Monday, January 17, 2005

Show and tell

I had so much fun showing you-all my new bathroom a week ago that now I'm going to show off the other two rooms I've painted and decorated with my unique brand of not-very-gay not-much-of-a-flair.


White cupboards. White appliances. Mousy-gray countertops. So what color would a not-very-imaginative homosexual pick to paint the walls? I'll give you one guess: It rhymes with gray gay. And actually, I think it turned out looking rather confident and masculine.

Until I started decorating. Note the glass salt and pepper shakers that turn into a white kitty and a black kitty when they're filled. They were a gift from my friend Jennifer, and I love them. But confident and masculine? Please. And how about all that foo-foo shit above the cupboards? It's all random vases, reproduction plates from a traveling Titanic exhibit, Norwegian knickknacks and a host of other things I found on clearance at Pier 1 important pieces that aren't even in the picture but are still essential components in the act of representing me and my complex personality. But still. Paging Gaylord McHomoperson!

It's hard to tell in this picture, but all that foo-foo shit is backlit by a hidden rope light. Indirect lighting is the hallmark of a civilized society, and my ultra-handy, project-loving ex, Jeff, installed the lights both above and below the cupboards. See those switches next to the outlet? They control the lights. Left is top and right is bottom. HA!

My kitchen is set up so that the side of my refrigerator is the most visible element from any vantage point in Shoebox Manor. So I convinced my sister to have a couple kids. Now that ugly old refrigerator is a showplace for pictures of and art by my uncommonly photogenic niece and nephew. And I, in one stroke of decorating brilliance, look like a doting uncle and a confident (there's that word again) decorator. Everybody wins!

Note to self: The next time you take a glamour shot of some part of your house, do some freakin' quality control first. Example! Empty the recycling bin. Example! Make sure the pictures aren't falling out of their little plastic frames. Jeez—did you grow up in a frat house filled with sweaty, athletic men who do nothing but walk around in their underwear BARN?


Painting stripes on a wall seems like a fun do-it-yourself project. So very Thom Filicia. So very Martha Stewart. So very bold and creative. So very slow and painstaking and time-consuming and eye-crossing you vow you'll staple your lips to Rush Limbaugh's drug-addled scrotum before you ever decide to take on a similar project again.

Painting these stripes took the entire week I had off between Christmas and New Year's last year. It took endless measuring and taping and making sure lines were straight on walls that were decidedly NOT straight. It took more paint than I'd estimated. But it also took a bland off-white corner of my shoebox in the sky and transformed it into a swanky little hot-cocoa-and-vanilla-bean reception area for visiting guests and various dignitaries.

If you ever decide to do this, here are a few tips: 1) Paint one color in satin and one color in semi-gloss for added contrast. 2) You know that blue painter's tape? It's imbued with magical powers. Do not fear these powers. Embrace these powers as you block off the areas where you want effortless, clean lines between paint colors. You will love your tape when you're done. Even though it's kind of expensive. 3) Measure, measure, measure. Then measure again. 4) But you can fudge on the width of the stripes so they more neatly wrap around corners and meet the edges of doors. My stripes vary by a whole inch and nobody can tell. (I hope.) In fact, I wish I'd fudged some more just to create perfect visual symmetry. But I'm not going back to redo any of it. This room is DONE being decorated.

If you look really closely, you can see a closet door masterly camouflaged kinda hidden in the stripes. Actually, this ghetto closet door was the inspiration for the whole stripey project; it was the ugly centerpiece of a rather visible wall, and I wanted to do something less embarrassing about it. And I'm really pleased with the results.

Please, though, do not laugh at my cheap art. I got these lovely museum-quality Sistine Chapel reproductions on sale at Target eleven years ago when I bought my first house. And though you can easily spot their low-quality paper and shoddy framing and piss-poor attempt at imbuing culture on their surroundings, I love them. Besides, they were like $5 each, and you just can't beat art that costs less than a Grand Slam® breakfast at Denny's.

So that's the tour. Thanks for coming! And stay tuned for the next installment of Decorating the Shoebox with Jake, where I show you … um … actually, you've seen pretty much everything interesting there is to see. So maybe I'll show you how neatly I've stacked the sheets in my linen closet. Or something.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Andy said...

confident and masculineIs that like str8 a/a, d/d free, wkt 5x/wk, no fats/femmes?

Jake said...

I was thinking more along the lines of confident in picking a color that won't suck and masculine as opposed to the more traditionally feminine colors you'd expect find in the dressing rooms at Victoria's Secret.

And gay men who use "straight" (or, worse, "str8") to describe themselves are anything BUT confident and masculine.

Joe said...

So, re the sign over your stove. Is it:

Dangerous Men, Cooking.


Dangerous, Men Cooking.


Dangerous, MEN cooking.


Jake said...



I could be interpreted as a clever twist on an accepted system of communication. Or as dippy self-aware humor. Or it could be a porn title. You decide.

J. said...

Wall stripes are indeed a very bold statement, and also versatile as the color choices and moldings can evoke a traditional or contemporary feel.

This post inspired me to do a virtual home tour as well. I will, however, have to delete the link on my site to yours so no one realizes I've stolen the idea.

Rex Mottram said...

Thanks for the tour.
I need a bit of inspiration....

but, yes, empty the trash before the next photo

Will said...

Well it's obvious now that hordes of attractive, highly desirable A list gay men will be flocking to Chicago to experience the ambience chez Jake, and to marvel at the precision of your stripes.

You're a nestbuilder, Jake and you do it well. Enjoy!

Dantallion said...

For the record, I like the grey (Canadian spelling) of the kitchen. But as far as I'm concerned, you could have painted it fucsia and I'd still have liked it - you put a Dr. Suess poster in it and that's all that matters.

Dr. Suess rocks.

Erick said...

Target is THE BEST! They have some sort of world market thing going on---you should check it out!
The stripes are really lovely. I've always wanted to do that in my bathroom.

Todd said...

Love the stripes. Very clever (and effective!) way of camouflaging the door!

Jase said...

Love the salt/pepper shakers. Photos are great, and they're not messy, you were going for realism. And I agree, Dr. Suess rocks!

Dan said...

Dude, I hate to be the one to tell you, but, ah, your gay. At least that is the feeling I get. Probably been battling those thoughts all your life. It is all just to obvious, was this meant to be a coming out party or something.

Steve said...

"Dude, I hate to be the one to tell you, but, ah, your gay"

Yes, but at least he knows the difference between "your" & "you're" ... and everyone knows that good grammar is sexy ... ;)