Sorry for the wait, kids. I’ve been trying to write a post about the myriad projects I put together for Christmas for a week now, and I just cannot for the life of me find the transfer cable for my camera. I know it’s somewhere in the nightmare pit I currently call my office, so as soon as I get it squared away I’ll have the deets on all my family’s gifts. Suffice to say that in the two weeks before Christmas, I crocheted a scarf, made a quilt, decoupaged photos onto fourteen canvases, made four yarn wreaths, infused and bottled/labeled a handle of bourbon, hand-printed a handful of scarves, and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember. And wrapped it all. There is something about the Christmas season that just makes me go insane for projects. I can’t leave well enough alone.

Well…for the most part, that is. After searching for a house off and on for a few months, Jimmy and I have come to the conclusion that it just isn’t the right time for us. We found one perfect place, but it was under contract, which seems to have gone through. Our savings aren’t in good shape, my full-time freelancing isn’t stable enough just yet, and there are some various other financial factors that just make us feel like buying a house would be a disaster. We also discussed moving into a bigger place, and while we’d like to do it, I’m not sure we can find anything bigger and nicer than our current condo while still staying in our price range. So it looks like we’ll be hanging out in The Octacondo (affectionately nicknamed for its myriad of weird angles) for at least another year.

While I’m bummed about not being able to buy a place, it’s not like we aren’t happy here. I do love this house. It’s cozy, the location is really nice, the neighbors pretty much leave us alone. We’ve got woods in the back so there are always animals around. You know. Nice ambience.

But since we’re staying put, I’ve jumped on the opportunity to wheedle Jimmy into letting me redesign some spaces I’m (and in some cases, “we’re”) not thrilled with. First on the list is the little alcove beside our front door. It held a piano when the previous occupants lived here. Right now, it holds…this.

Yes, it’s the dreaded “pile of mostly crap we’re getting rid of on Craigslist” alcove, accompanied by coat hooks, boots, record player, and DVD rack. We originally put that pub table in there because I loved it in our old apartment and didn’t want to get rid of it, but it’s just taking up space and collecting dust, and I love it less every time I have to clean it. So we’ve decided it’s time for the pub table to go. We’ve also decided to replace the DVD rack–while I really like it, it’s not very space-efficient. It takes up a cubic foot of space, plus the extra 2 feet or so you have to leave around it to swivel it, and it only holds around 150 DVDs (which might seem like a lot, but in a house occupied by a film studies graduate and his movie-cover-design-obsessed wife, it’s eaten up very quickly). So we’ve got another solution. See this triangular hole in the wall leading from our living room into the alcove?

We’re going to build a DVD rack to fit in that doorway. We don’t go in and out of there anyway, and we like the shape and think it’d be fun to highlight it with some sort of built-in. That’ll be happening a few weeks down the line, I think. I’ll keep you posted.

So once the rack is in place, the alcove will essentially be closed off into a little room…or “nook,” if you will. Now, I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but I mother-effing love nooks. I read a lot, and sketch a lot, and do a lot of other things that can easily be done on the couch but are just so much more fun and cozy tucked back in a little hidey-hole somewhere. Preferably by a sunny window, but I’ll make do. Here are some supercute nooks I found on (where else?) Pinterest:

I love this one…the happy wall color, the craspedia, the nicely-organized vinyl collection.

The paneling isn’t my style, but I love the bold colors and retro prints.

Oh, Lord. Everything about this one sings to me. The wooden ceiling. The triangular shape. The cool Scandinavian minimalism. The fact that it appears you need a ladder to get to it. Yes, yes, yes.

Well, we live in a rental so I’m not sure I can just build a reading loft and panel it in wood, but I do know we can make much better use of our little alcove. I decided what I wanted most from the space was:

  • a spot for my burgeoning vinyl collection and player
  • a nice chair to curl up and read in
  • ultra-modern patterns and prints
  • good, moody lighting

I did a quick layout in Sketchup to show you what I’ve got in mind. While it currently looks to be about the size of a postage stamp due to the pile of junk inside, the alcove is actually a cozy but workable size–just under 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. That’s more than enough for a chair, an end table, and some sort of small media center.

If you came in my front door and immediately turned to your right, this is what you would see.

As you round the corner, you’ll see the strip of wall that blocks the alcove from the rest of the house (it’s what Fred the Moose hangs on, and our media console sits up against).

Please ignore the bit of rug sticking out of the doorway; it won’t be that way in real life, but I’m intermediate at best with Sketchup and I have no idea how to fix it.

The general plan is to finish the Herman Miller shell I’ve been reupholstering and have it in there. I have a sort of old-timey record player, which I know isn’t the best quality-wise but I kind of like the crackly quality it gives to my music. As for the console it sits on, I love this one from CB2 but I can’t really justify spending $100 on a laminate box. So I’ll make a DIY solution there. As for the end table, that was the closest approximation I could find–in reality I’ve just ordered two of these from Crate & Barrel:

They come in a bajillion colors, but I ordered them in white because a) we can take them with us to future dwellings and b) I’m boring. They’re a total steal at $18.95 each, and when we have company I can pull them out and use them as stools, like they’re intended.

On the wall, I plan to put up some music posters–I have several by a talented friend and am always ogling more. (The one I used in the rendering is a Fitz and the Tantrums poster that’s sadly out of print, but which I have to find a copy of in order to die happy.) On the floor…well, I’ve been weirdly obsessed with cowhide/pony rugs for about a year now. HOWEVER, I’m a vegetarian and a bleeding heart and a big softie in general, so I would never dream of killing a beautiful animal to spread out on my floor. But Overstock has a faux hide woven rug with some really nice reviews for a good price, so I’m just waiting for a good sale on that and I’m there.

The last element is lighting. Originally I wanted a cool floor lamp behind the chair, but the wall slopes down so low I don’t think that’s feasible. So I’m opting for a pendant instead. I want something very sleek and modern, like one of these three:


I have always ogled the Nelson and Le Klint lamps (the first two) but can’t justify the price tag, especially for a 24-square-foot box only I will ever see. I also really like the Random lamp, but it’s even more expensive. So I’ll be DIYing whatever I decide on. Right now I’m leaning toward the Random, because I know a lot of people have had very good luck doing their own version of that with string and glue. I’ll be sure to share instructions on whatever I end up with.

So! What do you think? Do any of you have a special little nook in your place? Anything you’d do differently here? I’m all ears.

Tags

alcove · modern · nook · planning · small space · vinyl

Tall, somewhat-awkward twentysomething design addict exhibits magpie-like hoarding tendencies and an uncanny ability to say precisely the wrong thing in uncomfortable situations. Enjoys laziness, food, animals that aren’t food, rearranging furniture while husband is out of the house/sleeping, attempting to garden for about 6 weeks at the beginning of every summer, purchasing own weight in design magazines, revamping Goodwill clothes/furniture, the French word for “grapefruit,” appallingly bad movies, indie music, CB2, spelling n’ grammar, books where people fall in love and then something terrible happens and it looks like they won’t ever see each other again but then wait! everything turns out okay, Pepsi One, watching other people play interesting video games, Scrabble, midnight baking, fall, canceled television shows (see: Arrested Development, Pushing Daisies), DIY blogs, Harry Potter, rainy days in the summer, trenchcoats, every color except Pepto-Bismol pink, vintage chairs, Wikipedia-hopping.

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