Beginning and End

Fear and uncertainty are not bad things.  Fear and uncertainty do not hold us back.  Fear and uncertainty elevate us to a world we could never go on our own.

Today was my last day of being employed by one singular institution.  It was a remarkably grey depressing day.  February showing us the worst she has to offer. And I am all the stronger for it.  It was comforting though coming home.  So that’s one good sign, the new place is providing some comfort to my weary soul.

I had the honor of personally thanking my colleagues for my fortune in having worked with them through the years.  I had one last lunch with my team.  And I was delighted to catch up with an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in five years over coffee.  In addition to all this were gifts, a card and even donuts.  As good a last day as any one person could hope for and I store it in my memory happily for future reflection.

Starting tomorrow I work for myself.  Well actually eventually if all goes well I’ll work for a limitless pool of people but at least tomorrow I work for myself.  I believe in myself and I actually have a pretty extensive tool box of skills, experience and imagination that will allow me to be successful.

Fear and uncertainty are there.  But I gladly put those in my tool box as well.  For both will assure that I do the best that I possibly can.  Dealing with them will make me stronger, more resilient, more capable.  I will be methodical and act with great purpose.  And have fun doing it.

I am definitely looking forward to being my own boss.  It will be a lot of work but I will learn a lot and frankly, having worked for “big business” it will be a refreshing dose of freedom and reward that comes with being self employed.

On the home front the constant rain has turned the yard into a swamp.  Nothing bad but not much to look at.  Bee day is Saturday so I should have more to share on Sunday – let you know how that goes.

Stay warm folks.  Talk to you later.

-Chris

 

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Jobless, Tour, Bees, My Computer Is Too Tall…Yep, I’m Still Me

We were honored to host another Kent State architecture class out at the house for a tour over the weekend.  It was a chance for the students to see the sustainable and energy saving tactics in use in the house.  Plus it was a great excuse for us to pick up around the place and run a vacuum so win win.  We spent an hour or two walking through the house talking about windows, passive solar, geothermal, rain water collection and other neat green building topics.  The students are working on a Habitat for Humanity project so hopefully some of the things we talked about can be used in their projects.  I see no viable reason why not, as most of the tactics and systems cost no more to design and build, and as we’re seeing they can save homeowners money.  If you’re not familiar, Habitat for Humanity helps build homes for low income families around the world. The homes they build are built to be environmentally sustainable, healthy and energy efficient whenever possible.  Take a look at their website and volunteer or donate if you can; it’s a worthwhile cause.

Later Saturday we had our friends over to talk bees.  They’ve been raising bees for three years now so they were our go to source for the ins and outs of starting our hive(s) this Spring.  We walked the land looking around for an appropriate spot for the hives.  We all agreed on a spot that would get good morning sun (to help wake up the bees via the sun’s warmth), have a good wind break (from our prevailing southwest winds) and be easily accessible from the house.  Retiring indoors, out of the cold, we boiled up some pasta and opened some wine.  There’s a lot to know and I’m not sure how much sunk in but it was a good chance to figure out what order steps need to be taken in to get started.  Next weekend will be bee prep day.  We’ll drive out to the bee supply store and get our hive components.  We’ll also put in our order for our bees.  The little gals (and guys) should be ready sometime in April I believe.  Next week I’ll clear an area in one of our meadows for the hive(s), lay down some gravel and cinder blocks.  Upon the blocks the hive(s) will rest. I’m not sure if we’re doing one or two hives yet.  I forget what we decided.

Elsewhere we ran out yesterday and replaced my old computer with a new one.  Being jobless, I’ll need a good computer to work freelance or consult so now was as good of time as any.  The old one made working with photographs or illustrations impossibly slow. If I’m being paid by the hour then I need to work as quickly as possible.  It was kind of depressing having to get the new computer, as I’d rather be employed but it’s really not my choice.  I snagged the cheapest Apple iMac they offer; it’s also the smallest as to best fit in my home office desk. I used an iMac at the old job and really like the Mac for working on Illustrator, Photoshop and Form Z (CAD).  A laptop would’ve been cool because then I could work anywhere, Ohio, Florida, wherever, but seeing as if I don’t even have any freelance work lined up I don’t have to worry about that.  Plus the laptop is really expensive.    Eventually as business takes off we can get a little more mobile.  Or if we have to sell the house and buy an RV to park in Walmart parking lots then we’ll go the laptop route.

Reluctantly I unpacked the new computer; Apple packaging experience as orgasmic as ever, but notably less so under the circumstances.  The computer is amazingly light and thin.  I placed its cool aluminum frame on the concrete patterned laminate desk top.  Without taking its thin protective foam cover off I slid it back across the desk.  Wouldn’t you know it: the all in one computer was too tall! It only fit under the wall cabinets if I angled the flat glass screen ridiculously skyward, or uneasily downward.  I sat there dumb founded.  I know I had looked at the dimensions of the computer online, even the new iMac that just came out (which I had purchased).  Hmmm….

I weighed all my options and ultimately decided the only course of action was to raise the wall cabinets.  I employed the help of my wife as I had no intention of taking the cabinets apart.  Rather we’d raise the cabinets upwards, about an inch, all in one piece.  I measured and there should be 18″ between the counter top and wall cabinets.  I had mounted my erroneously 3/16″ to low, which is all it took.  Apple designed their computer to fit under 18 inches but they did so way to closely in my opinion.  Suffice to say I messed up and needed to rectify the situation.  It only took us about 15-20 minutes so no big deal, but as with everything in (my) life, nothing is easy.

I decided to set the wall cabinets at 19″ to give myself plenty of room for the computer but also not look out of place with the other cabinets in the room.  I cut two boards at 19″ to use as supports.  With the help of the wife we unscrewed fasteners holding the cabinets to the wall studs.  I clamped the lower two letter box cabinets together for additional support as they are just attached by their front edge below the upper cabinets.  With all the screws out we quickly slipped the support boards under the cabinets.  We then drilled new holes into the studs and secured all the screws in place.  Pretty easy and the computer fit like a charm.

The new computer has just one cord so I don’t need the huge power strip that I had hanging there before.  I ordered a pretty cool looking dual outlet surge protector.  I’ll show it to you when it comes in.  With the power strip gone, and the fact that the new all in one computer doesn’t have a huge tower taking up space, my desk is downright spacious now.  I’m really happy in that regard, lot of space to work.

Only other news is I bought the wife her first LED light bulb.  She wants to take art photos in her studio and needed a little ‘daylight’ color bulb so for $14 I splurged and got her a 40W equivalent LED bulb.  Uses about 90 cents a year in energy but she won’t use it that much, should last fifty years for the number of times she’ll turn it on.

Ok, it’s Sunday…the Oscars are wrapping up (thank god; dismal as ever) and I should be in bed.  This week will be mostly continuing on the job hunt (which I’ve been neglecting a little in the past week…mentally I’m shot, but a good weekend helps recharge that a bit).  I’ve got art to work on, art shows to apply to, finish setting up computers, beat the pavement for a new gig, and get ready for bee season.

One thing I’ll say, and it’s related to absolutely nothing, the place is feeling more like home. We’ve been here almost a year.  I like the dining room table set up.  Tonight I was fine just sitting at the table, watching our shows and drinking wine.  No need to go and sit on the couch.  Having just one dining table makes it more special as opposed to a dining room table and a dinette table.  So I’m getting used to a few spots in the house; my dining table seat, my seat on the end of the couch, my studio.  The boys seem to be settled in too.  In less than 24 hours since all our guests left, the place is trashed all over again with toys, sweepers and food debris.  Like a frat house on Sunday morning without the passed out co-eds (much to my dissapointment).

Well enough of my nonsense. If I don’t talk to ya, have a good week, be nice and count your blessings.

-Chris

support blocks for raising up cabinets an inch

support blocks for raising up cabinets an inch

People Who Love Bees

The wife and I went are now proud members of the Summit County Bee Keepers Association.  Mind you we don’t actually keep bees, nor do we know what we’re doing but we have a card to prove we at least ponied up the ten bucks to be legit.  We assembled in a room with actually quite a few other people, I bet upwards of 75 other bee keepers were there from all over the area.

The two hour meeting started with a great presentation by regional bee keeping expert Denzil St. Clair from Queen Right Colonies in Lorain County Ohio.  Mr. St. Clair gave an overview of just some of the bee keeping products out there; some good, some bad, some just plain silly or useless.  His over 40 years of experience rang through as he answered questions and provided guidance to amateur and veteran apiarists alike.  The key we learned is to, as with anything in life, start simple, learn the ropes then experiment once you gain an understanding. Being new to this we obviously didn’t know about half the stuff he was talking about, but I nodded my head and looked engaged.  As a designer it was interesting because he talked a lot about design flaws in bee keeping equipment.  Apparently the bee product industry could benefit from some better industrial design.  Of course bees pretty much can live with or without all this fancy stuff but that’s beside the point.  But as I’ve admitted, I didn’t know the half of what he was saying.  For example at some point one may have to “sugar roll” one’s bees.  You basically count out 300 bees and put them in a tube. “Why?” I thought to myself.  “Does this make them taste better?”  “Are we supposed to be eating our bees?”  “If we eat all the bees then what are all the wooden boxes for?”.  Luckily for society’s sake I did not raise my hand, rather I was comfortable basking in the innocent mysteries of bee keeping just a breath or two longer.

After the presentation they held the meeting part.  It’s a very well run organization with a lot of members who are actively involved.  The also had free food so what’s not to like.  They passed around some clip boards so people could volunteer for things….a mentor list, the “swarm” list, and so forth.

Earlier I bought $5 worth of raffle tickets so we had some skin in the game when a young man pulled numbers out of a plastic canister.  I had glanced at the prizes when I purchased the tickets.  Looked like a variety of bee keeping goodies. There was a book and nice Portage County Bee Keepers shirt too.  But most of it I had no idea what the items were for.  They rattled off at least a dozen or two prizes worth of numbers in all.  Naturally though people are going to take the best stuff first: a gift certificate, shirt, some metal poking stick, two drafting brush looking things, on and on….”51472” (or some number) they’d call out and someone would go claim their prize of choice. We were a little disheartened but no big deal not having won anything yet.  Honestly though by time the association president called out “Okay, four prizes left” and the guy who won the fourth to last prize selected a one pound bag of grey dirt (or dust….or lint), the purpose of which I couldn’t fathom…I pretty much figured neither the wife nor I wanted to see what the last three prizes were.  After all if a grey bag of dirt is the fourth worst prize, the last three most likely involved something gross or clown related.

With the end of that the meeting was adjourned and we got up to leave.  Being that it was rude to talk during the meeting we cross referenced our notes on the way out.  Our conversation may or may not have gone like this:

Me: I signed you up for the “swarm” list?

Wife: What? Wait. Why did you do that?

Me: It’s good for you to volunteer.  I don’t even know what it is but sounded cool.

Wife: Um it means you go gather hives at people’s houses and transport them.

Me: Wow, that sounds crazy. Glad I don’t have to do that. So like they call you at 4 in the morning and you have to go get bees nest?

Wife: Um hello I’m not getting up and getting bees nests in the morning or at any time.

Me: What the hell are you supposed to do with them once you get ’em? 

Wife: You put them in your empty bee hive.

Me: So I’m just supposed to have empty hives laying around?

Wife: yeah, then you get free bees.

Me: Well sounds like you know what’s goin’ on so good thing I signed you up.

Next up we need to get the inside line from our personal bee keeping friend and we need to order our bees.  They’ll sell out within the next three weeks so we got to get rolling.  Definitely a new adventure for us.  Stay tuned.

 

Holding Pattern

My 200th post finds me in a state of suspended animation so to speak. Losing my job has put the brakes on all house related projects, thus I don’t have much to share in terms of projects, mistakes, breakthroughs or whatnot.  Looking for a new gig is pretty much a full-time job in and of itself.  Pickings are slim in this part of Ohio, so I’ve expanded my search outside the area as well; which unfortunately would mean the end of this endeavor at least for our family, but luckily we’re not to that stage yet.  We’ve made keeping the house a priority (our 4-year-old said “dad I don’t want to move, I like it here“) but we’re certainly not going to let it bankrupt us.  In the meantime I have a steady stream of clichés (e.g.“it takes a while”, “I’m sure he’ll be fine”, “everything happens for a reason”) to provide me with peace of mind that “it will all work out“.

So while I’m waiting for “it to all work out” I’m taking destiny (the fickle bitch that she is) into my own hands, and showing her who is in charge around these parts.  I am looking at a variety of jobs and networking.  Based on everything I’m reading and hearing, basically I’ll have to stumble upon an unlisted job by way of someone in my network.  So a more likely scenario is that I’ll be self-employed short-term and quite possibly long-term / permanently.  I’m spending my time now, in addition to the job search, assessing my skills and capabilities and looking for consulting and freelance work. hint, hint.  I’m an industrial designer by trade, and have worked my way up to design management by virtue of my leadership abilities, expertise and knowledge.  I can apply all of these to be a successful entrepreneur I’m sure of it.  While it will be nice to get a full-time gig, I can’t risk sitting on my hands waiting for that to happen.  Maybe if I was single without kids but that’s not the case.  You learn a lot of interesting things very quickly when you’re looking for a job; and the environment is constantly changing.  Doing my own thing in the meantime is at least one constant in an otherwise hectic situation.

I’m going to work on filling my dance card with design consulting in a variety of areas…retail design, interior design, product design and a few other areas.  I can also leverage my knowledge and interest in sustainability as well.  Art wise, the wife and I will be  hitting the juried art show circuit again this summer and really trying to turn even more of a profit on that front.

On the home front there are a few endeavors we’ll be undertaking that will hopefully offset some expenses or bring in money.  I want to get the tent(s) we use for weekend art shows working for us the rest of the week too, so we’ll be looking into working farmer’s markets.  I am going to plan out a vegetable garden in March.  Off the top of my head I’m thinking tomatoes and peppers will grow readily and abundantly.  A herb garden will be a good option too.  And hopefully the berry bushes will come into their own this year too.

Two major expenses will round out our self-sustaining produce initiative.  First off I want to buy those nine apple trees.  I need to figure out where they’ll go still, but I want to get trees that are large enough to produce a small amount of fruit this year.  There’s a nursery that sells them that big (like 1″-2″ caliper) up on the east side.  I’m guessing about $1,000 budgeted for those.

The other expense will be the most exciting thing you’ll read about on ‘nine apple trees‘ this year (other than if we have to sell the house).  We’re looking into raising bees.  Bees are important for our ecosystem as they pollinate all the fruits and vegetables that we use for food.  As of late bees have been in great decline around the globe.  If bees go away then we all die.  Dying sucks so we feel it’s a cool idea to support bees.  The bees will pollinate our crops and provide us with honey; potentially 20-40 lbs of honey in year one.  We’ll keep you posted.  The bees are Christine’s hobby.  I’ll just provide the heavy lifting, moral support and technical assistance.  Plan on getting honey for Christmas if you’re a friend of ‘nine apple trees’.

All other projects are on hold indefinitely.  I will probably do the design of the laundry room and basement just so I can put those in my portfolio.  But otherwise I don’t see me doing any handyman projects any time soon.

It will all work out in the end I’m sure of it.  I’m just not going to leave it in the hands of others.  That’s what got me into this mess in the first place.  In this day and age god truly does help those who help themselves.  My greatest asset is my mind, talent, work ethic, family and all the other great things that make me and my life what it is.  No one else has any of those things in the unique way I do, and that is what will put me / us on top in the end.

So stay tuned because we’ve got a lot of great things to learn together in the coming year.  Our first bee meeting is later this week. 🙂

-Chris

Will paint for food.

Will paint for food.

 

Case Study: Annual Energy Usage In An Energy Efficient Home

[editor’s note: I changed the title to ‘energy efficient home’ from ‘passive solar’ – this post doesn’t talk about passive solar that much, I can delve into that at another post]

Wow that’s a pretty boring title for a blog post.  I figured “Murdering Fewer Mountains and Trees So I Could Play My XBox” would be a bit to melodramatic for a Saturday night.  My new year’s resolution, which I decided upon last night was I wasn’t going to spend the day on the computer.  Well I made it ’til dinner time before I just had to hop on and fire up an Excel spreadsheet, and for your benefit, a blog post.

I spent the last hour or two pulling all of our utility bills for the last year or so, and entering them into my spreadsheet.  Also I cracked open a bottle of 2010 Joel Gott California Cabernet…it’s pretty good.  Whoever brought it over, thank you.  You’re welcome back here any time. [editor’s note: my sister said she got me the wine so I wouldn’t have to drink Yellowtail.  Thanks sis.]

2010 Joel Gott 815 California Cabernet Savignon makes everything better.

2010 Joel Gott 815 California Cabernet Sauvignon makes everything better.

So I looked at the energy costs from 2009 at our old house.  This was the last year I have complete records for on a previous spreadsheet.  The records I pulled for this new house span from March last year when we were still finishing the house through this month’s bills.

The old house was a cookie cutter colonial, about 2,700 sq. feet.  In 2009 there were just 2 of us and a baby.  Heating was natural gas, electric everything else including cooling.  The furnace had a humidifier too. We had city water and sewer at the old place.  Why this is important is for two reasons: city water and sewer means water magically shows up and leaves the house and we pay a bill to the utility to make that happen.  This also means we’re not really expending any electricity to get that water and send it back, as far as I know.  The old house also had about half the number of light bulbs compared to our over the top new house and it’s hundred or so light sources.  Cooking was natural gas predominantly.  Washer and dryer were electric just like in new house (we have the same appliances in the new place).  Most of the light bulbs were incandescent but many were CFL’s and a few halogen bulbs; no LED’s. Finally we had a gas fireplace but we never really used that.

The new house is about 3,000 sq. ft. and there are 4 of us in here living.  Heating and cooling comes by way of our hybrid system employing geothermal and natural gas. Our fancy system also had an air exchanger and full house air filtration system.  Water and sewer is handled by our cistern and septic systems.  Both of these run off of electricity to pump water in, filter it and send it back out after our bodies filter it a little more.  The new place also has a sump pump which runs all the time basically to keep us from going under water during wet periods.  Cooking is handled by duel fuel range, and electric appliances.  As I said the new place has a ton of light sources, i.e. bulbs, so that alone is a huge load.  Only 4 of the bulbs are LED’s (not including the range hood’s 4 LED bulbs). The rest are all incandescent light bulbs.  The fireplace is our handy-dandy pellet burning unit, and we’ve barely made a dent in our free ton of pellets we got from Northfield Fireplace. It’ll be 2014 before I have to buy pellets.  We run the fireplace every few nights when hanging out in the family room.

Usage and lifestyle are about the same in both homes, for example in terms of watching tv and play video games.  The new place does not have any electric garage door openers though, not that it matters a whole lot.  I’ve just been too cheap / broke to put them in yet.

R Family Company, LLC estimated we’d use $2,413 annually on gas and electric when they did our Energy Start rating last year.  The engineer and architect estimated the usage to be around $1,500 – $2,000 a year just for HVAC…I think.  I’d have to delve into the paper work a bit more to confirm that.  In reality we’re pretty darn close to those numbers, after considering a few things.  I added up utility costs across the four major utilities most of us pay: electric (E), natural gas (G), water (W) and sewer (S).  Other utilities are lifestyle like phone, cable and internet so they’re not important in my calculations.  So adding up EGWS we’re at about $3,080 for the year 3/12 to 2/13.  Our 2009 total in the old house was $3,129.  So actually a little LESS in the new place.  Now there are some expenses not added into the new house such as septic service like getting it pumped out or fixed if it broke.  Same for the water system and sump pump in terms of repairs.  I did include bleach and filters for the water purification system.  HVAC filters would be an added cost in the new home too (the old place had a washable filter).  There is one bill for electric in March of last year that was $800 when we had the resistance heater in place I believe.  That throws our new house total off a bit.  If you take most of that out of the equation then we’re spot on with the $2,400 estimate Bob gave us from Energy Star.

Here's what we paid in 2009 and what we paid in our first year in the new house (most of the year at least)

Here’s what we paid in 2009 and what we paid in our first year in the new house (most of the year at least)

Our Natural Gas (G) usage plummeted off the face of the earth.  Dropping a whopping 90%, I don’t even think the gas furnace kicks in all.  You can see it rises in the winter, so some heat usage and probably more cooking usage as well.  Most of what we pay for gas is fees, taxes and the privilege of having access to gas.  The geothermal heating is just fine for us.  It’s not too cold or clammy like some people claimed it to be.  The fireplace is offsetting some of this too, so figure if we had to buy pellets (a $100-$250 a year maybe?) our heating cost would go up.

Electrical (E) usage is way over the top at nearly 3x the usage of the old house.  But consider: that wild March bill last year, the septic, sump and cistern all running off electric, electric oven and the biggest culprit all the light bulbs…all add up to higher (E) usage and costs.

Water (W) and Sewer (S) costs are a fraction of what they were but once I have to maintain the systems it’ll be a wash I bet….think about replacing the septic tank, field and cistern and there isn’t enough wine in the world to make that not be a major bummer, man.

First Energy now has this cool energy usage graph that customers can utilize to see where they are spending money on electricity

First Energy now has this cool energy usage graph that customers can utilize to see where they are spending money on electricity

Here's another First Energy  graph that highlights electric usage

Here’s another First Energy graph that highlights electric usage

I logged onto First Energy’s site and they have a new energy summary that will show you how much energy you’re using and where at.  It looks pretty good though it works off of a lot of assumptions, I’m not sure you should get too hung up on the exact numbers.  I filled in all kinds of info about my appliances and house.  I like all the color coded graphs and bars.  It even compares my house to the average house.  For electricity we barely beat out an average house ($27 per month) but for overall energy we win by a large margin ($700 annually). It’s actually embarrassing see our costs pegged all the way to the left on the little cost graph……not.  Granted these numbers are just one month’s were of data I think.  I’d have to delve into it deeper to see what a year would really save us.  Also I need to go back and look at our Energy Star docs and engineering docs to see what they estimated and where we landed.  For instance I think the engineer said about $1,000 annual saving on HVAC alone.

By the way, we keep the house at about 70 degrees throughout the year.  The fireplace thermostat gets set at 75 degrees in the evenings just in the family room area.  Personally I need to be in a certain thermal band to be comfortable so I’m not one to dial the temp up or down to far, even to save cost and planet.

I wish someone invented a smart meter, that my utility companies would support and use, that would do all this monitoring for me and just output a report on my computer or phone. Maybe I should design one.

We can save costs in the coming year a couple of ways.  Convert more bulbs to LED’s, especially the bulbs we use the most.  I plan on insulating the hot water tank. I did that in the old house.  We can insulate the basement walls even more, insulating the top 4′ that are at or above grade.  There are some air holes at the corners of some of the exterior doors that I need to close up as well.

One note, when we go to install a solar power system, having this historical electrical usage will be helpful in sizing the system. Right now it’d be difficult to go zero energy (use as much or less than we produce) because we’re at about 17,250 KWH per year.  Let’s say we had 15,000 KWH per year…that translates to a 15 KW solar system.  That would take up about 1,500 square feet of space….our garage roof is probably about 600 square feet (the part that faces southwest).  So we’d have to cover the house bits up too with solar panels.  Cost would be somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 to install.  Not too bad considering there’s a Jeep I’d love to have that costs $40,000.  Savings over 20 years could be as high as $20,000 to $40,000 (including tax breaks and factoring in the cost of the system i.e. above and beyond).  The system would save between 400 and 800 thousand lbs of CO2 as well.  These are just wild ass guess numbers I gleaned from Dove Solar & Wind’s website while drinking my wine.  Our system would ultimately be smaller; we’d reduce our usage quite a bit and employ other goodies like solar water heating and LED’s everywhere.

Also today we went to the zoo.  They had a cool exhibit talking about collecting rain water and rain gardens.  Around this building there were two rain gardens with a “bio swale” connecting the two.  This inspired me.  We’ve got this surface water problem in the front yard that I’m going to tackle this Spring.  It’s late so I’ll talk more about it in a future episode.  For now you can look at a  couple pictures of the front yard and our temporary pond so to speak.  Night kids.

This is the little pond we get between the lawn and front bed, every time it rains or the snow melts.

This is the little pond we get between the lawn and front bed, every time it rains or the snow melts.

Spring project will be to address the surface water issue by reworking the topography by hand to get the water to drain.

Spring project will be to address the surface water issue by reworking the topography by hand to get the water to drain.

Honeycomb

I painted the craft room this weekend.  Off of our palette we chose Sherwin Williams SW6375 Honeycomb. Neither of us liked it when I was painting it on, but in the end it turned out to be a nice color.  It’s kind of a mustard color but with hints of tan and not too garish.

We talked a lot about the plans for the small craft room.  I sat on the ugly chair and let the room talk to me.  Incidentally the ugly chair is surprisingly comfortable.  I also had a flash to call myself the ‘room whisperer’ but alas some guy already calls himself that and owns the website.  Regardless, I sat in the room and mentally cycled through about a half dozen configurations.  Grabbing a tape measure we took some measurements; I’ll model up the room and work out a few options.  Finishing the room is low on the list but making plans is free so why not.  The wife uses it for her sewing, and needs a few different work stations.  Once we’re done it should be a cute little cozy room.  My feeling is that I want it to look like a quaint converted attic space.  Possibly include build ins complimented with some antique or antique looking pieces.

Outside in the hall I was going to get around to finally hanging some of her famous hand cut paper artwork on the gallery wall.  But the wall is kind of odd…lots of doors which is fine, we designed it that way.  Problem is the bronze hinges stand out in contrast to the light colored walls.  So our thought is to paint just that gallery wall a dark color.  This will conceal the cut lines and hinges.  The wall needs a freshening up as there are several cracks and the trim needs to be painted.  There are several dark colors on our palette to choose from, and we decided upon SW6083 Sable. It’s a dark brown so it should go nicely with the light tan walls, green carpet and the brown floor in the adjacent studio and craft room.  Artwork hung against this dark wall should really pop.  It’s a bold move but it’s the right move.

Bedroom Painting Is Done

We put all the furniture back in the bedroom and it looks pretty nice. The wife says it will take some getting used to but I like it already. I think I’m used to it because I’ve been painting it for a week. The warm pepper color looks nice with the dark wood furniture.

We added a bookcase after asking the little guy if we can move his play kitchen out. He agreed and as a result his room looks more like a big boy room. Very sad for me but I try not to think of it too much. Incidentally I shopped for a bookcase in our basement and found a couple actually. Also found a drop cloth down there last week AFTER I had just bought one. I gotta remember – go shopping in basement first.

If you’re ever decorating remember one key thing: anything that was iffy before will stand out after decorating. In our case two things stood out, at least in my mind. One is the other bedroom looks really blank and antiseptic now cause its not painted. And two, the headboard in the freshly painted room really needs an update. It was okay and served us well, for free, for some time but we think we want a new one to help finish off the room. We’ll start with Target and go from there….$100? I don’t know how much a headboard costs. We might get two of the same, one got each room.

Tomorrow I’ll paint the craft room and finish my office organizing.

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