Boring Beige

This is my house in Greenfield. Well, it was my house… our house.


It is a beautiful Victorian John was refurbishing into a true Victorian showplace. That porch with its hand-turned posts was his pride and joy of the exterior. If you look closely, you can see the beautiful dusty rose, mauve, and cranberry colors of a happy and engaging Victorian pallet. The siding was a soft dusty rose as well.

I sold my house three years ago to move back to South Bend long term to care for my sister during her cancer battle. It was an easy decision to make, but not always an easy decision to live with. I wasn’t ready to let go of the home John and I shared. I wasn’t ready to leave the tangible memories of our short time together. I certainly wasn’t ready for someone else to invade our home, cook in our kitchen, soak in my beautiful clawfoot tub, and to build the life John and I never had the opportunity to.

The twenty-something couple that bought my house have a woodworking business. They often post pictures on the business’s Facebook page.  I have watched the changes to my house with enthusiasm at times, sometimes with disgust. I cheered when they installed white wainscoting on the bottom half of the dining room wall and painted the top half of the wall cobalt blue. It was a great choice for the spacious dining room with its grand, antique chandelier.

One of the elements I loved best about the interior of my house was the rich stain color John and our incredible craftsman, Ernie, created for all the woodwork. It was a rich walnut brown combined with the warm tones of cherry wood. Deep and rich and stunning. When John had Ernie refurbish the master bedroom as a wedding gift for me (actually it was already in the plan, but I still call it my wedding gift 🙂 ) the walls were painted a warm vanilla and the gorgeous wood trim popped in true Victorian fashion.

The front door of our house opens to an entry way that includes antique 12-panel folding doors into the living room. Our plan was to have Ernie strip the white paint, stain them our rich color, and poly them to be the stunning focal points they were built to be. My heart broke when I saw the rustic, uneven, barewood, looks horrendous, unprofessional finish on the door the husband “refinished.” I was shocked when his friends and associates commented on how great the door looked. Surely they must have all inhaled too many paint thinner and polyurethane fumes.

I knew the young couple was taking our Victorian showplace and turning it into a Victorian farmhouse. My heart sunk, and I did the important work of grieving yet another loss.

I was in Greenfield for a weekend this spring. The time was right to finish reclaiming my history there beyond the trauma of John’s illness. I drove to my house and sat out front for a few moments. I could no longer see John sitting on the front porch he loved. He was no longer visible in our bedroom window you see in the picture. It was no longer my house. It was theirs.

It’s not surprising they are changing the siding. It was in good shape, but “pink” siding does not fit with the rustic farmhouse they are creating. The change doesn’t bother me. It actually makes me chuckle… laugh at them, not with them.

They bought a beautiful Victorian for half the amount of money John and I had spent to refurbish about half of it. (Old house aficionados know you never get your money back out of your house. Refurbushing an old house is a love project, not a money making one.) They are making the whole house boring beige inside and out, except for the dining room. They have the opportunity to use whatever energizing, life-affirming colors they want, and they are using beige almost everywhere. Whether they are giving in to the notion of neutrals for future resale or beige is indeed their favorite color, I don’t know.

My home both with and without John was never boring beige. It was a a lot of things, but never that. My current home is sage green with white trim and a new charcoal roof.

My LIFE both with and without John has never been boring beige. I am passionate about helping the least of these. I love to bake (and eat) gorgeous, sugary things that make ordinary moments celebrations. I am smart, well-educated, feisty, and successful. I have worked hard and made huge sacrifices to be. Boring beige… nope. Thanks for the reminder!







2 Comments Add yours

  1. Connie Burgin says:

    Angela I’m so sorry you don’t like what the kids are doing to their house . All of Greenfield has been talking about how beautiful it is and how they are bringing it back to life! I hope you are doing well , but it is upsetting to read you criticize these two kids that have put so much time and hard work and money into it… have you seen the house since they have finished the outside ? It is beautiful shades of greens not beige


    1. Angela says:

      Hi Connie,

      I am glad the whole city is talking about their house. Good on them! I am not sure why my opinion about their house matters. I did not mention the state or city where the house is located. I did not name them or give away any identifying information other than to show a picture of the house. I suspect you saw my blog only because one of the kids pointed it out to you.

      Although this is a public blog, it’s a very personal one. I think I have two followers who are not family members or dear friends. Each of them also blog about the realities of living life deeply affected by cancer. As you know, cancer stole my husband after just 19 months of marriage. It is now stealing my sister, who is just 50 years old. Have you read the rest of the blog entries? The subtitle of my blog is Resilience in the Midst of Trajedy and Trauma. I will find that resillience wherever and however I can.

      No doubt the kids have tons of family and friends who love and deeply approve of their house. So again, why my opinion even matters I have no idea. I wish them well and every happiness and life milestone that John and I never got the chance to experience together. That does not, however, silence my voice.


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