Monday, May 19, 2014

Scaling up

My friend Hannah and her partner moved into a new place almost six months ago. And for six months we've been meaning to make a time for me to visit them and make some suggestions on how to arrange their possessions to work better within their new, much larger, flat. In the words of Hannah: 'Pretend my house is a dolls house, but on a bigger scale'.

It finally happened this weekend just gone. Hannah blogged about it here but I'm going to share the photos I took (do you think either of us remembered to take 'before' photos?)
Lounge with colourful felted bunting, three purple lounge chairs with bright cushions and a wooden coffee table. A woman sits on one of the chairs writing in a note book.
 It was all  a bit weird to start with as I'm used to making up the stories of the people who 'own' my scenes in my head as opposed to getting to ask them in real life what significance their objects has, if they love them and working out where they fitted in the story. And there's the added stress of unintentionally insulting them on their taste.
Wooden bookcase in front of a cream wall. On top of the bookcase is a selection of brightly coloured ornaments and a black and white piece of dog street art. There is a brick wall to the left with a painting of orange dragons flying in a blue sky.
But we soon got into the swing of things and focused on three main areas. The lounge which I dubbed 'playful' as I needed to work with the colourful felt bunting and the one-of-a-kind borrowed purple chairs, with added hand-knitted patches. This is the room that is used for games nights and such.
A set of three wall shelves showcasing a selection of personal items including a photograph, books, a 3D-printed space ship and two small teddy bears.
 A set of wall shelves in the dining room area was originally a hodge podge of seemingly randomly dumped items. We turned it into a bit of a shrine to the story of Hannah and her partner and their relationship (the needlework needs to be hung higher, but we couldn't find the paperclips...)
A small hutch dresser displaying a collection of seals of ciffernt materials (stuffed toys, stone, shell) and an ornate chess set.
The hutch on the other side of the room displays Hannah's partner's seal collection and the chess set Hannah was given for her 21st: she's hoping to teach her cousin to play. The cupboards below hold the liquor collection and the drawers are the official junk drawers (this made her partner quite excited).
A reading nook which includes a 1970s comfy chair and floor rug, a vintage wooden floor lamp and a side chair holding a pile of books.
 Upstairs on the landing is a reading nook which the real estate agents found so uninteresting they didn't even picture it in the rental listing. Hannah had the chair and lamp up here, but little else, and wasn't using it as much as she'd hoped.

I swiped the rug and cushion from the lounge, where they'd been fighting with the rest of the decor, and a vintage chair from the dining room to use as a side table.
A reading nook which includes a 1970s comfy chair and floor rug, and a long cream bookcase containing books in colour order and with an arrangement of brown-themed items on top.
The bookcase came out of the office and was used as display space for more of their treasures, this time in a more subdued palette and with a theme of 'Oh the places you'll go' (a significant book Hannah had in her collection downstairs). Hannah took the chance of arranging the books in colour order, much to the horror of my inner Librarian.

And then we got the urge to go shopping. The op shops were shut, but The Green Shed was still open (just). In fifteen minutes flat and for a total of $90 we picked out six dining chairs (two tall-backed ones for the ends of the table and four shorter-backed ones for the sides, all in the same wood and all with the same seat covering and not at all what we'd originally been looking for),
Wooden dining table with two wooden chairs behind and a small hutch behind them.
Photo by Hannah Mattner
 A small bedside table with two drawersat first glance extremely ugly
Small white vintage bedside table next to a reading chair, with a pile of books on top.
Photo by Hannah Mattner
but with definite revamping potential for the reading nook,
Small white vintage bedside table  with stickers and writing on the drawers, next to a reading chair, with a pile of books on top.
Photo by Hannah Mattner
 another lampshade for the lamp and a footstool/ seating for extra people.
Woman 'asleep' in a reading chair, with her feet on a footstool and a book covering her face.
Photo by Hannah Mattner
All of which quite wore us out. Throwing up a miniature scene is definitely an easier option, but the excitement of two happy friends made it all worthwhile.

Hannah thinks I should set up a business as a Recessionista, styling for people using their existing possessions. Another friend thinks I should become the alternative Kirstie Allsopp and start a YouTube channel.

I think I should stick to dolls houses. For now, at least.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! You've told the story so well. I did laugh at the idea I'm "teaching" Mr 13 chess though - he thrashed me in both of our two games tonight.

I've just grabbed some 'after' photos of the reading nook to compare, which I'll add to my post and send through for you to add to yours as a before-and-after set.

And of course, we can solve the problem of having no before-and-after photos by having you back to do the rest of the rooms some time soon. ;-)

m1k1 said...

Haha. At least in real-life, you don't have to worry about blu-tacking the walls in place while you take an artsy photograph.

Daniel O'Brien said...

Awesome work!

Was it a deliberate decision to have books in every photo? Or did that just happen? Knowing Hannah and her partner, I can easily imagine both scenarios being the case...

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Thanks Daniel: and no it wasn't a deliberate thing but since all houses have books pretty much everywhere it's hard to take a photo without including some (except perhaps of laundries, toilets and bathrooms...)