Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dear House

Dearest House,
I love you so much. I'm happy to have you. As I lay in bed being sick,it is comforting to know that you have your plaster wall arms around me. And Brian is busily cooking and pickling in your kitcheny heart. And music flows through your rooms. I am happy that you are ours.
It's always been my dream to have a cool place to inhabit like a spirit in which I can make art and hold gatherings and generally be creative. We were lucky to find you. You are in a great location and you are just big enough for two. You are surrounded by friendly neighbors and very close to the cemetery which is nice when you need lots of raccoons in the area. I want to trick you out and make it possible so you are being used to the best of your potential.
I've been an avid fan of decorating mags and artsy design since high school and I've always wanted an old house. Or a building. Something where there would be designated spaces for things. But palces you could personalize and change and rearrange.
I'm in love with home design I suppose. I'm always chopping up mags for ideas and trolling design websites and looking for ways to make the most out of small spaces. I use the same types of ideas when I'm getting inspiration for homes in my stories. But most of the stuff I cut out are inspirations for things we could do for the house. Which is why when we bought this house it was easy to look past it's former owner's decorating choices and see the potential the space had. The previous occupants were not utilizing the space to it's maximum potential. But thankfully they did not do anything too drastic (I'd seen some awful 'improvements' when I was searching with our realtor...) to the space. They yucked up the kitchen and bathroom but that was mostly cosmetic.. Mostly. They did remove some built in hutches which I wish we still had, but it's notpossible to reclaim those in the space they once were.
I wasn't allowed to put stuff on the walls or move furniture or adjust what was already there in my house growing up, so I've had a hankering to do it for forever.
We did a fantastic job on the kitchen and the bathroom and here are my ideas for some things for the rest of our place.Right now our mantle does not have adequate shelving or storage around it. The previous owners put up these odd, tiny glass shelves that come out about a foot and really can't accomodate anything. They must have been for old lady knick knacks. So, I want to tear them out and create two cabinets that can fill the space all the way to the wall and then put a new mantle on top of each piece. We're lucky to have two carpenters on the block and they've told me it would not be so expensive to make them. Especially if the cabinets themselves will be painted. then you don't use high end wood. You save that for the top. We have so many cool art books and they deserve a good display place.
I also need to find an outlet for picture rail molding to put up around the ceiling, so It will be possible to hang artwork without damaging the walls. W have a ton of awesome art that needs to be hung and rotated as the whim hits us.
I'd continue the storage design element from the living room to the dining room. A custom white, adjustable shelf bookcase for under the windows. Very simple. The books and objects that would go on them would be the decoration. I'd paint the window woodwork the same color white to simulate the feel of a whole wall piece. I'd move the buffet we have there now to the wall facing our kitchen and lean some art there. Overlap a few pieces. And then move the bookshelves we have there over to the wall that faces our bedroom. Clean those out and display some of our cool toys and other pieces. The basement is completely unfinished and I'd go to town down there. We could get so much extra purposeful storage down there.This design takes into account the current plumbing and the support layout of the building. All our neighbors have half finished or finished basements (Jenna's is awesome) and I've been studying since we moved in. I've stacked the second bathroom under the upstairs one to sut down on the amount of plumbing having to be moved around. I'd use some of the old hutch doors I found,refinish the and use them somewhere. Perhaps in a cabinet over Aunt Lou's Bar. I'd line the walls with shelves and try to do some built in seating in the big living space. But I'm not sure if i'd want one big room or a big room that could be closed off with french doors to create two separate spaces. Probably one big room. I want a bar area.I want to display all of the Tikis! I'd love a corner fireplace. I'd go up to the cabin and collect the big lakestones to create the fireplace facade. I found an example of a hinged bookcase door, so the passage to the laundry area from the rec space wouldn't loose any storage at all.I've also kept a nice big storage pantry at the bottom of the steps. We keep our bulk items, all my canning and stuff down there. There would be space for oversize pots and things we don't use on a daily basis which would free up extra space in the kitchen. And I've incorporated wine storage (we drink a good amount of wine) as a design element in the hallway to the laundry room. This takes advantage if the cool constant temp of the outside wall. There would be space for a proper linen closet in a proper laundry room and there is great under the stairs storage and under my art room, too. We'd have to get rid of the olde stove that's down there. And I'd love a chest freezer for all of the delicious things we make in grande proportions. All the tools and stuff would have their dedicated shelving area which would mean the closet in the kitchen could just hold cleaning supplies. That would be great. And my gardening supplies and pots and stuff could finally be organized instead of all over willy nilly. And, there would be a really good off season closet to hang clothes and coats and shelves to store boots and shoes.I'd use pocket sliding doors built into the walls for the bathroom and pantry so there wouldn't be the problem of losing valuable space for the inswing. Now that I know what the cost of radiant floor heating is (thanks Jenna) I think it would be wise to use in all the living areas. Not only is it cost efficient, but the heat rises up and helps heat the upstairs as well. The floors up here would not be cold in the winter the way they are now because of the cold basement. Now, my friend Ron installed them himself for his basement bathroom and he says it's easy to do, but he's a very good DIY person and I think we'd hire professionals for the whole shebang if this was to happen. Good storage, extra space. Totally max out the house. And finally get all those comic books off of the cold porch!


Anonymous said...

One of the most commonly used purposes of interior designs is Custom window treatments. The window treatments mainly focus on decorating the windows of the house. Depending on the size of your room and the placement of the window different window treatments can be put to use. Creativity is very much required to lend a design to your house. You can make use of the different colored curtains to add zeal to your room.

Cully said...

At the risk of sounding like the spamment above me... do you know/read ReadyMade Magazine? They have an annual "small spaces" issue that has some great ideas, and lots of their projects appeal to the new hipper craft generation that is booming right now.

Anonymous said...

So many cool ideas and such detail. I love it! My goal is to also "have a cool place to inhabit like a spirit in which I can make art and hold gatherings and generally be creative" but you're already there. Congrats!
I like to see innovation and day dream so I like second hand stores. No wonder I used to go to visit (Last time they had Dear Abby's apartment doors or something and I had to fight from buying something that had a connection to the Smothers Brothers. LOL These days such places are more common, even in, um, Des Moines near me...) These look similar, Have you been there?
Also consider freecycle. org for your county/area or the ReUseIt network, people get rid of materials quite often, dry wall, etc. Give first and then you can ask. Perfect for you!
Just a thought also FYI You may also want to consider my friend Claudia's husband who runs The Energy Detectives there in Chi
This looks interesting, too.
The joy is in the journey -- and you've got a lot of joy ahead of you, lucky gal! xoxo M

Jill Thompson said...

I subscribe to readymade. i love it.

Steve Buccellato said...

I love your sketches, and they make me laugh because I do the exact same thing. I reams of paper and overflowing binders stacked in my studio with similar drawings, pseudo-blueprints, magazine clippings and notes to myself. I haven't been able to make most of these drawings a reality yet, but since I am constantly revising them, when I finally have the money to renovate, it will all be really well thought out!

Thanks for sharing!

Jill Thompson said...

you should see my clothing doodles!

Tara said...

I love your place, and am always jealous (not leastwise because my condo experience has been, as you know, a nightmare). But when I picture myself in a house someday, I always picture a little post-war bungelow on a tree-lined street walking distance from the world.

The thing I missed most this summer and autumn, while I waited for my ankle to heal up, was walking all over the North Side.

Steve Buccellato said...

You should post some clothing doodles! :)

Tom said...

I've been obsessing lately over apartment therapy. There's a ton of great ideas on the site. I'm waiting for the next big freelance check to set off an Ikea bomb in my apartment.

tot said...

hey jill, i want to know: what color is your hair and your eyes?

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

I love decorating and revamping our place.
And nothing is quite as satisfying as when you need hammers and big crowbars to do it.

Nancy said...

I have massive house envy! your ideas sound perfectly lovely! ps we have plenty of snowflakes all over our walls! :) hope to see you guys soon.


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