Monday, December 26, 2016

New office, part 1: the vision

We've decided to turn our sunroom into an office/sitting area for me, and I'm over the moon about it!

One of the challenging things about living with someone when you are older is that you've had plenty of time to get comfortable living alone. That means everything is right where you left it when you get home from work, the thermostat is always exactly where you want it, and if you run out of toilet paper you only have yourself to blame. (To be candid, this is way more likely to be my fault than his.)

I didn't realize how much I missed having my own dedicated space in the house until we started talking about me working someplace besides the dining room table. We talked about putting a desk for me in Ryan's office for about 2 hot minutes, and then both of us being on the phone at the same time pretty much killed that notion. The more I looked around, the more I realized that everything in the house was shared space with either Ryan, the boys, or both, except his office (because it's HIS office, and he tolerates all of us treking in and out better than I would).

I pitched the idea of making the sunroom into an office/sitting area, and he thought it was a good idea too! That room has had a lot of unfulfilled potential since we moved in. You might recall this post where I posted pictures of what it has looked like for the past 2 years, or this one where I posted the 3 different colors I'd painted it (and never painted it Mega Greige like I threatened because it wasn't worth the effort).

I recall Robin saying "You must love this room!" the first time she came over for a Garden Blogger's Go-Go, and my immediate response was "No, but I really want to!" The color issues notwithstanding, bench is beautiful but not comfortable for lounging, and the bar table is too high to be practical. It just became a dumping ground for Ryan's basketball gear and Daisy's leash/treats/poop baggies. Oh, and let's not forget Ollie's litter box.

It's a small room and gets a ton of light, so I wanted to really embrace that but I wasn't sure how. I searched on Pinterest for "sunroom" and noticed that the rooms I loved were light in color too: NOBODY has a red sunroom. I'd need to deviate from my inclination towards bold color on the walls, gulp. Then I'd need to find pieces (desk, chairs) small enough to not overwhelm the tiny space that weren't also dark, heavy wood (which I gravitate to like a moth to a flame). And then there was the pesky thing of a budget. I searched Craigslist and sales on sites like Hayneedle, Wayfair, and Target.

Step 1: new paint! I went with Benjamin Moore 'Cloud White' and I LOVE IT. I know, I know, I've always railed against white walls, but it's creamy and relaxing without being sterile. [Full confession: I first painted it all one coat of White Dove, which is the color of the kitchen cabinets, but it was a tinge too gray-white in this room, despite being gorgeous on the kitchen cabinets and walls, so my second coat was Cloud White. Paint is weird.]

The desk will go here, against the glass
Opposite wall. The bench will ultimately move to another room,
but the mirror will stay. Maybe I'll paint it? Dunno yet.
It isn't quite this cream-colored, but as you can tell it's nighttime and my iPhone camera is...well, it's an iPhone camera. I'll take a picture in the daytime soon.

Here's the rest of the plan!

My chair/chaise:
Bliss Chaise Lounge, West Elm
This goes against the wall where you currently see the bench (above). I will read gardening books here when it's too hot or cold to sit outside, and I will nap here with the cat. I will probably also need to put down a blanket or retrain the dog, because currently the bench is her indoor high ground.... I've got some time to figure it out, sadly, because it likely won't arrive until early March. (Delayed gratification builds character, right??)

My desk (thanks for the Christmas present, Mom & Dad!):
Mid-Century Desk, West Elm
It's due to arrive between January 2-16. I adore it, and it matches the hardwood floors which is completely inane but it still tickles me.

My bookshelf:
Darley 8 Cube Bookcase, Target

The Target bookcase above is a MUCH more affordable version of the West Elm version below! (Even with 20% off I couldn't rationalize it.) My bookcase could arrive as early as Thursday, and when it gets there I'm going to put it against the window and fill it with gardening books, then put succulents in pots on top!
Industrial Modular Bookcase, West Elm
Last but not least, I needed a solution for Ollie's litter box. There's no place else in the house it could logically go, but I didn't want it just out in the open like it has been since we moved in. Kinda ruins the vibe I'm going for, you know?

I wanted to find a little enclosure that he could get into for privacy but was also functional, since we have Daisy's leash and treats to store. I searched high and low for a cabinet that wasn't too high or too wide: my plan was to cut a hole in the back so he could enter/exit, with doors so I could easily clean it out but also keep it out of sight.

I present my solution:
Abbeville Stacking Cabinet, Ballard Designs

It's 24" x 24" x 16", so his 19" x 11" litter box should fit just fine, and I'll just leave the middle shelf out completely so he doesn't have to crouch.

I got this box for on top, to store Daisy's walk accoutrements:
Abbeville Open Stacking Cabinet, Ballard Designs

Hooray for holiday sales, 20% off promotions, unexpected windfalls, and dumb luck!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

I'll get you, my pretties!

What does my garden and the Wicked Witch of the West have in common? They both melted. These pictures were taken 24 hours before we had 3 days of temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s.

Before freeze:
Banana trees and Castor Bean 
Castor Bean plant tree

Banana tree, Giant Spider Lily

Purple firespike against the fence, Brugmansia and Canna in the distance

After freeze:

I'm a little sad, but mostly zen because new garden beginnings are exciting, and you can't have a beginning without an ending.

My frost blanket + light bulb method worked to save my Aloes yet again!

And of course now it's back in the 60s and 70s! I know our coldest days are still to come, though.

Merry Christmas!!