One Room to Rule Them All

So we are finally spending our economic stimulus check on the wall that will solve all my problems. Construction started today. These aren’t traditional “before” pictures in that they don’t show the room in its normal, overfurnished state, but let me give you the rundown:

The room is 20 feet long and 14 feet wide…
…with a walk-in closet at one end that is 11 feet wide and 7 feet deep…
…with an attached bath and vanity.

It was designed to be the master bedroom and probably used as the master bedroom by previous occupants, but it’s too big to be a bedroom, it’s at the back of the house facing Garage Alley, which means that you hear every time one of our seventeen neighbors also on Garage Alley opens or closes their garage door or starts a load of laundry or turns on the air conditioning. Compare this to the stats of the secondary bedroom at the front of the house:

The room is 14 feet wide and 12 feet long…
…with a balcony and a view that goes across the street and above the buildings for glimpses of the valley beyond and the sunset…
…with a walk-in closet that is 7 feet by 6 feet…
…with cathedral ceilings…
…with a fireplace…
…with a wet bar.

Yeah, you hear those boxers across the street bark at stuff and all the cars go by, but it isn’t really a busy street, and the afternoon comes in so nicely starting around 4:00 PM. It’s a cozy place to be. And organized. Except that there is a baby sleeping in the closet, so all our clothes are crammed onto a nine-foot hanging bar attached to the wall of the back bedroom. And there’s a boy sleeping in the walk-in closet of the big room, which displaced my office to the main part, even though I can’t really use it because Fella and Filly mess with any papers I leave on the desk or table or bookshelf or filing cabinet. And there’s a couch and armchair and coffee table and a television set upstairs, which I can watch very quietly on Podcast Night if Fella is already sleeping. But when all things are in one place, nothing stays neat. I need an office with a doorway so I can contain all my crap and keep the paper out of the kitchen. I need the toys out of the dining room, where they are stashed because F&F often play there while I’m trying to work on a surface they can’t reach. I want the train table out of the living room so we can sit down and relax. We have so much floor space and so few partitions. Every room is a mess you can see from every other messy room. Thank god I was never hip enough to live in an urban loft where I wouldn’t even have had stairs to act as barriers.

Hence the wall.

This is a picture from the doorway of the room. We’ve basically got a wall cutting the room in half parallel to the windows. Then, the window half will be split into two little bedrooms for Filly on the left and Fella on the right (the wall is T-shaped, with pocket doors that open from the center to the sides). They’ve been sleeping in closets their whole life, so this is novel. And the little bedrooms are still 9 feet by 7 feet each, so don’t feel too bad. My dorm room was only 9 feet by 10 feet, and I was a lot bigger. Off-screen to the left is the bathroom and alcove; behind me and to the right is the closet.

What you see is the ceiling fan that used to be right in the center where the doors now meet; it’s going to be centered in the open space between the closet and the bedrooms, which will be a playroom. The train table will move to a new home, and the couch/chair/coffee table set will displace the furniture that we have in the living room. It’s La-Z-Boy recliners, and it was fun to get for free from my mother when they decided that they needed fancier, sleeker, modern expensive couches. These recliners were the right color, but I was never that fond of the silhouette and they were too big. My feet don’t touch the floor when I sit on them and I have a hard time getting out of the chair from a reclined position. Our other furniture is blue and multicolored (and it looks better than it sounds), and it is smaller. It’s not formal, but it will fit the room just fine. For some reason I am dragging my feet on just listing the other set on Craig’s List and getting it out of the house, even though I have already taken pictures and sort of decided on a price, so we look a little like a furniture store. It’s temporary, I’ve been telling myself.

This is the alcove opposite the bathroom; I am standing in the bathroom, which is a perfectly nondescript bathroom that has crappy cabinet work, a busted towel rack, and a spacious shower with a window that has a textured fiberglass floor I cannot get clean. We ripped out the hideous aqua and mauve wallpaper that we inherited, and have been living with a color that is the same color as brain tissue. I’ve been dillydallying about painting it, although I am thinking something dramatic, like in a flame-orange color. I have some volcano pictures I took in Hawai’i two years ago and a piece of lava that I stole and I just think it would look cool, unless it looked awful. There was a hideous built-in vanity with fluorescent lighting and a giant mirror (you can see the brain-tissue gray behind it, although it is much glossier in person) that we took out. It needs new carpet (I will be happy with a remnant that might not exactly match) but I’m thinking this can be a little reading room with a bookshelf and comfy kid chairs. We’re putting in canned lights above.

It’s hard to get a picture of this closet, because it is so narrow. What you can’t see to the right is an alcove behind the open door that is big enough for a bed; there are those wire shelves behind that curtain that I’m moving to the alcove. I’ll probably put my desk right in front of the doorway (to the right of where that dresser is now). Without the shelves, I’ll have room for a table on which I can put my printer and modem and other office stuff, unless I decide to put my sewing machine and fabrics over there instead. There is plenty of room. Also not shown on the wall opposite the dresser is a floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase. It was the perfect office to have before Fella was born, and I squandered it as the room we never fully moved into and decided to store all the random crap and boxes in. It had another brief stint as an office when we tried to have both cribs in the big room, which was a bad idea from the outset and lasted less than a week. I can’t wait to move into it now. There’s a door you can shut, but I’ve got baby gates! So I’ll be able to work, and they’ll be able to see me and play and watch TV (if I can ever find an old-school tube TV with an attached DVD player) and take naps and read and I can close the baby gate at the top of the stairs and the only room in the house that will get messy will be theirs.

I may be getting ahead of myself, but I’ve got plans for the laundry corner next. And now here’s your moment of Zen:

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  • Jack  On September 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    looks good, thanks for the pics

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