Saturday, July 22, 2006

My favorite "House" books

While Steve was seeing the doctor yesterday I set aside the knitting in favor of reading. I enjoy books about houses, architecture, and domestic life, and my current read is House by Michael Ruhlman. Shortly after we moved into this house I read a review of this book and asked for it at the library. They didn't have it and couldn't get it for me, so I decided to take a chance and buy it. I haven't been disappointed. Up until now my favorite house/home books have been House by Tracy Kidder, and Home by Witold Rybczynski. In fact, I'll read anything by those two writers because they make their subjects so interesting. Ruhlman appears to be in the same class as those two. He and his wife bought an old house in Cleveland Heights and spent much time and money making it a home for their family. Ruhlman's ability to describe all that goes in to making their old house the type of home his family needs has drawn me in, and I don't think it's only because we're living in an old house that needs some work, too. For example, he explains why it's important for his wife to have a sunny, bright laundry room on the second floor, instead of having to wash the clothes down in the dirty, dark, damp basement, and I nod my head in agreement. His wife finds order and comfort in being able to provide her family with clean, folded clothes, and laundry is a chore that never ends. He believes that a place where she spends a lot of time providing a service to her family should be a place that will have a positive effect on her thoughts. I'm about half-way through the book and I'm thinking I'd like to read more of Mr. Ruhlman's books.

The work on our house is on-going, and I wish I could make it sound interesting or fun. I'll be glad when it's all done, because we don't enjoy the process as much as the finished product.

Unfortunately, I don't have "before" pictures of the upstairs rooms of our house (especially for Glenn and Amy) to post alongside the "after" - or more appropriately the "now" - pictures. When we moved in the rooms that the girls have now were all a kind of sage green color. It was dark. I love white walls (a friend once said that I am the only military wife she ever met who prefers white walls to color or wallpaper) and white ceilings, so I begged the children to allow us to paint all the upstairs white. They kindly agreed to humor me, so we painted and brightened up their space. The windows had been replaced before we bought the house, but not framed, so wind and insects came in constantly. Steve, Tom, and David framed the windows and now we need to prime and paint them - white, of course. Here's how Jacy's room looks now. We still don't have a door up - it was gone when we moved in - but we're working on that:

The black curtain is the door that divides Jacy's room from Joan's room.

Jacy's room has no closet, and it's rather small, so we got her a wardrobe from Ikea. On the upside, she has eight windows: three facing east, two facing south, and three facing west. She has lovely natural light even on gloomy days.

Steve needs to change the light fixture in that room. When we moved in there was a broken fan hanging from two wires. The ceiling in there is low, especially compared to the rest of the house, so we put in a cheap light until we decide what to do. It illumines the room at night, but only feebly.

And that's an almost 360-degree tour of Jacy's room. See the dark brown painted wood floors? Someday Steve wants to refinish all the floors upstairs, but it can wait a while.

I learned something new today. If I tell my children I'm taking pictures of their rooms to put on my blog, they clean their rooms without being asked or told to do so.

Here's the progress on Dad's Aran:

That's the ribbing and one complete section of the pattern. It's a 16-row repeat. I'm enjoying the pattern, and I'm really glad I switched to the cream yarn before I started!

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Blogger Amber Dawn said...

Ya know...if the kids wanted color in their rooms, you could always paint the trip around the windows a color that isn't too blaring...That might be kinda neat looking. Just a thought. I envy Jacy her windows...EIGHT in one room! That sounds like heaven...tell her to enjoy some of that sunlight for me! :)

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jennie C. said...

The sweater is gorgeous.

As for the paint, white is cheering in small spaces, which military homes usually are. Still, I love my red bedroom!

5:42 AM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

My grandfather always said if you're a homeowner you need to have a hammer in one hand and a wallet in the other. :-)

I think old houses usually have more windows than new construction houses. I think it's something that's skimped on now unless the purchaser has a bit of extra $$$.

Drums! You are so brave. There are some things I just refuse to have and I think our house is so noisy even without drums.

The sweater is really beautiful. I hope someday I can make things like that too.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Marla said...

Well, I like white walls too, though we did "go wild" and paint our bathroom a dark forest green in VA! I think white is very versatile and bright, clean-looking, and always appealing to potential buyers when we, as a military family have to sell the house and move on!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I love the windows with the shutters!

And I wish I could knit and grandmother did all kinds of needlework, but I inherited my non-knitting genes from my dear mom. :)
White walls can look very cheery and clean...but I went for the garden cottage look in my bedroom (hubby was gracious to let me choose- what a trooper!)

11:04 AM  

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