The Room of Bills, Books and Pictures
So what do you call a room that you store a ridiculous amount of books in, and one you write bills in. We could call it a study, but let’s face it, even two years out of college that word gives me the chills. We could call it the read-a-book/write-a-bill room, but bills are gross and that name is cumbersome. So no, that’s not going to work. I think we are pretty sold on ‘library’. It may be a bit hoity-toity. But we have books. Lots and lots of them. Plus we have some pretty sweet Ikea furniture in here that adds to the whole ‘library’ vibe. Or maybe it’s a psychiatrists office? (Thats what some friends call it) Either way it’s comfy and I read a ton in here.
Ok, now that I’ve spent five minutes trying to decide what the real name for this room is how about a look at the only before I have, and some afters. To preface the before, this was taken the weekend of the blizzard. Remember that pesky 3 feet of snow that started falling the morning of closing? That kept us snowed in for three days? Three days in a house without beds, the possibility of showers (no shower curtains or towels) and a limited amount of food. Oh yes, it was fun. To top it off that was the weekend we lost a limb on a litigious neighbors fence, and the weekend my in-laws came up to help us do some work on the house. Thank goodness my in-laws came because they kept us sane. And grounded. And continuing to work at things instead of feeling like we were in over our heads.
Did I mention we were in the middle of shampooing the carpets? So Bryan and I crashed on the floor in here at night. Did I mention it was blizzarding? Oh it was. And this room the has the unique ability of being buffeted by winds pretty ridiculously. It’s part of an L shaped wing added on the original house that has a 3/4 courtyard per se that is the deck. The wind gets trapped in there and can really howl in big storms. Even though this pic of the room has some messy sleeping bags/exploding overnight bags, at least the vacuum is pictured so hopefully you are assuming we were cleaning. Not being slobs. Because we weren’t. 🙂 In fact you can see the carpet steamer as well.
So in the course of moving in, painting rooms, replacing water heaters and getting electrical work done we didn’t do much to this room. I have fabric for new curtains but haven’t sewn them. I’m debating paint colors with myself half heartedly, as deciding on a color means purchasing paint, filling holes, and sanding trim.
We did purchase the Ikea couch/chaise lounge, so that is something new. But we really needed something as the room is so long and was so empty it was pretty unbelievable, and was almost unusable. And all of our other furniture was in other rooms. And it was weird walking through an empty room to get to our room every night. For the first few weeks though, this was a box room. Almost out of sight, almost out of mind and all that jazz. Finally though we bit the bullet and cleaned out the boxes, put every last thing away and really began to use this room as we envisioned.
First up is a shot of the far end of the room, the wall farthest from the kitchen, closest to the master. Here we placed two bookcases that followed me from my parents house, and some of our books. One these shelves we have hobby/art/home improvement books on the left, and on the right we have our classics, Christian living/bibles, and travel books. The art above the shelves was a wedding present from my cousin Emily and her husband, it fits the space great and will look even better there once the walls are painted. We also hung one of my first oil paintings, this is one of my brother Brandon snorkeling.
Eventually a full wall of built-in bookcases would be nice, floor to ceiling, with some space for art to hang in there as well. That’s something we can do ourselves. In a few more eventuallys new flooring would be awesome. Maybe some old reclaimed barn wood? Who knows. But it has to have a ‘library’ feel. Old, worn, and appreciated.
Oh, that set of doors to the left? One of the 25 closets in the house. But really, we need those closets as there is hardly an attic (seriously, it’s only above this room and the master), and the basement is the area of only one room. Our storage here is funny, but this one closet could maybe be removed, you know when we paint, build bookshelves, and put new flooring in. Say, 10 years? That ought to give us enough time to have saved up to do the projects in the master and where ever else the house will need it.
No idea why this picture was smaller. Blame it on the lack of caffeine. Actually I’ve had a lot. Blame it on too much caffeine. This photo gives a better idea of the flow of the room.
Because it’s so long and narrow (especially with those closets jutting out into the room) we have small areas of functionality. The chaise, chair, and two side tables is a fun reading nook, especially when the blinds are open on the window and you can look out and see the neighborhood. The little wooden crate thing? Bryan found that on the side of the road. It’s super rickety looking, but surprisingly sturdy, especially when I use it as an easy to use step stool to hang various things on the wall. The loveseat, chair, ottoman combo is another fun reading area. Bryan likes to spread out on the loveseat and I end up on the chaise.
The closet without doors actually has our photo booth in it. It would be a funny feature to install a curtain instead of a door, mounted on the inside of the door jamb, and actually use it as a photo booth. It would be goofy, but also kind of cool. Regardless, it definitely needs something to hide the door, even if we never use the photo booth again. Beyond the closet is a built-in desk. Thank you notes are written here, bills are paid, and I blog from that very chair. From there you can see the bookshelves we already explored, the only thing you are really missing is a better view of the couch (oops, don’t think I even took a picture of that) and the wall that abuts the kitchen. No worries, you’ll catch it before the end of the post.
This view not only shows a better feel of the room, it also highlights the funny flooring we have going on here. Ideally some dark wood with scattered area rugs would be great. That super oriental rug? I have plans for it elsewhere. Say goodbye.
To fill in the ginormous expanse of the desk we stuck a photo from closing, a sailboat toy I knit for Bryan, a Paris tin, and a small oil lamp. It’s nautical, sparkly (the mercury glass lantern), and a good mix of both of us.
My picture nook. Originally, I hated this bulletin board. I couldn’t figure out what to stick here, and I’ve never been great at keeping a bulletin board tidy, and up-to date. We lived with a blank beige square for more than three months. And suddenly while we were hanging art in preparation of my parents visit I suddenly knew. Family photos, perfect for switching out, great mementos of the wedding, trips to the beach, candid shots. It’s like a quick trip home every time I see it. Compete with ‘gangster signs’, ‘scary faces’ and photo booth strips. It’s a wonderful organic display of us and our families and I’m completely smitten. Of course, I may someday change the trim to beef it up, and paint the walls something other than a blueish gray, but it’s functional, and there is plenty of water-ring safe black laminate for my coffee mugs and water glasses.
The other side of the desk, most wedding photos, a mini anvil paper weight for my blacksmith, and a collection of books, along with one of our vintage cameras, and my happy London double-decker bus bank. Adds some fun color and charm to a dreary corner filled with power wires and shades of gray. Yuck.
Finally, our Library tour wouldn’t be complete without a view of the other side. Read for it’s close-up is a mini lemon tree (smells so good, trust me you need one). We ordered it online from Stark Bros. Nursery. It was like 11 dollars. And some day, say in 3 years we will actually have a lemon. I think it’s worth it. But I also like plants if you couldn’t tell :).
Ok, back to the room. The seagrass ottoman side table was a clearance find in Tj Maxx for 12 dollars, the white chair is also Ikea, we have 8 of them for dining chairs or accent chairs where needed. You can just barely see the brassy head of a vintage lamp I found for 8 bucks at a thrift shop, perfect for the look we want to move towards in here.
At the far end of the room we have another laminate counter, and a bar sink. We are going one of two ways with this space. The first is to build a wall or two, and make the area where the chaise is, and the bar sink and it’s counter my art studio, and save the third bedroom upstairs for guests/future children. Then build bookshelves on the backside of the new walls for the art studio. Option two is to get rid of the cardboard box shelves that are currently holding our fiction (non-classic) books, and build ones that will fit under the counter, matching the eventual bookshelves on the other side of the room. The second option could ideally include a new counter, and a new sink, if we keep the sink.
Anyways, since we are working with what we have, and living in the space before doing anything major we are just embracing our ghetto shelves, and rocking out the counter with some apothecary jars (from our wedding candy bar I created) filled with shells, yet another plant, and a screen printed slate box, which was a college screen printing project, and is also a fountain. Don’t get sold with that layout though, because, just like the traditional rug we have plans for that elsewhere.
So there you have it. Room #2 toured. It’s still a far way from ‘ideal’ or finished, but it’s certainly progress from 3 months ago.
What would you do in here if this was your room? And just to help you out with measurements, when I say it’s a long and narrow room it’s approximately 15 feet wide by 38 feet long, and it needs to almost function as a hallway connecting the kitchen to the master bedroom.