office by the sea

our second bedroom, a 72 square foot nook just outside of our master, started its life with us as a closet. we had two dressers in there, plus all our shoes, coats, and winter stuff. once we were able to move the coats and things into the mudroom, it became just a regular closet. but i was determined to get all our clothing into our bedroom and reclaim this space as something (anything) else. a spare bedroom, albeit a very tiny one, was just too much of a luxury to waste on out-of-season clothing.

with the discovery and subsequent makeover of this desk from smash, our spare bedroom seemed destined to become an office. but neither of us work from home all that often, and when pierre does, at least, he usually sets up shop at the dining room table. i do like to curl up in the big chair and read, but i’m also just as apt to do that on the living room couch. so, despite the pains we took to empty it of shoes, this room has been a little underused thus far.

then, last september, i impulsively started a masters degree, and the office has become a key space for me. when i come home from work and need to sit right back down at a computer to work on a paper or do some research, i can shut a door and keep working. or, if i take a day off work to try and finish off a school assignment, locking myself in the office with a bodum of coffee ensures i’ll stay focused, and not be looking around the house from the vantage point of the dining room table, inventing little tweaks and projects — anything to put off compiling a reference list.

as it happens, however, i’ve been stuck inside this room an awful lot lately and while i may have avoided looking around the rest of the house and coming up with projects, one day last week i decided i just couldn’t possibly write a 2,000 word analysis of a recent classroom visit if my desk was facing the wall. i took a few minutes and dragged the desk over to the window, paused by the doorway to question my decision, and then got back to work — now with a view of olympic highlights on our neighbours’ tv.sewing deskafter living with the new arrangement for about a week, i decided i liked the desk under the window in a more permanent way. i know it’s still cold and snowy and winter right now, but it will be spring in a few weeks and it will get warmer. i just kept thinking about how much less like impacted teeth writing my final paper will feel like if i can at least feel the breeze from an open window this spring. so of course that meant a few more changes were necessary.


bungalow officeIMG_2609IMG_2608the objets d’art got reworked. they’re always getting reworked in here, and i never like to polyfil nail holes, repaint, and pull out the laser level for rehanging, so the most recent iteration made use of previous nails and looked weird — too high and too spread out. my o.c.d. finally got the best of me and i pulled it all down, adding this amazing replica titanic life preserver, found in round top, texas for $35 on my birthday. the photo to the right of the preserver is from our engagement photo shoot. i just pulled it out of the basement and added it to this gallery wall; it used to hang in the hallway outside our bedroom in our old apartment, but hadn’t found a home in our house until last weekend.

ps. i carried the life preserver home from texas on the plane. it wouldn’t fit in my luggage, was too fragile to check, and also too large to carry-on, technically, but i think everyone on both sides of the border thought i was too weird to really question. it’s also definitely not authentic, though it looks really real. it’s made of cork, covered in dirty linen, and hand-stitched. but the only two titanic life preservers in known existence don’t have any lettering on them. so, you know. this is not my antiques roadshow moment.walnut stripsi also edited our walnut strips, paring things down to current wedding invitations, upcoming concert tickets, and reminders of summer. after a few years of layering, the pegs were getting pretty thick and starting to hide important things — like i’d totally forgotten our neighbours gave us $30 in tiff gift cards for christmas!

IMG_2603in order to hide wires, i brought the helmer cart out of the closet. in its place went the footstool for the westnofa chair; it gets in the way every morning when pierre’s ironing, so it really needed to not be in the middle of the room anymore, but i’m happy it’s within easy reach if needed. the book covers hiding technology remain, and a few more doorknob card holders came upstairs from a box in the basement. i made about a dozen of these last year (so many random old doorknobs lying around…) and i should really give them away as gifts to unsuspecting friends.

IMG_2610finally, i sneaked a rens sheepskin rug into the house (by asking my mom for one for my birthday). i don’t care how ubiquitous these rugs are; i’ve always wanted one and my feet thank me.

i stopped myself just short of repainting the sewing table base a high gloss black. i have the paint in both spray and quart form, leftovers from past projects, so i was pretty tempted to throw down some newspaper and give the desk a new look as well as location. but, as my first bungalow diy project, i have a certain fondness for this desk in yellow… plus, the coats take about 48 hours to fully dry, and i really need to write this analysis paper.

also — you might be wondering — we are still making (slower) progress on the basement. it’s just not very photogenic right now. we’re patching a concrete floor for the first time ever and it’s possibly not warm enough downstairs to do such things, but we have a coffee table on ice in our shed, a couch and console picked out, and a plan for removing the ugly potlights, so i’m motivated to keep working on our lower level at an unadvisable, unsustainable pace. pretty much the theme of my life this year, but nbd. i’m getting used to eating standing up, pulling on clean clothes right out of the dryer, and not really knowing what’s going on in ukraine.

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