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Posts Tagged ‘attic’

When I first saw my attic, I pictured a large loom, spinning wheel(s), and yards of surfaces for crafts and sewing needs. I also pictured rainy days spent with my children in harmony and intuitive, heart-felt respect for one another’s talents, ideas, and ambitions. I envisioned snacks taken seated at a round table; a small wood stove for comfort and perhaps for heating foods (less running up and down stairs while working on projects); and toys, books, games, crafts, and anything else that was part of our lives at the moment, ranged around to show what we’d been doing.

Well, at present, my attic is still a jumble of homeless items, cabinets that need final touches of installation and organization, bags and boxes of craft supplies and fabrics, and dreams. The floor is half-finished, covered in part by corrugated metal roof sheets (color: galvanized) scavenged from some defunct building. However, my craft cabinets, small round table, sewing desk and machine, and dreams are all still there. And the flooring is really a brilliant idea on my husband’s part, since it was simply lying around waiting to be used, and I wanted a floor more badly than I wanted a certain kind of floor. Admittedly, in my dreams, it had been hardwood of unknown sourcing, painted a bright country blue (similar to the color of my front door [link coming eventually]). Maybe someday it will be. I haven’t decided if it’s worth it. That may depend on just which dreams for this space I decide to pursue.

I don’t know why – and until today I never asked myself why – but every time I have envisioned the attic “finished”, I see, not just a crafts and guest-bed space, but a well-furnished apartment, capable of serving a single person or perhaps a couple very well. I don’t yet know why I feel compelled to make sure our home could do double-duty this way. Perhaps it is my long-standing desire to make sure that anyone who needs a home has it. Perhaps it is some plan I don’t have a name for yet.

The guest-quarters idea keeps growing. At the beginning, the room included space for two guest-beds, and a chair or two. Then, I conceived the idea of breakfast nook. Then, a dedicated study or project area, complete with dream board and files. Then, a balcony and container garden…more like an outdoor living room. I’m not sure where my plans will stop, or how many of them will prove to be practical. I’ll just keep taking it one step at a time, waiting for the space to tell me what it needs.

Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorite ideas:

I told you I first envisioned a spinning wheel or wheels, and I must admit, the loneliness of this picture was inspiring as well:

Spinning Wheel in Attic

But first, the entrance. I have played with a number of ideas for the stairwell, including murals…

Mural in 2 Story Loft Area

…rabbits, toile-style…

Wallpaper Rabbit Toile

 

…and keys –

Wallpaper Border, Skeleton Keys

But nothing seemed just right, and definitely went with the rest of the room. So I kept waiting for the answer. Finally, it came, from someone else’s Facebook feed that I just happened to see:

Attic Stairwell Idea - Wallpaper Remnants

Yes, I thought, this will do. And I can use any papers or prints I want, so long as I varnish over them. Of course, pre-pasted wallpaper scraps would be easiest. But any fabrics, papers, or wallpaper remnants would be just fine.

The next thing that came to mind in a well-formed way was artwork. Here are some selections I like, though I’m not sure of their placement yet:

And of course, all kinds of organizing ideas for crafts and materials:

Yarn Storage idea Shoe Organizer with Pockets Furniture came next, including guest bed ideas:

Bed, Single, Curvy

Attic Guest Bed Idea

I don’t know what to do with the curvy single-bed idea, as it really doesn’t fit the rest of the picture, but I like it anyhow.

And shelves – lots of shelves, wherever they fit. A local house provided inspiration for shelves along the stairwell, and low spaces:

And of course, a comfortable place to dream and read:

Wicker Chair White, with Red and Blue Pillows

Attic Alcove Wallpaper All Over It’s actually not important to me that the chair is white or wicker…only that it’s comfortable, rocks, and is fade-resistant – since it will be placed in a large west window. Or, I can move my swing rocker from the living room upstairs, and just cover it when not in use. (I will probably want to anyway, as it tends to be dusty in the attic, especially in summer.)

I also felt fascinated by this chair, for its storage capacity (though I don’t think the shape is charming at all):

Bookcase Chair ComboThis stand-up desk is also appealing, though I can’t say why, as standing for long periods of time is usually a horrible idea for me (back and hips).

Desk to Stand at

Next comes an interesting piece of furniture, which at first I could not identify. It is a dentist’s cabinet:

Dentist's Cabinet

It looks like a fabulous specimen cabinet for all manner of collections made up primarily of small objects. Since my children and I are avid collectors of rocks, insects, plants (pressed), and other natural things, I wouldn’t mind having one.

This next piece…

Table Decouped with Map

…has no clearly defined place. I just like it. I had visions in my early days of motherhood of my children being as avid about learning as my siblings and I were. Combined, we must have had 4,006 interests that we were pursuing simultaneously. So I suppose this table represents this hope. As it turned out, my children are interested in many things, but my son, particularly, lacks curiosity for the sake of curiosity. He’d rather learn something only if he believes he can impress someone with it. (Naturally, the rest of us don’t feel impressed by this attitude.) Still, I have hopes. I have always been fascinated by geography, and have loved maps since I can remember. I think it runs in the family. Even my brother – who at first glance loved only planes, trains, and automobiles – learnt the words of our “Sing Around the World” Geography curriculum well enough to change the words to suit his light-hearted, mischievous spirit. (Regarding Greenland: “A land of icy snow, of fishy Eskimos…!”) Obviously, we were not alone in our fascination, since Tolkien and C.S. Lewis both made remarks about maps –

Edmund to Lucy – “That’s the trouble with girls. They never keep maps in their heads.” Lucy to Edmund – “That’s because we have something in them.”
And Merri to Pippin – “You should have spent more time studying maps and less time playing at Rivendell.” [Both quotes paraphrased from memory.]

Moving on to the breakfast nook idea. I’ve been through a lot of versions of this one, but one picture that caught my eye was this one:

Breakfast Nook, Black-and-Red

Also this one:

[Pic coming soon – Pic from House Dream Files – Trellis-and-Yellow arrangement]

Maybe I’ll combine the two: black seats (Black Satin Lacquer), and a trellis framework to set it off, yet still allow light to diffuse from the south window to the rest of the room. I’ll work on it.

Then too, here’s another idea that appeals, though it needs to be worked out for adult use:

Sun Room, Rabbits-Base Table

I love rabbits, and I love light. But the whole idea needs to simmer more. I don’t really want an all-white space, such as this – it is diffucult to maintain, and difficult to appreciate in the winter, which we have up to eight months out of the year. The floor in this picture is fun; I like  the indication of pattern without the stuffiness of actually having one. I like the trellis-work on the ceiling (more about this in a moment). I love the plants, and the daybed. The glass-topped table is wonderful (except for cleaning).

The ceiling in the attic has been a problem. I would have liked, originally, to leave the trusses exposed, and all the natural wood still natural, except perhaps for a clear finish. (It’s been unfinished since 1928, but the room also has not really been used. I think some protection of the wood would be wise – especially if I install a woodstove. Which, by the way, would probably mean that I took the little stove out of my bedroom, and re-installed it up here. Since we installed an efficient, large stove in the dining room, we haven’t really needed it in the bedroom.)

Back to the ceiling. After studying the problem, I decided that, yes, I would probably go to the extra trouble and expense to install insulation over the roof itself, so that the trusses could stay exposed. But this presented weight problems, as well as the trial of stripping the roof of layers of asphalt shingles and some metal sheets. (Having married a sheet metal worker and having spent our first seven years together on jobsites, I am familiar with this problem.) Finally, I found a solution. I intend to insulate between trusses and put on sheet-rock, as usual. Then I plan to install trellis-work panels over everything. This means I can paint any color I like underneath, and have the trellis-work more natural colored. It will be beautiful, garden-ey, springlike, and not claustrophobic feeling. Since the trusses are rough and I have to vacuum or brush them to clean them, nothing will have changed about the maintenance required.

Here was my original inspiration:

Trellis-Work on Walls, Kitchen #2

Trellis-Work on Walls, Kitchen #1

Below are two further inspirations for the feel I keep coming back to, for the sunroom or balcony area (haven’t made up my mind).

Sun Room, Built-in Bookshelves

Sun Room, Elegant with Ferns

I’m not sure why I always come back to white for private-type spaces. Maybe it’s my innate desire for cleanliness and order, which is hard to achieve in this land of dust and drout (sp.) At any rate, I doubt the final results will be white, as I also like loud bursts of color. Most of my house explodes with it like a woods in springtime.

Here are inspirations for the deck/sunroom idea:

They, too, need to simmer. Of course, since it will go on over the top of the back porch (which needs to be removed and re-built), the results may depend on what I decide the most crucial needs are there.

I am forever working out storage problems. One that appeals but that I do not see as being practical in this application is here:

Storage Spaces in Raised Floor

I also would like to build fabric (and maybe more) storage between the studs along the east eaves. I haven’t measured yet, but am thinking file cabinets may just fit between them, in which I can file fabrics in a mouse-proof way. Mouse-proofing is always the biggest challenge. Herbs, traps, poisons and deterrents only go so far. The mice lived here unmolested for 20 years, and just aren’t ready to surrender. If file cabinets do not fit, I plan on building custom drawers of a similar nature, and covering the faces (whether file cabinets or drawers) with cupboard doors. Here were my inspirations for this:

Attic Under-Eaves Storage Cabinets

Under-Eaves Storage Sliding Doors

And lastly, back to the maps again:

Wallpaper Border, Ships Wallpaper Border, Ship and Compass

These are wallpaper borders that I might put atop the shelves running along the stairwell. It looks fun. Whatever I do, I want to keep the whole attic space a balance of culture…

Wallpaper Border, Paris Street

…and wildness, like my life.

Branch Shelf, White

Update – February 2016 –
Shortly after I wrote this post, I had a lovely dream, in which I dreamed that my attic had a ventilated ridge, not louvred, but set with decorative glass which opened in panels (windows), similar to what has been done in these images:

Cut-GlassPlates Window, Long Horizontal

Cut-Glass Plates Window, Cascading Pattern Vertical

Scrap Glass Window, Blue Gold Crystal

Recycled Plates Window, Sphere Flower Design

Mosaic Glass Plates Window Design, Blue-ish

I don’t know what to make of the dream, beside that it showed me a potential way to integrate my obsession with dishes into something beautiful and useful. I need to  think about whether adding a ventilated ridge would be a good idea, or just a pain, and talk to myself hard about how much effort I am willing to invest in this sort of craft. I have a little experience with glass projects (stained glass), but perhaps the dream was just a fancy. I’ll let the idea ferment, and get back with you.

Update June 2, 2016 –

I’ve made another change, this time to the under-eaves storage cabinets. I’ve decided that I’d be better off with a different sort of fabric storage system (not entirely determined yet), and that the under-eaves space would be put to better advantage by installing glass-fronted, lighted cabinets for pretty things – dishes, quilts, old toys, and the like.

Also, I’ve decided that for the most part, I want pendant-style lighting (I’ll add pics if I think of them), and also, something a little more playful, along these lines:

Dragon Oil Lamp #2

I’ve also developed a list of Purposes for the Attic space, as well as some ideals for the emotional tone of the room.

Key Words: Creativity, Relaxation
Key Emotion: Bliss, Calm
Key Color(s): Wood Tones (red honey), black (black lacquer cabinets with detail painting)

Purposes –
Guest quarters
Reading and relaxing
Formal school sometimes
Crafts and sewing
Bird watching
Thinking and dreaming, planning
?Pets – birds, fish
?Snacking
Wool processing (except dying)
Dyes (in jars, on shelves on north wall – yet to be built)
Spinning Wheel (yet to attain)
Sewing machine
Sewing supplies
Extra fabric
Table for crafts
(?)Art materials (papers – construction, finger painting, drawing, newsprint, butchers, etc.), pencils, pens, magic markers, crayons, pastels, finger paints, water color paints – adult and child, acrylic paints, oil paints)

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Will surprised me several days ago by sending me a photo in my e-mail of a new attic floor. I happened to be away from home at the time, and when I saw the subject line, “150 sq ft of floor,” I admit I panicked, wondering what Will had decided now without telling me, and what he had done to which room? Well, when I saw the photo I was pleased. Here it is:

photo

I am afraid Will is a bad photographer, and this picture makes me feel seasick, but it will suffice for now.

He had salvaged quite a stack of sheet metal off a roof he had re-done for a client, and while some of it has gone onto our own roof (partially done), he chose to use some of it for my attic, too! Most of my friends tell me I am pleased with simple things, but this did please me! I’ve gone four years without a floor in my attic, having to make do with scraps, boards, and things taken off the trash heap to construct platforms which will hold the various things that need stored. So this was indeed a happy day.

I had intended to lay down some junky plywood, just for an overall platform until something better could be done, but Will assured me this would not have worked. When I eyeballed the various elevations of the sheet metal floor, I understood why. In at least two places, the floor was as much as an inch out of level in a foot’s distance! No, plywood would not have worked out well. Sheet metal, flexing and quick to lay down, worked out much better.

I thanked God for saving me the loads of work involved in pulling staples out of the plywood I had in mind, too, as it had come straight off another roof years back.

Well, so much for that.

Since this photo was taken, we have laid down more sheet metal, and have almost have the attic covered. I have cleaned the floor, and begun re-arranging the cabinets I got for my sewing and craft things. (These cabinets were salvaged out of a church remodel, and while I would never have chosen the orange counter top, I’m not complaining.)

Craft Cabinets, Attic, Not in Place - February 2014

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The attic turned out to be a magical place for me. I had looked at the original 1928 house blueprints enough to discover that it was supposed to include two bedrooms and a small sewing room. A nice thought, but not applicable to my situation. I am still working on getting a floor in it, piece-meal – at least plywood platforms on which I can begin to build my idea of a sewing/craft workroom. I have attained nice but discarded kitchen cabinets for storage and organization of fabrics, yarns, patterns, etc. –

Wedding and Family Camp 023

Right now, I have boxes of quilting goods, buttons, etc., just sitting, trying not to get too dusty –
Wedding and Family Camp 020

I would like to fix up the whole space so that it is pleasant to leave half-finished projects out, as well as planning a guest space. I love the exposed wood, so would like to insulate the room from the roof-side. I will probably have to install a small heating stove of some kind (in the west window alcove, which could be a cozy sitting or reading area), so am praying for God to show me the right choice on all these things.

The windows all need repair and/or replacing upstairs, but there were surprisingly few raccoon droppings among the joists. We had to simply board over one for now, on the north, but this will be remedied in time.

All in all, I didn’t get the attic cleaned up for the first year we were here, but eventually got the boxes and other trash burned, and we blew in cellulose insulation between the joists and into the lower walls…all except for above the east room on the ground floor, as much of the ceiling and walls needs replaced there, due to mold damage.

Wedding and Family Camp 025
I am thinking of doing murals of some sort on the stairwell walls, and have been thinking of ways to tidy it up so it eventually will look complete…not like a pit. Will probably install a rail.

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Random#25 096

It is difficult to get good pictures up here, because there is very little to stand on, save the stairs. I’d rather not risk making another hole in the ceiling. Not that the ceiling is so much, but you can’t predict very well what you’ll land on below.

Still, I’d like eventually to put a work room up here – a workroom for sewing, and spinning, and weaving, and rainy days under the eaves. For storing hides to be tanned and made into leather goods, and art supplies. For watching birds build nests in the trees just outside the windows, and for watching sunsets. Can you see it?

Here –

Random#22 029

A barrel or parlor stove, fitted with a Granny oven. Why not? That way I can work and bake or cook a little at the same time. There’s just room for a stove and a good-sized wood box…maybe a cozy rocking chair.

A stove something like this…but less cobbled and more attractive:

Stove_Pipe_Oven

Or this…but definitely prettier:

WCS152

And here –

Random#25 091

…a round kitchen table, for the kids to snack at, or color at, or for puzzles and crafts, just under the south window. Around the stairway we would put cupboards, instead of just a railing, and posts that would go from railing to roof, carved or turned in some fanciful way, just for joy.

Back here…

Random#25 095

…there is presently nothing but mess. But part of the under-eaves area, of course, would open into the downstairs study, and I can figure out how to use the rest for tidy storage.  I need to think about exactly how I want to do this. The opposite side of the roof drops almost completely to the floor.

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