The Best Laid Plans?

By Diane Stark

The Best Laid Plans?

Five years ago, my husband, Eric, and I went to Hawaii to celebrate his 40th birthday. While we were there, we went into an art gallery, and I fell in love with a painting of a Hawaiian sunset over the ocean. It was beautiful, and I knew I had to have it.

“Where are you going to hang it?” Eric asked. “It doesn’t really go with anything we already have.”

“I’m going to put it in our sun room,” I answered.

“Our sun room that doesn’t yet exist?”

I nodded as though it wasn’t a strange request.

“You want to buy a painting to hang in a room that only exists in your imagination?”

When I nodded again, Eric shrugged agreeably because that’s who he is. “It’s fine with me,” he said, even though I could tell he still thought it was a teeny bit crazy.

We bought the painting and started construction on the sun room that spring. At that time, we’d only lived in our house about a year. We have beautiful French doors in our eat-in kitchen. But because we also have a walk-out basement, the ground beneath the doors was a full story down. So those beautiful French doors could never be opened. Well, not safely anyway.

We’d always planned to build a deck off the kitchen. I imagined throwing open those French doors and enjoying meals outside. But that all changed when I saw a house in the small town where I grew up.

“Look at that house,” I said to Eric. “See how their sun room is built into the deck? I love that!”

Eric stopped the car to really look at the house. “We could do something like that,” he said thoughtfully.

It was decided. We would build not just a deck, but a deck with an enclosed sun room attached.

We hired a contractor to do the portions of the work that Eric could not do himself. Eric laid all of the deck boards and railings himself, but the contractor poured the foundation and built the skeleton for the sun room.

Although the original idea was mine – because I stole it from the other house – Eric really developed a vision for the project. “You want floor to ceiling windows in the sun room, right?” When I nodded, he said, “I was thinking of putting sky lights in there too.”

My sun room had taken on a life of its own. Every weekend for months, Eric hung dry wall and trimmed the enormous windows. Finally, it was time to choose paint colors. Eric had hung up a chair rail, and we’d decided to choose two colors, one for the top half and a different color for the bottom half.

I took my new painting with us to the paint store. I chose a sea foam green that exactly matched the ocean water in the painting and a butter yellow that brought out the colors in the sunset. My favorite color is usually pink, but I was beyond excited about these color choices.

“I still can’t believe we bought that painting before we’d even built the room,” Eric said. “It really was a crazy thing to do.”

“I know, but it all worked out in the end,” I said. “The sun room is going to be gorgeous.”

We started painting as soon as we got home. When the paint dried, I grabbed my sunset painting, anxious to hang it on the wall. I brought it into the room and realized we had a big problem.

My floor to ceiling windows were also wall to wall windows, leaving no room on the wall for my painting.

The painting that had inspired the room did not fit in the room.

I burst out laughing because I didn’t know what else to do. Eric pointed out that there was actually room for the painting behind the French doors.

“But I want the doors to stay open, so no one would ever see the painting,” I said. “This is so sad. How did we not realize this before now?”

“You know what they say about the best laid plans.”

I snickered. “Yeah, but this time, I didn’t have a plan at all. I just really wanted to buy the painting.”

“You were excited. It’s OK.”

I nodded. I am definitely the excitable type. My excitement is often contagious, spreading to my very easy-going, but far more level-headed husband.

“So what do you want to do now?” I asked.

Eric shrugged. “We could hang the painting behind the door until we think of another place to hang it.”

“I really don’t think people will see it behind the door,” I said. “Let’s wait and look for another spot for it.”

My husband celebrated his 45th birthday on Halloween last year. That means we’ve had our Hawaiian sunset painting for more than five years now.

Currently, it is in its original packaging, sitting on top of the curio cabinet in our dining room. I’m pretty sure no one can see it there either.

But we’ve got plans for that painting. We’ve still got a few unpainted rooms in our house, and those rooms are not covered in floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows. Someday soon, I’m going to take my painting back to paint store and pick another perfect color.

My sun room painting is not hanging on the wall in my sun room, but that’s all right.

It’s still my favorite room in our house. Mostly because it reminds me that I have a wonderful husband, who loves me enough to shrug agreeably and go along with my sometimes-crazy ideas.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “The Best Laid Plans?”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Your impulsive purchase will lead to more decorating. Thought you sure you were going to ask him to remove a window and out up drywall for your painting. This was fun.

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close