reclaiming a space

On this cold(ish) Monday, Pretty Baby and I battened down the hatches and didn't leave the house except to pick up Brilliant Beauty and Little Big Man from school this afternoon.  The laundry loads have been washing and drying throughout the day and then piling up on the couch awaiting tonight's family-wide folding party (you wear 'em, you fold 'em), dishes are still dirty, and supper's not even thought up.  But I tackled a trouble spot in the house that's been preying on my mind.

We have this cool alcove in between a hallway and the original dining room of our house.  It's sort of a nebulous space since it's not a room and it's not a closet; think "nook".  It's had several incarnations in the three years we've lived here.  It's been a tiny office space, and a poorly used landing strip/closet for coats and book bags. Most recently this nook has gone the way of most things not well-designated for a specific purpose: it became a catch-all.  I kind of gave up on knowing what to do with it, so I hung up bamboo shades - one on each doorway into it - and stopped thinking about it.  To exacerbate the situation further, Pretty Baby started calling it her "office" about six months ago and had a big time slipping in there and junking it up further (get the visual on that for a minute...pretty stinking cute).

It was a hot mess.  But not anymore.
before and after . . .
It actually cleaned up really quickly.  It was mostly discarded toys and paper trash from Pretty Baby's tough-days-at-the-office.  The computer desk that was there got taken upstairs where it will be used by the kids for their offline game computer.  All that I have put back into the space is one card table, four folding chairs, and two TV tray tables.
. . . sheesh.
This is the second closet or closet-y area I've cleaned out in the last couple of weeks.  Like I mentioned recently, our house is not in CHAOS and stays pretty well-managed, but there are some trouble spots in closets and storage areas.  As I am cleaning out these spaces, I'm sloooooowly adding anything back into them.  Part of the cause of them junking up so easily is that I have been either not specific enough or even too specific about what could go into them.  For now it's my plan to keep this alcove wide open, storing nothing but the card table, chairs, and tray tables.

My favorite thing about cleaning out the space is taking down the shades and once again having a peek-through into one of my favorite spaces in our house - our library.
We opted for a library/study/office instead of a formal dining room.  Although I definitely have times when I miss having the space as a dining room, this has been the best use of the space.  It's a room we all love to be in.  It's warm and cozy, full of the prized possessions books have become to all of us.  There's a record player and a writing desk.  A lot of days the kids roll up the rug, tuck it into the corner, and pretend the room is a dance studio.  I regularly remind them they have their own rooms to play in, but they prefer the library. And I love that.

Here's a little tour of some of my favorite elements of the room . . .
looking into the library from the foyer
comfy chairs from a surplus sale at a local school
an eclectic doll collection from Romania, Korea, Mexico, Ukraine, Thailand . . . and my father-in-law's childhood (can you guess which one THAT is?)
a family heirloom quilt (in an old drawer I got from a swap group), a framed verse I remember hanging in my parents' home, and the blue Little House book set from childhood
absolutely one of my favorite things, full of tiny treasures from all over the world and through generations
My favorite desk ever (it's attached to the wall and folds down) which I got from my friend Christine's antique store, and the Indian artifacts my dad collected with his brother and father as a child mounted on a piece of wood my grandfather cut into the shape of an arrowhead and painted red.  I love this spot in the room.
This is the chair in the messy nook pictures, with the torn brown fabric.  Where the fabric was torn, ancient cushion dust kept pouring out of it (disgustoid), so I peeled away the brown fabric, tore up all of that nasty cushion, and put this temporary cushion on.  I love the structure of this chair.  I think I snagged it from my sister.
One last spot:
This is the last area in the library that needs serious attention.  I've decided it's the home project I'll work on this week. The beautiful armoire is another family antique, a batchelor's wardrobe. Right now it is haphazardly storing craft supplies, electronic cables, and the like.  All of the stuff in front of the armoire is coloring books and coloring stuff. The plan for this armoire is for it to be a very ordered space for office supplies and a better-executed landing strip for mail and paperwork, a sort of office-in-a-box.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Today a cleaned-out alcove reminds me how much I love a whole room in my house.  Not a bad day's work.

What's your favorite room in your home?  Or maybe it's even a corner of a room or a nook. Tell me about it.  I'd love to know.


  1. Anonymous7:31:00 PM



  2. Ugh ... I just commented and then hit the wrong button! Anyway, I was saying that I wish I had a room like this to share. The memories and stories in this one are incredible! We actually have a contract pending on a new house. (Long story that hasn't been "facebook news" yet.) :) In thinking through our plans for this new one, we talked about making each room usable and valuable. I don't want a wasted inch. This post has been inspiring!

  3. Your home looks lovely. It's one of my dreams to have an entire room dedicated to being a library. And maybe a craft room too. ;)


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