Friday, August 8, 2014

Naked and Afraid

Remember that side-of-the-road find from last year?  That gorgeous desk whose veneer had definitely seen better days?  It has been finished for quite some time and just hibernating in the dining room.  Today, I finally put it in the entry, where it shall store keys, sunglasses, gloves, winter scarves, mittens, and hats (hey, we have a ton of blustery days here).

The mirror that I revamped when I still lived in Florida has been hung above the desk.  Now the entry area looks like this

It is so... blank.  And beige.  And boring.

The diamond-weave wool rug is there to cover up an ancient floor heating grate.  Without it, the entry is freezing, since there's nothing to stop the cold basement air from chilling the room in the winter, not to mention adding a fortune to my heating bills.  It also evens up the floor surface since the grate is an inch below the carpet.  There is hardwood under the carpet, and exposing and refinishing it is definitely on the to-do list... just not until maybe next year.

For scale, that's a 7-inch tall flower pot, with a 4-inch base.  Yes, that's authentic 1960s paneling on the wall.  I know it is hideous.  The worst part of it is that the ceiling is taller than the original panel, so there's a panel seam that runs around the top of the wall, roughly 6 inches from the ceiling, as if it is trying to masquerade as crown molding.  The same paneling was in the entry closet and one day after moving in, I decided to see what was underneath.  You may want to sit down for this:

Doesn't it just take your breath away?

I simply cannot deal with this visual nightmare all over the room.  Just say no.  I'm thinking this is another gem from the 30s or 40s.  It has also been lined up so that each vignette is roughly a foot away from another one exactly like it.  If the entry walls are anything like the closet, the paneling was applied directly to the plaster.  So, the paneling stays until the entire mess (paneling, wallpaper, plaster, lath) can all be removed and remodeled.  I considered painting the paneling, but that seam drives me crazy... paint would just highlight the seam.

The entry light is a more modern addition to the room.  When I first moved in, the current light replaced a gothic, red stained glass hanging light that was far too small for the room and had a long chain draped from hooks on the ceiling.  The dark switchplate on the wall above the desk echoes the coppery metal of the light, but the design lends itself to the more traditional aspect of the house.  The closet door knob and plate are gorgeous Arts and Crafts pieces that were installed upside down.  Flipping it around doesn't work because the mortise lock is installed in that part of the door.

All of this leaves me to the current issue I'm having with styling this desk.  I need it to be functional and beautiful.  I know there is a lot going on here.  I definitely need color.  The room gets very little natural light, so a shade-loving plant that likes to occasionally be chilly?  A bowl for keys or should I stash them in one of the drawers?  Photos on the desk?  On the wall?  I considered a stack of books, but that would work better if the surface were entirely flat, I think.  There is no electrical outlet here, so a lamp won't work.  Perhaps something that plays up the silver leaf mirror?

HELP!  How would you style this?

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