitely says Lowcountry style!  The big question now is should we paint the front door Emotional?


8 thoughts on “The Biggest Surprise Yet!

  1. All your effort and angst on this project paid off Sandra as it turned out Low Country lovely. I’ll be fixin’ to come see it in short order!!


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