Friday, February 23, 2007

A Peek at the New Digs

I'm usually up by 5:30 AM -- but I was so fried from this week, and from the fourth drive up to and back from Burlington in a week, that I conked until almost 10:30 AM this morn. We drove home last night in falling and blowing snow the entire way, and I managed the drive comfortably until we were 40 miles north of White River Junction -- by then, I was just too exhausted to safely continue driving. Fortunately, Marge was wide awake and happy to take over, and we were definitely through the worst of the snow, so she drove the final stretch of I-89 and the 15 minutes of I-91 home. I barely stayed awake that final haul; had I been driving alone, I would have pulled over more than once to rub snow on my face to keep myself wide awake.

So, Marge is safely home from her trip to visit our grandchildren in Texas, and I savored our first night and (today) day together since last week.

Still, got some work done. Just wrapped up part one of the multi-chapter interview with Bryan Talbot (links to be posted here soon!), and finally have some time to post -- sorry I missed my usual AM arrival.

Photos today -- this is the shelving done thus far on our new home by David Gabriel, who (along with his brother Mike) completed this chunk of the renovations needed for my collection and library about a month ago. We're eagerly looking forward to Dave's return, as the construction of the basement library/office begins at last.

Dave and Mike did a stellar job; Dave not only fulfilled my hopes for the viewing room shelving (which, thankfully, houses all my DVDs -- finally, the library in easy reach, and in a single room!), he consistently improved upon and enhanced every aspect of the project.

Walking you around the viewing room, the first evening after Dave and Mike had finished their work on this space, you can see here the door to the room and the first bank of shelves. These extend from floor to ceiling, across the span of the interior wall and around the top of the back window --

-- which is framed on its other side by another bank of shelves.

Standing at the window, this is the view of the shelving that Dave constructed on the interior wall to the right of the window. Note the angled roofline cutting into the room; Dave's shelving perfectly follows that form, wrapping around to the inside area, and continuing alongside the door -- which is across the room from the entryway we began this room tour with.

(This door, BTW, presently opens up to the unfinished room over our garage. This will be, by summer, by writing/mailing/office space, once it's finished.)

The two doors leaning against room door are from the closet (which we'll be getting to soon enough). At this stage, the double-sliding-doors have been removed -- ostensibly for Dave and Mike's easier access to the closet work area, but these hanging doors may remain off. Time will tell.

Note, too, the small rounded corner shelving Dave created for that corner beneath the angled interior wall. This was Dave's idea, and I dig it -- it provides some shelf space for my monster figures and movie collectibles (like my drive-in speaker!), as well as one of the surround-sound speakers for the final viewing room set-up.

We've removed the two detached closet hanging doors from this shot: that's the same interior door (facing the entry door, across the room) you saw in the last photo.

This angle gives you a good view of the bank of shelving to the right of the interior door, which is the first portion I racked as I began unpacking after Dave and Mike's work was done, and I was free to begin setting up the room. All my animation collection neatly fits this space, including my beloved collection of King Kong, Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen films.

Now, this is a little difficult to describe here, but if you continue looking to the right of these shelves, there's another angled wall that cuts down into the room. That angle runs the length of the wall (which is directly opposite the window, which is visible in the first and second photos I've shown you here).

That leaves precious little space for shelving, further compromised by the heating baseboard extending across almost half the length of that end of the room.

However, Dave did make optimum use of what little wall we do have to work with beneath that angled interior wall. This shot doesn't give you as clear an orientation to the layout of the room as the previous shots do, but it's the best we could get at this time.

This floor-to-beginning-of-the-angled-wall bank of shelves on the left leads into the full floor-to-ceiling set on the immediate right, which run up alongside the narrow strip of wall on the left of the wide closet doorway.

As you can see, ample shelving space, all perfectly designed for optimum racking of DVDs, with enough clearance throughout for vhs tapes and many DVD boxed sets.

Dave's efficient use of all available space, including the areas dealing with the angle-cut of the inside wall, provides a space pleasing to the eye and useful for tucking and storing odds and ends -- including remotes, etc. -- that are coming in very handy. The warmth of the wood (which Mike polyurethaned, two coats) contrasts the blue walls perfectly, and the entire room now has an expansive warmth, thanks to the woodwork, that's really comfortable to spend time with. Nice!

I should also mention, before we get to Dave's final completion of the interior closet shelving, that this was the only room of our new home we had to paint. For the original (and only preceding) owners, this was apparently the bedroom of their two little girls. It was a truly hideous patchwork of violet and pale green walls -- perhaps color-coded for the girls? -- and clearly had to go.

chose this eye-soothing hue of blue, which wasn't as oppressive as the dark blue I had chosen for our Marlboro home's basement viewing room (which never, ever provided sufficient space for the sprawl of my equipment and collection, and was hardly usable in our five years there). This worked out well, and Dave began work within two days of my completing the spackling, sanding and repaint job on the walls.

Okay, back to the photo tour of the viewing room:

This is the entryway to the closet, which also showcases the shelving Dave completed for the narrow wall extending out from the right closet doorway frame. So, what you're seeing here is a portion of the interior of the closet (with the hanging doors removed, natch) and the floor-to-ceiling shelving running up along the wall outside the closet doorway -- and on to the entry door we began this photo tour with.

Here's a tighter shot of the shelves to the right of the closet door frame.

The three display shelves to the left of the entry door were Dave's idea, too. Having seen some of my monster models, which I've nowhere to put just yet, Dave asked if I'd like space to display two or three of them in this otherwise unused space by the door frame. Like all Dave's suggestions, this was a good one, and also provides a handy shelf -- directly across the room from the rounded shelves in the opposite bend-of-the-wall, visible in the third photo above -- for another of the surround-sound speakers.

Good call, Dave -- and excellent execution!

Here's the best angle we could manage to photograph the closet interior -- again, floor-to-ceiling shelving. This was a particularly tight area for Dave and Mike to work within, but per usual, they did a fantastic job. It's perfect.

These shelves are sized not for DVDs, but for larger components of the video collection: the floor shelving is designed for laserdiscs (they all fit!), the rest for big-box videos from the early years of the 1980s video market, those glorious oversized color vids from the likes of Gorgon Video, Wizard, and the rest.

Many of the titles released on vhs in the big-box format have never been issued in other any form, and for some -- like the original Herschell Gordon Lewis and Andy Milligan vhs releases, and curios like the Spectreman series -- the boxes themselves are artifacts of a key era of exploitation cinema and video that has long passed. I treasure them as much as my poster and pressbook collection. So, at my request, Dave designed and constructed this interior closet shelving to accommodate as much of this part of the ol' collection as possible.

This was the best we could do, photographing the deep interior of the inner closet shelving. It's almost impossible to get a camera into the confines of this area with enough visibility to capture what it's like inside. It's a wide, deep closet, ideal for my needs -- and it was mighty tough for Marge to give up!

Fortunately, the rest of the house has so much quality closet space, Marge has more than enough. So, this worked out fine for me.

I can't wait to complete the set up of the viewing room, and hopefully savor it for years to come. I'm beginning the setup process this weekend, and hope to watch my first movie here by next weekend.

As you can see from this little photo tour, David Gabriel has done an extraordinary job for us.

There's still much to do, work that will carry on into the summer: an unfinished room over our garage that will become my office, mailing room and writing studio; the entire basement, which is unfinished and will become my sorely-needed library for books, magazine, comics and the collection; and Marge's screened-in back deck porch, which we'll get to once the ground thaws, dries and spring is here.

But that's a long way off just now.

Have a great weekend, one and all, and see you here as time permits...

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Blogger dogboy443 said...


By the time the carpenter is finished, you'll be able to stand in the center of the room and touch both walls of shelving.

Mighty large collection. Can't wait unitl they're full.

Mark M.

Blogger HemlockMan said...

Screw rubbing snow in your face. If you're that sleepy, pull over and go to sleep! (If you're alone, that is. With Marge wide awake, it didn't matter.)

Your house looks great. Those guys did a kickass job on your shelves! Stunningly nice work. (I hope you aren't thinking of moving ever again.)

Anonymous sp said...

At the price of wood these days you must have needed a second morgage for those beautiful shelves. You still have the fuckin Spctremans?!!!??? If you have any WHITE BOX clamshell Bob Crane Disney movies, post 'em on ebay cause they'll pay for the entire project -- dopes are paying 70 - 100 for the stupid, unwatchable things. Just how many movies do you have, Bissette? I think there are only somewhere around 500,000 movies made since 1898 -- you're almost there!

Blogger SRBissette said...

Mark, there's ample room in the room still, post-completion of the shelving! It's a beaut.

Bob, the staying-awake factor is critical in snowstorms -- pulling over to sleep can only increase the danger, as the snow piles up. I've driven through worse, more exhausted, and made it fine. A splash of snow in the ol' mug is bracing, the melt down the neck and shirt keeps one further awake longer, and by the time you need the next face-full, the next rest area (or safe pull-over spot) is in sight. Pulling over and sleeping during a blizzard is a bad idea usually; doing so in any other weather (save ice storm) is certainly the preferred solution otherwise.

Steve, I've kept damn near everything. Haven't you learned that yet??? "Spectreman! Spectreman! See the -- flash of flame!" (etc.) -- what a theme song. It's right up there with "The Mighty Sons of Hercules!"

Blogger SRBissette said...

PS, Bob: We have sworn we're not moving again, until it's nursing home time. And I know they won't let me keep my goodies then, so I'm making optimum access to it all now a priority.

PS, Steve: The cost of the work Dave is doing is fair and reasonable, and we've budgeted for this every step of the plan: the house purchase, sale of our old home, and new mortgage -- all of which, thankfully, worked out and is behind us.

Blogger greysoup said...

Great looking shelves, Steve. Are you still looking to get ride of some of your old ones?


Anonymous sam kujava said...

Boy, those are some swell shelves,
Steve! Very smart, creative use of
the existing space! Do your wunderkind carpenters ever work
outside your area? I know a book
schnook of a collector living in
Green Bay, Wisconsin who could benefit from their woodywork!

Blogger HemlockMan said...

Ah, yes. Dying of exposure in a blizzard.

This Southerner hadn't considered that option.


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