Now that the floor is painted we can move into the living room, which is basically what I've been waiting for for forever. I like painting and renovations and dealing with the bones of a space, but I LOVE moving into a space, like, so much so that I am kind of embarrassed to tell you how much I love it. Let's just say there is some twitching and squealing and other private moments that may or may not involve dancing to loud George Michael with exaggerated hand movements.
Anyway, I've been buying and storing all kinds of things I've been finding in local thrift stores since we bought the A-Frame in June, packing them away in boxes and forgetting about them. This weekend was the first time that I broke some of it out and got to styling a piece of furniture a la Emily Henderson that I recently found at The South Amherst Trading Post. Zane was there painting the second coat on the floor, so there was no dancing or squealing. Outwardly at least.
Oh! I forgot to warn you about my current cat figurine obsession. Sorry about that.
The rabbit print I found at a Goodwill for $2.00 and wouldn't have looked at it twice if it weren't for my Facebook group Useful/Beautiful. I liked it precisely because I wouldn't have looked at it twice, it's pastel, it would be expected in a nursery but maybe not in a living room, it was made in the 80's, and has a white frame; all things that challenge me to expand what I find beautiful. The cat figurine happened to echo the color scheme and voila: awesomeness.
The decanter was given to me for my last birthday by my friend Andy, who also curates Useful/Beautiful with me. He and I share a love of cocktails and bars and he is well aware that I keep all of our booze in decanters. I love how, well, lovely it is. The glasses were in the A-Frame when we bought it. The tray is one of many I have collected over the years. Have I told you that everything should be on a tray? Everything should be on a tray.
Oh gosh, I just love this elephant. My friend Sharon got three of them for me, all in sweet vintagey colors, and I couldn't wait to try one out somewhere! The books I had found a couple weeks ago at an antique store that I wouldn't normally go into. They specialize in antique antiques and I rarely get excited about that stuff anymore, but the spines on these books were too amazing to pass up. The rolls of twine were my grandmother's, and the metal tray they're on I found for $5 somewhere in Deerfield, MA.
I had to take it all apart when I was done taking pictures so Zane could finish the floor, and I doubt the piece will actually end up there, but boy oh boy did I have fun putting stuff on stuff.
When we bought the bungalow we knew we would put Zane on the first floor so we could have the two rooms upstairs to ourselves. We thought he'd like not being on the same floor as us, being so close to the bathroom, and having a window close to the ground to one day sneak out of. We were right, about all three of those things.
But we also knew it was a small room and that he wasn't getting any smaller. My dad built him a loft when we moved in, trying to maximize space, but as he grew, inexplicably, to well over 6 feet, the loft became a serious head-injury/spine-curving liability and we took it down when he was 15.
For four years he lived with the colors he had chosen as a 13 year old: dark blue with black trim.
It could have been worse. He painted a beautiful flaming heart (well, as beautiful as a flaming heart can be) with our dear friend Molly S. on one wall and took artistic liberties with the access the loft gave him to the ceiling.
We never really bought him any furniture; it was all cobbled together with roadside finds and hand-me-downs, and he seemed fine with that. And then he hit 17 and started complaining about the size of his room. Being the space problem-solver that I am I kept telling him that there was a lot of ways to maximize his room without having to build a $20,000 addition, something he did not buy.
Before he left on his big winter expedition I asked if I could empty his room out while he was gone. I'd paint and buy furniture and problem solve and uncover invisible square footage. Incredibly, he said yes. I say incredibly because if my mother so much as looked in my room when I was a teenager I threw something at her (not really, but you know, I probably wanted to).
Right before he left I had him remove anything that was going to gross me out or embarrass him to death and got started shortly after he left. I chose a not-too-dissimilar pallette so as not to rock the boat; a more elegant bue-gray for the walls and a darker version of it for the trim.
I found myself pretty emotional about painting over the heart. He had assured me that he did not care in the least, but asking a mother to actively destroy her child's art is not the easiest request. Then I decided I'd replace it with something and felt better.
I thought birch trees would be easy to paint (I have zero drawing/painting talent - less than zero), and would remind him of his long ski expedition through the forests of Vermont. I loved that they would come out from behind his television, urging him to remember that there are other things in life besides video games. I added new curtains, risking his wrath by removing his beloved purple velour ones, bought a new desk and bed and set about designing the room for space and teenage boy beauty (I was sure there was such a thing).
I built out his closet by installing shelves I made out of wood we had lying around since there was no room for a dresser and then I built shelves over his bed in order to get rid of a bookcase taking up floor space. Getting things off the ground; the bed, the books, the clothes - immediately transformed the room into a much larger, higher functioning space. And the addition of new textiles and colors (and the removal of ceiling graffiti) really makes it feel like a young man's room.
When he got home he was happy with the results, didn't ask after the purple curtains, and - Victory! He complimented me on my birch trees with, "the branch scars are pretty accurate."