Soon, when I’m not quite so busy…

(cue sarcastic chortles)

I’d really like to transform our den. Right now it’s just fine, standard, quite dated but absolutely serviceable. I’m not elated about the wood paneling or the carpet color, but they’re not killing anyone.

(Wow, it’s amazing how much bigger it looked before we moved in all our furniture.)

I’ve always wanted a library, and for a while there after we moved in I was insisting on calling this room “the library” in hopes that some day it might actually have some built-ins and be more than just a repository for our few shabby wobbly Ikea bookshelves. Alas, I finally gave up, since calling a room a library when it is not in fact a library just doesn’t stick.

But lately I’ve been looking at color schemes and room designs on good old Martha’s website (I’ve got a few little plans up my sleeve for the dining room, you see) and I came across a few rooms that I quite like, this among them: 

(Neither the best nor the worst, but one of the only that I bookmarked. Also I like the colors.) All these fancy images of homes way more classy than mine got me antsy about sprucing up that family room. So I sat down to draw up some ideas.

Since right now the window is already recessed about 8″ from the side walls, if we were to add 6″ of bookcase on either side, we could extend the sill of the window forward a total of 14″, to be parallel with those bookshelves. This would give us a window seat with some small storage capacity underneath. I also like the idea of a single shelf – the topmost – running horizontally all the way across the room above the doors, topped with some nice crown molding. I think small vases and art pieces could look really good displayed in the little cubbies, especially if I bought tiny halogen lights. It might make use of that really narrow, uncomfortable lintel space above the doors and windows.

I’m not sure what to do about the corner – maybe you could tell. -laugh- While layering the bookshelves would give us much more room for books and enable us to fully utilize that difficult corner space, I just don’t know if it looks anything but awkward.

Another thing to be said about building bookcases around the room: it eliminates the necessity of tearing out all that wood paneling. Sand, prime, and paint your country wood paneling and it becomes its chic New England cousin, beadboard. Suddenly it’s sophisticated. And just look at how good the beadboard looks in that cabinet image!

I’m really excited. I’ve got a list three hundred miles long of chores and tasks waiting to be done – project after project, planting and hoeing and refinishing and seeding and spraying and cleaning and sewing – and yet I want to drop them all and start this one right away. I have to tell myself it can surely wait till the garden gets a little more settled in – at least a month. -grin-

Still, I can’t stop thinking about color schemes. I’ve got a few lined up so far. I thought I really didn’t want blue in the house – I wanted only warm colors – but I’m liking these three especially:

Looks like I’m kinda into blue, white, and red/orange, doesn’t it? :)

I’m thinking maybe glossy pure white wainscotting on the lower part of the non-bookshelved walls, with blue (spackled smooth, no paneling here) upper walls. Then white bookshelves, with blue beadboard cabinet backs? Kind of like this:

Maybe the red could appear in the door to the kitchen, the curtains and window seat cushions and the insides of the upper-level cubbies, with some accent vases here and there among the shelves? I really want a lot of red, though, since I find blue too cool… How can I make this color scheme “punchy” without having it knock us down?

7 Responses to “Soon, when I’m not quite so busy…”

  1. debbie swickard Says:

    While you are making your tentative sketches, get some newspapers, cut them to the dimensions of the built-ins you are designing, lay them on the floor to mimic the amount of space that will be gobbled up by your design, and then see how much floor space you have left for the furniture that will be in that room. Depending on how much floor space you have remaining for the size of the furniture that you plan to have, you may find the need to make some adjustments. It’s easier to adjust the newspaper and the design than it is to tear out partial construction because after you start building you realize something that you hadn’t thought of before….

  2. debbie swickard Says:

    BTW, have you gone to the fabric store to purchase the material for the dining room yet? If you haven’t, be sure to take a couple pieces of your china/dishware with you. I hadn’t thought of that the first time that I went shopping for a pretty table cloth and curtains…. Consdquently, I had to go back again… So if you don’t want the pattern or the colors of the fabric you buy to clash with the dishes you will be using in that room, don’t make my mistake….:smile:

  3. diana Says:

    Those are both really good ideas – I hadn’t thought of bringing a dish with me. All my dishes are woodfired and rustic, as are my placemats (I want to not use tablecloths) but the look I had in mind for the dining room furniture is more silk striped brocade, plum colored walls and posh white wainscotting… so maybe I’ll have to rethink my plans a bit. 😛

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Instead of doing the shelving as in above scaled drawing, why not round the corners where one wall unit joins another and have a galley of art on the rounded (concave) shelves, with lighting…to brighten up and highlight the
    artwork I know you have done…

  5. diana Says:

    Hee hee, the only artwork I have done has a practical purpose, or it is of no interest to me (this drives my dad, the actual artist, absolutely mad). So I do have some pretty platters and such. And Josh has beautiful photos! I am really liking your idea.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The rounded corners( instead of butting) for the bookshelves to show off your wares was MY idea, Chica.
    Hee Hee on you…glad you liked it.
    for some reason the blog has trouble with my comments.

  7. diana Says:

    I think the trouble you’re having with the blog is that since you’re posting anonymously, the blog keeps each message for me to approve individually. So if I don’t get to the computer for the next two days…. your comment won’t appear until I notice it there and click the “approve!” button. Next time, before entering a comment try entering your name and all the information it asks for. Once I approve a comment with your name on it, the blog will automatically recognize your information each time you post a comment, and your comments will appear immediately.

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