Home Improvement Tip: Call it Oyster, not Taupe

by Lian on May 29, 2012

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the future of The Chaos Chronicles, in the sense that soon, with one son in college and only one son at home, my life would not actually be that Chaotic. Maybe I should transition now to The Calm Chronicles or The Now What Chronicles? Then, last week happened and I was reminded that a little Chaos is energizing. A Lot of Chaos is exhausting!

At home, we were hosting a Golden Anniversary Party for my in-laws, so my husband decided to repaint the kitchen. Then, my son contracted another mystery virus, missing his 20th day  of school during his junior year.  I had to fulfill a long-standing volunteer commitment on Friday night, plating and serving food at a reception  for 300 people. My father, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, needs 24 hours care immediately so we hastily set up some visits to care facilities, did the tours and then put together a family conference call to discuss next steps. And, in the middle of this, we decided to revamp satellitesisters.com this weekend.

That was a relaxing Holiday Weekend.

In the middle of all the chaos, I got a very funny text from my friend Chris who had listened to last week’s Satellite Sisters podcast when I mentioned that the kitchen would be Taupe and Dusty Blue. Chris, a Decider of All Things Tasteful, texted to say: Call it Oyster, Not Taupe, More Modern.  It made me laugh– which I needed this weekend!


As requested, a few photos of our Oyster and Dusty Blue Kitchen/TV Room/ Dining Area. I’m not sure my photography skills do my husband’s paint job justice. It looks great. AND he finished a full hour before I started cooking for the party!

The TV room: World's comfiest couch, cozy wall color and a vintage travel poster painted by my husband's great uncle Adolph Treidler.


More posters on the "Lake Placid" Blue throughout the rest of the kitchen. The colors work really well together. I wish I could capture them properly.


Believe me, it works. Even if my photos don’t capture the rich mix!


To see some photos from the Golden Anniversary Party, head on over to Facebook. 


Off to do some writing. A little Calm before the Chaos. New podcast tomorrow.

Embracing my Chaos



Teresa Smith June 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Great colors! Love the posters too!

My Uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimers in his mid 50s. He lived with his disease for 15 years. My Grandmother had Dementia and before it got too bad, she told me, I may not remember your name at times, but you know that I love you. She passed away in 2008; I still hold on to that as a beautiful memory.

God Bless!

Shelley June 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Thanks Lian – we will be fine. We had one of those nice finished basements…and will again once all is cleaned up and redone. I was out again this morning bringing donations to the worst hit neighbourhood – breaks my heart, entire houses emptied out onto the front lawns. Very sad. If you google “Thunder Bay Flood” – you can see all the pics and coverage.

Painting the cabinets was not as bad as it sounds. Sanding and preparing takes longer than the actual painting. I got it all done in three days – one of removing doors, sanding everything and wiping down. Did a coat in the morning, inside and out – one that night – then the next morning the third coat. Worked out well.

Staining is much more “finicky” – but so beautiful when complete.

I am sure you will make the right choice…the pics I have seen of your home is beautiful. Your hubby will wake you up one morning – holding your purse – telling you it’s time to hit the paint store AGAIN. LOL

I will keep listening…can’t wait to hear what you decide to do!


Lian June 1, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Shelley— what luck! I’m so sorry. Glad you feel like all those insurance payments paid off. maybe you can put in one of those finished basements I see on house hunters but we don’t have in So Cal.

not sure about cabinet color now. We were thinking dar– but now we’re thinking of restaining in maple. But not this weekend! I’m impressed you did the cabinets yourself…


Shelley June 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Well Lian – your paint job looks awesome!

I painted all last week as well – last month did my kitchen cabinets, kitchen walls, new flooring – then moved on to the halls throught the house. All last week I painted while I carried around my laptop and listened to the Satellite Sisters. Did 12 hour days – four FULL days of painting walls, doors and trim. I finished on Saturday and it looked awesome.

So…would you know my luck?? Sunday night (well…2am Monday morning…) my City got hit with a major storm – and my entire basement is flooded. Spent three entire days (and most of the nights) moving everything from down there to the top floor of the house…you would think I would have lost a couple pounds in that process right?? Nope…not a single pound. Geez. No luck at all here!

I feel rather lucky after all this though as in one end of our City the entire neighbourhood was flooded literally out of their homes. We have been in a state of emergency since then (five days) as the water sewage treatment plant FAILED that night – and sewage going into the system can not be processed…so…is ending up in the basements of the area around the plant.

I have been VERY fortunate to have an AWESOME insurance company, who by Tuesday had an adjuster out – and by Wednesday a flown in clean up crew ripped my entire basement (floors, walls…everything) out of the house to get it drying.

Uh huh…painting is a great way to give your house a whole new look. So is having a major flood.

Anywho….LOVE your new colors – hoping you will post some more pictures?? You did mention in a podcast about painting your cabinets…I did mine in pure white and LOVE them!!

Keep up the great work…I LOVE your show, and the repeats will be my saviour as I continue working through this mess here over the next few months. Sure glad all the old SS shows are up and working :-)


chpdlivr May 31, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I’m with Nancy….”taupe and dusty blue” sounded iffy….but wow, it looks great!

Thoughts and prayers to you and the entire family.

chris d. May 31, 2012 at 6:38 AM


your level of chaos astounds me…what a weekend that was.

I am sorry about your father’s decline..many of us have been, or are there now, so much support is with you. My mother recently told me she does not understand clocks anymore, and her very short term memory is going fast.. she is 83.

Your photos are great! love everything about it…oyster to me is more of pinkish white, so I see nothing wrong with “taupe” its classic. so is blue.

I cannot wait to bake those muffins!! thanks for sharing a loved family recipe.

I know I should get on face book so I can share more in the sisters’ but I have no idea how to do it or work it….I had an account once and my daughter said it was pathetic…? so I closed it down. Do grown kids normally NOT friend their parents??? we do have a family blog with same daughter who posts her updates and photos …its great.

thanks Lian for all you do for us.. its enjoyed and appreciated.. we will always want to hear about your life as mom, author, wife, sister, daughter and friend, dog mom…etc…..BE WELL…

chris d.

pat in o.c. May 30, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Yes, the colors and painting and decorations look great.
I think Martha Stewart would be very impressed!

CLSD OPEN May 30, 2012 at 4:59 AM

The colors look great, Lian! And wow, what a weekend you had. I’ve been thinking about your family, knowing the struggles and hurdles of Alzheimer’s. As others above have stated, do what you need to for your family and you know we’ll always be here, grateful for whatever you do for us.

As for the next phase as your kids grow up and the daily “chaos” winds down, you will find the right way to bridge the gap. Your perspective on things will always be greatly appreciated by us—and as your kids get older, so do ours, so many of us may be right there with you, suddenly finding ourselves asking the question “what’s next?!” :)

Sue Shaughnessy May 29, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Whatever you call the colors, good combo. Don’t let Sheila near that couch for too long . . . It’s actually a great privilege to be able to participate in your father’s care as you are doing. Immediate transitions are extremely stressful and my thoughts are with your entire family, as you take steps to ensure your father has the best care you can find.

Cyndi May 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Also, I have to add my thoughts and prayers to the others regarding your father … I hope you take all the time you need to tend to your family and take a break from the blog/podcast to spend your energy where it is best served. We will all still be here ready to listen when you are ready! You have so many devoted fans and friends.

My mother (the saint) worked for over 20 years in an adult day care setting in Lexington, MA which provided enrichment and fun/stimulating activities for seniors, many with Alzheimers. It was physically and emotionally demanding but she never once complained even though I know she was exhausted at the end of the day. I hope you and your family will find a way to make your father comfortable and at ease. I still remember that he was a Holy Cross alum where my daughter attends – I also remember several funny stories from the Satellite Sisters over the years that make me wish I knew him in person.

Lisa May 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

As someone who has just started down the path with Alzheimer’s and my 63-year old husband, I wish the sisters would be a voice to speak about the effects of the journey in your family. Everyone’s experience is different but holding awareness is fundamental to finding a cure or ways to cope on a daily basis. Prayers for all of you, especially your mother.

Mari (Bookworm with a view) May 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

First, the paint job looks great. It’s always nice to have a refresh, brings a new energy to a room (and life).

So sorry to hear about your Dad’s decline, and the recent changes that seem to be happening quickly (or maybe it’s just that his Alz is new information to most of us and it seems quick). One thing I can recommend, know it’s okay to walk away from your blog/podcast… take the summer off if you need to. Family and mental health are the most important. Give yourself permission to morph the blog to fit your life. I’m glad you are exiting the parenting chaos years, well done!

Hugs, M

Karyn May 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Love the vintage travel posters!!!

Sonita May 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM

How about Panini Chronicles? Could be special feature of the regular Chaos. Feels that way to me, anyway! You’ll write/talk/feature it in a way that will beam class-and-style, as you always do!

pat in o.c. May 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Many prayers for your Mother most of all…I pray she is comforted by The Lord as her lifelong partner & friend goes through this new stage of life. Prayers to & for all of your family. I know your Father will receive the very best care thanks to the love & hard work of his family.

William J. May 29, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Wow I’d be exhauted with the weekend you had. I hope you can take some time to rest maybe just go to a movie by yourself when nobody’s looking.

Your husband and you do very stunning work. Love the improvements.

We went through the assisted living faze with my dad and it just breaks my heart that your family is going through it with your dad. Your family is in my daily thoughts and prayers. Just know you are doing what is best for your parents and whatever you do don’t feel guilty.



gilles May 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Love the color combo. I’m doing oyster/taupe tile with blue cupboards. And previous commenters are right: Chaos will morph but always be there. My best to you, the Sisters and parental units.

Cyndi May 29, 2012 at 10:57 AM

No way would I refer to that as taupe and dusty blue – it looks fabulous and rich! I love the “saturation” level of the colors. I saw a room a decorator painted a year ago and I promised myself that I would find a room in my house deserving of the color – Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster – mesmerizing.

Don’t fool yourself that the chaos level will calm down anytime soon … yes, maybe you will be doing less volunteering (yay – glad to hear you are taking a breather) and managing a home with one less occupant, but I bet you will have a new chaos to contend with and you will LOVE IT!

Thanks for sharing the photos – very inviting surroundings – great choice!

Cynthia McKenna May 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Lian, this series of events qualifies as Chaos.

Julie Dolan Smith May 29, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Very impressive! both the color palate and getting the work done before the big party.

Kristin May 29, 2012 at 9:12 AM

This looks great! Blessings to all of you as you navigate the next steps for your parents. I know that is Chaos and transition we can relate to, as is the transition for Brookes to college. I think there will still be chaos for you, it just may be different. Enjoy some down time this week :)

Nancy May 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

I’ll admit that “taupe and dusty blue” made my eyebrows rise while listening to the podcast, but it looks beautiful. “Oyster and Lake Placid blue” sounds much more current, lol. (Love the travel posters too!)

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