Trading Spaces.

While most renters in San Francisco can count themselves lucky to have found adequate accommodation larger than the average bathroom, I’ve been fortunate enough to have found shelter in a nice-sized house that continues to have room to fill out. We sacrifice neighborhood for all the amenities of space and quality; the nearest café is many blocks away and there are few precious watering holes within stumbling distance. Yet from this vantage point, the commute over the bridge to work is short and clean, we’ve got many rooms in which to entertain, and some splendid features over which I’ve gushed many times in this journal. Perhaps my favorite of these is enjoying a second room that functions as my office and studio, and this is where I spend a good deal of my home time, and might explain why I don’t feel too much longing to get out and about after these lingering days at the store.

It’s taken me some time to get my office in order, and though I’d started on it when I first moved in over two years ago, the process continues, as all good projects do. I was recently digging through some pictures of the room’s evolution over time, and I thought it would be fun to post a little bit about what’s been happening back here. I’m certainly no designer, and some of my more talented friends have kindly suppressed their interior design fascism for my benefit, but I’m comfortable in the place, and the cat also doesn’t seem to mind much.


It’s come a long way from this, the first visitation to the house with angledge and evilfb back in the fall of 2004. The entire room was a jaundiced shade of yellow-white, with ridiculous lace curtains that even my dear grandmother would shun in embarrassment. Nasty 1970s drawer handles on the built-ins and someone’s forgotten undergarments fermenting in one of the drawers. Cracked windows and a horrible overhead light fixture. Time for a change.


While still trying to keep the room functional, last summer I decided on a pleasant shade of royal blue to coat the walls and a much cooler white for the ceiling. Messy painting ensued, and many socks were lost to the latex. The built-ins and the window and door trim still need to be redone, most likely in a cool white semi-gloss that gives the room a classic and soothing feel. The new cherry wood desk and modular bookshelves are from Scandinavian Designs. Sadly, no Vikings delivered the furniture to my house. I had to lug it myself. Accoutrements and curtain rods are brushed nickel, as are the switch-plates, drawer knobs, lamps, and MacPro.



The same corner as above, showing the clean lines of blue and white against the cherry shelves. Fixtures in the room are an ironic mix of classic and modern, and while I’m not sure if it works entirely, I’m pleased enough with the finished effect. Ceilings with no trim are a beast; I had to cramp myself up there on a ladder with one of my tiny 5/0 sable brushes to get the lines clean. Shelves were overfilled instantly. Hidden lights behind chairs and under desks, with plenty of candles for late night productivity. Three-panel purple curtains that can be individually tied back on both sides of the room. As my office is a rear addition to the house, it sticks out from the line of buildings on the block and lets in great amounts of light. When the rain hits, it sounds like marbles on the roof.




The glass cabinet doors on the large bookshelf are lovely, keeping important books dust-free and easily accessible for last-minute research. These shots, under incandescent light, show more yellow than the actual reddish tones of the cherry fixtures. The smaller shelf on the left is much of my Jacobite collection, now spilling over into the larger one and into my room beyond. I still am on the lookout for a deep blue oriental rug to cover the old carpet, now the only non-paneled floor in the house. Torgi has made a mess of the carpet joins, so I may look to wood trim at the wall where the carpet frays. Gargoyle care of dichroicynosure; foliage via spiffington. Dreads in the purple bag, and the hourglass is ostensibly for nightly bouts of writing. Doesn’t always happen that way, however.


Looking back into my bedroom from the painting desk. The present one must go very soon and be replaced with a smaller, stainless steel console table, which will maximize space in the room and organize my mess of supplies a bit better. Finally got the degrees framed and up, after sitting around for far longer than they should have.


One of two splendid new leather chairs, also from SD. This one is my reading chair, with a matching ottoman and incredible, death-defying cantilever reclining action. Most nights are spent here, at least until the cat jumps on my chest. Sleep soon follows, uncontrollably. You can catch a glimpse of the curtain panels and steel drawer knobs, as well as the new, amazing warm halogen goose-neck lamp, which I love dearly for the soft light it casts. Hardly believable, the other desk chair is even better than this one. I enjoy the two because it allows me to show items on my computer to guests in good comfort. This one should be shaped like hermiston‘s buttocks by the end of November.


A parting shot of the old rig that is no longer up. More on what’s recently replaced it when time allows. Thanks for nosing into the room, and now you know my usual surroundings as these words are manifesting and being tapped into place. If you’ve got the inclination, show me your favorite creative space. It’s a fair trade, intimate and telling, heartening and illustrative. Cheerio!

34 Responses to “Trading Spaces.”

  1. velvetdahlia Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 2:29 am

    It looks so homey and very *you*.
    I understand the importance of sacrificing space and nesting quality in a flat over location. In London it's even worse than SF. Public transport is good in both places, though. I'm assuming SF's is still good….

  2. velvetdahlia Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 2:30 am

    oops….I meant the importance of sacrificing location over space and nesting qualities n a flat….Ugh– where's my head?

  3. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Well, some people like it the other way, so I wouldn't have been surprised by your wording in the first post. Though I know your requirements for comfortable living and mine are definitely in sync. Funny that I know so many people who would rather rent a closet in the middle of the noise and action.

  4. avalokita Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 4:38 am

    I remember thinking how amazing your place was when I visited. My and Matt's combined income only bought us a 1 bedroom, 600 square feet, an hour from NYC, but none the less, in a decent neighborhood. Also, we have loads of storage space. But I still envy people that have 2nd bedrooms or live in communities with pools (my god, the fantasies). Unfortunately, we live in that commuter belt between NYC, Princeton and Philly so the prices are very high.
    The sad part is, I think we both make decent money too (for NJ anyway). Getting a place with a 2nd bedroom and community pool around here would mean we'd have to shell out an additional $500 a month plus utilities, to the very cheap $1,000 we're already paying. 🙁
    I can't even picture what SF prices are like. You guys must be spending a fortune on that beautiful place you have.

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:09 am

    It's not so bad for this place, in a relative sense, of course. Certainly we pay more than we ever could have dreamed of before the dot boom in San Francisco. It follows that both our regions, on opposite ends of the country, are two of the more desirable places to live, and are therefore tremendously expensive. I'm still trying to figure out why New Yorkers love New York so much, though. 🙂

  6. avalokita Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    A few minutes north of Manhattan, there are some of the most beautiful places in the country. The city itself isn't all that impressive, but the rest of the state is really really beautiful. It's got charm? I don't know, can't describe it.

  7. angledge Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 6:00 am

    No appearances by Torgi?

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 12:59 am

    Re: Impossible!
    He makes an appearance in the next issue. Promise.

  9. thefastone Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Ah, nice Drawers! lol :-p

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 12:59 am

    You just like my knobs, boyo.

  11. thefastone Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 4:05 am

    Well your knobs are somewhat attractive also I must admit… 🙂
    Seriously though, thats a great looking place, I'm jealous with my tiny one bed flat in Aberdeen… Well I suppose if nothing else, Ive got the location… Ive sacrificed the wrong way!

  12. seide Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Charming and functional– perfect!

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:11 am

    'Perfect' would include a foot massager and a stripper pole. This is 'acceptable'. 🙂

  14. scotis_man Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 10:02 am

    We will have to have you over to our new digs once we get the boxes taken care of. It will be a bit of a haul for you down to the southern most reaches of San Jose, but as you said, "We sacrifice neighborhood for all the amenities of space and quality".

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Of course I'll look forward to it.

  16. Anonymous Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    love it
    your place looks very homey!

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Re: love it
    Yo, homey.

  18. no_mans_land Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    <small>next time i'm in the area, you will give me the grand tour in person. looks classy yet cozy [not to be confused with the euphemism for cramped shithole. :P].</small>

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:12 am

    We'll sit in comfy chairs and chat the evening away.

  20. viscera Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Sadly, no Vikings delivered the furniture to my house.
    Now there's a niche market just begging for it.
    Lovely space, my current house has me owning more furniture than i've ever had before, and the smallest bedroom to date. It's getting so i'm sleeping with 50 odd books out of necessity, a record high up from the usual 5. Even with nifty storage storage options provided by fur-clad Northern Europeans with pointy headwear, i'm terrified to move suddenly in there, lest i'm flattened by a towering pile.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Sleeping with fifty books is just plain hot. Getting creamed by the OED in the middle of the night is not so hot. Which brings up a question: if you were to die by the pages of one book, splitting your noggin whilst unawares, which would it be? Choose carefully, for I will surely judge you harshly on this answer…

  22. viscera Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 12:12 am

    Easy – a nice leatherbound edition of The Divine Comedy.

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 1:41 am

    I love epitomal irony!

  24. sibelian Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 3:01 am

    Nice! 😀

  25. ohjolielaide Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Mmm. My very favorite color in the world. It's tragic, though, that I live ten minutes from you and I had no idea you'd done this.

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Late-night lounge and wine session, ahoy!

  27. cygnoir Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Casing out bookcases.
    Yours are lovely, especially the glass-front and the cornerpiece. May I be so gauche as to ask where you found them? I'm about to move again and believe the particle-board monstrosities won't survive another they-haul.

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 1:57 am

    Re: Casing out bookcases.
    Hi there; sorry I missed your IM on this drizzly evening. As I mentioned in the rambling text above, the shelves are from Scandinavian Designs. You're going to hate this, but they were being pulled out of the catalog the week I purchased them. Nearest I can still find is here, though you may have some luck in visiting individual stores around the Bay. The .pdf is also instructive, showing different modular pieces of the line. I wish you all the best in finding some appropriate book houses and also with the impending move.

  29. cygnoir Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Re: Casing out bookcases.
    Ah, I was distracted by the drawer knob (preeeeetty) and missed that altogether. Thank you!

  30. silvermoon7 Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    what a lovely job you've done. no wonder you don't want to leave your room!

  31. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Hey, thanks! It's a comfy pad, especially now that it's raining like mad, but it's also far too easy to sit on my arse all night…

  32. silvermoon7 Says:
    April 22nd, 2007 at 6:31 am

    I love the sound of rain on the roof and windows. Very cozy. Meant to say that before…

  33. spiffington Says:
    April 25th, 2007 at 3:51 am

    It looks really great 🙂
    It's nice to see another place decorated with your elegant touch. Every time I look around my bedroom I remember the fun and games we had in here and of course your meticulousness over the mouldings 🙂
    It seems you spread colourful homeliness wherever you go 🙂

  34. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 28th, 2007 at 12:44 am

    You're the sweetest. Your mouldings, however, kicked my ass.
    Can't wait for you to see the space in person. Get out here, lady!

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