Friday, October 01, 2004

October 2004 - Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating? I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to cry. Let'sassume, before one begins decorating, that the heating, plumbing,electricity are already in place, that any fungi which had invaded woodwork has been removed (along with superfluous walls blocking doors, or sitting on a sprung parquet dance floor) and that sawed-off stair cases have been replaced.These are huge assumptions. Never mind.

First throw out junk - 13 hard moldy loaves of bread, fermenting canned strawberries, stacks of Communist youth magazines, old torn clothes, mouse nests. Save the crosses, the horseshoes, tiles from ancient tile stoves, grandfather's architect's drawing, some handmade nails.
I'll skip lightly over the repair of windows; additions of toilets, sinks; renovating floors etc., etc., since that is already covered completely in the first short paragraph. [See above!] Moving on to real interior decorating, I realize that I have actually done some decorating which I like.
Color pleases me very much & I think about the placement of rooms under consideration. A north-facing room needs warm color. My painter & I mixed & stirred paint to copy a scrap of pinky-coral tissue paper for paint on the large dining room walls. The woodwork is a warm cream, & striped tablecloths, hand-loomed by a friend, are a happy mix of cream, green, forest, pink, gold, & orange.

Two south-facing rooms could take cool colors. The library is white & gray with the same cream woodwork. A red couch & chairs done in a William-Morris-type print along with all the books add color. The bedroom next to it is red, white, & blue, but rather subtly done, with only touches of red. There's a quilt on the large bed. On the sleigh bed is a deep red blanket & a heart-shaped blue & white pillow edged in white eyelet. The pillow is "modra-tisk", the ancient technique of printing cloth with indigo dye [See Czech Handicraft shops.] Wardrobe shelves are lined in red, white, & blue paper. The walls are light blue & white, the pattern rolled on by cut-out rubber rollers. This technique was widely used here 10 or 15 years ago; neighbors loaned me rollers, but perhaps some paint stores might still have some buried in their storeroom.
Fabric comes from a nearby factory & I have gladly made friends with my amiable neighborhood upholsterer. As well as sofas, upholstered chairs, & wooden chair seats, he also puts tops on folding birch luggage racks which all my bedrooms have, & which I also sell, one of the products of our woodshop.

Collections can go on shelves, which our shop also makes. My collections are all accidental - I was left things by relatives & many were gifts. I have four - bells, pitchers, little boxes, & fish. If you have collections, purposeful or accidental, your travels give you the chance to add to your collections & the new pieces decorate your house. The little boxes are in my bedroom & the bells in another bedroom. Pitchers sit on a kitchen shelf; fish are on a bathroom wall.

I take pictures - posters, family photos, friends' paintings - to a very reasonably priced workshop close by. For years I've been wishing for non-reflective glass, which is finally available here.

Thinking "out-of-the box" is so important. What color should a floor be? Brown? Black? Well, I stained the floor in a dull small hallway a rich blue. Nice! We had to build one bathroom in front of a bedroom, because the bedroom had a great arched & molded ceiling plus there was no reasonable place to put the door. We finally put the bathroom on one side of the first room, a closet in the corner, & a sitting area with an easy chair, a captain's chair, & a hassock in the other, leaving a very adequate passage to the bedroom.

Furniture moves from room to room, according to need. A table/desk in a guest bedroom is now an accountant's desk. An extra buffet in an extra wide hallway, holds a family member's bits & pieces. Rattan furniture, awaiting eventual repair of a veranda, makes a conversation area at the end of the big dining room.

Writing this article has encouraged me to think hopefully of the next stages, when more basic renovation will let me decorate further.