Cicero said, "A room without books is like a body without a soul." It's a quote I've always responded to, as I don't feel comfortable in rooms without books. Reading as many design blogs and shelter mags as I do, I've noticed that there aren't as many rooms out there with books. They're not a large part of current design trends.
In fact, paper books aren't a current trend at all, as Amazon recently reported that Kindle book sales have surpassed hardcover and paperback books combined. Logically, I know that what matters is the creation itself, but emotionally, even spiritually, I need real books. I love the smell, the way they feel, my eye resting upon shelves of them as I hang out in my home.
I respond to the tactile realness of paper books. One of my first retail jobs was as a clerk in a bookstore. We used to get the stripped books that didn't sell. I gloried in the idea of all of that knowledge and creativity at my fingertips for free, but I never read them. The lack of the front cover threw off my enjoyment of the story itself. I love to run my fingers up and down the spine as I read, curling the cover of a paperback slightly or resting a hardcover on my knee. The story doesn't speak to me unless I hold a complete book, and like Cicero, I feel a room is a flat, dead thing without the souls of multiple books within it.
There's progress at the Concord House. My Charles and I went down there this weekend and packed up more stuff and checked out what's been done. Two of the three bedrooms and the living room have been painted and the carpeting pulled up to expose the wood floors. Both bathrooms have been gutted and completely redone. All that's left are the den, kitchen, and the third bedroom.
It's glorious to see things moving along. There is still a lot of STUFF to deal with, but we're dealing with it. My Charles and I are keeping two pieces, and when they're in their new home, I'll share photos. My Charles' brother is keeping more of the furniture, but there are tons of pieces that we don't want. Hooray for thrift stores!
My Charles is very pleased to see his childhood home turning into a place it's never been before. All of the walls are going matte beige with bright, glossy white trim. The varnish on the floors has yellowed a bit with age, but it's in very good shape, as they've been covered in carpet as long as they've existed. In the process of updating, we found that all of the closets have cedar plank floors -- very nice, and while the house isn't huge, the updates and bathroom and kitchen remodels should fit a first time home buyer's dream quite well. A silly bit of me will be sad to see the garish wallpaper in the kitchen leave, but I'm grateful we don't have to take it down. It's as attached to the wall as it was in 1960-whenever when it was first put up. Thank goodness for the efficient work of Bob the handyman!
I haven't taken photos of the updates, as I discovered that none of the rooms, other than the kitchen, have lights. Back when the house was built, I guess they were way into swagged chandeliers. Even with the sun streaming through the windows, there wasn't enough light to take shots. Maybe I'll succeed next trip.
My grandma taught me that wasting food was a Cardinal sin, and really, why do it? That said, there were always some things that found their way to the compost bucket instead of our bellies, and it bothered me. Then I realized that there wasn't any reason to compost all the onion ends and meat trimmings. If I kept them until I had enough for stock, there would be practically no waste. Now, I've written about stock before, but I wanted to share this aha moment. This last weekend, I made my first pot of stock with all of those bits, plus the remnants of a rotisserie chicken. It smelled and looked beautiful and made double what I usually get, full of nutrients and flavor. My compost isn't suffering either, as it still receives all of those lovely, garden-pleasing coffee grounds. But in these days of using everything and saving as many pennies as possible, keeping a corner of my freezer reserved for unused produce just makes sense. Plus, since I had double the stock as usual, it will save me the money that I usually have to spend for supplemental stock at the store, as I usually run out in between batches.
My Charles and I haven't had a fun, frivolous day in quite a while, so we decided to go to Reno to do something that I've been yearning to do for quite some time -- thrift. I've gotta say, I think I've fallen a little in love with the Biggest Little City. Once you get beyond the casinos, it's a college town, and man has my heart yearned for a college town since we moved to Nevada County! We had an awesome lunch at a Taste of Thai. (Arcata friends -- dudes, it was better than Japhy's. I kid you not!) Oh, culture and cheap thrift stores and people talking about college classes -- even hipsters -- I enjoyed it all. My FAVORITE new store of all time? Junkee. People, I swoon. Awesome clothes at great prices, and even more -- awesome antiques for even better prices! Here are a few photos of the store:
Seriously, I could spend every penny we have in that place. I came so close to buying a ton of stuff, but in the end, I restrained myself to four pieces of clothing and this gold mirror from the 19th century for -- wait for it -- $25. I know! I die! I'm so, so, happy with it, and it's going to look sweet in my office.
This was my favorite find of the day. It was hanging out with some poster frames at the SPCA thrift store. Say hello to our new medicine cabinet. We're going to try to mirror the glass ourselves. I'll give you a step by step when that happens. Why the rustic cabinet? Earlier this year, I came to terms with the fact that our house is a cabin in the woods. I figured I should embrace that reality and begin to decorate the house that way. So I'm going to focus on a rustic, with modern elements, plus vintage whimsy feel and hope that it's charming. I'm actually really excited about how this will look in our bathroom. It's solid wood with enough utility to work in our teeny tiny water closet. Plus, it was twenty bucks, and it will replace a cheap, press board with white laminate piece that's hanging out in there currently. I can't wait to show you the before and afters.