The great room shift of 2010
It all started with a large mustard stain on the carpet in our upstairs apartment a.k.a. large bedroom. I won’t go into how this stain occurred at this time. Let’s just say that mustard was involved. Lots of it. Well, in case anyone has been wondering, mustard stains do not come out of carpet, ever. How do we know? One bottle of Spot Out. One, two, no three passes with the Bissell Super Duper Rug Steamer. One visit from professional carpet cleaners. We could have saved ourselves the trouble – the stain did not budge. So long story short, the carpet had to be replaced. After the carpet replacement, it turned out that there was more carpet than we needed. Enough to carpet another small room, in fact. The carpet was paid for. The carpet store said we had to take it – they couldn’t keep it because it belonged to us. What to do with another roomful of carpeting?
And that’s how the great room shift of 2010 began. We had a small bedroom converted to an office/sewing/computer/TV room that certainly needed carpet. Trouble was, that room was in serious need of cleaning and reorganizing. It was packed with everything we didn’t know what to do with. My grad school books and papers. Favorite son’s grad school books and papers. Two computer desks. Furniture that we were storing for favorite son. Our friends called it the room with the door always closed. (“Pay no attention to that mess behind the door.”) Plus, the ceiling needed to be repaired after an unfortunate upstairs water incident. So, all we had to do was: 1. Remove everything from the Office Etc. room. 2. Repair the ceiling. 3. Repaint ceiling and room. 4. Have carpet installed. 5. Return everything to the room, but in a purposeful, organized and esthetically pleasing way. This should be a cinch. We scheduled the carpet install for two days before our Easter company arrived. That should give us the inspiration we needed.
1. Remove everything from the room:. We moved the furniture into the living room, dining room and family room. That meant we could not use those rooms for their intended purposes for the next two to three weeks. A massive computer desk hutch sat in the center of the living room. We left enough room around it to get to the computer, now settled on a folding table in front of the fireplace. We wedged a large old-fashioned TV between the dining room table and family room chairs, just in front of the sewing machine and sewing accouterments. Books, papers and a large video tape collection EVERYWHERE – on tables, chairs and in the basement. Every sewing project I’ve started but never finished lined up in hopeful anticipation, unaware that they’d be put back into pending. The mess behind the door? It was now everywhere.
2. Repair the ceiling. This turned out to not be so difficult. I thought we should cut out the damaged plaster with a dry wall knife and slap in a whole new slab of plaster. Excellent husband’s rational thinking prevailed though, and after several nights of patient sanding, spackling and smoothing, the Lord of the Ceiling had worked his magic.
3. Repaint ceiling and room. This was pretty easy too. My husband is a careful and top-notch painter, and managed to keep me at bay. I was relegated to washing woodwork and sorting.
4. Have carpet installed. This was pretty easy too. They have people for that.
5. Return everything to the room, but in a purposeful, organized and esthetically pleasing way. This was the hard part. What to pitch, store, give away? I wanted to get rid of the my husband’s big old computer desk and replace it with something smaller. But this desk is his Archie Bunker chair – comfortable, useful and all broken in. So the desk stayed. Two bookcases – we were giving away at least half the books, so one bookcase could go. We’ve moved it to the living room where it was repurposed to hold only the attractive-looking books and family photos. But to get it in the living room, we need to move the rocking chair to where the love seat is. The love seat doesn’t match the rest of the furniture so we can move that to the basement for storage, as soon as we figure out how to get a 36 inch love seat through a 30 inch doorway.
Back to the office – with the bookcase gone, we might have room for a bed. Wouldn’t it be great to have a guest room? We already have the bed, stored in the attic, where we had to displace the old toys and Christmas decorations to the hallway in order to get it in. If we move the bed to the office, we can restore the attic items and have room in the hallway again. But the bed won’t quite fit with this big old-fashioned TV. Okay, we can move the TV to the living room if we take out the long end table. I guess we could store the end table in the basement for now, at least it will fit through the doorway. But then what do we do with the lamp that is on the end table? We can’t give it away – it’s a family heirloom – and it matches the other lamp. And that corner of the living room will be dark without the lamp. Okay, we can move the lamp to the small end table that we rescued from the porch when we remodeled last year. Then, the large floor lamp next to the small end table can go in the corner behind the massive TV where the long end table used to be. This is all so easy – why didn’t we do this a long time ago?
Two days later – most of the moving and shifting is done. At least good enough to get company in and out of the house. The fine tuning can be finished up later. The great room shift of 2010 is a success. The rest of the house is still in stages of disarray, but the office is now arranged in a purposeful, organized, and esthetically pleasing way.