My husband and I live in a 1,100 square-foot condo. We like to call it our big-ass tiny house—small but not really tiny. Way too large to haul anywhere without smashing into underpasses, even if it could be moved. Barn-like in it’s rectangular shape and high cathedral ceiling.
It was our first house purchase after years of renting and moving with academic jobs and grad school before that. Our nearly-zero decorating budget (I mentioned grad school, right?) went for two things:
- window treatments
- getting artwork framed
Since there were really only two windows to “treat,” that wasn’t too costly, thankfully. One window sports faux plantation blinds in the living room and one window is draped with a papery blue-green blind in the bedroom. We picked out a gold curtain for the bedroom window to keep out heat, cold, light.
A window near the ceiling in the living room is only covered in sunscreens. It’s a living canvas—birds flying past, the moon peeking in, a renegade Texas storm cloud spitting hail. I’m here on the couch looking up at it as I write.
A third, smaller window in the entryway and across from the galley kitchen got a special Sue “treatment”—one curtain panel apparently separated from its mate that I snagged on sale for $8, I hemmed and hung from a wire-sprung curtain rod. Its lovely browns and reds match much better with the kitchen cabinets and living room blinds than I realized in the store! Why did I take so long mulling over whether or not to buy it? It’s perfect. I mentioned grad school, right?
Walls and Space and Frames
Our condo was brand new when we moved in in 2008. We left the beige-with-a-twinge-of-mocha-foam shade on the walls (I’m certain that’s what the paint color must be called). We wanted a plain backdrop for the paintings, drawings, engravings, and photos we planned to hang.
I should explain. My husband is an art historian who’s been teaching in studio art programs. One of the job’s perks is free or graciously discounted artwork by students and colleagues. I found or was given a few things, too. Some of it came framed, most of it didn’t and sat in boxes, or, ahem, was tacked to the wall. Ceramics and some small sculptures have found places safe from the cats or being tripped over by us.
Well, one large ceramic piece is sort of a launching pad for the youngest cat, but since the artist loves cats, I think he’d sort of like that. I hope.
We started taking the unframed works to a crafts store that does framing. They love us. They love our wallet even more. When our nearly-zero budget ran out, I found cheap frames and framed the smaller pieces myself.
I want to celebrate being surrounded by art in our home. This is where I write poems. I can’t imagine doing that any other place, now. I’ll take you on a tour, telling you about the artist, unless that’s unknown, the story behind how the work ended up in our hands or what it means to me. I’ve taken a few art history courses and a drawing course many years ago in college, but I’m no art historian. These will be more personal reflections. I hope you enjoy this art walk through our condo!