Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Other Side (Of The Room)

Ok P - I've just got home, dumped my bags and a box on the table and took this pic (it was very hard to resist the urge to tidy up first, so had to act quickly!) This is what you would see if you turned around from the computer. As you can see - it's very much a working studio - I have it separated out into working 'zones' of, Digital (as seen before in previous post) Book-Binding/Making, (shelves on the left), and Letterpress Printing, (shelves on the right). With a table for working on anything, in the middle of the room.

Features of note: the coving that wraps all the way around the room (there is a ceiling rose as well, but just a plain double circular one) and on the right hand side of the fireplace there is a feint trace in the plasterwork of where the old gas light used to be fixed.

Here's the same room before we moved in. This photo is taken from a different angle of course - you can just see the recess on the right hand side of this pic, where the built in cupboard and bookcase now stands, featured on the left hand side on the previous photo. Plus the gas fire is just seen in the right corner, where we now have a fireplace (above pic, in the middle).


  1. My first impression is of a sense of height. There is a lot to take in and I do like the symmetrical nature and ordering of the work zones.

    What would have been the original use of this room? I’m assuming that because it as at the front of the house that it was the living room or should that be sitting room… or front room? (but apparently never ‘lounge’!).

    It definitely seems a very practical space, with good storage and space to work, plus the lovely fireplace – does it have an inset with tiles too?

    (Enlightening article on the potteries by the way).

  2. Yes, lots to take in - I think that's probably more so because it's a working space, so has to house books, materials and equipment. That's why I ended up sorting everything into work zones, to bring a sense of order to the room, and so I can find stuff! The photo collage doesn't really give the appearance of calm, but it's usually quite tidy.
    The 'parlour' as Margaret, my next door neighbour calls it would have been kept for entertaining guests. It's the only room in the house to have coving and a ceiling rose, so would give the appearance to visitors (as it would be the only room they would see) of being more, 'well to do' than it actually is, those clever Victorians!
    The fireplace is totally fake - we made it. There was a very old 1970's gas fire there with a back boiler in place of the original. So sad.

  3. Yes clever Victorians indeed! - did Albert and Audrey use it as a 'parlour'? and was Albert guilty of removing the original fireplace I wonder? I have to say I was totally fooled - a very convincing replacement. I always find it a dilemma whether or not to replace missing features or accept their loss. In a previous house we replaced everything as it was a rather grand Victorian villa, and it deserved restoring; in this current house it is easier to accept the lack of features as it's original purpose was not a domestic dwelling - so I am able to be more forgiving!

  4. I couldn't resist posting a previous pic, from when Audrey and Albert lived here P. You can see that it was their sitting room, so would think that they spent most evenings here, that was when Albert wasn't tending to his birds (more on that later) probably relaxing, feet up, in front of the tv.

    I wonder if Audrey knitted? I'll have to ask Margaret ...

    As you can now see, when they lived here there was a large gas fire, which wasn't to our taste, and we thought it a little dangerous too. So we took it out, but still felt that the room needed something focal, so we installed a wooden fireplace.
    Yes, I understand what you mean r.e. restoration, especially of a Villa, but as this place has been really 'lived in' and is quite roughly rendered in parts, I think we are happy to just do what we think it suits, and feel ok about the characterful nature of wonky doors, bumpy walls, to try to make the best of what we have to deal with, without spending too, too much to get there! Plus we don't use the rooms, for the purpose they were
    orginally intended. So I guess what I'm saying is that even though, this is a domestic dwelling, I feel similar to you, in the sense that it has to suit the way that we live now, in 2012.

  5. Wow, great surprise to see the 'before' picture - how did you get that I wonder?! It is unrecognisable as the same room, even taking into account the different angle from which it is taken. The contrast couldn't be greater could it? and it's a fantastic example of how we adapt a space to accommodate our current lifestyle; was there a specific reason for choosing this space as a studio over all the other rooms?

  6. Well, that was one of the photos from the Estate Agents to advertise the house! I kept them all. Will include another later on.
    Yes, that's a good point, r.e. adaptation of habitat!
    Also it really reflects the use of a space by different generations of people, doesn't it!?
    I did have my studio upstairs at first, but it just didn't feel right. We preferred to have our 'lounge'(am I allowed to say that now?) in the back room downstairs (that should be the dining room) so that left the front room downstairs as our dining room (that should be the lounge). I started to use it as a studio, and it grew from there - much more conductive for working, and good light by the plan chest in the window for close work/cutting etc. We still use the table for dining - though when I eventually get my dream, a proofing press, we may have to rethink!

  7. Sorry, that should be 'conducive', in previous comment, rather than 'conductive'!!!

  8. I like the fact you still use the table as a dining table too, I think rooms are more likely to be multi-functional in this current day, and probably get used more frequently as a result.
    I have just got back from visiting T in Banbury, interestingly in her 1930s semi, they have just redecorated their ‘back room’ – it is now in its third incarnation since they have owned it, from playroom – to office – to snug/sitting room, all within seven years or so.

  9. Hope you had a nice weekend (I'm sure you did with T et al). What a lovely metamorphosis story too! Much more flexibility and change of function for room usage these days, and more and more people seem to be ok with it - or have to be r.e. space and style of living etc.
    It's funny to hear that story as we are currently re-organising/ changing function of a room upstairs at the moment (it's not 'worked' as any type of room yet) - may be done by the time we 'tour' up there(!), and the dining table may shift upwards. Maybe ...
    Also interesting, as we too use the word 'snug' for our 'lounge', but I never know whether to call it that, 'out loud' to others, in case they don't understand. So thanks for that P. It's a nice description of a room that you can cosy up, and relax in!


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