Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ceiling Books: Not Just for Houses Anymore

Books. On a ceiling! What could be better than that? Which is why I kept this pin as a hypothetical future home idea. Since I live in a rental apartment, though, I didn't think it was possible to set up, since it requires built-in shelves and the ability to do things without worrying if a landlord is going to yell at you.

So it was somewhere in the back of my mind, but not realistic. Now, I have a bunch of fans that my sister brought back from Spain years ago, and I've been telling G for ages that I want to hang them up on the entry-stairwell wall. 

This wall.
Keep with me, this relates. A few weeks ago, we were both finally home on a weekend, and I forced an agreement out of him. I got to work setting up the fans for hangability, since they're not meant to be pinned to walls. I know this, as I've tried unsuccessfully in 4 previous apartments to get them to stay up, with nails, poster tape strips, whatever I (aka my roommates) had in terms of supplies.

I got to work with my first-pass supplies: wood glue, super glue, thin bendy wire, scissors and a Sharpie.

Not sufficient.
I tried super-gluing the wire onto the back of the middle fan... strip... thing. Whatever the individual parts of a fan are called. I determined the middle by fanning it out and holding it up by different strips until it looked even, then marking the correct one with a Sharpie. That's the Sharpie's sole use, by the way. Using the super glue in this way was not a good method. I let it dry flat for almost double the recommended drying time, but as soon as I picked it up by the wire to test its strength, the fan fell to the floor. Fortunately, my fans are used to being dropped.

Fan + Wire + Glue = Failure
New supplies: Wood glue, scissors, Sharpies, wire, and a cardboard toilet paper roll.

The winning team.
The super glue crapped out on me, so I switched exclusively to the wood glue. Have you ever sat at a table, staring at a super glue dispenser with a plug in it, and waited 10 minutes for a tiny drop of glue to come out? I don't recommend it for either entertainment value or practical purposes. After I stopped agonizing, G suggested that after gluing the wire onto the back, I smush a small piece of cardboard against it, so the glue has something more solid to stick to. He's so handy. When using this glue, you're supposed to keep pressure on it for something like half an hour to make sure it dries and bonds correctly, which I was not about to do for 6 fans. I did the next best thing by closing them up, making sure to keep the cardboard slice in place, and sticking a Slinky on top of them.

Is there anything a Slinky can't do?
This time the wire was secure, so I tore G away from his phone and hung them up in a diagonal line, measuring the distance from the chair rail and the previous fan to keep it consistent. I had to buy some small picture-hanging hooks, which were what we measured, and once they were in, we looped the ends of the wire around them, spread the fans out, and congratulated ourselves. G soon got bored and went to gaze lovingly at his iPhone some more, and I stayed behind to gaze lovingly at the wall.

First, the real Before photo, from when I first moved in and there were two couches in the living room, one up against the railing by the stairs. There was zero need for this extra couch. G and his friend dumped one on the sidewalk, moved the others around, and we ended up with the living room feeling much more open. Especially while you're walking in, your first impression isn't the back of an old couch. I don't have any photos from this time, so I replicated the look as best as I could in Paint:

A surprisingly good likeness of the couch, in a shockingly bad editing job.
And After:

There's a break in the wall that you can see just past the red fan in the below image, which messed with the spacing, so I decided to ignore the previous method and hang up two fans on either side of the wall with only the merest of measuring. I am out of control! It ended up working well. Since one of the fans is white and blends in with the wall, it can hang out on its own wall without drawing attention or looking out of place, but it keeps the immediate entryway balanced.

The view from the doorway.
As I was taking pictures, I realized that ceiling books were doable! Look:

There's a small shelf tucked under the stairs. Our apartment has a lot of little nooks and cutouts like this. As G's old girlfriend remarked when she first walked in, "It's very... Catholic." (The cutouts are for Jesus and Mary figurines.)

Holy Friends
I ran to get some books, and once I determined they would fit perfectly, I cleaned off the shelf and piled 'em in. Since this area isn't easily accessible and will surely get dusty, I only chose books that I have no interest in either re-reading or finishing.

Ceiling books! Sort of!

These stairs probably looked nice 20 years ago.

G even got in the spirit, looking through all of his books for additions. Most of his were either too large or held too much value for him to abandon in a dusty netherworld, but it's the thought that counts. I had enough by myself, and I was in love.

I don't know what is wrong with my brain, though, because by the next day, I had grown accustomed to the fans and ceiling books and barely gave them another thought. Maybe I spent too much time thinking about putting the fans up before I got a chance to do it. On to the next consuming obsession that will give me no lasting satisfaction once it's been completed!

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