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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