Aaaaand we’re back! It’s kind of sad that I haven’t blogged much – OK, only ONCE, since the last One Room Challenge. I could go on about how I’m so busy with client work and family stuff, but let’s just get down to business, shall we?
For the uninitiated, the One Room Challenge was founded by Linda of Calling it Home. Twice a year, designer/bloggers across the country (and world, even!) transform a space in their own home, or a client’s, in just six weeks. We document the progress – good, bad, ugly, and catastrophic – each Thursday on our blogs, and link up to Calling it Home to share in the fun with the other participants, as well as many interested spectators.
Last time around, I made over my vestibule.
To get caught up on my Spring 2015 ORC undertaking, “Project Vestibule,” here’s a link to all of those posts…easy peasy.
This time around, I am taking on our Library. Or Study. Or Mens’ Parlor. I’m actually not sure what it’s supposed to be called, but this project shall heretofore be known as…
Yes, the Manbrary is getting a serious makeover. It is my husband’s sometimes office, and it has been ignored and neglected (and basically used for random storage) since we moved in two and a half years ago. I could talk about the cobbler’s kids and their lack of shoes – but this cobbler’s kids are getting along quite nicely. It’s this cobbler’s other half that has been largely ignored (sorry!)…until now. So although this project is in my own home, I do have a client on the project. Should be very interesting!
The Manbrary is within spitting distance of my now spiffed-up vestibule, and is actually the first room you see when you open the vestibule door into the foyer.
I’m totally stalling on sharing the “befores” – it kind of feels like that dream where you’re speaking to a crowd and suddenly realize you’re not wearing any pants. A little embarrassing…
The room is a great size and is very nicely proportioned, has a potentially cozy gas fireplace (inserted into the original firebox) that we’ve literally never used, and the built-ins (and the fact that they are there at all) are really nice, too. They’re just a total mess right now, and in dire need of both organization and styling. My husband is a pretty tidy person, and I know he’ll appreciate looking at orderly, thoughtfully-arranged bookcases. I’ll be adding some comfortable, yet compact upholstered seating in front of the desk to better take advantage of the fireplace, and also do double-duty as guest chairs when needed.
The light fixture is a simple but elegant semi-flush mount alabaster bowl that I believe was installed by the previous owners. I love the quality and direction of the light, which works well with the oval decorative plaster design. However, I don’t think the scale of the fixture is quite right, especially relative to the very large desk below. I’m debating what to do here – I just found a great source for alabaster bowl fixtures (which I could get in a larger size) for a separate client project, but I can also see doing a more modern chandelier or lantern here, to take the edge off the very traditional elements in the room.
I have made a number of half-hearted (and unrealized) attempts to try and get this space finished. (Note, the two ‘guest chairs’ are actually extra seats for our adjacent dining room, which need to find a new home). I actually painted the walls this color, thinking I might refinish the wood with more of a mahogany stain similar to my vestibule. However, this ain’t mahogany. It’s probably gum wood – not a special or unique species at all. Once I started quoting wood refinishing for clients and learned how much it would cost, I just tabled that whole idea. My husband, who liked the idea of wood (and what man doesn’t??), also came to realize it wasn’t that sweet, and told me he wouldn’t mind if I painted it. Hmmm, don’t mind if I do.
One change I made right after taking these pictures was removing the corded woven wood blinds. Not only were they totally dangerous for my curious young toddler – they also didn’t add anything to the room other than darkness. And because they were designed as top-down bottom-up, the cord was always hanging down, whether the shades were raised or lowered. The dog bed is enormous, and not particularly attractive – my beagle, Harrison, spends a lot of time here, so his needs will be considered, as well :).
I didn’t, however, paint the ceiling. There were some condition issues with the original ornamental plaster, and I didn’t want to make a bad situation worse by just slapping another coat of paint on it. And more recently, a lovely crack or two have appeared and the ceiling is now sagging a bit. I actually met with the plasterer yesterday. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do a full restoration to make it look like new – it would just be way too labor intensive and costly. A couple of the most problematic areas will be our focus, so I can feel better about giving it a fresh coat in my chosen color.
My husband actually picked out the antique mahogany Empire partners desk himself – sourced online from an antique store in the midwest. I was impressed! It’s really a great piece. Unfortunately, it’s distinctive lines and profile are getting totally lost on the busy vintage heriz area rug I put underneath it. I love this rug, but it is just not working here. So it must go. If you are interested in buying it, please let me know!
The trim and moldings are original and really beautiful. I plan to play these up as much as possible in the Manbrary!
I’ve got a decorative scheme in the works, and I found my inspiration for the look, feel and color palette in this decorative desk tray from Hermes. I can’t wait to share my plans next week – I hope you’ll come back to check on my progress (and, of course, for the final reveal on Thursday, November 12th. I already have run into a couple of major issues, and we’re just barely getting started here. Oy, it’s going to be a long/short six weeks.
If you’re not subscribed to this blog, the best places to follow along with my One Room Challenge are:
1. Facebook (Interiors for Families)
2. Instagram (#KRIProjectManbrary, #oneroomchallenge)
See you next week!
And don’t forget to check out all of the other amazing transformations about to take place!