A Year of Gifts
Do you have a special place where you can go just to breathe? A place of your very own where you can unwind, relax, and rejuvenate? Where you can surround yourself with things you love, maybe things only you can appreciate?
I dreamed of having a space like that for a long time.
We’ve been blessed to live in the same home for over twenty-five years. As with any house, ours has its own unique quirks and problems. When we found ourselves with more kids than bedrooms, we considered moving, but in the end, we stayed put. We added on instead. Because that’s what we do around here. We find a way to make things work.
I remember dreading the day when our kids would grow up and start to leave home. I hated the very thought. I imagined that when that time did come, the only redeeming factor might be a house that felt roomier. Back then I’d wonder what we’d do with all the extra space.
That time has come faster than I thought it would. Everyone tells you it will, and they’re right. Two out of three of our kids have moved out. But, in reality, I’m finding the whole “extra space” thing doesn’t quite work like that. We still need the bedrooms, if not for the kids when they come home for a visit, for other guests. And it takes a while before the kids are completely out of the house. They may be gone, but much of their "stuff" remains. At least for us…for now.
I’ve always dreamed of having a beautiful home office to call my own. I used to cut pictures out of magazines, spend hours watching HGTV, and even created some stunning Pinterest boards. But despite all my dreaming of the perfect office, I still had nowhere in the house where I could truly escape when I wanted to focus on my writing and other creative pursuits. After a while, the kitchen table just didn’t cut it anymore.
If you find yourself in the same boat, I encourage you to look around your own home with fresh eyes. Maybe there is a closet you can repurpose. Or an attic that could serve a better purpose than storing the junk you’ll never need. For me, I eventually claimed a room in the basement. It doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it?
When we first moved in years ago, that room served as nothing more than storage. Eventually, I convinced my husband to build a wall to separate the space. We’d keep the back one-third storage and convert the front two-thirds into an unofficial extra bedroom. The bedroom was rarely used.
One day, inspiration struck. Since we now had a spare bedroom upstairs, what if we tossed the old bed that was downstairs and I could finally have my office? A space of my own to hold all my treasures where I could retreat to create.
Was it even possible to convert the boxy little room with one tiny window and an unfortunately placed fuse box into something special? It wouldn’t have the natural light streaming in through gorgeous windows like some of the pictures I’d cut out and drooled over, but I thought it was worth a shot.
I didn’t want to spend much money. Instead, I wanted to create a blank canvas (code for paint the ugly yellow walls a bright white) and then layer in many of the fun treasures I’ve collected over the years. I could make it as “girly” as I wanted and no one would care. Even though I’d long ago let go of my childhood dream of someday living in a pink house, I could have splashes of pink and bits of glam in my little downstairs office.
And so the transformation began.
I turned up the music, pulled out the tarps, got rid of the junk and recruited some helpers.
The room felt lighter, brighter, once the fresh coat of white was up. It was almost time to let my imagination loose.
But first, there were some practical issues to be addressed. One very real problem was the limited number of electrical outlets in my new office. My desk placement would be dictated based on where there was electricity. It drives me nuts when I have to be practical!
I envisioned a large, L shaped desk with plenty of room for both computers and open tabletop space but I didn’t want anything heavy or too traditional. I scoured the house and screened-in porch for options.
What about that cool old door my mom and I had literally rescued from a dumpster outside a vintage-style store a few years earlier? The owners had been happy to have us take it. It barely fit in my mini-van, and we didn’t know what we’d do with it at the time, but I’ve learned to pick up treasures when you get the chance. You’ll figure out how to put them to use later.
The door became the mainstay of my eclectic new desk with the addition of four adjustable table legs from Menards and a heavy piece of beveled glass. The glass originally came atop another treasure Mom and I had picked up even earlier. The $5 coffee table it came on ended up out on the curb on clean-up week, but the glass transformed our door into a desktop. With the addition of an old kitchen table to complete the L shape, I had my desk.
The room continued to take shape. Old pieces, originally meant for other purposes have come together to give me a special place I call my own. When I want it bright, my pretty little “splurge” on the ceiling makes things sparkle. When I want to escape into my own mind, turning off all the lights except for the single one on my desk leaves me in a little cocoon of darkness. It works for me.
If you haven’t carved out a nook of your own, somewhere in your home, I encourage you to consider it. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be as fancy or as spartan as you want. The important thing is for it to reflect your likes, your tastes.
Unless you live alone, you likely have to find a way to blend your style with the styles of those you live with so everyone feels at home. But your own little corner can reflect your unique style.
I know I love having my own nook.
If you’re curious how my little basement office turned out, check back here next week when I’ll share more pictures and offer up examples of how I try to feed my own creativity and chase after my own dreams. If you follow my page on Facebook, I plan to post pictures of some of my favorite items from my office throughout this coming week so check those out, too.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of surrounding ourselves with people and things that make us smile. Sometimes it's the history of how things come to be a part of our lives that give us joy.
Spice up your own little corner of the world with things that make your soul sing. It’s how I like to live. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!