Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Living Room

ready to come inside? it’s not so scary anymore. in fact, it’s downright gorgeous — so gorgeous that i die a little inside each time i have to leave the house.

welcome: Juice and Pinko will be your faithful tour guides for this journey and will demonstrate how well the house facilitates their doing of nothing — but doing it in style. here, Juice demonstrates her favorite pastime of floor laying, with her trusty sidekick Pinko at left aiding her in the leisurely pursuit.

view from the front door, looking left: would you like a seat? how about a cup of coffee? what about a laptop or book? now put all those together and you’ll have a good sense of what i do when i’m lounging in this chair.

view from the front door, looking right: wanna lie down? you’ll have to clear it with Mo, as the couch is generally his to lounge on. mine, too, sometimes.

view out the picture window: after the walls were patched up, primed and painted, Mo and i just didn’t have the heart to put holes in the new craftsman-esque trim we add to the windows and doors, so we went with free-standing screens instead of drapes in the living room, bought for cheap from the three-panel screens have adjustable shutters that we keep open during the day to let the light in. the screens don’t extend all the way to the top of the window, but given the house’s position on the block, only the birdies sitting in the massive tree in the front yard will ever be able to peek in through the opening at the top to see Mo and i, um... reading on the couch. yeah, reading.

hey, where did our tour guides go? where they always go: to the deck to take in the cool air and nice view below while sun tanning. i don’t blame them. i do the same thing, minus the sun tanning and usually with wine.

roasted meat: Pinko will usually outlast Juice in the sun by a good half hour or more and come in smelling like a barbecued hot dog. then i put ketchup and pickles on her and feed her to Juice.

back in the house: when Pinko does finally come inside, she’ll usually collapse on the bamboo floors and pant a puddle around her own head. then i’ll swoop in with paper towels to blot out the puddle and gently remind Pinko that we’re not renters anymore.

Chuy who? i do love the floors, even though they are hard as hell to keep clean. like a black car, they pick up and amplify every piece of dust of dirt, so i find myself sweeping, vacuuming and mopping them almost daily. but when they are clean, they are stunning. they are also everywhere in the house, including the kitchen. so far, they have been quite durable, which is not to say they are totally unscratched as my playful pets have indeed left their marks, but i imagine that hardwood would have picked up more marks than the brand of bamboo i chose, which is (supposed to be) harder than the white oak and maple species of wood.

the three blues: with a few exceptions, the darkest blue is reserved for the innermost walls of the house, the ones without doors and windows. the medium blue is for the outer walls that contain the doors and windows and are opposite the dark blue walls, which allows for the natural light to bounce onto the dark walls and lighten them; the lightest shade of blue was used for the trim. also note the Arroyo Seco Parkway poster, bought especially to honor the new house and neighborhood. if you’ve ever been (stuck in traffic) on the historic 110 freeway near Pasadena, which was built in the 1930s with overhead bridges so low that trucks are forbidden on its roads, you’ve likely seen signs that are identical to this poster.

immediate left of the front door: beyond the short wall that houses my Blitzstein’s Lightbulb Man is the kitchen. that wall used to be twice its width and painted maroon. to the left of that wall is a foyer that leads into the two bedrooms and the one bathroom.

the cluster effect: Mo’s philosophy on art-hanging is to cluster pieces on some walls while leaving other walls largely empty. clearly, this is the art wall, with the opposite wall, which holds the blue dog painting and not much else, serving as the bare wall. watching Mo drill multiple holes into this wall caused me great discomfort, enough to declare that the items on this wall shall remain permanently affixed to it. there will be no changing of the art in the future, as that might necessitate the making of more holes.

his and hers: Mo’s four Buff Monster cans next to my 1980 Moscow Olympiad poster, the only Olympics the USA ever boycotted.

wall of tyranny: i don’t collect many things, but i’ve decided that the nesting dolls of russian leaders will be that one collection obsession of mine. Mo bought me my second set recently, a unique set that has Putin on top with 12 leaders incubating inside him, including a rice-sized Nicholas II and a pea-sized Marx and Engels. next, i’m keeping an eye out for a Medvedev set.

the coziest chair in the world: it really is. i quite enjoy sitting on it. behind it is a sneak preview of the kitchen, to be covered in the next chronicle.

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