Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Nerds' Paradise

We bought our little house before we had kids and it seemed so big. We've acquired a lot of stuff over the last 10 years and are constantly purging and finding space for the existing things. The most underused room in our house is the dining room. Truthfully, I never wanted a separate dining room, but the house we bought had one. Not a deal breaker by any means.

In the throws of rearranging.
We don't use our dining room 99% of the year except for coloring, computer work, and bill paying. We were in need of something functional.

I stumbled on a blog and fell in love with the idea of bookcase storage. And I've (secretly) pined for a library room. After much discussion and a little table version of musical chairs, we decided that bookcases could be a functional storage solution. So we moved the small round kitchen table into the dining room, the five-foot rectangular one into the kitchen, and the vision was complete.

We bought some black-brown bookcases and a secretary from Ikea. We purchased five large and two small bookcases, one which rounded out the unusable corner. We can purchase doors too, but decided to wait until we could better visualize the space. We strapped everything to the wall (a must in earthquake country) and started shelving.
We moved the new secretary to the living room and the table back into the dining room. I can't believe how much bigger the space looks and how much more functional it is. As soon as we placed all the books, the girls started playing library and bookstore. They even got out the pretend cash register and started accepting Dora credit cards.
When the time comes we can open up the table and serve 12. But for every day this is a dream come true.

Samantha also inherited the two oak bookcases that were previously overflowing in the living room. She's so excited to have her own library to fill and it's made for extra storage in her room.

I love the satisfaction of moving existing furniture and pictures around the house, finding new ways to use what we've got.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Age makes no difference

I've been working out at the gym on a regular basis and a few days a week I see my cousin. She and her husband own the gym. Sometimes we get side by side on the treadmills and talk for 40 minutes.

She's lived here all her life and I have lived here nearly all mine. We're 12 years apart and our kids even farther apart in age. But it doesn't seem to matter.

We all get stuck in our lives. Our routines take over. I admit that I go a year without seeing friends in this small town. I work, pick up the kids, run errands--life revolves around them.

I'm enjoying seeing my family more often, getting to know my cousins who were my girls' age not so long ago. And now, when life is hectic, it's nice to reconnect. I'm enjoying the time with my cousin and hope that my kids will get to know their family a little more too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It has been a beautiful weekend--65 to 70 degrees by noon. It's easy to forget we've got another month before spring. So today Al and I took three projects outside: a side table, a tufted bench, and a piece of Masonite.

Samantha created a list of house rules that she and Alyssa decided needed to be displayed on the wall. We had a piece of Masonite lying around and two cans of chalkboard paint. The girls helped me lightly sand and then I started to spray paint. I don't know if we're going to apply a border, but it will be ready to write on tomorrow.

The HOUSE RULES are as follows:
  1. Do not say "I won't be your friend."
  2. Do not say "I do not like you."
  3. Do not say "I do not want to play with you anymore."
  4. Do not say "I hate you."
  5. Keep your hands to yourself.
  6. Share your toys.
Al and I think it's pretty awesome that a 6.5 and 3.5 year old came up with the rules and agreed on them. They've even been referencing them today. How could we not post them?!

Years ago I bought an ugly gold tufted bench. It was $20 and worth if for the wood and the tufting buttons. We covered it with a scrap a few years ago, but it was a quick fix. It was disintegrating underneath so we really needed to take it apart. Today we took it outside and dismantled it. Five hundred staples and a few blisters later, we are down to the bare wood. We took off the tufting buttons and saved those. Hopefully we'll be able to get the fabric off of them.

The bench legs need to be painted. We're not sure what color yet. And we thought we would do black or gray pleather or leather (see what I can afford) and then some nail head trim. But then I stumbled on this gray velour tufted bench. We aren't changing the legs to Lucite, but this looks pretty cool.

Bench inspiration:

The side table is a piece from our room. It was stained brown but we needed an accent color. We're painting it turquoise and then we'll glaze it. A long process . . .