I spent last week helping one of my daughters paint the paneling in her den. For most of you who are not my age those two words (paneling and den) are probably words you have not heard very often.
A den is really a smaller version of a family room and paneling is what people in the 60s thought was really the cat’s meow. It was usually faux wood, complete with distressed areas and false grain, and was used instead of sheet rock.
It may come in fashion again. Who knows? Then we may be sorry we painted it. But I think not.
Fashion for houses, both décor and room uses and sizes, comes and goes just like fashion in our clothing. What’s in today will be out tomorrow.
When I first moved into the house I am living in, I had the latest in kitchen appliances. They were a sort of muddy brown color which faded out to some copper tints on the edges. Other popular colors for appliances were avocado and an olive green. Now everything has to be stainless steel.
When the first of the brown appliances went, (I think it was the stove) was I able to purchase another appliance that color? Of course not. Even though I picked out and owned a muddy brown stove, from the distance of some 40 years I can say that it was pretty ugly.
I elected to purchase a white stove and had to wait about 7 or 8 more years before my dishwasher and refrigerator matched the white stove. The dishwasher went first, and finally the refrigerator bit the dust. I was particularly proud of my new refrigerator because it made ice. Although the refrigerator sat waterless for about five months or so before my husband got someone to run a water line to it.
We redid one of the bathrooms as soon as we moved into the house. It was before the debacle of losing a brown appliance and not being able to purchase one to match. I still hadn’t learned my lesson. We furnished that bathroom with a sort of pea green bathtub and toilet. When it became obvious that we needed a replacement toilet, no pea green one was to be found.
That was when I made a decision. From now on, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures that I purchased would always be white. White for some reason does not go out of style. That reason might be that white is always stylish.
I live in an old house. When we moved in, there was linoleum in the kitchen and carpet in two rooms and tile in one bathroom. The rest of the rooms had hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors were not the thing to have. They were cold. You needed carpet to coddle your tootsies on cold winter mornings. In my daughter’s house, the one with the den, hardwood floors are in the hall and two bedrooms. But the living room and master bedroom, which were the important rooms, had carpet.
In my house we pulled up the linoleum and carpet and refinished the hardwood floors in those rooms. And I lived with the shame of having no carpet in my house for about 20 years. Then, lo and behold, it is now fashionable to have hardwood floors. Carpet is banished. It gets dirty and is not fashionable.
I even have hardwood floors in my kitchen. I have had linoleum, and I have had some sort of indoor-outdoor carpet in various kitchens I have had. The carpet was the pits. Get some flour on that carpet and it would never vacuum out. I actually like the hardwood floors. They are easy to clean. They always look nice. The only problem you have is making sure that you have some kind of scratch pads on the chair legs.
So I am keeping my hardwood floors no matter what becomes popular. And those of you who have homes which are out-of-style but suit you to a T, hang on to what you like. You will be happy with it and sooner or later it will come back in style.
Now if I could just convince my husband not to put that huge stainless steel stove in my kitchen. I may have to start changing out appliances all over again.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.