The last paint layer of an angel’s childhood

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A week ago, I packed my car with a few tools, my sewing machine, paint brushes and a piece of art.  I drove from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale to help redecorate my granddaughter’s bedroom. 

“Grandma, I want more of a ‘beachy look’ with pale blue walls,” she declared.

I almost quoted my hourly design rate as she rattled off her wishes and hopes. I forgot for a moment she was not a client, but my almost 13-year-old angel that I love.

As most of you know, my past career was as an interior designer. I retired two years ago, but it seems as if my family did not get that notice. They also never pay and are the most difficult of customers.

A designer’s family never believes any decor advice that you professionally give them. If we charged them, they sure would! It is a standard joke in my clan.

So, it wasn’t a surprise when my angel looked at me and said, “But, grandma, that won’t look good!” I laughed and remembered she is just a member of the same clan.

My aha moment came with the first brush stroke of pale blue paint on the wall. I was covering the aqua that had surrounded her for over five years of her life. Before that it was the pale yellow she saw when she first laid in her crib.

When I was an official designer for 43 years, I would recommend the first rooms to focus on to turn a house into a home are the family room, breakfast and kitchen area.

As an official grandmother, I have changed my mind. If you are a parent of a child under 18, focus on their rooms first. 

The memories a child has of the room where they dreamed is extremely important. How many of you remember the bedrooms of your childhood? 

I moved quite a bit through my first 18 years, but I recall every room that was called mine. When I was a baby, there was a pencil drawing in my nursery of two little puppies that was a gift from my Uncle Paul.  It has been with me through every move and is still hanging in my office.   

The last bedroom of my youth was in the house my parents built in LaGrange. I drove by the house the last time I was in town. I stopped the car for a bit, gazing at the front corner double windows. 

Through those windows, I could see mama sewing the curtains that fell from the wall canopy above the iron bed. The washstand with the puppy drawing above it, and the stuffed animals that were perched perfectly on top of the wooden canopy. 

I could see the phone sitting on the built-in desk where I wrote my first story, and I could hear the laughter of my girlfriends when they spent the night.

The room was special because my mother had made it so. Every detail was perfect because she knew it was the last room of my childhood.

The brush strokes have turned my angel’s bedroom into pale blue. The white gauze and linen duvet covers the iron bed. Curtains fall from a white pole with beach themed string lights draped along with them. An old wooden desk sits in the corner with a place for pencils, markers, artist brushes and pens. 

Beach signs, a paddle, shells, rope and burlap have completely turned the room to the last chapter of my granddaughter’s youth.  How quickly did those 13 years go? 

It was just yesterday I stood on the ladder turning beige walls to pale yellow as I became downright giddy thinking of the baby that would soon be my grandchild. Wasn’t it yesterday when I searched for the right aqua to match the quilt that topped her bed during her elementary days?

I have had the pleasure of being a part of the layers of memories created in the house she will call her childhood home. Her room is where she began her dreams and where her mother and father cradled and comforted her.

It is where we played dolls and whispered secrets in the dark of night. It is where I told her stories about our family that made her laugh. It is where a little girl will become a woman. 

“Thank you, Grandma, I love my room!” she yelled as she waved goodbye.

Maybe one far away day, she will drive past the old house of her youth, look through the windows and see me on a ladder, paint brush in hand, turning walls into a heavenly pale shade of blue for the angel she knew I always loved.

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at