The Power of Subtraction: A Manifesto.
This is the true story of how I quit my job and finally made my office into a room I actually want to be in. This is a story about the power of subtraction and what can happen when you put stuff down and turn around. Let's back up... (If you want to skip through boring personal stuff I totally don't blame you. Just scroll down to where the pictures start for some serious HausWitch-ing) About a month ago I went on vacation. I had a hard time feeling at ease even while I was laying on the beach drinking rum out of a coconut. That scared the bejeezes out of me. My job had become a constant presence in my life that I was totally unable to separate myself from. Even thousands of miles away, in the tropics, I felt an underlying anxiety that had been with me since I started this job last summer. When I returned, it became apparent within a few days that I needed to make some changes. I realized that I was so completely drained of energy all the time that HausWitch had taken a backseat for too long. I always said that now that I've found what I really love to do in life I would protect that at all costs. Yet, here I was, unable to scrape together even the tiniest bit of energy to take on projects or write a blog post. Something had to give. I immediately started looking for a new job. I immediately found one and was immediately contacted for an interview. The witches were making shit happen. Meanwhile... I decided to redo the office... again... because I'm ridiculous. For those of you who have been on this journey with me for a while, you'll know that I have "redone" our office 4 times in the two years I have lived in my apartment. I have NEVER gotten it right. I even wrote a whole post about how I couldn't get it right. So I decided to have another go at it. I decided to subtract. There was a bookcase in here that I loved but was never super functional. We couldn't move any of the other furniture around because there was only one place this bookcase would fit. Well, if you can't be flexible, you have to go. Just like my job. So, out went the bookcase. I moved our couch/fold out bed to another wall and put the desk by the window. I wanted to expand the actual work space of the desk so I bought a piece of furniture to extend the surface area and a new bookcase that I painted yellow. WRONG WRONG WRONG AGAIN. Meanwhile, I got the job! I now work for a HUGE vintage and antique furniture store and THIS VERY BLOG was what helped me get the job. THE WITCHES!!! Better hours, more time for HausWitch and I will be working in the field I love. Win. So there I was with a new job, a new life; time for a reading with my close friend and personal oracle, Christopher. Christopher is the most amazing clairvoyant and meditation teacher. I consult him every so often during periods of change or turmoil in my life. So I asked him, "Hey, could you read a room? I need some help with it." "Sure!" he said. "The room is dark, right?" "Yep" "Stop trying to make it light." "Okay" "Is the room filled with junk?" "Yep." "It doesn't want to be filled with junk." "Okay" "The room doesn't want to be a productive space. It wants wants to be a creative space. A meditative place. And it want's to be dark. With candles. Is there like, a yellow bookcase in there?" "Yep." "Yeah, that's going to have to go." And just like that, the ideas started flowing. The room wants to be dark? Cool, a black chalkboard wall should take care of that. Creative? Cool, I'm going to build a desk/work table that takes up an entire wall. Meditative? Candles? I can do that! Sooooo, long story long, I took EVERYTHING out of the room. I needed to start over entirely. I sold the bookcase and my old desk. It just didn't work anymore. Period. I had to stop trying to make things that fundamentally didn't work for my life work for my life. Just like my job. So (finally) here's a before and after. I KNOW I got it right this time because now we LOVE being in here. The first (and arguably best) idea I had was for the desk. I knew I wanted something that was the entire length of the window wall. But where was I going to get an 8ft. desk (that I could afford)? I would have to make it. So I got some table legs from IKEA and a big ol' piece of plywood from the hardware store. Then, everyone's favorite Carpenter-Witch, Pat Harper came over and helped me build THE BEST DESK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. This thing is awesome and relatively easy to make. Pat put a couple of 2x4's on the underside of the plywood to sturdy it up a bit. I sanded a little, stained ALOT and shazaam! It's really nice that Dave and I can both be working at the same time with room to spread out. I may even screw some little shelves into the bottom part of the legs just to amp up the useful factor even more. The next huge thing was the chalkboard wall. I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but when Christopher said "dark" I immediately knew I wanted to paint a wall black. Since its a creative space the chalkboard thing just seemed like a no-brainer. I added this little shelf from West Elm because I wanted somewhere to put chalk and an eraser and this little guy reminded me of school or something. Plus, Lenin looks great on it. After the desk and the wall my main inspiration was all the shibori dyed things I've been seeing lately. I've always wanted there to be blue in this room and it gave me a meditative vibe. So I ordered a $30 panel of shibori fabric from Etsy, spray mounted it to a little dowel, and strung it up with twine for some simple, large-ish scale artwork. The desk chairs I found on Craigslist for $35 for the pair. These babies are vintage Costco folding chairs. A little high-shine gold spray paint to bling em' up and a couple of black chair pads and boom. Someday I will upgrade but for now these babies are fucking golden. The nice old couple that sold me these chairs on Craigslist also sold me this vintage floor lamp in the corner. We re-hung the pegboard on one side of the desk, and hung a shelf-y thing I found at a sidewalk sale for $5 on the other. It it the perfect size for my crafting supplies. OH! And I FINALLY got to make that pendant light I wrote about 100 years ago! It wasn't super hard, but threading a needle and black twine through 15 feet of tiny metallic tubing was not the most fun I've ever had on a Saturday night ferrrr suurrrrreee. I got the cord and awesomely big light bulb from West Elm. The space is so different that we couldn't call it "the office" anymore. So that's how our office became our studio. Budget: IKEA Oddvald table legs: $30 92' X 30" Birch plywood: $42 Stain, screws & other supplies: $72 Metallic Tubing for Lamp: $12.50 Pendant Cord: $29 Light bulb: $10 Natural Throw Pillow: $9 Floating wood shelf: $35 (on sale) Shibori Fabric: $30 Magazine Basket: $8 Meditation Blanket: $23 Globe: $15 Vintage folding chairs: $35 Gold Spray Paint: $4 Black Chair pads: $26 Gold Lamp: $15 Black Lamp Shade: $22 The help of a clairvoyant and a carpenter: PRICELESS TOTAL: $417.50 and worth every damn penny. HausWitch has a new headquarters! The moon is in Libra and the witches say: "Honor the sun."
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