For those who missed my Facebook post, I’m no longer at the Washington Design Center. A deal was closed on July 26 to sell the building to new owners who will convert it into a Bible Museum (I still can’t say that with a straight face…). At any rate, my job was a casualty of the sale, and I’ve been at home this month, basically staying offline, contemplating my next move. I’m blessed with many great options, and already working on freelance assignments. But the first thing I knew I needed to do, especially if I will be spending more time on our home office, was CLEAN THE PLACE OUT.
After two weeks of taking every object, book, and piece of paper out of this little room, and then removing an ugly chair rail and repainting with some HUGE help from my husband, here is the new abode:
A good friend of mine — designer Tracy Morris — told me a couple weeks ago to just chill out and not try to rush anything immediately after the sale of the building, because Mercury was in retrograde. I was like, “Huh??”
Well, in astrology, it deals with an semi-annual slowdown in the planet Mercury, which supposedly clogs things up down here on Earth when it comes to communication and transportation. Turns out that cleaning out your office, say, and just pausing in general with your life is the best course of action. I saw this quote on the Astrology Zone Web site:
“Why would the Universe give us Mercury retrograde? Because to move forward it is sometimes necessary to backtrack and reconfigure our paths in life. It is important to reconsider, repair, reflect, and reconnect. Mercury forces us to slow down and fix what’s broken, and in so doing, rethink things. It also gives us time to get to projects we have put on the back-burner.”
That makes so much sense! Part of definition also says that you might run into old friends — and this project was also great for that purpose. I was able to place art in the office that was done by my dearest friend from high school, Carol Jones — hers are the middle and left designs:
Another old friend: Washington Spaces magazine. When I was cleaning everything out, I found a huge poster of my first cover story for the magazine, which features an image of the Georgetown dining room of Alison and Bo Jia, the owners of Middle Kingdom porcelain, shot by photographer Morgan Howarth, another good friend. My editor in chief Trish Donnally, who also remains a close friend, gave me this poster after the magazine folded, and I had forgotten about it, but I just love seeing it here, with “real” porcelain on a shelf in the foreground.
The small pink vase is a Middle Kingdom piece, and the tall one was given to us by my mother years ago — it finally found a good home.
To the left of my desk is a rendering of a room design by one of my best friends and all-around favorite people, designer Dana Tydings. It was sketched by Barbara Billet of the amazing decorative art studio, Billet Collins.
I had found this sketch in the storage closet of our offices at the design center, and it had seen some wear and tear. The matting around it was buckled a little, but frankly, I wasn’t up to putting an expensive frame on it. So I went downstairs and found some sample pots from Farrow & Ball, and painted the matting. I found a coral-colored pencil in the boys’ stash and colored the inside lip to give it definition. (So proud — my SECOND home craft. Here is a link to my first — it’s really not like me at all, but I sure do love the result!)
I’m also breathing easier now that our closet is organized. You wouldn’t believe how much junk had been shoved in there over the years (well, actually most of my friends can relate, so you probably can…), so I pulled everything out and put the relevant items back in — and trashed the rest.
There’s still one thing missing: a great rug. We’ve had this small Oriental rug (see the top image in this post) since we moved in the house in 1998, and while it’s quite lovely, and as my husband says, “there’s nothing wrong with it” — true, honey, true! I’m just a little bored. And since I’ve populated this office with the work of my friends surrounding me, I have reached out to another designer friend, Jill Sorensen of Marmalade Interiors, whose fabulous blog, Live.Like.You, is addictive.
I found the perfect rug on Jill’s site — here is what will grace our floor in the next week or so:
So there it is. I feel ready to go now, sort of like I’m un-stuck. And yes, mercury is out of retrograde, so things can start moving forward again.