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City hall to get face lift by Langley’s new first lady

Karen Samuelson shows her husband, Mayor Paul Samuelson, a selection of swatches of possible colors to paint the inside of city hall. - Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record
Karen Samuelson shows her husband, Mayor Paul Samuelson, a selection of swatches of possible colors to paint the inside of city hall.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record

New decor will help spotlight town history

LANGLEY — Langley City Hall will get a face lift by the hands of the city’s new “first lady.”

It all began when Karen Samuelson redecorated her husband Paul’s office after he took the helm at city hall in January.

“The seed of it all was when Paul knew that this would be his home away from home,” she said. “It seemed like no one had paid attention to the esthetics of the place.”

The new mayor’s office got a fresh coat of paint and new art, and the Samuelsons brought in a set of office furniture from home.

Some paint was left over after the work, so the redecorating project spilled over into the office next door.

“I’m this in-the-closet interior designer. I love working with colors,” Karen Samuelson said.

Now, the she and a number of city staff and elected officials have big plans to beautify the rest of city hall. Next up will be the council chambers, Samuelson said. She’ll start working on the walls March 24.

But a splash of color isn’t all that’s being done.

Councilman Bob Waterman has volunteered to make prints of historical images of Langley from his extensive collection.

At the last city council meeting, he asked audience and council members to pick their favorites. He brought pictures and people got to put colorful stickers on the ones they liked.

“What better place than city hall to share Langley’s history,” Waterman said.

Mayor Samuelson is excited about bringing some history to city hall.

“It’s been my dream, since

I started thinking that I might be here, to start putting history in these halls,” he said last week.

Waterman also volunteered to help paint, along with his wife Ann.

Councilman Jim Recupero liked the beautification initiative so much, he called Samuelson after the meeting to volunteer.

It’s been a long time since the last paint brush touched the walls at city hall.

Samuelson said while she worked on her husband’s office, she talked to city maintenance man Frank Sullivan.

“Frank believes he painted the walls and that was 12 to 15 years ago,” she said.

Sullivan knew the original building and told her that the upstairs has beautiful wood floors underneath the old carpets, she said. The thought of wood floors made the eyes of the hobby designer sparkle.

“Frank is this well of knowledge and experience because he has been here for so long,” she said.

Samuelson has picked a palate of five earth tones.

“Everyone gets to pick a color for their office, but the colors all work together and create a unified look,” she said.

“It’s a morale thing,” Samuelson added. “Think of how many hours people spend in their offices.”

But she said it’s also about providing a place that’s inviting to locals and visitors alike.

“This is the holding place for our public, our town. What’s the statement about if it’s icky?” she asked.

“It’s a public statement to the people who come to visit and ourselves.”

The only obstacle now is money. While some money was found for a few gallons of paint, additional funds need to be raised for frames for the historic photographs, more paint and other items.

“We don’t really know where the money is coming from,” Samuelson said.

Samuelson said she hopes she can raise money to complete the project. A small city like Langley that is just recovering from some slim financial years doesn’t have much wiggle room for beautification projects, she said.

Volunteers have been open to pitching in and Whidbey Island Bank in Langley offered to donate used office furniture that is in better shape than what’s now at city hall.

Anyone interested in helping out can donate to a “Beautify City Hall” fund, that has been set up by City Clerk/Treasurer Debbie Mahler.

“Anything people want to donate is tax deductible,” she said.

Michaela Marx Wheatley can be reached at 221-5300 or mmarx

wheatley@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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