Monday, January 3, 2011

It All Started With A Hunt For A Couch

One of my, er...hobbies, I guess you could say...that goes in spurts
is looking at decorating magazines and books.
I'll get really into them for a while, then not look at them for weeks,
like waves of the sea.
During one point in my life a few years ago, I was in desperate need of a new couch.
This is what we were living with.

Laugh if you will. It's ok.
I would too if I weren't crying about it.
Actually, I had very good reasoning for buying that couch.
I was pregnant.
No, pregnancy does not cause mental reasoning issues (although some would argue it does). Instead, my reasoning was, "We can have any number of kids spilling any substance known to man on this couch, and no one would know."

I don't live with that couch anymore
(although it's younger brother, the love seat, has yet to move out.
Maybe I'll share that story later in the week).

Back from the rabbit trail...

One of the things I did while trying to find a new couch was
get some design books from our library so
I could look at a bunch and kind of get a feel for what style of couch I wanted.
One of the books I brought home has become one of my favorite books of all time.
It's called The Not So Big House, by Sarah Susanka.
What I didn't know at the time is that this book has nothing to do with interior decorating. Susanka is an architect and speaker,
and this book is all about how to live in smaller but better built spaces.

After reading it,
and not being able to find a couch I liked for close to a year,
I decided to take the money I'd been planning to purchase a sofa with and instead
do something to make our house better for us.
I contemplated what that could be for a while,
then landed on the idea that we could really use some new book cases.
We had one, and it was fairly small.
We kept giving books away because we'd run out of room for them.

I wanted to build them on either side of our window seat,
but was unsure how due to a lot of chair rail/trim around it.
So asked the advice of a carpenter couple I knew,
who suggested I build them up off the floor and around the existing chair rail
so that if they were ever removed,
the room would still be cosmetically pleasing and not require any work other than
patching some holes.

So I headed to Home Depot and bought some wood and nails and such.
Then I headed to a friend's house to borrow his table saw and chop saw.
And over one weekend,
I knocked out two rectangular book cases
(and, believe me, prayed every time I cut a piece of wood).
It was amazing that my first attempt at building anything that large
(I have a scroll saw, and had done lots of little projects with it)
turned out perfectly.

Of course, there are a few more details to it than that,
but because there are probably few people out there who would run into
the same chair-rail-issues I have, I'll spare you.
But I wanted to share this with you because I learned a lot from it.
I learned that you never know what you can do until you try and
that if I think something is doable, just {go for} it -
It may just work out wonderfully.
I also learned that, no matter your age, you CAN learn new skills.
So check out Susanka's book if you're up for an interesting read.

I wish I had a good "before" picture to show you.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take one, so all I have to show people are
old photos with the "before" in the background,
like this one on Little Brother's first time walking.

Building those book cases is probably the singular thing I've done
to my house that's brought me the greatest pleasure.
All because I decided to just {go for} it.

(The shelves actually look drastically different now than in this photo, but I'm too lazy to clean up the area to take new ones. I have very few tchotchkes on/above them now, and our book collection has grown. There's also a different colored cover on the window seat cushion, and different pillows. Oh, and new windows. You can see a bit of that in the photo below).

But it didn't just add bookshelves.
It also enclosed the window seat even more,
making it almost seem like it's own little room.
Its coziness-factor rose by one hundred percent,
and now it gets used much more often.
People are drawn to sit there.

Anyway, on this Just {Make} It Monday, and
from one just {try} it person to (hopefully) others,
here's to many just-{go-for}-it moments in 2011!

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