Our new Library/Music Room

nancyinmichFebruary 26, 2011

Hi Everybody!

Our kitchen is on hold until spring, since I cannot do the finishing touches until it is warm enough to work in the garage. We purchased a far-infrared sauna at Christmas time, and my friend and I cleaned out my craft room to make room for it. A couple of weekends ago, that friend, DH, and I brought the sauna pieces inside and assembled it. This week, our favorite contractor, Jim, routed a circuit for the 20 amp power supply and we have the sauna working. Since my heart doc took me off my n-said for my auto-immune problems, the sauna is my sole non-narcotic pain reliever!

Next up is the library. We live in a ranch style home, the kind where the garage protrudes forward of the rest of the house. The front entrance is next to the garage, but is "indented" so as you go toward the front door, you are walking past the inside wall of the garage. The walk to the entrance is also taking you past the inside wall of the living room of the home.

We have never used the living room as anything but DH's office, music room, and our library. Now that DH has a laptop, he is rarely in there. Besides the cold draftiness of the room (the window will be replaced this spring), the room is just too cluttered to feel comfortable. DH never goes there. The dogs hang out there when we are gone.

Our old Sauder and Bush bookcases did not match each other (we each had a different colored set when we married). They were leaning, too. Papers for filing and gosh knows what else were everywhere. I have trouble climbing over the dog beds and trombone equipment to even enter the room, so I do not ever try to take care of the filling myself. This room needed a makeover badly. DH started me thinking about it last fall, when he asked how much it would cost to have Jim make bookshelves for the room. Jim looked at it and said that it depended on what wood we chose, but that he was working on designing a built-in bookcase for his sister and it was already running into several thousand for the wood alone. So, I started looking on Craigslist. Sooner or later a lawyer would go out of business or a home with a nice library would hit foreclosure and the owners would gut it before moving out. The morning I was discharged from the hospital, there was an ad for a lawyer's bookshelves - 91" high, 30" and 36" wide, 7 of them for $500. We looked at them that evening and put money down on them. DH and a moving company brought them home on Sunday. Jim was by on Wednesday to hook up the sauna, and said he will be free in two weeks. We discussed design and how to achieve the look we want. He'll call one of these days with a price.

We like the cabinet-on-the-bottom look, like this:

But we also like it when the bottom cabinet comes out further than the bookshelves above it. I think this looks like a comfortable den style of library. And we, in our Smaller Homes, need all the storage we can get!

Yesterday, I drove past an office furniture resale store. The old fellow inside did not think he had three 36" wide storage cabinets or lateral file drawers that matched. But he set me loose in his warehouse and I found them. They are rather plain, 36" wide and 22" deep, about 30" high (I don't think I measured the height). They were in great condition, very sturdy. Each has one shelf inside the two doors. The shelf is fixed in place, but can be moved to different heights if you unscrew the shelf and re-screw it in a different set of shelf holes. The color is a reddish brown. I got them for $130 each, and they are charging $75 to deliver them. I am hoping that Jim will agree that it will work to add shaker-style door trim, so they will look more traditional and less modern. Then I am thinking that I will paint them a creamy color and then perhaps I will do a glaze in a chocolate color to match the insides of the bookshelves:

The perimeter of the bookshelves and the walls between each bookshelf section will be trimmed out in a fluted trim with rosette blocks, just like the woodwork in the foyer and entrance to the library already is done.

Today, DH and I visited a used furniture store that I hit yesterday. I had put a deposit on a desk from a hotel liquidation. The desk had fluted legs and was light an airy feeling, but sturdy and solid. Since DH never puts anything into drawers, I figured he really does not need any! This morning, he decided on his own that he did want drawers, and decided to keep my old desk. It is a huge 5 ft long government bureaucrat desk, from the 1940s or 1950s. You remember the look, a teacher may have used one like this when you were at school. They were usually made of maple. Mine has a center drawer, a shallow upper drawer and a deep file drawer on the right, three shallow drawers on the left, and pull-out writing surfaces above the right and left stacks of drawers. It keeps the office worker's muscles in shape with the effort it takes to open and close a loaded drawer on wood-on-wood slides. There is a cross member in the leg space where you can rest your feet. I had stained this thing a deep chestnut color many years ago. So today we went back to get my deposit back (or find something else to buy) at the used furniture store. But DH saw the desk and liked the lightness, so we ended up bringing it home.

I may change its color from the fake mahogany red to a brown to better match the rest of the room.

So that is the plan! We will have lots of room for books, three 36" storage cabinets at the base of three of the five bookshelves, a lateral file drawer I still need to buy, and a more usable space for DH to play and compose his music. He uses composing software and his synthesizer to compose, so the synthesizer will be next to his desk. Mute bags and travel music stand and trombone cleaning materials can go in a base cabinet. He insists on very little furniture, so the loveseat is his only upholstered piece in the room. I have several slipcovers for it (dog hair shall never touch upholstery!). There is a 7.5' square carpet that I may put in there on top of the cream wall-to-wall carpet. I might get him to allow an armed chair from the dining set in there. We shall see. He says no one will be there but him, and he does not need seating, he needs room to pace as he plays trombone!

If you follow the link below, there are more photos of the space and a lot more captioning. Any comments or recommendations about painting and glazing the base cabs and trim, or any other ideas you might have are welcome!

Here is a link that might be useful: Front room album at Pbase

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First off, LOVE your Japanese maple. It is GORGEOUS.
And boy what a find you made on the book cases, and the really light weight desk.

This will be a most interesting project, and it sounds like you have it well along in the planning.

May I ask you, when are you going to take it EASY, hmmmmm?
That sauna looks wonderful, and having it installed happened at just the right time for you.

One thing I'd like to ask about. If your DH is going to be musicating in the room, and only one upholstered piece of furniture in there, plus the carpet, you need to plan something for the significant amount of window in the room. I know the shades admit light, unless they are black out shades. But if you can get some heavy fabric like suedecloth, or maybe cotton velvet lined, maybe with blackout cloth or jut the sort of stuff they use in theatres, then that would help with quality of sound. Does the room face WEST? If so, you could use some flat panels of shade cloth against the glass to filter the light and cut the heat. I like the shade cloth, because no one can see in, but you can get an impression of movement outside.

I love floor to ceiling. If you have crown molding at the ceiling then you could mount the rods up there. And I would not buy ready made rods. I'm sure JIM, who is priceless, BTW, could help you design something very attractive. Since that big window stands out from the exterior of your house, replacing those shades will go a long way to also improve the curb appeal.

Take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:16PM
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Ok, I just forgot to mention the color of the desk.

Hmmmm, I would not try to match the color of the book shelving and cabinets. This desk will be your one chance to have an accent piece, along with his chair. So. I'd think about making it stand out.

Folks are doing black a lot. Or if you have a favorite color you want for the draperies, paint the desk close to that color. Maybe, but I'm not a decorator. Just I'd like to see you feature this very lovely desk as something outstanding. It has good lines, IMHO.

And how does your DH store his musical instruments? Always in a case? Always laying them down on his chair? could they perhaps be displayed on the wall by some sort of tool rack that looks uptown? Does he have any special albums he loves? Could you get the art reproductions for something musical for the walls? Or maybe a big poster from a concert and put it inside the book case (you'd have to remove at least ONE of the shelves to give it space), with a light washing over it. I did not have backs on my bookcases, so I put a gooseneck lamp on a shelf to cast a soft glow. They have all sorts of new lighting methods these days, I think you must ask Jim to include a few hidden down lights in the shelving to display DH's artsy stuff.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:28PM
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I love your new desk and your bookshelves. Great price on them. Is that a barrister bookshelf in your foyer?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:14AM
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WOW Nancy those are great shelves. Nice desk too. Such vision you have. I would have loved those shelves in my studio.

Your far infrared is great looking. I hope it helps with your pain.did you happen to ask the doc if it is ok to use with just having your heart attack?


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:15AM
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My goodness, you guys are fast tonight! I was moseying through the Kitchens forum, stopped by here on my way to bed, and there are already three of my friends online and commenting! ML, I swear I did not lift a finger. I just pointed and Belinda did everything. The most I did was empty some drawers, then she carried the boxes. Belinda needs to earn spending money (she is on disability) and she does everything I can't do or don't get around to doing.

Black for the desk would be perfect. I was trying to lighten the area, so did not think of it. The keyboard that will be next to it is black, though. So are the trombone cases, the music stand, and so on. We will have to see how it looks once the room is done. The fake red mahogany may look okay.

The room faces east. The honeycomb shades are fairly new - we installed them the day his dad went blind about 3.5 years ago. DH may let me do a valance and side curtains, though. I can only imagine the fun I would have in a fabric store - I am a color and texture lover.

Maybe I should look into hanging the 7.5' square rug on the one empty wall behind the loveseat? That would muffle a lot. The rug is in the basement, rolled up after being professionally cleaned. DH is weird about practicing. Lately he has been practicing in the hallway outside of the bedrooms, pointing his horn into the tiled bath. He seems to like that sharp sound. I will have to ask him tomorrow. He went to bed an hour ago, after struggling for hours to figure out a stock distribution issue with my sister's taxes. Her taxes usually take about 10 minutes to do, but not this year!

I cannot take credit for the maple, it came with the house. I can only take credit for not trimming it back, or shearing off the bottom so that it looks like an umbrella, like some folks here do. I did choose the door to match it, though!

For artwork, there is an interesting photo montage of parts of a trombone, all different angles and perspectives. DH also has a framed poster from the Montreaux Jazz Festival, from the year he played there. I have a picture of him with a mop of hair from his college days, playing. A friend gifted him recently of a sculpture of a figure playing keyboards. I do have a couple of those down lights that you place above artwork that I can use to illuminate something in the bookcase, I like that idea. We have an old broken trombone or two in the basement. Maybe I could look for more musical items in thrift stores and make a sculpture to hang on his wall.

The horns live in their cases. I have offered to make shelves for them and DH has declined.

Hi Marti, yes that is a barrister bookcase. I got it from Craigslist several years ago and had planned to use it for a display case - even purchased several T3 fluorescent fixtures to put inside some of the sections. It ended up just holding books because we ran out of space. Today we discussed what we are going to do with it, and DH wants to keep it in the foyer. I had planned to put my art deco buffet in the foyer, but the bookcase will fit better. The little curio cabinet next to it holds a few of my precious items. It is supposed to sit a bit down the main hall, where it intersects with the hall to the kitchen and family room, but when Dad was alive we needed it out of the way for the wheelchair and ambulance crews (who else decorates around what the ambulance crews might need!). Now, I leave it in the foyer because I do not want it near where Casey has his pee pads. I don't want it to become a target for him! Since he is on prednisone, he sometimes needs to "go" with little notice. Once the brain tumor or liver cancer take him, it will move back to it's proper place. The hall tree is heavy wrought iron and quite handy, so I may keep it there, too. I just envisioned the foyer looking a bit nicer, with a table and flowers and a picture or mirror on the wall! A tall bookcase (with my McCoy pottery inside) and a coat rack? What do you think?

Hi Chris, I did ask the heart doc about the far infrared sauna, and he said it was okay. I got it up to about 120 degrees last night and it was just heaven. I felt well-baked.

Know anyone driving through the Detroit area? I have two more shelves in the garage I cannot use. They are 30" wide, 91" tall and 10.5" deep. I do like the color of the bookshelves. They look nicer now than at the lawyer's office. That makes me think that maybe the shelves need touching up. I am not sure yet, since I am not picking them up to look at, since I still have a weight restriction. The shelves are solid pine planks.

Jim wants me to look into replacing the metal shelf bracket tracks. They are silver colored and stand out. He wants me to look into getting them in antique brass. My feeling on this is that most of them will be hidden by books, and can't I just paint the visible ones?

DH and I are having discussions on what material to use to top the three chests below the middle bookshelves. I want to get this nice granite tile with bullnose edging. He wants to spend less money! The link below shows the product I want to use. I would like the color Giallo Almafi.

Here is a link that might be useful: Granite Solutions

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:55AM
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Wow! You got a great price on your shelves! I can't wait to see how it all comes together. There's nothing like a library for cozying up!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:31PM
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A library/music room sounds like a wonderful space! :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:47PM
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To anyone else, it would be a living room. We "live" in the family room, off the kitchen. The living room is next to the front door. It is a very cold room because it is on a slab, has three exposed walls, and has a very leaky aluminum window.

The base cabinets get delivered tomorrow. I am working the morning only, then going home for the delivery, then seeing the cardiologist for the first outpatient appointment. (see, ML, I am taking care of myself!). So I should have time that afternoon to take photos of the new base cabs.

We still need to get rid of two large desks. One is still full of stuff.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Hey, lady, I like the granite you picked out.
If you want something a mite cheaper but still not a slab expense, I have been happy with my Italian unglazed porcelain. The color we are using in our closet and bath is Rialto Blanco, and the closet is 16" squares, the bath is the 2" mosaic (on 12 x 12 mesh backing) and it is like tumbled marble. It does not need to be sealed. DH is currently waiting for the cleaner (he over mortared the tiles and had to remove some) to dry so he can grout with white unsanded grout. They call it white, but it is a putty earthen color with a tiny bit of terra cotta peeking through in spots.

This came from Lowes, but Home Depot also has the Italian porcelain made by another firm, different colors. Super hard, class V so they rate it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:38PM
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