Friday, April 22, 2011

Wasted Space

Deb: Heaven knows I am not a design expert. Like most of us, I know what I like and that’s good enough for me.

What I don’t like ... ever … is wasted space. I loath the room that sits empty, all decked out like a prom queen who’s been stood up.

I love to use each inch of space in the house. I adore beauty and yet I crave function. My old high school boyfriend and I used to always chuckle about his Mom and Dad’s living room––pristine, quiet as a tomb, and covered with plastic. I know many of us have grown up with this type of “that which shall not be sat in” room. 

Me, I want to live in the living room. Odd I know, but after all, let’s have a little respect for title. Living room––Yep, no mistaking what we are supposed to do in there.

A few years ago our living room was becoming that sad perfect empty room. I could see it crying out for company and, despite the fact that I would visit it on occasion with a good book, as time passed, it became the “company” room. When guests were coming I would feel so happy for the living room as we prepared it by lighting its candles and stoking its fire. But then the inevitable would happen. The guests would all gravitate toward the kitchen.

The kitchen is the nemesis of the living room in house-land––stealing its thunder and its head count.

So after its last disappointment, I decided to shake it up.

I switched the living room and the dining room. Just had them change places. Oh what fun it was. Beauty and function. Felt like a whole new house. So now the lovely living room is right beside the family room for flow of guests and the dining room table is right in front of a roaring fire.

The house took on a whole new energy and we love it.

After the boy left, lo these three years ago, my husband decided to leave his office retreat and bring his computer to the main floor, to the casual dining table by the window overlooking the backyard. I soon joined him and we found a whole new life at that table across from each other. We were doing our own thing, but we were “together” sharing a joke or a newspaper item or just checking and double-checking in on our ical events. It was a wonderful way to bridge the gap of the boy’s leaving.

And it stuck. We love it.

But of course “as two become one workspace”, I was again facing the issue of the wasted office space. My office was built above the space we now occupy together. It is pretty and I love it. After I deserted it, I found myself visiting it. I would stand at its door drinking in its velvety tones. I even considered putting a rope across it and charging admission.

Then the day came, as I knew it would, when I would no longer be able to stand the waste. So...

The desk came out of the middle of the room and went to the wall, housing my record player and some records. The mirrored chest of drawers came out of the office and went into our master bedroom replacing the chair and ottoman that would go into the office. Just angle the chaise lounge a tad differently, place the trunk behind it for balance, and boom––new master with lots of breathing room. And now my sad little lonely office is my reading, meditation and record playing room. Deb’s Treehouse, boys allowed.

I am tickled pink. And the bonus is that when I have my bouts of insomnia, I can slip behind our bedroom’s blackout curtains, turn on a reading lamp and read by the light of the 3am moon without disturbing my sleeping husband one wit.

And the best news. Didn’t cost a dime.

And wow, it’s like having a new house. I keep going up there to stare at it, so delighted am I with my own handiwork. Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to put that rope up after all?

Barbara: I can tell you this, dear readers: I have visited the hallowed space. It is museum-worthy. Not in the hoity, uptight way. But in the way that a well-anointed gallery perfectly captures a time, an era, one iconic room from one person’s life: Madame McGrath and her lovely, cozy, welcoming, bright and happy home.

I love my home, but I’m not so nurturing of it at the moment. Too busy/distracted to even …care (sorry, House!). But I love the fact that it doesn’t seem to judge me. Would that I didn’t waste any of its precious space. Deb, I smell a little inspired furniture moving in my future!


  1. Oh, I love that chaise! Very inviting for a book, cup of tea, afternoon nap. I am inspired to clear ot the junk corner in our bedroom for one of those.

  2. I love those colors that you did in the rooms, and that beautiful photo that is behind chaise is just so amazing..

    My faviorte place in my whole house,is probably my deck. My deck is amazing and it's my faviorte writing and thinking spot. On my deck we have a really big canopie that has these see through sides in case in gets cold, and under the canopie we have this sofa swing thing. I guess that's what it's called,and we have some tables and a couch all wicker of corse. we have it all decked out in orange since that is my faviorte color. We have orange pillows,and even an orange blanked out there if it gets cold.. It's one of my all time faviorte places. If people are looking for me and they can't find me that's were I am . I am on my deck were I can be alone and have ME TIME. Finally.

  3. Oh, Lyndsie, me too!! The deck, the deck! How I miss it in the winter. But I am literally out there every moment the weather allows. Me Space mmmm

  4. wow. you have channeled my thoughts lately. my house. right now I really want to get rid of stuff. cut our possessions in half. move things around--let in the light. dust. vaccuum (well, I want it dusted & vaccummed. I don't want to be the one who does it. heck, I don't even want to figure out how to spell that right. In other words, I want a shift in my living space. things feel stale and wasteful. problem is, I feel swallowed by the house. I don't have the energy to tackle all the things that I want done. but this was inspirational. I LOVE that full-wall (photo?) of the flower.....

  5. Yes Lyndsie, I love the deck too. Our seasonal extra room! And Lori I am glad you are inspired. I have so much to do and change in the house, so don't feel pressure. One little job at a time does makes the world of difference.

  6. I am constantly changing rooms and decor. After my sons left I turned a 3 bdrm house with a dining room and living room into a 3 den house and one bedroom. All rooms have purpose and love and work for me. I did finally make a real guest room as well so now it is 2 dens, a guest room and living room/dining room. Before I got divorced I changed the rooms around monthly when really I should have just taken the husband and moved him around to another house.:) Love the new energy Deb.

  7. Deb, your house seems like such a lovely mix of peacefulness and fun.

    I'm in the middle of major house overhaul. My aunt over on the other side of the state just handed down to me 2 of the beds/mattresses/boxsprings that were in my Grandmama's house (my cousins don't need them anymore). My parents just gave my son a new, sturdy, metal set of shelves for his bedroom (which means I get his cast off, lightweight plastic ones to help with my craft supplies storage in the front closet :) ). I've noticed that his old, big bookcase is getting a little wobbly so I need to earthquake anchor it to the wall (we have tremors here - New Madrid Seismic Zone). My Grandmother has been decluttering, and I got a handmedown new bedside table from her. It's this really cool wooden table with small drop leaves. It can either be stationary or roll at the pressing of a foot lever. It's an old typewriter table from an office from probably the 1930's or 1940's. Very quirky with character. Also, my landlord has had a handyman coming to do some much needed repairs on the house. (There isn't a big hole in my dining room ceiling anymore! And, the rotted out frame and cracked window in the kitchen is replaced! hoodyhoo!)

    So, I've been prodded into doing a much needed gutting and rearranging of the house. I wish I could just start at one end of the house and do it all at once and have that refreshing completed and new feeling, but my back and my heart won't let me take it on like that. So, I'm just steadily plugging away at it. This weekend, a couple of best friend's big, strong sons will help me shift some of the heavier furniture. (I know what their favorite kinds of cookies are and will do some baking for them. Yum!)

    I reeaaalllyyy want to sew a slip cover to pretty up our ugly second hand couch. I can't stand the current upholstery. *crinkles nose*

    I like the planning and envisioning part of house overhaul a lot, though. It's kind of a cross between playing with my dollhouse when I was little and playing a giant game of Tetris shifting the pieces around to fit them in this little house.

    It's cool what a pick me up even just moving the pictures around on the walls can be.

    I donated our old bed frames to the local battered women's shelter. (My son's old mattress will be tucked under his new bed to be slid out to accommodate spendthenight company. My old mattress left with my old bed. We didn't have box springs.) And, my best friend and I had a big yard sale. So, I've decluttered myself some more space with which to work.

    But, dusting? Pfft! Dusting is a losing battle in this house right now. There was sooooo much sheetrock dust from the handyman's work. Just when I think I've finally gotten it all up, I find more. lol But, even messier, I have a big, long haired cat who is shedding his thick winter coat. White. Fur. Everywhere. lolol

    Seeing how happy your project has made you has inspired me to tackle another big chunk of the house overhaul today. It's frustrating how big, messy and long-time-taking a project this is, but I guess I need to let myself enjoy the small, completed sections.

  8. Madge clearly I have to kneel at the foot of the master. You are an old hand at this. And Rigel you have an exciting job in the works with all that new stuff to arrange. And I hate to say it but I am afraid you will have to take out that duster!

  9. LOLOL I don't have any choice but to fight the losing battle with the dust as my son and I both have allergies. It's especially important right now as it is planting season and all the fields are being turned and the crop dusters are spraying. So, I dust and sweep, dust and sweep, and then the cat plops down and gives himself a vigorous bath, and I watch the newest layer of white fur float through the air and settle. LOL

    Deb, one of my favorite escape-in-my-head daydreams is to decorate my dream home. :) Sometimes, I go the practical route, and mentally plot out my dream homestead -- 5 acres in the woods about an hour inland from the Gulf of Mexico. 20x20 hurricane resistant, one room, cinder block house. Chicken coop. Paddock for alpacas. Rainwater cisterns. Spinning wheel and fleece cards. HUGE garden. Trellises for growing gourds. A pumpkin patch. Big front porch with rocking chairs. A small barn. A soap making shed. A wood burning stove. Back up handpump system for well water. Solar panels and a small wind turbine. Stuff like that.

    Sometimes, though, I get really silly and nonsensical and mentally plan my frivolous, shallow, decadent, irresponsible other wildest dream which is as different from a self-sufficiency oriented hobby farm as can be. Shamefully silly and irresponsible. LOLOL Hmmmm.... *imagines the perfect shade of oceany teal for the accent wall in my dream crafting room* *imagines garden gnomes statues and bushy tomato plants in containers on the balcony* *drools over the 8ft. circumference stuffed-with-soft-foam dark purple giant beanbag chair I could order* *imagines watching Mythbusters on one of those big, flat TV's that hangs on the wall* *imagines having one of those luxurious, big bathtubs that has the spray jets in it* LOLOLOL Like I said: decadent and irresponsible. But, hey, it's a daydream, right? I can be goofy, right? :)

  10. I'm loving The Middle Ages ladies!!!
    It's much more fun and has better dental hygiene than the actual Middle Ages!
    Deb love the new space! Who's the artist that painted those flowers?
    Jenn xo

  11. Oh, that's just lovely. And inspiring. I have to work today, but I'm now contemplating all the ways I could rearrange my living space so that everything "flows" better and feels new.

    I can work and rearrange furniture at the same time, right? Right? (Let my have my illusions, they're all that sustain me...)


    *hugs, hugs, hugs*

    May your holiday be full of blessings and chocolate.

  13. Rigel your dream house sounds, well...dreamy. I hope it's a dream come true for you.
    Rocza, sometimes it's a real simple plan. Like two years ago we simply took the TV out of the bedroom and turned the empty hole into a library. Was so fun. Good luck with your ideas.
    Rigel, Happy Easter to you too my dear. Blessings-check! Chocolate-check!

  14. I've never understood married couples who have a TV in their bedroom. *shakes head in confusion* I mean, if you're married, aren't there better things to do at bedtime? ;)

    And, of course, there's always the stack of books on the bedside table...


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