Friday, September 12, 2014

The Reading Room

This has been my life for longer than I actually know. I lost track on how long ago we ripped open the ceiling (to check on/fix water damage), or how long this room has been covering our whole first floor in drywall dust.

Jasmine had refused to walk under the open part of the ceiling because there were some cobwebs, and she was sure spiders would fall on her.

But the good thing is…this is all in the past. The room is a room now. And I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful that is. I mean, my brain has snapped into place all of a sudden, since this room became a room. I’m like on this whole new plane of thoughts -- it’s basically "want-to-craft, want-to-create, time-to-paint-furniture" because suddenly there is that much more clarity in my head, much less weight over my head to get this house done. (It’s not done, but it feels so much closer. The entire downstairs has been painted now.)

But anyway, let me flash you back to where we were when we bought the house.

Looking towards the sunroom, with the living room to the left.

Built in 1962, restyled in approximately 1981, this room boasted some very repetitive small print floral wallpaper.
AND some glass shelf alcoves for all your chachkes needs. 
This top shelf even comes complete with a permanently attached colored glass sheep with a bird on it’s back. So that means one less space to fill for the new home owner. Major benefit, if you ask me.

Looking into the sunroom, with the kitchen to the right.
The shutter-like doors allow you to close off your kitchen mess while you enjoy your dinner in the cozy formal dining room. 
They also make for awesome kid door slamming -- so major win. Especially when small fingers of other children are in the way of said slamming door.
I’m actually not apposed to the idea of the doors -- I’m actually very pro closing-off-dishes-from-view- -- but not with these doors. Too dated, too finger smashy.
 Actually someday I wanna do a rolling barn door.
The 80’s update included overly plush carpet in the center of wood parquet. (I don’t know how you could have cut food on a table placed on this carpet -- I can’t explain to you how squishy it was, that table couldn’t have held still?)
Sadly this stuff was so smelly it had to go. (Blake and my dad actually liked this look. I just kept saying, “Well it’s just soo smelly, we can’t keep it. ;)  )

Also note the attention to detail here!

So yeah….
Once the wallpaper was removed, the new floor installed, the holes in the wall and ceiling filled in...

I needed to pick a color!
This room was my toughest choice on wall color.
For a couple reasons.
(Pepare to enter my over-thinking mind for a moment)
First off I think I was putting extra pressure on myself for this space. 
We aren’t keeping it as a dining room, we are calling it the reading room and we want to build in book shelves along the back wall (Left wall in photo above. Wall opposite the french doors.) I want the shelves to function well for numerous functions. I want this room to be a potential homeschool room if we do school at home long enough, and feel we wanted a dedicated space for that. (But I’ve been leaning towards just kind of using our home normally and doing school inside it -- and this article extra sold me on the concept. But it was already how I felt like we’d function based on how we all work.)
Anyway, I’d also like the shelves to work as a sort of buffet/built-in china cabinet if a future owner of this house thought the room should be a dining room again. (Even if the room is a small dining room, I don’t want to negate it’s potential.)
But for now I really just want the space to be a cozy nook for me to drink coffee and read in. A introvert’s cocoon, recharge station. 
In one sense the room is basically a pointless space. But in another sense it can be a really fantastic bonus space.
So…with all that in my head, I didn’t know which direction to go with color. If we were gonna have it be a school room I didn’t know what color we wanted to learn next to. If I was going to “cozy" in it, what color would recharge me? Do those colors meet up anywhere?

And then there was the challenge of lighting. This room has the french doors as windows -- but those look into the sun room, so it only get’s a patch of natural light in it for about an hour, only during part of the year. It’s not a bright space. So every color I had been trying was falling short of working based on light-lack. (Also we haven’t wired back in our overhead light yet, so the light in there in general is nil.)

Finally it dawned on me -- oh yeah, ask the internet for help.
“Hey internet, what color do I use for a low light room?”
And after reading this and this.

I went and grabbed a bunch of bold jewel tones to try.
I’ve been very neutral and grey in the house so far. (I’m not scared of color, I just want soothing right now. With all the sound input I get as a mom right now, I want a calm visual space to even out the sensory overload. And I don’t want to regret my paint colors for a while, because I’ve been painting for almost a year now. I need a break! I want to be able to change up a room easy if need be.) So grabbing these colors felt strange. But once I got this up and in place I totally had a revelation.

These colors really do bring in their own light. I mean just looking at this phone shot you can see that some of them are dull and dark, but that others just seem to glow on their own. (I took this picture during the one hour of light, by the way.)
The oranges especially bring in light. And I gave one called nectarine a really heavy consideration, but ruled it out based on two things. One I’m just not an orange person, I didn’t think it’d recharge me as much as distract me. And two I’m painting our french doors gloss black, and orange and black next to each other….not ideal.

Eventually I picked out “Pool Green.”

I liked how it makes me feel. I liked the way it makes our old floral couch feel new. (Some colors really threw it back in time, while others really pulled it forwards.) And it really handles the lack of light like a champ.

 This paint color experience REALLY got me excited about interior design. I’ve been into it for years now, but this put me over the edge to obsessed-with-it’s-awesomeness, want-to-learn-everything-ever-about-all-of-it.

Here we are, freshly painted.

And here we are after giving the floors a major hands-and-knees scrub down and moving in some furniture.
(I’m not sure about anything staying in here but the couch. Likely that lamp -- but it might need to go in the living room.)
So some day there will be built-in bookshelves behind the couch. And the couch will just float in the middle of the room. (Or a table might go there if it’s a school space.)
We still need to put up our tall white baseboards Blake made. (But we will leave them off the back of the room till we get the shelves up…so it’s not like that will look super finished for a while.)

My ultimate goal for the room is to get it kind of overly bold in an art deco way. This room is my inspiration piece. (My pic here is a lame pic of my screen -- you should go see that room, it’s gorgeous!)

So I want to figure out a stencil I can use to fake wallpaper (I’m never peeling wallpaper again in my life if I can help it!) I want it to be rather graphic and masculine to offset the floral couch. I don’t want to make the room too flowery -- for both the need to balance the space, but also because I don’t want to alienate Blake. He only agreed to my pretty couch because it was $25! (That’s how you get your flower couch ladies -- get it for pennies! lol.)  

But anyway. I am just happy our room is a room not at dust hole.


I feel so much better it’s crazy. I’m loving it.

I’ve now moved on to processing Christmas and a ton of stuff I want to make for the girls. (Craft brain on overdrive!!) (Early I know, but I basically missed Christmas last year with the move -- so I’ve got two years of Christmas coming out of me.)

And just so you can get a good dose of cute into your day, enjoy these! :)

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