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library, part 01: getting started

11.07 - 12.07 making a long-held dream a reality

click to see the full photo gallery[NOTE: this project was done in conjunction with the guest room & studio project.]

Once we renovated the attic into a master suite, we were free to use the two regular bedrooms for other purposes. They're both nice sized rooms, which is a good thing since we needed them to serve multiple purposes.

Since I was very young, I dreamed of having a library in my house. As long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by pictures of personal libraries -- rooms of wood paneling with built-in shelves lined with leatherbound classics, wingback chairs in front of a fire, mullioned windows with heavy draperies, bronze fixtures and a thick rug on the floor. The classic, dare I say stereotypical, personal library.

Of course, these types of library all have something in common: they're all located in houses I will never afford in my lifetime. (Nor would I actually want to own or live in, honestly.) But just because I couldn't make a room that matched something from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous didn't mean I couldn't still have a library. And as soon as I saw this room, I knew it would be the perfect place to make that dream come true.

The first thing to do was to refinish the floor. To do that, we had to move out all the stuff we'd been storing in there, most of which was in there because we didn't have anywhere else to put it. But that's the life of a DIY-er, consigned to living with stacks of boxes and furniture stacked all over the place while you muddle your way through some project or another.

Refinishing a floor is a difficult enough task of its own. Unfortunately, the small hallway that connects the two bedrooms and bathroom had a layer of vinyl tiles stuck directly to an old vinyl floor that was glued to the wood floor underneath, and that had to be removed before anything else could be done. It wasn't glued directly to the floor. There was some kind of white blanket thing between the old vinyl and the wood. Probably asbestos or some equally horrible stuff that'll give me cancer in 40 years. (Yes, mom, I wore a mask.)

It took me two hand-cramping days to get all that vinyl off the floor using a metal scraper and a heat gun, scraping inch by miserable, resistant inch. When it was all done, though, we got a glimpse of what our floors would like when the refinishing was complete. And after a whole lot of sweeping and cleaning and vacuuming, we were ready to get started on those floors.

click to see the full photo gallery