Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yarn Room Renovations

Over here at the Philadelphia outpost of Crossroad Knits, we have been doing lots of nest-feathering. Since moving into our house late last summer, we have been trying make the blah suburban colonial we call home a little more funky and colorful.

This past year has seen a lot of changes for us, and its been really difficult. With the move, we went from South to North. From city to suburb. From a job Mr. S hated with a small company with no future but lots more time to a job Mr S loves with a Fortune 50 employer with huge potential, but lots more responsibility. From a life surrounded by beloved friends but no family, to having lots of family responsibilities and having to make all new friends. From an smallish old charming house with lots of flaky problems in a great neighborhood to a larger, newish, bland house with lots of wallpaper in an anonymous suburban subdivision.

It has been a struggle to keep certain parts of me around. It has been hard to tell what is just growth and development, what is change, and what is part of "me." And re-doing this house has been part of this process. In the old house, we had lots of antiques and charming little things, collections and funky details. But in this house, we have been going with a more modern, contemporary vibe. The rooms are larger, and a lot of our old furniture just didn't fit. It was also time to shed some of the old post-college furniture and replace it with some more grown up items, more influenced by modern design than shabby chic.

I know you all think suddenly you've vertured into a shelter blog. But this is a knitting blog, so here is the yarn room.

Recently painted a lovely shade of purple, the yarn room (I suppose in some homes, this room is called the "guest room") has been refreshed and organized. Curtains hung, old-and-tired furniture rotated out, other old-but-charming furniture rotated in, some favorite things displayed, the yarn is finally getting out of the closet and given the place of honor it deserves.

First, an old glass-front cupboard serves as display for some favorite yarns, the knitting library, and my collection of apothecary bottles. The closed space below houses knitting magazines and patterns, my sewing box, the swift and ball winder, and yarns by the bag. This cupboard used to live in our dining room.

Next, in an empire-style dresser is the bulk of the stash.

Other highlights include the handknitted stash pillow, and my beloved saucy calendar girls from the 1940s. My grandfather was a lithographer, and the company he worked for mostly produced calendars, I picked these up because they reminded me of him. And the months are the three months leading up to my father's birth: May 1, 1940. Sentimental, funny, and incredibly politically incorrect.

I really love the style we are bringing to our new house, more modern and clean, and decidedly different from the boring beige homes we see, but the thing I love most about the yarn room is that it most reflects our old style, with some of our favorite Richmond antiques and collections. I really miss that old house, our last home, and when I step into the yarn room, it feels a little like we are back in Richmond again. It feels like my old self again. With yarn.

This room has been my oasis during what has been a turbulent few weeks. Rosebud and Pepe have been needy and emotional, with them beginning school, and to be frank, so have I. I can feel those idyllic days of summer drifting away from me. Worse, I know this is the natural end to my baby years, and the beginning of the rat-race years of pick ups and drop offs, activities, practices, volunteer committments, and not getting nearly enough sleep. Or knitting time.

And we've been trying to do all of this with the center of our home, our kitchen, out of commission. Without the restorative rhythm of family dinners and a contractor with personal problems hanging around, with make-do meals and the constant intrusion, it has been rough on all of us.

So if you're looking for me, I'll be in the yarn room.


Sally said...

Hang in there schmoopie. I know that Audubon isn't Richmond, and I know the feeling of leaving the city behind when you're not yet ready. I know you miss your friends too. But keep in mind that you have friends here who cherish you. See you tomorrow.

PS I know you'll be shocked to hear that I saw Aileen at Yarnings today. Heeheehee!

Anonymous said...

i know the feeling of making a new house into a home, too. that in between time while you're making it yours can really wear you out. i wish i had thought of doing one room up "right" early on -- i can imagine that little haven can get you through a lot while you're making the rest of it yours, too.

Anonymous said...

how delightful to have the yarn room come together as you'd hoped, and that you're making your house more of a home.

Francesca said...

I'm glad you have a retreat -- and I'm right there with you in this time of transition. And it does take time to settle in to a new home, doesn't it? I feel like we've been kicking this one into shape for a few years and it's finally getting used to us. Which means I never want to move again. But no doubt we will. Crap.

I know I should know this, but where in Philly exactly?

chanceofbooks said...

This room looks amazing. It looks like what you close your eyes and imagine a knitting room should be. Great work.

Ann said...

When you engage in this struggle to bring your environment in line with your aesthetic, aren't you really trying to live a more authentic life? I think you do this so naturally and creatively ... and the results are absolutely beautiful. And if I do say so, as a previous guest in the yummy yarn room, your home is a glorious reflection of who you and Mr. Science are (even down to that great antique microscope).

The editing and refining takes a while, no? But so good to have a haven when the chaos hits. The transition to school takes at least a month usually, I think. You are so good at intuiting what your children need, do your best and be patient. They will transition and your knitting time will resurface -- in a different way perhaps.

Devorah said...

Don't think of this as the end of the baby years but as the beginning of the kid years. I have found this to be a wonderful time of discovery for both me and the kids. Keep your own style in your home and your life and things will sort themselves out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that gives me ideas. . . for my next house! We have an old Governor Winthrop desk in the basement that never made it upstairs when we moved because my husband and my dad locked the desk top and the glass doors shut, then lost the key. It would make a great home for yarn if I could just fix the lock problem.

I know how you feel about an anonymous house. Our house has that same feeling, and it's been a struggle to make it feel right. I've largely given up on it, but your post makes me feel a bit inspired to give it a go!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the yarn room. a purple-walled room with antique furniture to call your own. (supresses jealousy)

I hope that in some small way the montco s-n-k group has helped ease your transition.

anne marie