Friday, May 8, 2020

Rearranging The Furniture

I suppose it comes as no surprise that the Covid quarantine is affecting us differently. 

I understand that many people - especially older people - have been shut up in their homes painfully and utterly alone for weeks on end.

I get the economic free fall some families face, and I know how scary that can be.

I appreciate that parents accustomed to raising their kids with a supportive team of teachers and day care providers are suddenly going it alone, and I can imagine that feels wildly overwhelming.
I also have compassion for extroverts who feel frantic to get out and do something - anything! - besides hang out at home for one more day. 

But I am none of those people. 

I count myself so lucky to be at home with two daughters and fully employed husband, with my two separately quarantined daughters doing quite well, and my faithful students diligently keeping up with their algebra while the world goes upside down. My friends are faithful texters and I feel as connected to them as ever. 

And I'm incredibly blessed to be an introvert. Honestly, the truth is that I'm really loving all this forced time at home, and the beautiful extravagance of extra time to be thinking deep thoughts inside my head.

More than ever, I'm passionately concerned about the world around me. I care so much about mothers and want to celebrate the many ways women bring our best nurturing selves to not only raise our bio kids but to mother others. I advocate for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction - so many people are suffering  trauma in their lives, and desperately need our support and understanding. I care about people whose lives are profoundly affected by Covid - the marginalized people are suffering the worst. And I'm trying to keep up with the way our world is changing as a result of the epidemic, and listening to the emerging voices of reason. Western state governors, I'm looking at you. 

I want so much to think and write about all those fascinating things, to process more deeply, to hear ideas that are no doubt bouncing around in other people's brains, to compare notes, to move ahead together.

But do you know what I've been doing instead?

Rearranging the furniture.

I know. It's so weird and avoidant and unproductive. My furniture does not need rearranging. But somehow this is what I can do in this crazy upside down world of ours that is soothing to me.

Oh, and I've been obsessing over art work too. 

Mhmm. I know. So important, right?

For the past week, this room has been constantly in my thoughts.

Call it a den, an office, or as we always have referred to it, a library. But since early March, this room has also been my husband's work-from-home place of residence. And besides squeezing his multi-screen desktop situation onto our relatively tiny work stations - I allow him to trespass onto my space, because, you know, I like his paychecks - the arrangement has worked perfectly.

Until I noticed the carefully stacked heaps of reports beginning to pile up along the floor like drifts of new-fallen snow blown across the wide open prairie, and decided that there had to be a better way.

Which, after hours of brainstorming and analysis, inspired me to drag this white piece of furniture in from the garage. Owned by my fourth-born but temporarily on hiatus, this desky tabley kind of thing is just perfect for my husband's overflow without causing any huge design catastrophe in the room.

Okay, so the table is working fine, but what is up with that janky art arrangment?

Well, once upon a time, there was a small cabinet on the right side of that wall, which filled in the corner and made sense of the two pieces on the right side of the arrangement, currently hidden by the plant.

The plant is a different story. Let's set that aside for now

Anyway, last year we had the floors done, so along with every other stick of furniture on the first floor, the small cupboard was removed. And when the floors were done and it was time to move everything back in, I decided I didn't want that piece in the corner any more. Apparently I suddenly became a fan of open corners.

Since that fateful decision, the art scenario has just struggled along.

But all these months, I have been playing with a plan to balance out the arrangement. And once that table-desk was put in place, I realized it was high time to finally rework the art.

So then this happened.

Besides moving that poor plant around yet again, I added two pieces to the arrangement.

The piece in the bottom right is an amazing DIY I found on Design Sponge many years ago. The link to the instructions has been sitting in my Pinterest account for what seems like eternity, but finally last weekend, I dug it out, dusted it off, and put it to good use.

As a fan of geometry and particularly rectangular solids, I found the process of making one out of balsa wood and tacky glue to be a fascinating challenge. And I adore the finished product. But I'm just gonna say, if you are not a fan of fiddly projects whose instructions are useful but only to a point, and eventually must rely on your own gut instinct for spatial accuracy and sticky engineering, cut yourself a wide berth around this one.

This project was definitely not as easy as I thought it would be.

But with the help of a few replacement pieces and a whole lot of washi tape to hold all the moving parts in place, I persevered, and love the finished effect.

Above my groovy 3-D cube is a painting I bought at a thrift store.

For months on end, I've been scrolling past photos of homes decorated with tons of adorable vintage art, and hundreds of times, I've thought Where in the heck do people find such cute cast-off paintings?

Covid note: Jimmy Fallon's work from home situation is a huge case in point. So much crazy cool art in his house.

So when I found myself in a thrift store back in January, and this oil painting fairly jumped off the rack at me, I thought Huh, so this is how it happens. 

And even though the painting didn't entirely rock my world, I bought it. Because at thrift stores, that's what you do.

Several members of my family reacted to the painting by saying, "It's so Bob Ross." Now, I love Bob Ross as much as the next person, and I don't think any of us consider that comparison a slam, but it puts a finger on my unease.

After endless weeks of Should I or shouldn't I? I decided to go ahead and hang the thing. It fits perfectly into the corner of my arrangement, and when (not if but when) I decide I can't handle its Bob Rossiness any more, I'll paint my own piece to hang in the same frame.

So here is where my wall stands today.

Well, technically yesterday. And now the oil painting is hanging on an actual nail so I no longer need to stand out of frame and hold it in place for photo shoots. 

Current conundrums:

The paper tiger. He used to be centered above the art when it was just the four black frames and the yellow painting, which are now on the left. So now he's off to the left of center. Is it too wonky to leave him hanging out where he is? I'm kinda liking his asymmetry and leaning toward a no.

The table/desk. Can I style it just a little while still reserving its right to be a landing pad for fifty pounds of paper? Leaning toward a hard yes on this one: as of tonight, I added a candle (currently burning) and a small plant. 

The plant. Will he ever find a forever home? Maybe. But probably not.

In the meantime, as I search for answers to my burning decor questions, Gracie sleeps on. We both have found ways to cope with our currently unstable world, and I admire her spirit.

Currently I have no plans to move the couch.

* * * * *

It was just last weekend that I rearranged the bookshelves in this same room. Read about that here:

And here's how I styled them before that. Ranger helped.

How To Style Bookshelves

Then there was the time I got a little crazy with book storage

Adding Fuel To The Fire

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