January 13, 2015 by Jean

living room from foyerSince I moved into my new addition, just in time to welcome the new year, I have been busy nesting. I am one of those “a place for everything and everything in its place” types, so this is a slow process for me. I put a lot of advance thought into what goes where and seldom change my mind or rearrange later. (Seriously! In redecorating my living room as part of this remodeling project, I not only bought all new furniture, but changed the arrangement of the furniture in that room for the first time since I placed it when I moved into the house 25 years ago.)

My first order of business was to get my new bedroom in order. On the first day, I quickly got my bed made up with its warm winter bedding, moved in nightstands and a bookcase, and put down scatter rugs. Moving books into the bookcase and my clothes into the closets and drawers has been a slower process; I need to think about the best location for each article of clothing and which books belong in this room. (Have I mentioned my borderline OCD tendencies?)

Simultaneous with getting the bedroom in order, I’ve also continued to get furniture in place in the living room. Here I bought a lot of furniture online (a wall system from Ikea and several occasional tables from and these have all needed to be assembled. The last of these assembly tasks was completed today. As the furniture has been moved into place, I’ve also added decorative objects to this room, moved in houseplants, and begun unpacking boxes from the basement with items (mostly books) to go into my new bookshelves and other storage spaces. (The photograph at the top of this post shows the living room as you enter from the new front foyer. Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

artwork in placeAn important part of my nesting process is hanging artwork on the walls (as seen in this photo). Before my bed had even been moved into the new bedroom, I had already hung the two van Gogh reproductions that go over my bed. More artwork has been added since, both to this room and to other spaces. This has been a lot of fun. I not only have the artwork that was already hanging in this house before construction began; I also have favorite pieces moved from my Gettysburg home and office last spring, some old favorites that have been stored away for many years, and some new pieces that were recent gifts from friends. With artwork, I have to move a piece into a room and see if it works there. Originally, for example, I had planned to hang the beautiful abstract photograph from my friend Jan Powers called “Leaving” in the living room, where I thought its black frame would work well with the dark furniture in that room. But the colors in “Leaving” turned out to work much better in my bedroom, and a beautiful quiet print of Japanese maple leaves (which I bought from the artist at a sidewalk art show more than 30 years ago) took its anticipated space in the living room. I never would have guessed that the original pastel of garden flowers created by Kitty Grafflin and given to me after her death by her son and my good friend as a remembrance of her would look wonderful in my new bathroom, but it does, adding a touch of elegance there.

Leaving Kitty pastel

Yesterday, my contractor installed all the accessories for my new bathroom (towel rods, robe hook, toilet paper holder, a basket for the shower to hold toiletries, vanity mirror). I had already been moving towels and bed linens into the linen closet in this room, but the accessories made it possible to move in toiletries and cosmetics and make this my primary bathroom.

With the new bedroom and bathroom and the redecorated living room all in order, I can turn my nesting attention to rooms that were not under construction in any major way but that are being repurposed. Chief among these is my old bedroom, which is about to become my study. In the next week, I hope to get this room cleaned and painted. This will enable me to get my new wall of bookcases assembled and installed, get my big L-shaped desk into place and relocate my computer here, bring my desk chair and a rug for this room up from basement storage, and begin unpacking the many, many boxes of books that will find a home here. I think that when I have my new study functioning, I will finally feel as though I am settling into my retired life as I imagined it.

Part of me is eager to get my new nest all feathered and ready for use. But, after waiting all these months, I am also happy to take my time and savor the process.

14 thoughts on “Nesting

  1. Melanie says:

    So glad that your addition got completed and that you are enjoying it so much!

    • Jean says:

      Melanie, There is still some work happening on the outside of my addition, and the contractor will need to come back in spring to do some final exterior painting and landscaping, but the interior living space is finally done, and it is everything I dreamed of. Getting everything unpacked and arranged the way I want it will keep me occupied through the winter.

  2. Carole says:

    I love what you have done. The colors and decor all say warmth with a touch of minimalism. Is your sofa microfiber or leather? It’s beautiful. We are in need of replacing our microfiber sofa. I love the look of leather, but it always feels cold to sit on, even in the summer.

    The process of nesting, organizing and making these decisions is a very rewarding one. I learned long ago that I feel at peace and happy in an environment that meets my aesthetic sensibilities. The lack of clutter and the melding of beautiful colors and design provide a living environment that is very pleasing to the mind and the soul. You have accomplished all of this!

    • Jean says:

      Carole, I usually describe my design style as “warm contemporary,” and I think “warmth with a touch of minimalism” is a good description of what I mean by that. I also like some industrial touches with stainless steel and chrome accents. The sofa and chair are microfiber. I often eat in the living room and spills happen!, so an easy-to-clean fabric was a must. (These pieces of furniture are from La-Z-Boy.) I am totally enjoying this opportunity to indulge my amateur interior designer.

  3. With all the physical work you are doing, you are saved from going to the gym and you’ll be ready for gardening season. Everything looks nice and inviting. I’m sure you are enjoying the new year.

    • Jean says:

      Judy, It’s good that I’m saved from going to the gym, because there really isn’t one nearby. In some years, I have kept up my aerobic exercise during the winter by cross-country skiing at a nearby state park. I may also invest in some snowshoes. But right now assembling furniture and hauling boxes of books around are helping to keep me in shape. 🙂

  4. Brent says:

    This looks great, Jean! I’m glad that the construction is finally done and you can settle in!

    • Jean says:

      Brent, It’s great to hear from you! I hope your year is going well. I may not have stayed around long enough to enjoy a spiffy new office in Glatfelter, but I’m about to create a spiffy new study for myself at home. 🙂

  5. Jean R. says:

    This nesting phase is wonderfully rewarding and exciting, isn’t it. Makes all the frustrations of building worth the effort. The spaces and art work all look great! I’m the same way about decorating. I rarely change the furniture around because I work hard at getting it right the first time.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, Already, I’ve almost forgotten how painful and frustrating the months of construction were. I am loving this new space and the process of decorating and organizing it.

  6. Diana Studer says:

    Sigh. I have Nesting envy.
    We started this week with relaying the 2 brick patios.
    UNpacking into fresh new cupboards and shelves is fun – I share your enjoyment of finding the right place.
    It looks a delightful and inviting place to entertain your friends in!
    (The Ungardener keeps saying – I want my desk back!!)

    • Jean says:

      Diana, I sympathize with you and the Ungardener; I’m a person who relies very much on routines that are anchored in space. I can tell you that, now that I’m finally getting to arrange and enjoy my new space, all those months of waiting and frustration have just dissolved..

  7. Seems we are both nesting…since retiring I have been taking lots of time to figure out how I am moving back into my home now retired. I have lived here for 10 years and now I am redesigning areas now that I am home and needing new work spaces. It is a fascinating experience and like you Jean I like to take time and do not change it once established unless there is a big reason to do so….I used to nest in my offices too…setting them up for the long haul even hanging pictures on the wall there too.

    • Jean says:

      Donna, I always nested in offices, too. Even in my last three years at work, when my department was housed in a series of substandard temporary offices, I always put up pictures on the wall and moved in plants before I started work.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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