Thursday, September 24, 2015

Notes from the Attic

Not long ago, this room on the upper floor was wasted space, used mostly for storage. Then, I decided to transform it into my office. Now, it evokes the feel of an attic in Paris and makes me think of those famous Impressionist artists like Monet and Renoir and many others who all knew each other and actually shared living space in a Parisian attic because they were poor, having spent all their money on painting supplies. Can you imagine the conversations they must have had!

On the east side of the room, I look out tall floor-to-ceiling windows swathed in white sheers tied in the middle with ribbon. In the morning, the sun streams through these windows and fills the small space with golden light. It doesn't take much imagination to see the zinc rooftops of Paris out these windows instead of a narrow residential street in Denver.

I've furnished this room with thrift store treasures and estate sale bargains. In front of the tall windows is a vintage red leather chair and ottoman, now covered with a linen floral slipcover from a thrift store. The slipcover comes off in the winter so the red leather can warm the space. Built-in bookshelves surround the chair and an old white wicker planter that had been destined for an upcoming yard sale has a new life filled with my favorite decorating books.

Next to the chair is a small French-inspired table, a thrift store find for under $10. It came home with me wearing a very dark stain, not looking at all French. But, after several good sandings, a coat of primer and two coats of white paint, it's been transformed. I distressed those edges that would see normal wear and topped it with a lamp (also thrift store) that could have come from a Paris flat. I love the little glass ball on top of the shade.

The centerpiece of this space is my desk which I actually bought at an antique store (okay, I paid retail but it was on sale!). It looked nothing like it does today though and it took an open mind to see its potential. Someone had painted it in stark primary colors...lime green on the drawers, bold red on the legs, stark yellow on the sides and a damaged white top. Ugh. Lots of sanding, priming and white paint turned it into a beauty with a serpentine top, curved legs and pretty carved details. An old piano bench with a sheepskin throw makes it a perfect place for blogging.

An old mirror, a tin vase of dried flowers, some worn books, a rosary and a candle--all from thrift stores and yard sales--create a charming vignette.

At night, lamps and candles lend a warm glow to the space and I can almost hear Cezanne and Pissarro arguing about who has to sleep on the floor!

Special thanks to Ron Boyd for photography. 


  1. Pat! I love this…you have such an eye for French style…I really do look forward to following your blog!

  2. Your desk is so charming.