Friday, December 28, 2007


Lately I've been thinking a lot about stuff--- how for years I couldn't get enough of it, and how now I want to get rid of most of it. For years, whenever I had some cash I would buy local art. Some of it--- the John Ernst's, the Kate McGloughlin's, etc--- are worth some dough now. But a few years ago I started to think that the stuff owned me instead of the other way around. It seems like all I do is dust the stuff, and then it's filthy again in 15 minutes.

And now that my memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair with Gambling, is coming out (Tarcher/Penguin February 14, 2008), I've been trying to make my house perfect, if for no other reason than I feel that once the book hits, I won't have a lot of spare time to putter around my house like I usually do.

So I decided we should paint. Anyone who has a house knows this is a total nightmare. Take all the art off the walls, pile it somewhere, figure out good colors for the walls and ceiling, and get someone great in to paint.

Okay, we started a few days after Thanksgiving. The wonderful guy who works for my husband did the entire paint job himself. His name is Mike Karpf and he's a freaking genius painter. He filled in every hole in the wall, painted the ceiling without a drop clothe, painted the brick fireplace white, and then the walls a gorgeous yellow. The amazing thing is, it took him less than two weeks.

But then Steve and I had to decide which art to put back up. Steve wanted to put every single painting back, but I held firm. One wall now has 6 local paintings of the Catskill mountains. Another has a huge painting that we bought in Vieques, Puerto Rico (our second home), from master artist Terry Price. It's of Hurricaine Hugo, which destroyed Vieques in September 1989. Steve wanted to put 6 or 7 other paintings around it, but I made him hold off. And then every single person who came in to the house last week mentioned how fabulous the painting was and asked when we got it. Even Steve had to admit that it must look better, because we've had it for about a dozen years and hardly anyone has ever mentioned it before.

We put back less than half the original art. The rest is under the bed, behind the dressers, in the closet. Steve seems to be getting used to our lighter walls, and I'm absolutely thrilled. Although I must admit that there's a painting I saw the other day that would look so good in the living room...