Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by gimbler
"Harmony, proportion, or uniformity between the parts of a building and its whole." - oxford university press - architecture and landscaping

It was chilly in Pittsburgh last April. In fact I remember that every day we spent in Pittsburgh from our arrival in late February through till April 20th something fell out of the sky every day. Rain, snow, little pelting pellets of ice... something.

It wasn't until we stepped into our current home for the first time that I realized I'd been sort of holding my breath since our first trek up Sycamore Street (which is really more of a treacherously steep goat path than a road) on the day we arrived.

We'd looked at probably a hundred houses by mid April, but knew in an instant that this was THE ONE. It needed more work than many we'd looked at and our realtor had forewarned us about the fiery HUD hoops, but damnit - for the first time in two months, as I stood in that entryway I felt like I could BREATHE. Not just shallow strained little survival breaths either. I'd never read "Waiting to Exhale" but I finally understood the concept.

When we took all of our measurements and went home to our rental I made little snippets of graph paper furniture to arrange on our graph paper room grid. Hmmmm... This was going to be a challenge.

And it is.

I've come to understand that one of the best features of our house, it's lovely soothing symmetry is also one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to furnishing.

The wide doorway from the entry to the living room (that I'm measuring in the pic) is centered perfectly with the fireplace on the opposite wall. The front wall (with the radiator cover/bench) has a large bank of three windows - and they line up, again perfectly, with the wide doorway to the dining room, which in turn lines up with the dining room fireplace, flanked with built in cabinets on the back wall. If you're following this you can see what I'm saying right? It's a house of "focal walls" and doorways that can't be obstructed.

Two days ago I bought a set of two small chairs and a matching side table. I thought they were small enough to fit - (hell, they came in one box that I could lift by myself!) - and help with our lack of seating. Ummm... no.

After getting a little worn out shoving furniture around I googled up some online furniture arrangement sites. Value City Furniture has a pretty nice one. Unfortunately all it could really help me to do was confirm the futility of fitting what we have into our space. Maybe it could save someone else out there some grunt work.

Me, I'm not quitter so I think I'm off to play "ring-around-the-rosy" with the actual furniture once again - much to the cats chagrin. Surely there's some super secret creative solution to this puzzle.


Jen said...

The scale of today's furniture is huge compared to older furniture. My former job was retail designer for a national home furnishings chain. (It actually advertises on Houseblogs.) So many people have the same problems with actually fitting the furniture in their homes. The stores are large and make the furniture look smaller than it is.

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