Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Want a Tree House

Doesn't everybody want a Tree House at some point in their lives? I'm not talking about one of those fancy, I'm-in-a-tree-but-I-really-am-a-house type, I mean a platform that I have to navigate up to from a wiggly ladder.

It would be very high up, but not too high that I would get scared (or mistaken for a bird).
It would be a place to hide (but you could find me if you really wanted to), and it would have a small roof to stop spiders and snakes from dropping on my head.

I would never mind if it rained, and when it snowed, it would be the best place ever.
I might read, but mainly I would just sit in my tree, and watch everything go on around me. (I would feel like the only object standing still in a frantically shaken snow globe). I would feel very small.

I would like the platform to be big enough that I could lie down on my back and look at the sky. Which means I might need a pillow. The squishiest, biggest, brightest, flowery one I can find (in outdoor, vintage fabric, of course. Just because it's practical, doesn't mean it can't be pretty).
And a blanket. In case it gets cold.

Oh, and a pencil and a notepad would be nice. So that I can jot down things when I think of them, make a list of what to do next, and explain to myself why I haven't done anything but sit in a tree all day.....

Tree house photograph from Gozetta Decor.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How Warm is your Television?

If you ask any decorator what they find difficult to work around, most of them will say it is the television (and La-Z-Boy recliners, but that's another story). For many homes, it is the focal point of the family room; we watch it often, so it is placed in the spot where we can all see it. Unfortunately, they are also more than twice the size that they used to be, so they can't be squished into a corner, or moved around on wheels when company comes over (did we ever do that, or did I just make that up?).

Anyway, a while ago, new home contractors got creative and came up with the idea of putting televisions above the fireplace. A hole was cut out, and wires left dangling for installation. It made sense from their perspective; the room now had a clear focal point, it saved space, and the flat screens were supposed to mimic the look of art.
I don't know what the repercussions are from having your television above a roaring fire, but I do know that many of them were too high up to be watched in comfort. Good for chiropractors, but not fun when you want to lie on the floor and watch cartoons on a Saturday morning.

That trend is now leaving, and people don't want to see a television above the fireplace. So, we're back to hiding them. The concept is, that we cover the ugly television with something decorative when we're not watching it. But, we end up drawing more attention to it, which kind of defeats the purpose.....Whether it's a piece of art, a map, or a small barn door levitating above the mantle, it looks awkward. We know your television is hiding behind there, and now you have just added more stuff, and some weird railings either side of it all.

I am also not sure of the practicality of it all. I wonder if it deter's people from watching? Especially children; if they can't open the decorative thingamajig will they be forced to kick their SpongeBob habit (which doesn't seem quite fair when their life revolves around playtime, what's for lunch, and the adventures of a happy, yellow sponge). And, will the taller people entertain themselves by opening and closing the contraption just because they can? I know I would (just a few times, at least until the novelty wore off). What if one side doesn't slide back as far as the other, what if it doesn't quite stop at the end, falls off, or goes crooked in the middle? What if it hits the television, or it gets stuck halfway? What if someone falls into the fire, or accidentally trips while reaching for it?
That's a lot of questions before you can enjoy a cartoon....

Photograph from: www.centsationalgirl.com

Friday, August 15, 2014

The End of the Bed

Do you sit down quietly to get dressed, or do you rush around the room, trying to wiggle into whatever looks clean, before you pound down the stairs to grab a coffee and head out the door?

I think, that furniture at the end of the bed creates an illusion for many of us. It lets us imagine slow mornings of deciding what to wear, while anticipating a happy end to the day, neatly folded pajamas, and a closing of some very grand curtains.
We often put a comfy chair in our bedroom for the same reason; it makes us think of curling up with a book, and long, cozy nights by a warm fire. Whether or not we sit in it is irrelevant, it's the knowing we always can that makes it so welcome in our small corner of the world.

A vintage wooden trunk, while great for extra storage, is really beloved because of the connection to the past that it gives us; who doesn't want to be reminded of travelling to exotic places, looking for secret treasure, and planning all sorts of childhood adventures before your mom calls you in for dinner?

It might seem frivolous, but some things should be there just because of the way they make us feel. So what, if our mornings are littered with early phone calls, yelling across the hall, and kicking our toe on the sofa at the end of the bed, we should always make room for things that cheer up our day, and give us sweet dreams at night .....

p.s. Photograph borrowed from Liz Marie Blog

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Teenage Bedroom

One of my favorite rooms to redo, is one for a teen. I love finding out what they want, and what is really important to them.

Their initial response is often "I don't know", which is quickly followed by a flurry of ideas from the parent, and a lot of arm nudging and eye rolling from the teen. After a few moments, it all slows down, and the talking becomes easier. A few questions gets them interested, and they realize that this could almost be fun (and, let's face it, they would rather talk to me than the person who is constantly telling them to brush their teeth and find their pet python).

Teens are all different, yet they are all the same; I won't go on about what they need, and how misunderstood they feel, but I can tell you that their room usually means more to them than they realize. No, it should not become a health and safety hazard, and wearing underwear is always non-negotiable (how clean it is, is their issue) but, after that, it should be a room that is somewhat practical, and comfortable enough for them to want to spend time in.

So, when it no longer serves its purpose, and you are both at your wit's end, here are a few thoughts that might help you navigate through the teenage bedroom....
  • Have a conversation when you are both in a good mood (and you have enough time to talk).  
  • Be nice, and try not to roll your eyes.
  • Ask them what they don't want in their room, and offer to remove it (donate, sell or store somewhere else) as soon as possible. Decide on a day to do it, and write it on your calendar. 
  • Check out the basics that they already have, and talk about anything else that you both think they may need (or want). eg. a desk, a bigger bed, floor seating, space to hang things on the wall, a reading area, more or less storage, better lighting, a docking station etc.
  • Encourage them to be creative, and shop your house before you hit the stores (eg. a table can double as a desk, and a newly painted dresser or filing cabinet, can easily store books, tech gadgets and homework).
  • When buying new things, have a budget in mind before you begin. Let them go shopping with you, or, at the very least, go on-line and give them some options to choose from before you head out.
  • Be as open and lenient as you can be, and follow through with what you promise.  
  • If you have to say no to something, try to offer a compromise (or, tell them the honest reason why you are saying no).   
And, if it doesn't go according to plan, take a deep breath, wade through the debris, ignore the python, quietly close the door .... and still love them.

p.s. The VW Camper in the photograph is from the VW Camper Blog (of course!).