Week Thirty-Three: Grand Designs

This week has been full speed, full tilt, full out. So it’s strange that at this point I’m not sure that I have anything important to say.

This weekend, though, I gave a makeover to my dining room. It was really an act of faith to call it a dining room at all, as we didn’t eat there, let alone “dine.” No dining-related apparatus was stored there. Oh, there was a table surrounded by four chairs, but it was covered in perpetuity with clean folded kid clothes, school papers, crayons and paper, books, board games, and Lego pieces. I struggled for many years with how to use the room and how it should look, and it didn’t help that it was often the dumping ground for items left over from the makeovers of other rooms. I didn’t dare return anything to the basement, but all the items needed a real place. And until I could visualize the function of the “new” room, I couldn’t imagine the form.

"Before," to my eternal shame.

“Before,” to my eternal shame.

Finally I started to see it. Last Saturday the kids and I went to Target looking for, among other things, a set of ladder shelves on which I could display my accumulation of Macintosh keyboards (“collection” being far too intentional a word). Target didn’t have one, but they had a desk that caught my eye — a simple desk that just might do. I gathered the kids together and we agreed on the Walnut color, and we hauled it into the shopping cart and took it home. And then I started working, one item at a time, on the dining room.




Well, now it was obvious that I had room for an identical desk on the other side of the tall plastic stack o’ drawers. So I got on the Internet and searched the inventory at my other local Target stores… and found one Walnut desk. Perfect.

Sunday came and we all headed out again, to a different Target store. We shopped for backpacks and snacks and assorted things, then rang up the desk. Oops…. the card wouldn’t go through. But it would without the desk, so we left it there. We went home, and I shuffled the money around online and kept working on the dining room.


Monday came. We all went to my knitting group for a while, then it was, guess what, off to Target! to fetch the desk. Then off to OfficeMax to get dry-erase boards to hang over each desk. Then home again to put all the pieces together.

"After." A room for homework, projects, and even dining.

“After.” A room for homework, projects, and even dining.

I got to use an electric drill. And a level. And measuring tape. (After having put together two admittedly simple desks. It was heaven.)


So far we have eaten at the dining room table a few times, cleaning up after ourselves when we’re done. I have laid a few small piles of clean folded clothes on the table, but they get put away within 12 hours. And the kids have done a couple of their own creative projects, and cleaned up after themselves. The real test will come when school starts after Labor Day, but so far it looks and feels like a success. I can even push the curtains aside to let in the summer sun.

When I was done, the kids were stunned. My middle son said I had done the impossible. And my daughter asked, “Why did you fix up the dining room all of a sudden?” Well, after living here for six years, I finally knew what that room should look like.

Published in: on August 16, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You get a gold star, that’s for sure!

  2. Good for you for putting up a “before” photo. That makes the whole things so much more impressive. Great work!

    Oh, and I recognize that stick with the funny hook at each end on top of a couple boxes in photo #3 and #4. Smokey and I each got one after our respective surgeries last year and this year.

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