Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bravely Obey Cribs Edition: Sequestered

Like a Well Traveled Teenage Girl's Room

Welcome back, my little Peeping Toms! How about a tour of the smallest bedroom in our house?
While I was winnowing down the 40 or so photos I took of today's room, I realized something. Our guest room: my office, storage, catch all room, looks like a well traveled teenage girl's bedroom. It's probably the room that resembles my style most closely. Other than the lack of Justin Bieber, or in my day, Christian Slater posters on the wall, it looks young. There isn't a real style to the room other than lots of stuff I love shoved in our tiny, cozy space. And lots of color. There isn't a single beige wall anywhere in our house, but this room is actually just plain white. The only plain white room in the entire house. But because there's so much color scattered throughout, I hardly even notice.

I need to buy new flowers

Our mothers helped paint this room when we first moved in. They giggled and dripped and joked about painting the "nursery" and Joe got huffy and frustrated and came in to do clean up after they finished. It was hilarious, and they just laughed and really took the painting party part to heart.

Storage for craft supplies

For a long time, most of the seven years we've lived in this house, this room had no ongoing purpose. The occasional welcome guest would scrunch into the super smooshy, pillow covered double bed. My vintage decorated suitcases are filled with ribbon and wrapping paper supplies so this is the present wrapping and gift storage room, just like Candy Spelling. Though Candy certainly has more square footage and I'm doubting Candy wraps her own gifts with paper she bought at Big Lots. Just a guess.

Distracting desk items

So this room wasn't used very often. Until this summer. In June, I attended this Writer's Weekend seminar and realized that I wanted, needed, had to for my own sanity, get writing regularly again.  I decided that sharing an office space with Joe and keeping my focus would be impossible. We just work differently. I see the messy chaotic office that we shared and I think, "I have to stop this very important thing that I need to do right now, I must clean the office. I must clean it now. I cannot rest or do anything else until it is clean." And Joe hates this. Clearly I have a mental illness of some variety. Probably just a garden variety neurotic anal-retentive. I come by it genetically.

Tiny art and tiny elephant

But this cleaning obsession distracts me from actual valuable creative stuff I'd like to dig into. (Let me quickly clarify, by cleaning I don't mean straightening carpet fringe or cleaning the grout with a toothbrush. I mean tidy up, remove clutter, restore visible order, that's all.) So instead of being a pain in the ass, we moved an old desk that we bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago up from the basement. I love this desk. No really love it. It's all scratched and beaten,the greenish stain is wearing off and it used to be in the old Plaza library. It's flat and basic and not too big. It had been languishing underutilized as a box holder in the basement and now the desk can fulfill it's true purpose, holding me up while I repeatedly slam my head against it's well worn, broad flat surface, frustrated with the nonsense that I am somehow still typing into my laptop everyday. Step one complete: work space ready.


Joe bought me this incredibly useful laptop lifter that props up my laptop to a decent eye level and a wireless keyboard. Step two done, and now I feel like a real writer. And finally I moved some beloved tchotchke into the room. Stuff that I like to look at. Things that make me think of happy memories or little pieces of art to rub when I'm trying to figure out how to say what I want to say, or art that I can stare at and feel all stirred up and thoughtful. And magically I have my very own perfectly simple office space. And a happier marriage because of it.

Nkisi NkondiArt by Tara Barnes

This menacing gentleman is an Nkisi Nkondi, nail fetish figure from the Kongo people of West Africa. I wrote a research paper on these figures in college and love the power, strength and resolution that they represent, plus the dog likes to sniff it, I mean come on, it has bones stuck in it. A diviner, a traditional holy man, would meet with people seeking answers or retribution for some kind of wrong that had been done to them, like a theft or illness. The diviner then provokes the nkisi by hammering a nail into it and the infuriated nkisi then tracks down and  punishes the evil doer. So watch out, I've got some nails and a hammer handy if you steal my car.  

They're called boobs, Ed.

There is a lot of African art in this room, and some American art, a beautiful, vibrant abstract painting created by my friend Tara, a colorful geometric quilt that was a wedding gift from Joe's grandmother and a cool Japanese print that Joe's step-grandfather gave us. All these things, plus books and comfy pillows and some of my favorite quotes scattered about make this room comfy and relaxed and a place that I'm happy to sequester myself inside.

Tiny brass cast couple

I've been in this room a lot lately. I have probably spent more time in this room this month alone than in the previous seven years that we've lived in this house. Nearly every night, and during the day on the weekends, I am locking myself away in my office and typing typing typing. Sometimes I like what I've written and sometimes I'm just grateful I have the time to do it and other times I hate every damn silent, lonely, self imposed moment of the writing process. Thankfully I'm working in this colorful, chaotic, visually chock-a-block room with distracting, inspiring junk. It's time to go lock myself back in the room now. I think I'm going to pretend that I'm sixteen again and I've gotten grounded for sneaking out. And I'm locked in until Mom thinks I've earned my freedom. Not that that ever happened. Never would have snuck out. Ok, maybe once. Sorry, Mom.

So tell me what's your office look like? More filing cabinets and organization, less teenage girl with weird vengeful nail figures? Can you work in clutter or are you like me and slightly crazy? Come on, you can tell me.

West African collageMohawk and trade beads

Paper glow


bethany actually said...

You know, I've always thought that of all the rooms in your house, that room looked the most like YOU. :-) The rest of your house either looks like Joe or a combination of you both, but that guest room just has always seemed like a Kassie room! I'm so happy to hear you've been able to make it into an office of your own! Having one's own space is so nice, even when one loves one's husband dearly.

Our office currently looks like a wreck and like it will be shortly turning into the baby's room. The bedroom downstairs that we've always called "the schoolroom" but which ended up not being used for school for a variety of reasons will be turning into the office as soon as they're done repairing the water damage we've been waiting over a month for them to repair. When it is the office, it'll basically be a place to keep the big PC; an old desk that used to belong to Troy's grandpa which houses my stationery, greeting cards, stickers, pens, etc.; the filing cabinet; mailing supplies like boxes and bubble wrap; and a few bookcases filled with assorted technical books, some of Troy's old schoolbooks, photo albums and yearbooks, and overflow books from the other bookcases. Also possibly a futon in case we ever need that room as a backup guest room.

Katrina said...

Um...yeah...once you have triplets things like an office are non existent. :) Yet another reason we are selling our house. Maybe in the next home we will have one. Although I don't think Matt and I would be able to share one very well. If I have a place to just put stuff I will be happy.

However- at work I have my very OWN OFFICE!! And I LOVE IT!! It's not decorated cool like yours. But it's my own. I have never had my own office before so you can see my excitement! :) Just another reason I REALLY love my job!! :)

I am like you- I need it nice and tidy to work. Otherwise I am too distracted organizing and decluttering. However I LOVE organizing and decluttering- so I am not all that bothered by it- unless I NEED to get something done. Then it's just a thorn in my side. :)

You have inspired me- I think I may take a few nick knacks to my office to make it more fun. I love the nail guy!! I want to get one of those now!! :) Love, love. love the idea behind it!!

Kristendom said...

Funny enough, I've been thinking about the whole home office thing lately. I really wish I had one, but I haven't convinced myself to turn our extra room into one completely (yes, I'm still holding out hope for a nursery in there some day - in the distant but not too distant future). But I've definitely been craving a space of my own considering how much time I've been spending working on my blogging lately and general other computer things. And I have a catalog from CB2 upstairs filled with things that would decorate that office - all sorts of funky little accessories, crazy organizers, bright-but-Kristen-like colors, etc. And it would have to be clean. I also can't work in clutter, despite the clutter that is our house right now. If I were ever needing to procrastinate, clutter would be just the distraction to help me do so.
But maybe I'll get around to cleaning some stuff up over the holidays and find a space for myself. If so, I promise you'll be one of the first to see it.

Snowfairy said...

Another fabulous room, thanks for the tour. You have an amazing collection interesting items.
In our tiny rabbit hutch house, we lost our office when Matilda arrived. But it was lovely, we each had a desk with a computer so we could sit next to each other to work/surf and talk to each other using IM. Shelves full of books and all our junk in one place and now it's all either in our bedroom or up in the loft.
Which room next??