It could have been the paint fumes, the sleep deprivation or four hours spent in the two by nine foot front hall closet, but once the brainwave hit, I couldn’t get it out of my head. “What this closet really needs is some barn board!”
So I made my way out of the closet, out of the paint fumes and out to the barn… where surprisingly it’s more difficult than you might expect to find barn board. Don’t get me wrong. We have plenty of barn board. It’s just that most of it is attached to the barn.
I found one piece that was just lying there waiting for a woman on a mission. He was close to the right length, beautifully weathered, lovely tones of grey, knots and a ragged edge. I told him he was a contender.
And then, on the far side of the barn, stacked amongst some giant planks and a very long log, I saw it. Perhaps not quite as weathered as his predecessor, slightly more brown than grey, the exact right length, not too many knots but a couple of rusty nails, one ragged edge that even had a few worm holes… a truly authentic barn board… right down to the… is that? … yep… it is… manure that was caked on the one side.
And that is how I found myself standing in the driveway on Sunday afternoon in November, brush in hand, cleanser close by, hose spewing frigid water, scrubbing a piece of wood as I frantically rehearsed responses in my mind for what I would say when Matt came out to ask me “What the heck are you doing?”
I didn’t think my new-found philosophy of interior design that every room–closets included–needs an element of something rustic would be met with the same enthusiasm I was currently experiencing.
I picked up my dripping–but now clean–board and strolled as nonchalantly as possible back to the house. I studiously avoided looking at the dining room window where I knew my husband was sitting at the table working.
I carefully propped my board by the front door to dry while I returned to my closet, preparing my hooks for hanging, sweeping the floor, killing time until the husband disappeared somewhere, and I quickly scuttled outside and retrieved my still damp board.
I held it up to the wall and it was perfect. It was going to make the closet.
I screwed it in place, attached the hooks and felt completely validated in my new decorating philosophy. My enthusiasm was so great that despite its dampness I started grabbing coats and hanging them up.
It was at about this time that Matt reappeared and peaked around the corner to check out the closet.
I shifted my feet. I avoided direct eye contact. I did not say anything.
And he said, “It looks good, woman. But what about that board up there?”
I followed the direction of his gaze.
He was looking not at my beautiful barn board, but instead at a plywood support I had screwed together to hold up the eight foot shelf that couldn’t quite span the whole nine foot length of the closet. He was concerned that it wasn’t painted the same as the rest of the wood in the closet.
He didn’t even seem to notice the barn board. There was no admiration. There was no disgust. I feel a bit gypped by the lack of reaction.
I am consoled by the fact that every time I open the closet doors, I know exactly what the best part of the closet is.