Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homestead Glimpses

I am constantly, as motivation, spare time and children allow, trying to get our home to a 'finished' point. [I say this knowing that for me, no home is ever 'done', since I am always reinventing, reorganizing, and refreshing the vistas I surround myself with to stimulate my mind. Can anyone say Gemini?] So for me, finished means that there is minimal ongoing construction, clutter, visual mayhem and squalor. It is an ongoing battle. We had our carpenter Dave here for a few months, during which time he almost finished the pantry, kitchen, baseboard trim, etc. Nothing is done, but we are a far sight further along than we were. I was going to wait until the homestead looked like House Beautiful before posting pictures, but since that may not happen, I'll do what I can in the short run.

A battle we fight daily is how to maintain our living space in a way we like and still accommodate the kids. This means that we are more cramped & crowded than I like, but H-Mama and I have around us what we want and the kids are entertained, stimulated and hopefully not too overwhelmed. Since we have completed some built-in storage, I've been able to start hiding away some toys and games to rotate in and out of the kid's space. So far so good - they are more enthusiastic about the toys that are out, and as interest wanes, the toy elves [who look a lot like me] make magic happen after the kids go to sleep and it is Christmas again with toys they mostly forgot existed.
Yesterday I bought a couple modular shelving units to help make a second play zone in the living room; this ended up creating a space for Pequita that is a bit separate from Monito's. She so very much wants toys with small parts that she can pore over and be finicky with and he wants to use his gross motor skills and bash things around. There are toys for both of them in each area, but doubling our play zones has already made for a more peaceful morning.
The new pine modular units will be primed and painted trim white soon [-er or later]. The big Stickley corner unit houses the TV, stereo and many things that we like to hide. The new play area at the base of it has Pequita's Playmobil horses, a selection of books for both kids, their favorite musical instruments, and in the cabinet with a door a cup of crayons and some coloring books. The tiny wingback chair makes a nice place to read, and doubles as a step ladder onto the couch. Eventually, I'll be slip covering the old blue adult wing back on the left, the kid's wing back chair, and the red velvet couch in linen in shades of taupe. Yes, that is my laundry on the red couch. Folded! Victory! It actually made it upstairs and into armoires before I went to bed, courtesy of a very sick and fatigued Monito not waking at his usual 10:16 pm for nursing & snuggling. Across the room, next to the nice warm stove, is the new toy area. There is a hassock with pillows right next to the stove for curling up on and reading; this also serves as the winter home for our ancient cat. The toys that require baskets and bins to contain the bits and pieces now live on the shelf, in addition to the bigger, bashable toys Monito favors. A crate of Playmobil house and farm pieces, a basket of cars and trucks, some whacking toys, and the barn. In the newly built-in cabinet to the right [that is almost completed] we have baskets of wooden and foam blocks, a basket of Schliech animals, and some extra storage. I never thought I'd utter the words 'extra storage' when referring to our house; almost a dream come true. Eventually, we'll have open bookshelves on the wall above the built in cabinet. The wall is wonky, and will take a fair bit of futzing to get the shelves flush to the wall. I told the kids that there was a surprise in the living room for them as we came down the stairs this morning. They loved the rejuvinated space - I have taken out a platform rocker* as well as bringing in the new cabinets, so there is more floor space and a lot less clutter. They spent the morning playing with their toys and actually played together peacefully for a few short minutes with a toy they hadn't seen in ages with no fighting. Success all around. It will only get prettier as I get everything painted. When the kids are older, the modular pieces will migrate up into their rooms and I'll have a more spare living room.
*The rocker is now in the dining room, since I don't know where else to put it. We'll see where its semi-permanant home will be another day.


Becca said...

The color of green on your walls is so pretty! Do you remember where you got it or what it was called? I love all of your storage. I am going to need to do something like that very soon!

Alison Williams said...

Love this post. Thanks so much. It looks a lovely home! I had noticed the green before...because it look identical to the green in our living room! We liked a particular green on the West Wing and actually compared paint chips against the tv...

Anonymous said...

Your new arrangement for the kids to play looks super. They are so lucky to have such a smart Mommy. You have a real talent for making a charming home. What fun to discover the new recycled toys when they come out. A brilliant idea for getting less clutter too. I love the colors of your rooms. Don't change the dining room color - it's great.