A fun fact that never made it to the blog because I was very busy at the time: Josh looked at our house by himself when he was house shopping, and I didn’t see it in person until after the lease was drawn up.
Some people act a little surprise that I was OK with that, but I would always say, “I wasn’t worried; he has more extravagant taste than I do!”
And sure enough, our [rental] house is beautiful and much more than I could ever ask for.
Here’s another, not-so-fun fact: I am not particularly good at decorating a house. Our last home, though very much a blessing in the fact that it had enough space for our family, was not particularly attractive, and I soon stopped caring about decorating it because there really isn’t much you can do with dark wood paneled walls and yellow tinted light fixtures without investing a lot of money.
But I felt like our new house necessitated that I take it up a notch. The interior is so light and bright and beautiful, and I didn’t want to ruin it by moving in all our shabby stuff! We really haven’t invested much in our furniture in the past (with the exception of our dining room table, which Josh built and then purchased chairs for over the course of a few years,) so we have been using a lot of hand-me-down stuff that doesn’t necessarily match or look nice.
Originally, we planned to leave all the shabby furniture behind, but then we realized that we did not have the funds to replace all of it right away, so some of it had to come as a temporary fix. We are slowly but surely making the house the way we want it, and as we complete each room, I would like to post it on here! NOT because I expect to impress anyone, but simply because it symbolizes, to me, the transformation of a house into a home.
So today’s post is about the first room that I feel is complete, or at least very near complete: the schoolroom. The first step in the process was picking where the schoolroom would be! At our old house, we had taken what was meant to be a formal living room and used it for two purposes: originally, half was for Josh’s office, and half was for my office/crafting area. Although I never really got around to unpacking my half. So when we were called to homeschool, it was very convenient that we had a half of a room that could be turned into a homeschooling area without really disrupting anything. The arrangement worked well since we only did school while Josh was at work, and he only worked in his home office after we were done with school, so we were never bothering each other. It was also nice, since I am a pretty messy person, that if I didn’t feel like cleaning up the schooling mess at the end of the day, I could simply close the door to the office and no one would have to see the mess.
This house, however, is a different situation. Now that Josh is working from home a good bit more, we really needed to have a separate office and schooling area. He decided to set up shop in the basement. Our ground floor has a rather peculiar layout; it is basically all one open room, with a half wall between the two main living areas. At first we thought that maybe it was meant to be a living area and a formal dining area, but the more we studied the layout (and where the cable outlets were!) the more we realized that the intention was for one side of the wall to be the formal living area and the other side to be the more casual den. Which is kind of a weird way to do it, but the half wall does provide a nice separation between a living room and a school room!
The other possibility for a schoolroom was the loft area that is at the top of our stairs. I really debated about the two spaces, but I finally decided that I would like to be downstairs for school.
The thing about doing the schoolroom downstairs was that it made it EXTREMELY visible. This corner of the house is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, it’s the first thing you see if you’re walking down the stairs, and it’s the main thing you can see from the kitchen. I didn’t want it to have the cluttered office feel that it had before, with mix-matched bookshelves and supplies all over the place. I wanted to have an area that would be both functional AND beautiful.
Which means that we had to get creative with our storage. Josh found an old TV armoire that came with two matching bookcases on Craigslist. They were a medium wood finish, and I am trying to keep everything light and bright, so we spent a few weeks painting and contact paper-ing. (Josh is the KING of contact paper application!) Once we got the main storage put together, the rest of the room fell into place!
Obviously, I still have some clutter to figure out, which is why I said the room was close to being done. But this still makes me so happy! The close-able cabinets allow me to store all the craft supplies and such that I would prefer not to be in the open.
This L-shaped desk came with the house, and it is perfect for the printer, the school computer, and my computer. Which is nice because at our previous house my computer didn’t really have a home. Because the schoolroom only has two walls, one of them is taken mostly up by armoire, and the other is completely windows, we didn’t have the wall space for the giant bulletin board I usually use. I purchased this small board at Tuesday Morning, and I opted to display our theme for the year on a canvas.
Although what I keep ON my teacher desk could still use some work, I’m very pleased with the area ABOVE it. This is where we keep up with the kids’ allowances, chores, and the family calendar.
Of course the cardboard letters are my favorite! Once we got the furniture arranged, I felt like I needed something above the armoire but it would have to be pretty high up so I didn’t want to put pictures or anything with tiny details up there. I’ve done the cardboard letters for other people before, but I’ve never had an excuse to do them for myself so this was super fun! I already had a ton of scrapbook paper from various events, so all I had to do was purchase the letters. If I have ever hosted your baby/bridal shower before, look alive – there’s probably some scrapbook paper you will recognize!
And in case you are wondering – YES, that is a typewriter on the top shelf! Josh got it for me a few birthdays ago, after he heard me say that I felt every real writer should have a typewriter. Unfortunately, I have not had a good place to display it out of the reach of little fingers…until now! Isn’t she a beauty?!
Our schoolroom table is our old dining room table. One nice thing about the way this area is set up is we can use it as an overflow table without having to move it when we have a lot of company over for dinner. I wanted the schoolroom to also work as a second dining area without having to rearrange any furniture!
Well, now that we have a beautiful place to do school, it will be a breeze. Right? Right???