"I'm painting the ceiling black." It came out with more bravado than I expected and -- similarly -- he took it better than I expected. I'd been stewing on the decision for days.
"Okay," he said, forking a bite of sauteed kale into his mouth. After a week of eating greasy take-out on the floor we unanimously decided a dinner at a proper restaurant with greens was in order. In between chewing he asked, "Will we paint the ceiling medallion?"
"Yes," I assured him. I had thought about that and the delicate plaster and I had a plan.
He thought for a bit. "Okay," he said again. "What color will the walls be?"
"White." Now he looked skeptical. "Well, whitish. Linen. An off white." His mouth puckered a bit. He was on board for a black ceiling but the light walls were throwing him for a loop.
Only a few days earlier we were discussing the design aesthetic of the house. Well, I was discussing it. I'd taken to caring paint chips in my purse and inspiration photos on my phone like a lunatic. I was trying not to be a monster, though. The last thing I wanted to be was a home-zilla of sorts. So I was trying desperately to get Pete to give me his opinion. He only had one, though.
"I want the house to be terrifying."
"Terrifying," he repeated.
Okay. He only has one style request and its ... that the house is terrifying. My mind kept flashing to summer nights at the Jersey Shore wandering through balmy boardwalk amusement rides as a teenager. Normally Pete had great taste. This was the man who meticulously painted and repainted his custom motorcycles by hand. This was the man who had turned an old ladder in our bedroom into a blanket display. (I had told a friend that and she'd commented: "Someone has a secret Pinterest page he isn't telling us about.") It didn't make sense that he wanted us to live in a haunted house.
But every time I brought up a design decision he kept repeating that he trusted my opinion ... but he wanted the house to look terrifying.
So after we got home from dinner that night I spread a stack of paint chips out on the bed. He sat down next to me and looked over all the swatches.
"A lot of grey," he remarked.
"It's a good neutral," I responded.
"I trust you. I just want a terrifying house."
Finally I had to ask. "What does that mean?!"
"You know ... like curiosities. And bold furniture."
"Like what we already have?"
"Yea, but terrifying."
"Pete, terrifying is not a word I would use to describe a place we're trying to make a home. Dark, moody, historically relevant -- those are all terms that I can apply to decor and design. You're making me think of cargo vans with painted windows and secret hatches with shackles. That's a totally different kind of dark."
He thought about that and decided that Park Perv was not going on any inspiration board. Instead he offered, "Well, what about like The Addams Family?"
Okay now we were on to something. That was aesthetic inspiration I could get behind, because I'd look at images like this: