Monday, July 16, 2012

Pretty Much Done... Almost

          I'm as done as I can be with the remodel of my home study, until the Objet d'Art Inspiration Gods and the Drawer Pull Gods smile on me.  So I decided to let you all see the more-or-less finished product of my hard work over the past five months or so.
          Let's start with the Before:  two shots taken shortly after we moved in.  Barely functional and really ugly, with mostly the wrong furniture.

          I lived with it like this for as short a time as possible -- several months -- until I could really focus on redoing it the way I wanted:  light, warm, feminine and simple.
          Rather than go back over everything I did, which has already been documented in previous posts (scroll down), I just want to show you the final results with some detail about things I haven't described before.
          Here's the current view from the doorway:
          Here's another view that shows the small carpet we brought back from Turkey a few years ago.  I wasn't about to replace the new wall-to-wall, though I'm not crazy about it, so this makes a nice alternative.
          And here's the best view of all, because it has my one-year old granddaughter in it, in training to become an important executive:
          I didn't get a complete "before" photo of the desk, which I bought for $30 on Craig's List (I had been prepared to pay up to $200 at an antique store, but hadn't found what I wanted until this PERFECT specimen turned up).  Here it is with drawer knobs removed and having been lightly sanded before priming.
          The knobs turned out okay (here's a trick for painting knobs -- hang them from something by the screws, so you can hold them by the screws to paint the entire surface, then let them dry without touching anything):
but the detailing in green is really awful.  At first I thought I'd paint over it, but now I think "folk art!" and try not to look at it too much.
          This whole room is so much smaller than what I was accustomed to in our last house that I knew I would need to figure out some extra storage for, you know, stuff.  This was my solution:
          The floating shelves are from Ikea, and the four baskets came from Home Depot (which my husband insists on calling Home Despot).  Can't find a link now, but they are Rubbermaid, four to a set with unattractive tan canvas liners.  I took one liner apart and used it as the pattern to make new red liners with yellow ribbon trim.  I will spare you the details of all the mistakes I made in that little project; let's just say that I'm not so good at spatial relations.  But I'll tell you, you can fit a LOT into a 9" x 11" basket, and I'm loving the options for organization (notecards in one, camera and cell phone stuff in one, etc.)
          The file cabinet may turn out to be my biggest regret.  Stupid me, I didn't realize that this two-drawer file which I got for $25 at a used furniture place...
was legal size.  Nor did I realize that the holes for the handles were 4" center to center, rather than the more common 3".  It was a bear to paint (I am not a good painter...yet) and for the moment I'm putting up with the old drawer pulls until I can find something kicky and bright with a 4" spread (maybe on Etsy?)
But it does offer a nice amount of surface space for important photos, a houseplant, and the coffee cup of a visitor.  (Still hoping to find a nice tile or trivet for that cup.)

          And a word about photos and art:  When I decided where some favorite pieces of art would hang...
(behind my desk is a photo taken at Zion Canyon, and the piece to the right of the little shelf is a drawing of the Dervish ritual that we brought home from Turkey, while to the left of the shelf is an oil by my daughter, part of her "Three Things on a Beach" series)

... I had to have the glass in two of them replaced with non-glare glass because of their location in the room.  Word to the wise:  get art framed with non-glare glass in the first place, even though it's more expensive, so that you won't have to spend even more $$ to get the plain glass replaced later when you hang it in a different place which glares.
          And while we're at it, let's take a look at the windowsill of the sweet little eyebrow window, which is a common architectural feature of Portland houses built in the 1920's.
This is the closest thing to an altar that I have in this room.  The Tibetan prayer flags send out prayers as the wind moves them (and it's true, there is no wind in this room because that little window doesn't open, but it's a good thought nevertheless).  The photo is a favorite from our most wonderful vacation in Costa Rica, the rock was carried a long way down the mountain in Big Sur by a dear friend who spotted it while meditating and knew that it should be mine, and the women... ah, the women!
          I once preached about images of God, and encouraged my congregation to come up with their own images of what they thought God looked like.  The following Sunday a woman in my congregation gave me the three women on the right (the one with the gray hair to the left looks amazingly like that woman's own mother), saying they represented her images of God.  I adore them, saggy breasts and all!  And when I sent one of them back to the artist a few years later for repairs, she was returned to me with a male friend, the fellow on the left, who completes the set.

          I love the way the picture frame on the photo of me with my two fantastic daughters echoes the trim on the Victorian wooden shelf above it.  I've always loved this shelf, and I'm delighted to have it in my study with what will probably be a rotating art display on it, showing items that are personally important to me.
          These shelves tucked into the alcoves on either side of my reading chair were built by my dear husband for additional storage.  This side houses knitting books and patterns
in pamphlet boxes that I covered with sticky shelf paper (for which I had to search long and hard to find a suitable design!)

...and this side is just general storage for photo albums and materials that I might need now and then.
The carved gourd on the top shelf houses my iPod.  And the little ceiling lights, which were there when we bought the house, are perfectly situated to shine on my book or my knitting or whatever I am doing in that heavenly recliner.

          Okay, so here's the other unfinished part:
There was enough extra room on this bookcase for me to remove a horizontal shelf so that I could do something interesting with the resulting space.  (And yes, that's the whole Harry Potter series to the left of the space.) I think I want to line the back wall with a printed fabric (not the same as the seat cushions and valence), or at least a fabric in a contrasting color, and then put some vertical objet d'art in there.  But what?  I'm thinking about my parents' wedding photo, which I love, but it's not big enough for the whole space.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd also like to make the top of the bookcase more interesting than just holding the three volume Diary of Gideon Welles, my ancestor who was the Secretary of the Navy during the Civil War.  Maybe a hanging plant off the side to meet up with that be-ribboned pole that was held by a marshal (probably 9 years old) for the processional at our installation ceremony lo these many years.
          I'm sitting in this room as I write this, so happy with the way my vision turned into reality.  It's my favorite part of the house.  Come on over sometime and we can enjoy it together!


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