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Home Upgrades: Built-In Bookcase

Our living room is in the process of a transformation from a room that was .. okay .. to a space that I am beginning to LOVE. It still has a long way to go, but when you see the bookcase, you’ll know what I mean.


First floor living room: Before

First floor living room: before. For the record, it looks significantly brighter than it felt. In reality, it was more like a cave. A small, dark cave in which I spent the bulk of the winter with a set of rambunctious boys. I do not miss that experience.

I assumed it would stay this way for a long time, so I quickly accepted the fact that it was an awkward, empty, unattractive space. Fine with me! After years of apartment living, I was content just imagining how nice the space could be, if we ever had a chance to update it.

But Chris had other plans..

First floor living room: Construction

First floor living room: Construction

And within a short time, this room went from a dark, dreary place that we retreated on winter evenings to…

First floor living room: Construction

First floor living room: Construction

a bright, spacious room with the built-in bookcase I had dreamed about for as long as I have dreamed about my own home.

First floor living room: Built-in Bookcase

First floor living room: Built-in Bookcase

Almost as soon as the paint dried we began unpacking boxes of books. And when those boxes were gone, it was easy for us to find other boxes of things like toys, games, photographs, clothes, that we had been living without for months. It was both exciting and relieving to finally have the time and space to move in.

Every night for the weeks since the bookcase was completed, Chris and I have slowly chipped away at our storage room piles. Opening each box still gives me a heightened sense of anticipation for what could be hiding inside. Things that we have loved – sculptures we purchased in East Africa, family mementos – that were tucked away for years while we dwelled in city spaces, have been unearthed. And we are rediscovering ourselves, in a way.

Just seeing our book collection in a single space, rather than a scattered collection of short bookcases and boxes, is actually quite invigorating. How interesting we are to have acquired this small library of information on a few specific subjects: water resource projects in East Africa, introductions to 3 different languages (swahili, spanish, and french), American politics, advanced business skills, non fiction works on food and culture, and a small assortment of best-seller novels waiting to be read. I’m not sure what that says about us, but it’s interesting, isn’t it?

It feels so good to settle into a place. To be home. To get rid of the stuff that we have held on to until we had a home to put it in. To see a space that we designed and built hold things that have meaning to us. To be at the stage where we start decorating… and I start my home decor craft project extravaganza! Hooray! Let the creativity run wild. Hazaa!