Hi, it’s me again. The above is–ha ha–not our new house. It’s the nearby estate, which was modeled from English estates the builder had visited and admired.
It’s an appropriate picture, though, because our new house, in spite of being a 1960s tri-level, has a surprising number of very English Country House-type rooms. In the back of my head Margaret Schlegel says, “a small house with big rooms, and lots of them”. That’s exactly what we have.
The house has been renovated at least once, and we’re going to do some minor renovations again, which makes the floor plan imminently sensible and much more livable than it was originally. Originally, one entered the house through a front door that was half-a-flight above the ground. Previous owners turned the original garage and workshop into two living rooms and an entry hall.
This: we have a real Hall. You enter the house at ground level, into a real room-sized room with a slate floor, two large coat closets, and plenty of room for chairs and demilune and umbrella stand and boot trays. Can you imagine? I’m going to paint the walls dramatic deep blue or green. That combined with profuse white trim, lots of my blue-and-white crockery (umbrella stand, fish pot, some plates on the walls) will make it feel like a calm, cool, yet dramatic place to sit down and get your wet Seattle duds off.
Just to the left of the Hall is a large open entry onto the Library. This is a long living room with lots of windows and a pellet stove at one end. I’m going to fill a wall with bookshelves and order squashy chairs and sofas, put my red Turkey carpets on the floor, my Bierstadt prints on the walls (which I will paint palest green), and get those IKEA occasional tables with glass display cases under their tops. It will be like a real Enlightenment library. Local specimens will go in those display cases. On rainy winter days it will be a lovely place to curl up with a book.
At the far end of the Hall is a doored-off room the previous owners used as the master bedroom, but we will use as the TV room. It’s also a long room, with two tiny basement-type windows, a woodburning stove at one end, and a large storage closet at the other. No particular decorative plans, though some shelving and two IKEA sofa beds will go there.
Up half a flight of stairs from the Hall, you find yourself on the service floor. An open kitchen/dining area has French doors onto the previous front garden, which has now been fenced off and turned into The Secret Garden. It has a little wooden deck and a little laid-stone patio, lots of tall Northwestern pines across the street, and that seven-foot privacy fence all around.
The kitchen appears to have been laid out by drunken monkeys. I’ll live with it for a couple years, then we will remodel with IKEA cabinets in white or medium brown, black countertops, stone backsplash tiles, pale blue walls, and those ceramic floor tiles that look like wood.
Off the kitchen is a full bath (yeah, one of those houses). There is also a bedroom-sized utility room that houses the laundry, the water heater, a freezer plug-in, a large folding/sorting table, and lots of shelves. Can you imagine, a REAL laundry room?!?!
To the other side of the bathroom is . . . well, I guess it’s technically a bedroom. Like the utility room it’s maybe 9×9 or 10×10, somewhere in that area, and I’m going to turn it into a walk-in pantry. Shelving all around. Food. Cleaning supplies. Toiletries. Occasionally-used appliances. I want to paint the walls of this one a crazy color, too–another deep blue or green–and get those natural-pine shelving units. And maybe a sparkly light fixture.
Thus endeth the service floor. Up another half-flight, you end up among the bedrooms. There is another full bath up there, and three small bedrooms, and what was the house’s original living room, with its original front entrance. The room is gigantic, with vaulted ceilings and picture windows. And we’re going to use it for the master suite. It’s more than big enough to accommodate a bath and closet. Blue-green walls, our white bedroom furniture, curtains with a bold cream-and-brown pattern (sigh).
So you see . . . a very livable house with lots of places for everything. Can’t wait to get my claws in it.