Room for two

Sweetie and I own an old house. Old for this part of the world anyway. It's a design called a Pioneer Tent, a simple Victorian workingman's house. It looks like the kind of house a kid would draw. It's officially a one-and-a-half storey house, but the eaves on the second storey are high enough that neither of us bumps our head. Originally, these houses were build on the ground, with a one-storey kitchen on the back under a shed roof. If this house had a shed, it no longer does, and in the early part of last century it was raised onto a foundation.

Upstairs consists of four small rooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom is slightly larger than the others and not a bad size for the two of us, although we desperately need closet space (they didn't build closets in those days; we use a wardrobe). The first room on the left was a child's bedroom for the previous owners. We turned that into an office that we both share. The two rooms farther down the hall are quite small. We figure the house was built without indoor plumbing, and the bathroom was added later. When that happened, some space was stolen from those two rooms, do each has a kind of notch in it. We turned the one on the left, the smallest room of all, into a guest room. The room on the right, which had also been a child's bedroom, became a place for storage.

The living room downstairs was never a great place to put a television, and it just got worse when we bought a home theatre. It's a decent-sized room, but it really loses when so much space is taken up by electronics and a large screen. So over the last couple of years, we have been turning that upstairs storage room into a "media room."

We stripped the room down to the studs, including the ceiling. It would have been nice to preserve the old plaster, but it wasn't practical. There had been too many layers of wallpaper and paint put on top of it. We reinsulated and then had drywall installed. We painted and installed baseboards. We had shelving built into one wall, not just for the TV but for much-needed book storage. It was a tight fit next to the window. Finally we had new carpeting put in, because the floor was hopeless.

Last weekend, after much delay, some guys from the Geek Squad came to move all the equipment upstairs and install it. No more sitting in the living room to watch TV or a movie on DVD. We suddenly found ourselves in unfamiliar territory, a room we had never really used and never sat in. I thought it might feel strange.

As it turned out, it felt quite nice. We had bought the flat screen at a size that would work in that room, and it had always been rather small for the living room. We finally had the full impact of a wide-screen TV! And the small room was pleasantly cozy. In fact, it turns out to be one of the warmest rooms in the house, quite a contrast from the north-side living room downstairs.

We are adjusting. There's a bathroom right next door, but the kitchen is quite a ways away. There is still work to do in the room around the window and door frames. We need to touch up some paint. But we're feeling comfortable there. Finally, the house is just a bit bigger than it was.

Now the living room is a bit of a wreck. It needs furniture! And a whole lot more work so it can be the parlour it probably once was.


Caitlin said...

Sounds like our rental house in an old Portland neighborhood. Full of character with a modern twist. Photos?

Ellena said...

My heart became heavy reading you this morning. I can no longer talk about my house and must get used to the word apartment and need to be grateful for not having to refer to my room as yet. Enjoy, enjoy.

Anji said...

It sounds interesting. Like an overfilled suitcase, you get one part organised and discover something else needs doing...

Véronique said...


I'll see if I've uploaded any to Facebook.


I imagine we'll reach that point -- the point where two flights of stairs are not really a good idea. Then the shrinkage begins.


The living room is a wreck now!