After having an epiphany of the interior design variety a couple of months ago, during a sleepless night, we have had a fairly major change in the room that was being used as a sort of study, come craft space. It never seemed to quite work really and I couldn't put my finger on it as to why. I suppose part of it was that one side was hubby's with his desk and the other side was my desk and various craft gubbins. I will freely admit that during crafting sessions, my side pretty much always invaded his side; a situation I have heard from many other crafters. Luckily, my hubs didn't mind this and happily put up with the encroachment. But I still wasn't really happy with the room. I didn't feel inspired to be in there, despite it being very light and sunny in the mornings.
As I lay awake that night, turning all sorts over in my head, the idea for a whole repurpose of the room emerged. As to whether it was possible was another matter.
I am a total book lover. I love my books - just looking at them makes me happy! In a previous house, we'd put shelves up in our dining room that covered one wall entirely. Those shelves were then in turn covered with books.
However, when we moved to this house, after a stint abroad, house prices had gone crazy and the same options weren't available. I had donated a lot, and I mean an awful lot, to charity and to the local library before we moved abroad but I still had a substantial number of books. We ended up having a couple of good old Ikea Billy bookcases dotted around the house, and another older half height bookcase holding my recipe books. I've lived with it for a few years but it was far from ideal, especially as most of my books were still in the loft, which I knew wasn't the best environment for them.
It had also been playing on our minds that we didn't have a dining table. Well, we did, but it was still covered in shipping wrap and sat in the garage. Having a smaller house we just didn't have the space for it. Most of the time, this wasn't an issue. We aren't the type to throw posh dinner parties and we eat in the lounge, chatting and catching up on any series we've recorded. I know purists will gasp in horror at this, but it's what we do, and we're happy doing it. If you have children, then that's a whole different deal and I'd agree that sitting together and having the opportunity to talk about your day, etc, is important but we don't have that situation so we do what works for us. Anyway, back to topic! Mostly our friends were happy to eat as we did, and if the parentals visit, we used some fold out 'tv tables'. It worked. But I was aware that if I went for this whole transformation of the room, then we could also incorporate a dining table, making it a real multi purpose room but still look chic and tidy - the current design had open shelving for a lot of craft bits and I wasn't happy with it entirely. Yes, you can see what you have, but I still wasn't using a lot of it, and it was a pain to dust! And honestly, I'm not a fan of open shelving in general. I like things behind doors and the clean lines that tends to give. I know some people love open shelving and all power to them. It's just a personal choice - there isn't a 'right or wrong'.
So! After pulling all my books out of the loft (yippee!!!!) I also took down all the shelving in the room, piling up the craft goodies and sorting out exactly what I was going to use and what, in all likelihood, I wasn't. I went through all my scrapping paper and donated a tonne to my beautician's Mum, who runs a childcare service. Other craft items mostly went to the British Heart Foundation and a couple of bits that were brand new sold on Ebay.
Eventually, we got there. Trying to condense the contents of two desks, two filing cabinets, and drawer sets, eight shelves and two cupboards into just the two cupboards was no easy feat. The cupboards themselves were ones already existing in the room but in need of a makeover to blend in. One tin of Annie Sloan chalk paint later...
transformed! I've yet to put the handles back on this one in the above photo. The other cupboard was pretty much the same sort of mdf wood veneer colour but neither matched each other, and as the bookcases were slightly off white, I really wanted to paint them to make the room look more cohesive. It's amazing what a difference it makes. I didn't both with the top of this one as it's pretty tall and no-one tends to look up there! Plus it's now home to a few things that don't need accessing too much (including the big box that holds my wedding dress! Not an easy size to find space for). Ideally I wouldn't have anything up there but needs must and to be honest, I don't tend to notice the things stacked up there tidily.
I have to admit, there were a couple of moments when I thought I had taken on an almost impossible job as I sat surrounded by 'stuff'! But we got there. And I now have a view that makes me smile and inspires me when I sit down to sew or scrap or make a card.
New inspirational view from my sewing machine
I wish I had taken photos of the process along the way, but there was a lot else going on at the time and the idea of blogging the transformation hadn't really occured to me, so apologies if it's all a bit 'wordy' for you.
We have a print waiting to go up, but need to find a frame for it first and the wall behind the machine is currently bare. We haven't decided on what to put up there yet but I'm sure I'll know when I see it.
I'm really pleased with the outcome. We did have to choose a different dining table as our original is too big for the room but the pine one we got, again from Ikea, is just the right size and was a great price. We knew we wouldn't be eating in there loads so it made no sense to splash out on some beautiful, but pricey, solid oak one. It does the job and looks great, with the wood adding a bit of warmth to the white walls and bookcases.
Hope you enjoyed the 'tour' and would love to see some pictures of your rooms - especially those that have to be multi purpose!