Monday, January 31, 2011


Yesterday I was helping a friend move. She had rented a U-haul van and we drove to a nearby town to pick up a few things that her friends were giving her. I thought I was just helping my friend and keeping her company, but in fact I got to tour two really cool in-real-life homes!

The two homes I saw were each owned by 30 or 40 somethings, hippish looking couples. Both with cute kids with boho names; names that are a bit more daring then the names in trendy areas ... think Gulliver, Esther, Holly. Perhaps a bit "Stuff White People Like", poster people.

One home was an old church. Yes, I got to tour a church converted into a home. The back portion was the guys carpentry studio. Impressive. The front portion was their home. Impressive. The wife is a professor at the nearby university specializing in printmaking and he, skillful carpenter. The living space was open, the kitchen was raised ... in the area where the priest would preach. The carpenter had built a children's building inside their home. The wife explained that this was built as a nursery. And the boys had slept in their for about a year. Now its a play room, house with its own front yard indoors.  There was a large rug and a few sofas to set the boundary for the tv area and social area. The parents bed beyond that, separated by a wall divider.  An office area was along the front of the church; the three huge stained glass church windows were half exposed here.  Another office which was defined by Ikeas cube bookcase and a winding metal stair case going up to the boys bedroom....this is the part we were being shown. Up the staircase and one arrives on a balcony. The carpenter husband had made bookshelves. Although one bookshelf was actually a secret door into the bedroom. This room was long and narrow, against the front of the church. The tops of the stained glass windows came up the wall, through the floor. The bottom portion of the windows were in the office space below. Hand made bunk beds, with a slide down. Clean, functional and creative.  On the way down the stairs I glanced around the living space. Randomly and oddly throughout were bikes and chairs.  More bikes then one might think were needed for two adults, but I got it, if one of them were bike commuters. And chairs. The old Eames type chair, or vinyl/leather kitchen type chairs. These were scattered high on top of inside "roof" surfaces. Hard to say if it was intentional or if they were chair collectors and stored them wherever there was available space. This family was actually giving my friend three chairs for her new home. I was in awe, because I only get to see these kinds of places in magazines. It was neither intimidating or ready for a house photo shoot. Definitely lived in and warm and inviting.

The second house was a craftsman bungle bungalow. Lovely garden and stone entrance. And scattered around,  the distinctive Stickley furnishing. Collectors perhaps? Outside, two storage pieces. In the front room, a fireplace and two Stickely chairs. This is where we stayed and waited. It must have been the music that made me feel that this couple had lived here for a while and the house was a home, well put together.

I SOOOOO wish I had a camera for the church space.  And now I want to move to this town, as surely EVERY home is like these two homes I got to see. ha. I feel I lack the skills to put ideas together. But after a bit of envy and inspirational debauchery, I realized that my home is coming along, just very slowly. I could amp it up and do some little things that I think would make the space more me. Other things though, I do lack skills. I do not have any carpentry experience and I am not a PhD in textiles and fabrics. And I do not even have a partner with such skills! But both spaces did give me the confidence to go forth with my ideas and not feel constrained by the walls I have.

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