Monday, March 1, 2010

A Room of One's Own

A few posts ago, I mentioned that the lighting in my guest room isn't the best and showed a picture of my Enchanted Wood Shawl blocking on the guest room bed. That is the only time in the past two years that bed has actually been used.

For years I desperately wanted a guest room. We had three kids at home and no spare room, and it seemed like people were forever visiting and having to sleep in the living room or the office. Or we would move the kids around and put guests in the kids' rooms. When Oldest Son went away to college six years ago, I seized the opportunity and turned his room into a guest room. It was gorgeous and I loved it. I painted the walls and ceiling a deep shade of coral and moved in our old pine four poster with all-white bedding and linens to keep it from being too dark. I hung sheers from rods from the ceiling to create a canopy around the bed which was piled with pillows and down comforters and quilts. The room is small and the bed took up most of the space, making it wonderfully cozy. Everyone who saw it wanted to stay in that room. And for four years, it was in almost constant use. My brother lived with us for two stretches of several months each. My sister and her little boy came to visit like clockwork every three months. Oldest Son regularly came home from college and stayed there.

But in the past couple of years, things have changed. My brother moved in with our parents, just 20 minutes from us. My sister and her son have also taken to staying with my parents when they visit. And Oldest Son has graduated from college and moved into an apartment only 15 minutes from here. So for the past two years, the guest room has lain fallow. At the same time, my crafting habit has grown. And grown. And grown. The yarn that used to take up only a bookcase in the guest closet has since grown to a stash of yarn and fiber that overflows the closet and spills into the family room. I have acquired a spinning wheel, skein winder, swift, ball winder, yarn meter, and various and sundry other bulky tools that also live, for lack of a better place, in the family room. I own two old sewing machines, both of which are in storage in the garage, and currently have my mother's sewing machine on loan for some projects I'm doing--on the dining room table.

My husband has, on several occasions, suggested that the guest room might be put to better use as a crafting space for me. I always brushed off the suggestion, because we needed the guest room, right? But square footage in this busy house is way too valuable to sit unused, no matter how pretty it might be. A few months ago, I turned the entirely unused formal living room into a game room for the kids (they had been playing video games in the office, which was...disruptive, to say the least). That room now serves the neighborhood boy pack every afternoon. It's been used more in the past six months than in the previous ten years put together. And thanks to lots of good storage, it still looks like a living room, too.

With all this in mind, I finally bowed to the hubby's superior judgment in the matter and decided to take the plunge. The guest room is no more. I sent the mattress and bedding to a local charity. I persuaded hubby to put the four poster bed frame, which I can't bear to give up, and all the boxes under the bed, up in the attic--more work than it sounds, since he had to lay more plywood in the attic to create the space for them. I emptied the drawers of the various furniture I will be reusing--mostly full of junk I didn't need anyway.

Now I am getting to work plastering and painting the ceiling. Long story, but it needs to happen. I'm keeping the coral color on the walls, but painting the ceiling white to reflect more light. Then I need to paint the old furniture I'm keeping in the room--a chest for storage and two nightstands which will be the base of a new desk--as well as the old worktable that is currently out in the yard and is destined to be my new sewing table. All of these will also be white when I am done with them.

I plan on buying an Expedit bookcase from Ikea for open yarn storage on one wall, and we have an old rocking chair in the garage that will also be moving in. I need a desk chair and a floor lamp, and I'm hoping to buy a nice rug at a decent price. Eventually I plan on bringing in a tv with satellite hookup and maybe a dvd player. And then we'll see. I think this is one of those spaces I'll have to live with for a while to figure out exactly what it needs. Even though I will miss my beautiful guest room, I am so excited to finally have a room of my own!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a room of your own! Can't wait to see pictures of it!

Lydee said...

this sounds wonderful! what a good idea to turn your formal living room into a game room. i just might try that idea myself.

Jean Baardsen said...

I'm glad to hear you're getting a workroom! I practically live in mine. My studio was once an attached, 2-car garage, and was converted long before we bought this house. At my blog, if you search "excuses" there's a tour of the studio. All my computer stuff, and even my cockatiel, Casey, live in this room!

Anonymous said...

What a great room that will be! And I applaud you heartily for turning the living room into a game room. The living room in any house that has a family room is like a museum room, never used.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Congrats on the room! It's always nice to have a space of your own to escape.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Both Dave and I have our own rooms (his is music, mine is arts and crafts) and it's great - I don't know what we are going to do when we decide to have a baby - one of us will have to give it up - unless we can keep baby in the living room? :)

Fibra Artysta said...

Having a studio space is one of the best things I've ever gotten. Its so nice to be able to just geek out with your craft/art of choice whenever the mood strikes.

I have the Expedit bookcases, LOVE them! They work great.