Sunday, August 16, 2020

Use It Or Lose It: Office Updates

Welcome, come in! You've just stepped in my front door and glancing to your right you get your first look at my library.

Well. It's not really my library. Allow me to clarify.

We've traditionally referred to this room as our library. Which makes perfect sense since it's chock full of books and a fabulous place to read, down here at the far end of the house from the kitchen which makes it quiet and fairly orderly. But since Covid, my husband has taken over as head worker-from-home and commandeered the space for his finance director-y business. So these days, it's more an office than a library.

And since my husband is in here grinding through spreadsheets, wrangling consultants into line, and Zooming with his homiez, this room is not really mine anymore. At least, not during the day. Once the sun goes down and my husband signs off of for the day and heads upstairs to sleep like a normal human being, Gracie and I take over for the midnight shift. 

Anyway, come on in and look around. Thanks to my new use it or lose it policy, which dictates that I not just hang on to possessions I want to keep but actually put them to use, I've made some changes in here lately, and I'll tell you what's new.

I mean, first off, you're sure to notice the giant red beast snoozing on the couch.

Correction. Her couch.

Contentedly, Gracie sleeps through my late night work sessions curled up just like this, usually cuddled  on her favorite throw - too hot for that today - and her beloved pillow, almost completely hidden under her cute little head. 

But notice behind her the slim table tucked between the couch and the window.

Recognize it? It's a little gem that was born to serve as a bench in my bedroom, created from a slab of live maple that I sanded and finished with my own two hands, and a set of hairpin legs. And it was adorable in this purpose...until I realized the little darling had become a treacherous drop zone and in a burst of late-night furniture rearranging, I brought her down to use as a coffee table in front of this couch.

Which was a wonderful concept. But remember the big red dog who considers this couch to be her very own? Yeah, she has no need of a coffee table in front of her couch, nor any special regard for one placed there. 

Which means that every night when she came chugging into the room and took a flying leap toward the cushions, my lady bear could not have cared less if the darn table rocked on its curvy little legs, or the tokens on top got knocked around. 

Which made for a dangerous situation.

So several months back, I gave up on this arrangement and, defeated, put my maple table into the scary place known as my garage. 

Nooooooooo! I'm supposed to be taking things out of there, not adding to the heaps!

Well, don't worry. This story has a happy ending. Not an hour later - the spiders hadn't even had a chance to spin any webs on it - I snatched my table back out of the garage and marched it back into the house to give it yet another home - behind the table, where reckless airborne dogs cannot disturb it. Now it is a peaceful home for plants and a perfect spot for a reading light, and Gracie and I are both pleased as punch about this new arrangement.

Alright, now please direct your attention to the back wall of the room. Remember this work-from-home annex table, designed to be a gathering place for my husband's hordes of transaction summaries and account reconciliations? That was a shining use it or lose it moment, and I'm pleased to report that the desk is doing a bang-up job of keeping the papers corralled but in full disclosure, it's become a bit of an eyesore. I hauled off about fifty pounds of pulp before I took these photos and then dragged it back into place to be at my husband's fingertips come Monday morning. 

How about that art arrangement? You may recall that just a few months ago, I had hung a thrifted oil painting of a happy mountain a la Bob Ross and mentioned that sooner or later, I was bound to replace it. 

Yep. That day came.

One might argue that the former landscape introduced a bit more variety into this assortment of art and had a charm all its own, and I wouldn't disagree. But every time I glanced up at the wall, this is new painting is what I saw in my head and I decided it was high time to create my own reality. 

Couldn't be happier with how my wobbly black circles turned out. But I saved the Bob Ross mountain art, just in case.

The IKEA Knixhult bamboo lamp got shuffled out of the family room when the big pine cabinet came in, and in a desperate attempt to find him a new home, I tried him in here. Bingo. Now he springs to life every night on a timer, and splashes beautiful golden light across this arrangement. I'm fairly obsessed with timers on my lamps these days. Best idea since sliced bread. 

And stacked to the left of the lamp are my husband's current library reads. Yes, he really has chosen to plow through War and Peace, just for the fun of it, during quarantine. 

He's an Enneagram 1 and an ISTJ. Are you shocked?

Alright, one more stop on this tour of new homes for displaced objects. Take a look at this wall, opposite the window, loaded down with desks and tech gear, and dominated by a huge striped painting, done by my second-born during her college days. I am crazy for those stripes. 

Off to the left, over my desk, I've been collecting up from around forgotten corners of the house a few smaller compositions that seem to speak the same color language as the big stripey boy, and adding them to the mix:

The bottom painting, all white stripes and angles, was also done by my second-born. Her art always feels good in my head, and I love to have those reminders of her faraway self all around my house. 

The middle painting, a study of fruit, came from my nephew, who now paints professionally in his home on Martha's Vineyard and makes a living selling his beautiful rural landscapes to the tourists. 

And the top painting is a watercolor of an adorable store in Vermilion, Ohio. just a block off Lake Erie, where my husband's great-uncle used to run a grocery. We visited there last summer and I'm delighted to say that the yellow striped awnings still hang overhead.

In a fit of rebellion a few years back, I painted the inside of the door the same shade of red found in the big painting's stripes, though they don't look much of a match in this lighting.

I love the way these pieces talk to one another. 

I love how the colors repeat in subtle variation.

I love how each composition is unique, and true to itself.

And I'm glad I hung them here on my wall, where I can look at them and smile every day.

So there you go. That's a lot of use it or lose it projects for one weekend, and I'm feeling quite satisfied. Deciding how to add the things I love to my rooms in interesting and un-cluttery ways is a demandingly creative process, and I must say that I am enjoying the ride. 

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More stories about my Use It Or Lose It adventures:

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