Rooms and Rooms and Rooms and Rooms

I told everyone I wasn’t going to buy a bigger house. I joked “who is gonna clean all those damn rooms?” Just the thought having a home with more rooms to manage and clean and decorate and think about seemed unnecessary. But then we found our current home.

The square footage is only a few hundred more than our previous residence. But somehow, it feels like we use all of it more than we used all of our other home. There were times in our other home that I wouldn’t go to the bottom half of it for weeks at a time. Here in this house, I might go a day or two before I venture down into the basement, but that’s about it since I have made myself a small gym down there to exercise.

There are just more rooms. We have two rooms, in fact, that I don’t know what to do with. One that was my husbands small office will eventually become a kids room when I think the girls are ready to have their own rooms. And the other is the puppy room right now, since our barely six month old puppy can’t be left alone for more than a second before she has something she shouldn’t have in her mouth, or she’s peeing or pooping in a place she shouldn’t. She needs her own empty room be kept in when we are out to keep her safe for now. My two year old Yorkie does not appreciate this, but that is because he can’t reach the counter or jump up on things like the puppy can.

The large room to the left of the front doors when you walk in is empty. However, I have moved my husband’s work station down there and he’s on calls all day in there now, alone except for stacks of his books. Each stack is a different color of the rainbow, including many white and black stacks. We are planning on turning this room into a library soon, and are excited because this is the first time we are spending a large amount of money on home improvement that isn’t an emergency. We used to spend this money on travel, but with the pandemic we aren’t as comfortable traveling abroad like we used to, so we figure now is a good time to invest a bit into our beloved new home.

There are rooms in my modern home that I don’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy my master bathroom, although many ooh and aww over it. It isn’t right. It shouldn’t be in the front of the house. It makes it impossible to open the floor to ceiling windows unless I want the whole cul de sac to watch me pee, shower, or brush my teeth. The shower is a rain shower, with three heads on the wall to the right, and a hand held on the left. There is no good place to stand without being drowned. It is just awkward. And it’s all gray. The contrast is brown, and darker gray, but I don’t like it.

It feels gray washed, and the standing tub they must’ve have squished in at an awkward angle in order to sell the house for a ton more money. It did have me at hello, until I moved in and had to utilize the space. It’s just strange. I know I sound like a brat, but as an interior designer I need to feel right about a space. This one has the right idea, but a poor execution. I rack my brain trying to figure out if I had a client come to me and look at it and ask what to do…what would I do?

But I’m still blocked. I think any one thing would cost a lot of money, like change the subway tile to black and have it match the flooring, or convert the vanity to something dark grey and not brown. However, for all nonsense, it would still be wrong. I’d rather rip it out and move it to the back of the house, attaching it to the master bedroom through the closet and making my office it’s new home. My office could be the bathroom space with all that beautiful light coming in all day. Or it could be a sitting room for the bedroom with a small wet bar. My own private getaway. I love it.

My sunroom is my next challenge. The insides and window casings are all an orange-y brown. It does warm up my black and white color schemes, but it’s just not my favorite. I want to paint it black. It would look less like nature, but it would be glorious. The tile is giant pieces that are beige and cream. They don’t bother me too much, but I think something dramatic in there with the black window outlines would be magnificent.

What I’m learning the more I do interior design is that the more intent I have about a space, the story I want to tell, the idea of the room and letting it be shown through paint and furniture and textures and light and everything else, the better the room. The more peace I have with it. The less horrible tchotchkes I buy to fill it up and make it feel cozy. I have lots of furniture pieces I’ve bought or were given to me in the past, but they belonged to a different home. A different room. A different era. A different Emily. They don’t fit here.

This weekend I’m have a huge yard sale to sell the things that don’t work. The chairs I bought for the beach house, or the black round table I bought for the Bristol house kitchen, or the IKEA glass and lucite table and chairs set we got for the studio. I’m getting rid of the table for the beach house, and the table custom made for the Bristol house studio. I’m selling the small flowery white fake flowers, the small mirrors, lamps, and ottomans we bought for staging that we are no longer using. I’m encouraging the kids to sell their toys they no longer play with, and bags of their Halloween candy (it would take us years to get through all the candy we have in the house and I’m finding myself eating a handful of it every day. Ugh with the Tootsie Rolls!)

I’m making room. Space. I’m creating a way for new things that fit me and who me and family are right now in this new home. With these other pieces here, there isn’t room for anything else. And there is a clutter of things I don’t love and don’t want to keep. I’m letting go.

I’m selling the things that don’t serve us anymore, in hopes to create enough money to buy things that do. Like a new couch to watch TV on for Dan that doesn’t hurt his neck when he lounges on it. New rugs for when Matilda gets her bladder life together. Maybe making a dent in the library construction fund. Maybe buying some art. Or new windows that don’t have foggy panes. Maybe a new fridge that doesn’t freeze all of our food or have broken shelves.

Doing all the work now to make this yard sale successful will enable me to at least one of these things. It is a step in the right direction, especially in order for me to take portfolio shots here of the house in the next few weeks so I can get more work. It’s also distracting me from my nervousness about doing profile pictures tomorrow. I noticed being nervous about getting my license picture taken last week, and I’m noticing that I’m really anxious about the whole ordeal of doing a bunch of profile picture for my website and online portfolio.

I’ve moved rooms around in order to find vignettes to do the profile pictures. This wasn’t good timing with the yard sale stuff making its way out of closets and spaces and corners and shelves in the house, but I know the more I delay doing these things, the more I delay my career and my dreams of creating exciting spaces for people to enjoy. I want to create exciting spaces for people to enjoy cocktails. And dinner parties. And celebrations. And to enjoy relaxing or vacationing in.

I want people to love their homes and their spaces. I want them to feel less anxiety about having friends, family, and colleagues over. I want them to feel pride in their spaces and want to spend time there. I want them to enjoy going to a night out and feeling transported to an entirely different place. One that changes the night, their minds, their perceptions of what is acceptable, what is right, what is okay, and what is not. One that makes them want to tell fascinating stories, secrets, and lies. Where they leave a little bit changed and more interesting because they actually went instead of going to the same old same old.

For now, I will practice on the rooms of my house, taking it one at a time, making sure each has its own story and reason for being. Perhaps even the empty ones.