Every finished product was once an idea in someone’s mind.  We grab from the field of pure potentiality and assemble it mentally, before purchasing the first element, painting the first stroke or cutting the first piece of glass.  Or, we surrender and wing it, or something in between.

When I have done things to the house, I’ve usually had plenty of time to create the look because it takes a while to make the money to pay for it.  I literally have ten notebooks/sketchbooks full of lines and boxes with words written on them, depicting the various designs for rooms in the house over the years.

This is iteration # 3 of the basement.  What I ended up doing is a bit different--probably the 15th version--but I learned a few things from this adventure:

  • By putting my intentions on paper, I unconsciously told the universe what I wanted.
  • I thought long and hard and revised and edited my plan, one room at a time, till it was exactly what I wanted, and by then, guess what?  I had earned the money to pay for it.
  • As I write, I also realize the universe supported me in my intentions and helped me manifest them.

This project started 6 months ago.   I sat with my architect and told him what I wanted, then let him take the divisible and make it visible, at least on paper.  At that point, we already knew everything we wanted in the finished product.  I created a Pinterest board, called New Addition https://www.pinterest.com/dq5/new-addition/  and added photos of existing rooms to highlight a chair or window or door I liked.  This made communication with the contractor much easier.  As the walls went up, Patrick and I talked about what we wanted to do with them (our new canvases).  And as the ideas emerged in our minds, we found a photo that served as the inspiration from which we could pivot. Here it is:

Only instead of brick (no red brick in our pallete) we thought about barn wood, much more reflective of our taste.  In the center, instead of the 10' row of drawers, we decided to look for a piece of furniture we could take the legs off and mount to the wall.  So we had the contractor reinforce that area, to accommodate some weight.  And we decided to paint the interior a dark brown and, instead of gold leaf like this has, we'd copper leaf over the paint.  Like this:

Then I had to find two sconces, not four, since we scaled down. As anyone who does interiors knows, since lighting is one of the last things to be installed, owners have usually blown their budget by then and breathe a sigh of relief when the electrical contractor says he can re-design the lighting and save the owner some money.  Don’t believe them and never let the electrical contractor design your lighting. Ever.  Having worked in this world for most of my career, I purchased the lighting, so I knew what to expect from the get-go.  I knew it would cost about 10% of the budget, but I also know what I’m going to get for my money.  Since I had already purchased all the decorative lighting from Restoration Hardware (yes, I only used my industry for the Halo recessed cans) I opted to continue to go broke with these:

As the contractor was running the conduit for the lighting, I noticed he had pipe running down the wall I had told him I wanted built out about 10” like the brick in the picture above.  I said, “I hate to be a pest, but remember the wall you’re going to build out?  How will you still have switching and power, here?"  He had forgotten. So rather than have him rip out what he had already installed, I told him I could work around it.

We decided to go from an arch to straight corners, get rid of the barn wood idea and, instead build out an even smaller area, paint it the same color as the copper leaf portion and cover the whole thing with buttons.  Buttons?  Buttons.  Like these:

We searched sites like Etsy and Craig’sList and ordered over 5,000 buttons.  We will be gluing them on—individually—for as long as it takes to achieve the desired effect.  Instead of the furniture I had earmarked (we either find things on weekend junking expeditions or Online), I opted for this, mounted at bar height, 42” above the finished floor, with these as my sconces: mounted 28" above the bar and only extending 8” from the wall.  I’ll see if tall backed bar stools look better or low, industrials. 

Here’s a picture of the wall.  You can see where the sconces will go and where the wood is reinforced to hold the bar, which weighs about 20 pounds ( 48” long).

This is how I conceive projects.  I’ve had the finished room in my head for almost a year.  I can’t wait to see and show you the finished product.