A few of you have been asking if I'd show you more photos of my home. Well I don't suppose this was exactly what you were expecting?! You can see how my photos up until now have been veeeeeeeery carefully selective about precisely how much they show of my home. Truth is, I am slightly embarrassed to show you the above photograph of our dining room in it's current state, but I'm throwing caution to the wind here and hoping you won't think too badly of me.
In my mind you know I live in a light, spacious, warm, appealing family home. A pleasure wherever you look, calm and serene vistas of sunlight-filled lovliness. But the reality you see is a little different. The reality is that for one thing I am a grade A hoarder, a messy, unorganised individual and the rest of my family tends to follow in my footsteps. And for another thing, we are in the middle of trying to deal with a serious lack of storage around here, trying to find a way to deal with all the accumulated stuff of daily family life which simply has nowhere to go. We are living amongst dangerously teetering piles of books, magazines,
catalogues, craft materials, colouring books, stationary, crochet,
documents, files, directories, bills, letters, photographs, wrapping paper, writing paper, leaflets.
Some sort of method is needed in here to keep dangerous piles under control, in other words Shelves and Cupboards. One thing about houses with fireplaces, the alcoves either side of the chimney breast are taylor-made for built in storage solutions.
When in need of interior inspiration for just such intended storage solutions I turn to my collection of magazines (in a huge, teetering pile, naturally). I spend a whole weekend dragging them around, rifling through the pages in search of pictures of shelving. I snippety snip pictures out and study them intently, show them to my rather disinterested other half. And gradually over the course of a week or two, we come up with a design for our alcoves. Good size cupboards at the bottom, strong shelves to hold books and pretty things above. A bit of beading on the doors, pretty ceramic knobs, and maybe an arch over the top like that one there in the magazine. And painted white, yes lets paint it white and make it look all light and bright and wonderful.
I take the clippings to my father-in-law, the man who can do wonders with wood and scary tools. He has been champing at the bit for months, waiting for us to get our act together and ask for his assistance but not wanting to rush us or interfere (wonderful man that he is). He loves nothing better than a project on the go, some woodworking and DIY, yes, he's our man for the job. Straight talking Yorkshire man that he is, he tells me upfront that he doesn't like the arch idea, but says he can do it if it's what I really want, and I say yes pleeeease, its what i really want. We study the magazine clippings some more and make pencil sketches on bits of paper, do some measuring. Wood is brought in and a temporary workshop set up in the cellar.
Work eventually gets underway and I am drafted in for frequent quality control ("ooo you're a fussy-britches" he says when I tell him it's not quite level/smooth enough/high enough). I'm consulted on shelf spacing and the such like, and then I get on with my job which is priming and painting. I don't mind painting really, I got me some new paint brushes and used a water based satin paint which is nice to paint with and easy to clean up. I'm a messy painter and get a lot of paint on me. I also frequently lose track of time and end up almost forgetting to collect the Little People from nursery/school on numerous occasions, dashing across town in my painty clothes and arriving hot and sweaty and well, painty. Then of course I have to stand amongst a group of well-groomed Mummies knowing full well that I look a total mess. But it's oh-so-worth-it because I know I am making progress.
And finally last Wednesday, ta-dah!!!! The first alcove was finished and I am mighty pleased with how it turned out. Time to put stuff on the shelves :: Oh, I did enjoy this bit, yes I really, really did! My lovely books which were still in their packing boxes in the cellar have now got a beautiful place to live.
Books, books, don't you just love 'em? This alcove mainly has our non-fiction books in :: gardening, wildlife, travel, he-books (war/universe) and she-books (domestic/interiors).The alcove on the other side when we finish it is going to have all our cookery books (we have a LOT of those), a small stereo and the fiction books. We decided that my craft/art books and his computer/geek books are all going to live in the attic because that is where we respectively do crafty/geeky things.
I do love my little collection of domestic books very much and have read every one of them cover to cover. See how when the roses are gone there is a cleverly left decent sized space for oooh maybe eleven more books? Which is the current length of my Amazon Wish List. A girl can dream.