After a decade of being in our place, the space started to feel a little . . . stale. It had become increasingly obvious that certain things--both big and small--weren’t working, but with so little space to work with, we were stymied as to what to do about it.
Like most people, we took the lay out of the space we were given and arranged it according to traditional dictates, designating the largest bedroom as the master bedroom. But the size and the shape of the master bedroom, I realized after taking various coursework in design and space-planning, was most certainly designed for a queen-sized bed. That would leave enough room left over for a sitting area by the window or for a desk in addition to the standard bedroom fare of night tables and chests of drawers. Instead, our bed was an enormous mahogany sleigh--king-sized--that only left long awkward passageways around the bed and between the few pieces of furniture we managed to fit in. The result was quite a bit of waste space--too little to be of much use, but enough to encourage piles of all types--clothes, books, files and papers, to get a toehold and multiply.
Meanwhile, my study had become increasingly unfunctional. Because it was so cramped, I tended not to take the time to put things away. Instead, piles kept building under and around my desk, which made it even harder to work, what with piles crashing down on my feet any time I shifted positions. Even when I’d manage to tidy up, it wasn’t very inviting for anyone else to spend time there, as it was so cramped and only one club chair fit in the room.
At some point, I realized that the shape of the bedroom--more square than rectangle--would be perfect for a studio, and the shape of my study--more rectangle than square--would suit us just fine as a cozy bedroom. Alpay wasn’t convinced that we could even fit the bed into the smaller room, much less any other furniture, but I showed him that not only would the bed fit, but so would the bedside table, the vanity, the bench, and the chest of drawers. (“Must you do everything over the top?” he complained when I showed him the plans I’d drawn up in AutoCad, complete with door swings and pouched walls.)
The better part of July was spent moving one double and two single PAX units out to the living room and installing sliding frosted glass doors in place of the former mirrored doors. We also got rid of the half-height bookshelves that had seen better days, so that a whole wall that had been unappealing and tended to attract clutter now showcases a beautiful antique that serves as a focal point in the living room.
The bedroom feels agreeably snug and cozy; everyone who has seen it agrees that the smaller room actually makes a much better bedroom with the furniture we have. An unexpected bonus is that the bed no longer faces the door, which means that practically all the lights can be on and you’d never know it in the bedroom. Before, if I wanted to be in the living room when Alpay was sleeping, I’d have to put a rug or a towel under the door to block out the light. It’s also much quieter, as the former bedroom shared a wall with both bathrooms and the kitchen, and the new bedroom only shares walls with Alpay’s study and the living room.
The best part, of course, is my new studio, which is big enough for two desks, two club chairs, a wall-length bookcase, the chrome Metra shelves, a single PAX unit, and an easel (which I never had room for before!) without feeling the slightest bit cramped. The two desks allow me space to work and space for supplies (using the parallel rule precludes having many supplies on my desk when I’m using it); I can also invite friends over to work on projects, or to scrapbook or paint, as we each have our own work area. In the evenings, the studio becomes the family den, as we prefer the west view at night, where we can alternately watch the El roll past or watch the planes descend into O'Hare in the the distance.
West view view from my studio; the little knot of lights on the horizon between the sunset and the standof buildings in the distance is O'Hare.
Having a comfortable space in which to work and spread out has made it so much easier to go through stuff and take care of things, to purge the old and file the necessary. And the process of completely re-thinking the space encouraged me to re-think what we had and what we could lose, kick-starting a cycle of positive changes that has enabled us to find our footing in finally getting--and staying--organized.
Plenty of room for everything--even a ratty palm for Snapdragon to work on.