Diderot’s Guest Bedroom

Last week Clif and I painted and decluttered in preparation for the arrival our eldest daughter Dee, who will be staying with us until her office reopens, probably sometime in September.

Dee can work remotely from Winthrop as well as from Brooklyn. After a year and a half of not seeing her, we are delighted to have Dee stay with us for as long as she can. With the Covid variant spreading across the country, we figured it was better to have her come to Maine sooner rather than later—August was the original plan. Right now, trains and buses to and from New York City are still running, but for how long? Things might shut down again if Covid gets really bad. So yesterday, we collected Dee in Portland and brought her home.

Staying here for a couple of months is much different than staying for a week, the way Dee usually does. For such a short time, living out of a suitcase is no hardship, but for a couple of months it is another matter.

There is a closet in the guest room. However, it was stuffed with clothes I no longer wanted but couldn’t bring myself to give away. Also, the brown doors didn’t open well.

First order of business for Clif: Remove the doors and shave a bit from the bottom so that they can open easily. While the doors were off, he said, “Maybe I should paint them white and give them a fresh look.”

Good idea. While Clif did that, I sorted clothes and cleaned the closet. When I was done, the closet was empty, and there were many bags of clothes to go to Goodwill.

Clif and I regarded the scuffed walls of the empty closet.

“Paint that, too?” I asked.

“Yup,” Clif replied, and the inside of the closet got aΒ  coat of paint.

From there, it was on to a small white night stand with drawers tucked in the basement. Perfect to go next to the bed. However, the top looked especially bad.

“Paint the top?” I asked.

Clif painted the top, but then the sides and the drawers with ugly yellow flowers looked horrible.

“Paint the whole thing?” I suggested.

After I sanded off the flowers, Clif painted the whole stand.

And what about the old clunky drawer pulls? Those had to go, and off we went to Lowe’s to buy some sleek black drawer pulls to go with the newly painted stand.

The room looked pretty darned good as Clif noted. Except for the corner with the open metal files containing documents from twenty years ago. Away went most of the documents—I did keep a few folders—and out went the stand to the side of the road. The yellow free sign did the trick, and the stand was gone by nightfall.

Readers might recall that this spring when we bought new chairs for our patio table, the twenty-year-old umbrella looked so shabby that it needed to be replaced. This was a prime example of the “Diderot Effect,” named for the famous French philosopher and what happened when he got a new dressing gown. You can read about it here.

As with the patio, so with the guest bedroom.

Phew, what a lot of work. But it was all done with heart, and how satisfying to get rid of the clutter.

Now, onward to August and to time on the patio.

Finally, here are a few photos of flowers I took last week in between cleaning and sorting.


59 thoughts on “Diderot’s Guest Bedroom”

    1. Right? We could kick ourselves for not taking photos of the before so the after would be more impressive. We were so into our work that we forgot.

  1. How wonderful to have your daughter home at last for more than a fleeting visit! Even though she will be working, she will be there. My younger son calls what you have done ‘painting the grass green’, which is more or less what I did when my daughter and her family visited last week: cleaning, clearing, sorting and tidying up because we have been sans visitors for so long that everything simply piled up! Your flowers are beautiful.

    1. Everything does pile up! So satisfying to declutter. I’m going to work on other areas of the house and try my darndest not to bring more clutter into our home. Great to have our daughter home for more than a quick visit. Really like the term “painting the grass green.”

  2. I never knew the term for what you’ve described, Laurie — thank you! Yes, I suppose we’ve all been there, but gee, how cool that you get to have your daughter home for that long. Now, if worse comes to worst and they close us all down again because of the virus, at least you’ll all be sheltering beneath the same roof!!

    1. Yes, that thought had crossed my mind. Dee will be here with us rather than stuck in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn. Glad to introduce you to a new term. πŸ˜‰

  3. What a good husband you have !!!Painting everything you asked him to paint πŸ˜€ I hope you have a lovely time with your daughter. Covid is still a huge spoilsport ! Just when we think it is going in the right direction (= AWAY) up it comes with a new variant !!! Your garden looks lovely .

      1. Well, just enjoy the moment, there is not much else we can do and what will be will be.

  4. Oh this post rings so true! When the kids are coming we do everything in our power to make the stay as nice as possible within our current situation. This sounds like a great renovation. Great job. Enjoy your time with Dee.

    Those pink lilies – OMG!

  5. WONDERFUL! How lovely to have your daughter home for an extended period of time. We all understand how lucky we are to have zoom and messages etc, but there is nothing quite like a relaxed longer visit in person!
    Paul and I often get going on the house and garden when our daughter and family are coming, and it is a great time to get rid of all the junk under the spare bed!
    Beautiful lilies, as Judy said, it must bring a smile to your face to see them every morning.

  6. Very well done. I do remember the patio chairs. The very first job we took on when we moved here was to refurbish the unusable guest bathroom for similar reasons. Good flower pics as well. Enjoy your time together.

  7. I know that Diderot effect! One little tweak becomes a whole room revamp! Well done for making it so nice and I envy you having your daughter home for so long. As you say this virus is not going away and who knows what the next installment of the saga will be. Have a wonderful time making memories together.

  8. I’ve always known what you described as the ‘domino effect,’ so it was interesting to follow the link. No matter the name, it’s an effect that has helped keep me in business over the years. When one boat owner on a dock decides that it’s time for new varnish, dockmates wandering up and down past the project will occasionally say, “Well, you know… that looks so good, it makes mine look a little shabby.”
    I never make the suggestion, but I think it, real hard, and sometimes the suggestion ‘takes.’

  9. Ha ha. That was wonderful to read, Laurie. I love that energy and could feel how good it felt to get the place cleaned out and freshened up. Enjoy your daughter’s visit!

    1. Thanks so much! Clif and I were on a mission, and we were tickled by how things turned out. Amazing what paint and elbow grease will do to a room. Wonderful to have our daugther home.

  10. So lovely to see the gorgeous flowers Laurie and how wonderful you have Dee to stay for longer. Well worth rolling along with the Diderot-effect for and wishing you happy times of catching up and spending quality time together πŸ’š

  11. Nothing like a pending guest to motivate us into getting things ship shape. Deep cleaning and a fresh coat of can do wonders. Enjoy your extended visit!

  12. How absolutely wonderful your daughter is staying for a long visit!!!πŸ™‚ It’s amazing what can be ignored and gather over the years in our homes and it sounds like a professional crew perfected the bedroom!!πŸ™‚ So glad she arrived safe and early as the COVID news worsens daily again.

  13. Hadn’t heard of the Diderot Effect until now, though I recognise some of it. I also recognise the “wife with ideas, husband with paintbrush” aspect . . . πŸ™‚

  14. Clearing, cleaning and refurbishing is arduous work! What a great occasion, though. You must be so thrilled to have Dee with you for this extended stay.

    Have talked to my siblings and some of my cousins and it seems like their lives have returned to some semblance of normality. How is it for Clif & you?

    1. Yes, a great occasion. Wonderful to have Dee home. For two months—June and July—life was deliciously normal. However, with the Delta variant now ripping through the United States and with so many people still unvaccinated, life has become more restricted. Sigh.

  15. Thanks for the reference to the Diderot Effect! I had not heard of it. I am glad you will have time with your daughter. And the flowers are simply beautiful!

  16. I know that bedroom is just lovely-and oh you must feel so good about it. I am glad your daughter is coming too-how wonderful! May the time be happy and just full of goodness. The flowers are beautiful. love Michele

  17. Glad that you will have an extended visit from your daughter. I can’t imagine being stuck in a tiny NYC apartment for a long period. I like the white hosta flower and the orange daylily.

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