Monday, August 13

Dirt-floor tool shed: the Mom cave

You see the potential, don't you? To transform one half of a long tool shed, across the driveway from my family's house in Michigan, into a writing studio-slash-hangout room? When I was little, we used the loft, accessible by an old ladder affixed to the wall, to store our sleds when there wasn't any snow. In terms of Michigan weather, that could mean from May to September. 

My mom has always used this half of the shed for garden tools, and my dad used the other half as his man cave: building stuff at the old work table, storing machines, and cleaning guns while listening to classical music. I love the smell of his half--gasoline, dirty rags, sawdust, rusty metal--but I loved the Mom cave because a barn door opens up to the field and my favorite tree. That is, if you can slide the barn door through an overgrowth of weeds, once you get around the wire mesh on the ground to guard against the woodchucks. (Sigh, the terrifying, eat-through-everything woodchucks.) This side of the shed has a dirt floor, so they burrow or eat through the door.
And because this side of the shed has a dirt floor, it didn't get the love and attention of the other side, where concrete poured a hundred years ago still supports antique tools and furniture. The floor makes it usable. 

So when I was in Michigan recently, I took photos of my late father's half (that I'll post), and then I wandered next door. This time, I didn't feel the usual dread, the feeling I had as a kid when most times when I opened that Dutch door it was because I was about to climb the ladder to the loft in snowpants with my wood-and-metal sled in tow, and hurl it up over the wall and into the the darkness on the scary other side. I also wasn't fazed by the hornets that have always hummed around rafters. This time, the junk that had piled up in the room barely registered. Instead, I envisioned a sitting area facing the door instead of the upturned cart that was leaning against a plastic barrel. I imagined a desk on some sort of finished floor. I saw the fields I knew were past the door, which was closed.

What I said to my mother launched the three-day project: "Can I clean this out?"
More photos to come. We hung up found barn tools! Sickle chic.

Wednesday, August 8

Baby booties and bananas

Things have changed since my last visit to the Nobel-Jonas residence in Cold Spring. (Remember Philip's architectural tour?) These days, the morning after a party, booties and banana peels top the kitchen table--not a beer bottle in sight. I met their baby girl for the first time a few weeks ago, and she's sooo adorable. Long lashes, smiling disposition (didn't cry once), and she's a powerhouse twister-scooter (below)--look at the strength in those toes! 

The apartment looks quite different since my last visit, so I'll post pics of all the improvements as soon as I get up off the floor and stop admiring the bebe.