Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Come on Into the Library.

I've decided that my home has a name and it's name is The Library.  As much as I would love to live in a cottage and name it The Insert Something Funky here Cottage, that is not my situation.  With the horrible term condominum generally representing something one owns and apartment meaning the same thing but one rents it, and flat sounding too pretentiously wanna-be British, I am always stumbling over home related words.  I used to say 'my house' so easily but it's not a house that I live in anymore.   There are books piled up in every room, neatly stacked though they are, and I think that books taking over may be one of the first impressions my home gives.  I have fiction and non-fiction, reference books, hard covers and paper backs.  And I love to share my books.  I love nothing more than to grab a friend and steer her towards my stacks of books and say go ahead, borrow something.  Chances are I have a few things in mind that I want to encourage her to borrow too.

So I think that my home, if it is to have a name and I am rather hell bent on it having one, should be called The Library.  Overall that sounds better than Cat Fur Infested Houseplant Jungle don't you think?  I promised I would share a few more pictures so now is as good a time as any.

When you come in my door you step into a foyer that is quite nicely lit with natural light because the centre of the building has an atrium with a glass ceiling and glass block windows that face into my hall and my sitting room. 
These paintings are by local artists.  The door is just to the left and to the right is where a storage room and two bedrooms are.  They aren't on the tour today.

When you come in the door, there is a mirrored coat closet straight ahead and to the right is the first glass block window.  One of my own paintings leans against the glass and two of my elephants are on the sill beside it.

As you go to the right down the hall there is another glass block window and a bathroom on the left.  There are candles and more of my art on the window sill.  The bathroom is how I found it when I moved in.  I don't love it or hate it but have done my best to impose my own taste on it.  The shower is never used so I've covered it a bit with beads and a hanging with a quote from the Dalai Lama.  On the back of the toilet, because I think it is amusing to do so, I've place a book called The Bohemian Manifesto.  Everyone should take a little time while on the toilet, to read up on how to be bohemian.  I have a couple of stubbly little plants which I am hoping to encourage to grow with the help of the skylight. The door just past the shower leads to my laundry closet.
Through the french door, which I always leave open, we enter into the main living area.  You have seen my kitchen and the eating nook which I use for my art in a previous post.  Let's go into the sitting room.  First, near the third of the glass block windows, is the area  meant to be more formal dining area.  I have an antique table that once belonged to my great grandparents, and it is of course covered in books and I rarely sit at this table to eat.  It's the library table. The bench against the window has a special story.  I had four chairs that went with my table but were in rough shape, damaged from a few moves and not really salvageable.  I contacted a young man I'd heard about from a neighbour, he was keen about woodworking and very creative, starting up a buisness of his own using recycled materials to create something new.  I asked him if he would make me something funky with my chairs.  I suggested a bench or end table would be much appreciated but I also wanted him to have free reign for his creativity and I wanted to be surprised.  He made me the bench and his mum upholstered it.  I hadn't even told him purple was my favourite colour but I think he saw the purple sofa in the den.  So he made this wonderful bench and a table you will see in a moment.

 Between the table of books and the sofa, is the spot where I stand and pretend to be a model.  There are a few books stacked on the floor there and the opposite wall, where I set up the camera has several stacks of books.

My sofa is very old.  It had belonged to my parents and is a good quality sofa of the kind one should get reupholstered.  I would like to get that done one day and the cushions could stand to be replaced but for now I live with it as it is and cover it up with a textured white bedspread from the thrift shop.  I spend a lot of time there reading or blogging, and you can see that from it's rumpled condition and the laptop that is sitting there. The two arm chairs in the sitting room are also hand me downs.  One goes with the sofa and the other belonged to my grandparents originally. The trunk, which I use as a coffee table, is a pine settler's travel trunk, and it came to Canada from England in the late 1800s.  I have the date written somewhere. The chest in the far corner was something a colleague was throwing out so I happily took it. The same colleague was getting rid of the dresser in the photo above.  It was in rough shape so I stained it a beautiful teal blue.
The wall of mirrors is not due to my overwhelming vanity but rather to my intention to catch some of the light from the window and let the mirrors act sort of like windows themselves.  That is the only wall on which I don't have any windows, being the wall that is shared with the neighbour.  One of the frames doesn't have a mirror in it yet  The side table is meant to be an outdoor bistro table, the vintage phone should work and I want to use it but it needs a wiring update.  The basket under the table holds cat toys and the glass bowl holds my knitting, with the ball of wool too difficult for Sophie to get out and play with.
One of the small changes I made when I moved in was to paint the fire place surround.  It was painted white and I didn't like it that way so I used the same chalkboard paint I used in my kitchen to paint it a matte black and I'm quite happy with it.  The spherical metal thing is meant to hang in a garden.  I haven't really decided what I want to do with it so it just sits there for now.  In the book nook behind it is the table the clever young man made for me.  He put a reclaimed wooden bar top on top of the chair bases.  The sad story is that several months after he made these items for me he died.  He was only 20, enthusiastic and creative and sweet and obviously his mother's pride and joy.  He died tragically but most likely painlessly and quickly in an accident while off road quad riding.
I change my mantel decor twice a year.  This is the spring/summer look.  When I first moved in I hated those light fixtures but they have grown on me.  I might even like them now.  I rarely turn them on though.  The painting on the left is by my great grandfather, an English landscape artist.  This is one of his very few still life works and I have loved it all my life.  Mum gave it to me as a divorce gift.   The silver candlesticks in front of the mirror were a wedding gift from my parents.

Because I had hoped to paint the walls, I was reluctant to put things up.  I've lived here nearly a year now and gradually began to hammer nails into the walls and hang things.  I still hope to paint soon, so what hangs on the walls may evolved a little in time.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. 

38 comments:

  1. Your home is warm and welcoming. And though I don't know you well, it seems to represent who you are perfectly.

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    1. Thank you, Glenda, I think it is very me because it is filled with things I love and have chosen with care, things that have meaning to me.

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  2. I DID enjoy the tour. You have a lovely home, Shawna; I think it is warm and inviting and personal. and probably far prettier and more attractive than you give it credit. I am pretty good at decorating myself, but completely hopeless at decorating and furnishing a home. Your fireplace is beautiful. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Curtise. Home decor is much more of a passion for me than clothes are actually but lately I have been able to afford to play with my wardrobe more than I have been able to drop larger sums on my home. I love it and I know I found a wonderful place, I only mean to imply that I would paint and change flooring if I could. Kitchen and bathroom fixtures are not quite what I would chose if starting from scratch but they could be much worse. Rather like I prefer a high low mix in clothing I like a high low mix at home too. I like quality architecture and second hand furniture. I do love my fireplace. I am so thrilled that it is not a gas fireplace and that it has that rustic looking brick.
      This place wasn't selling and was on the market for a long time. I couldn't believe it when I saw it and I scooped it up. It is perfect for me but apparently not to the liking of most buyers.
      xoxo

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  3. So you! Gorgeous. What excellent taste you have. Must be wonderful to come home to. Home. That's the word.

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  4. Thank you, Jan. It definitely does feel like me and I love my home, even if there are some things I'd like to change like painting and the floor. At least it's all fairly neutral and in good condition.
    xo

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  5. Loving these pics of "The Library!" Beautiful home with lovely artwork! I especially love the area with the large round table and books--looks like a library. :) T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, T. I love that big round table and the family history of it. I love piling my books all over it and pretending it is my library table!

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  6. Wow! So much light for a mumble mumble condominium. I love your title The Library. You even lend books. How I would love to visit and borrow :-( My name for my home is The Studio, because we always have creations in progress strewn about! Our other name for our houses always starts with the same letter as the street. So far we have had: Moller Mansion, Nickau Nest, and now Gleadow Grange! I love all your candles around. I hope you burn them. I think an unburned dusty candle is a sad sight. And your furniture has stories! I particularly liked the trunk coffee table. Beautiful wood. When I show you my place, you will notice we have a LOT of wood :-)

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    1. I am lucky because this mumble mumble condominium is on a corner so I have lots of windows. I definitely do burn my candles. I love to burn candles and because I burn them I am rather particular about having beeswax or soy. I am suspicious of what extra chemicals might be in cheap candles. My candles are rarely pristine, but rather are misshapen and drippy from use. My furniture does have stories. You are quite right. I love wood too. I generally prefer antique furniture as it is more likely to be solid wood, and I do wish my home had some lovely wood trim and floors but I suppose I can't have everything. :-)

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  7. I am so envious of all the natural light you have. It is so rare to find a condo/townhouse like that. Our house is situated so that we get natural light in only two very small rooms...upstairs. One doesn't realize how much natural lighting affects a person's mood until you no longer have it.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I'm really fortunate to be on a corner so I have windows on three sides and then the glass block around the atrium in the centre adds to the light. The light was definitely a selling feature, the light, big kitchen, the view, the fireplace and the soaker tub all sold me on it. I am home all the time so light was really important. I still pinch myself because I can't believe it's mine!
      xo

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  8. I love your home! I love the glass bricks, and you have a fireplace, and you have so many lovely pieces of furniture with their own stories to tell. Such a sad story about the young carpenter, but his bench is genius. It would be so cozy to sit there and drink a bottle of wine with you (starting at 4:00), playing with the cat, and looking through your books.

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    1. Thanks, Val. I wasn't sure about the glass bricks at first. They let in tons of light which is great but I thought they looked dated and 80s-this place was built in 82. Then my dad told me that glass bricks were really popular in the 30s so I decided they are vintage. LOL
      Yes, wine drinking should start at 4pm unless it starts with a nice lunch!
      xoxo

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  9. OMG, you have a fireplace!?? I officially hate you now!!!! :D Damn you and your gorgeous home! :D Seriously though, your home is so lovely! I love the vintage lamp and that dresser! Can't believe your colleague would think of throwing it!
    And the purple pillows look so royal and fancy! It's so amazing *_*

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    1. I know, I am soooo lucky! It was high on my wish list but not actually that easy to find. Thank you, Keit, for all the compliments. The vast majority of my home is filled with hand me downs and thrift shop finds. I love the way it challenges me to make it all work together and how it doesn't look like it all comes from the same store. It's not what I would buy if I had a million dollars but it just might be more interesting!
      xoxo

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  10. You've created a wonderful home. I adore your flat (I didn't know what the difference between a condo and an apartment was, thanks for educating me!) So much natural light, eclectic and colourful collections, inherited treasures, wonderful artwork and books galore! Fancy a flat mate? xxxx

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    1. You can move in any time, but you must bring some cool clothing in my size. ;-) I don't think my definition of condo and apartment is official but that is how we tend to use the two terms. I am really happy here and although there are a couple of flaws/things I need to fix, the wonderful things vastly outweight them!
      xoxo

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  11. Your home looks lovely Shawna, it has lots of light and a calm feel about it.I especially love your fireplace xx

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    1. Thank you, Jayne! I love your new photo! I love my fireplace too. I had my heart set on one but they are not easy to find.
      xoxo

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  12. I loved coming to your place for a little visit ... I'm such a nosy parker that I'm always fascinated to see where and how other people live. I'm like you ... I spend more time, effort and money on tarting up my home than I ever do myself. Your home is lovely ... warm and welcoming ... thanks for showing us around.
    xx

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    1. I love a peek into someone's home too and I guess those of us who are more passionate about home decor than clothing probably do. I used to have a terrible addiction to shelter magazines but I've weaned myself off them mostly. That's why I totally get your desire for the wood floors. I share it!
      xoxo

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  13. What a lovely home. I love that bench and whole entryway. The plant on the book is fabulous!

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    1. Thank you! The bench in the entryway is from a table and bench set that my parents used to have in their kitchen and was made by a local craftsman. The plant is sitting on an ancient dictionary identical to the one I used to sit on at the dinner table in my grandparent's home when I was small, long before the invention of booster seats.
      xo

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  14. gemütlich!
    warm and lovely. that bench and table by the young man are gorgeous. all your finds and hand me downs and colorful art and textiles make a very comfortable home. i could hang for hours in front of your fireplace reading your books...... regrettably fireplaces are very uncommon in germany, just in the last years some new houses/apartments of the expensive kind have one. we have tiled stoves instead. for heating much better but less romantic :-)
    xxxx

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    1. You are quite right in that a fireplace is really for show and not particularly useful for heating. I could have an insert put in that would change that but I don't feel the need to. I am spoiled and have had a fireplace most of my life. They are not as common in newer homes and if they are put in it is usually a gas fireplace. The fact that this place came with a wood burning one is really quite unusual. I can't chop and store wood, so I use those enviro logs made of old coffee grounds. Then I have a nice romantic evening with my cat. ;-)
      xoxoxo

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  15. This is what happens when I let the kids use my laptop for minecraft, I have missed too many of your wonderful posts, thankfully I have re-claimed it and have decided not to be off-line for so long again (it's been days!) your home is gorgeous, I really love it, you have created a home full of natural light and so inviting too (we all do 'pop in' for a glass of wine a lot!) The Library is a gorgeous name and I always thought a condominium was very posh, I was right! your furniture is also really beautiful, how sad to hear about the death of the talented furniture maker, only 20, so sad x x x

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    1. I know how challenging it is to catch up on the blog reading if I get behind, so I'm honoured that you dropped by and left a comment with all that catching up you will have to do! I love people to pop in for a glass of wine and it doesn't happen in my offline line so let's keep on pretending you can really do it!
      My heart breaks for the mother of that young man. My own son is nearly the same age and a relationship with a young adult son is so lovely. I could see that he had a great relationship with his mum and that she was helping him to get his creative business going. He was really proud of the pieces he made for me and so excited to bring them to me. I think I was the first person to commission him, whereas before he mostly made things of recycled pallets and sold them.
      xoxo

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  16. Ohhh--- What an inviting Library! Now I can imagine curling up with a book there :)

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    1. Curling up with a book is something I do often, so I guess it makes sense that my home is designed to accomodate it so well!
      xo

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  17. Your home is beautiful! I love all of the details and personal touches! There is so much to look at, it is quite lovely.

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    1. Thank you, Sara! I am not a minimalist obviously, but I think you've hit the nail on the head-I like lots of things to look at.
      xoxoxo

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  18. Phwoar, I LOVE your house! It's so nice and so tidy!!! (I am never doing one of these posts- my house is so dull and messy!) and I love the light and all the little touches!!! Thank you for sharing!x

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    1. LOL-thank you Kezzie. I suppose I aim for tidy clutter. I like my home tidy but not sparse.
      xo

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  19. You have a lovely, lovely library! It really is so vibrant and welcoming. Makes me want to come sit down and hang out ;-)

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

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    1. Thanks, Alicia! It would be so cool if you could!
      xo

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  20. Lovely, lovely, lovely!! Very organic, natural feel to it. Cottage-y and bohemian all at the same time, which happens to be my favorite thing in homes too. Love it that books are everywhere, plenty of light, the cool bench by the entrance, and the bench made by the talented young man, and your ancestors' old table - all soooo lovely! I can imagine spending days in such an inviting and comfortable home as yours. And write. And paint. And read.

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  21. I suppose cottage-y and bohemian would pretty much be my taste! The entry way bench has a partner out on my balcony. The dining table that belonged to my great grandparents has a marble inside it. My grandfather and his brothers took the table apart and put the marble inside a segment where it can roll freely. When the table is moved you hear the marble roll around. This was their idea of playing a joke on their mother and the marble has been there ever since.
    Yes, it is a home for writing, painting and reading, also cooking and cat cuddling! Come on over!
    xoxoxo

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