February 19, 2011

My Old House: The Work/TV Room

This room at the top of the stairs is where I spend most of my time; I paint, hook rugs, and watch movies and television here. There are two rooms upstairs: this one, which was completely unfinished when I moved in, and the bedroom. As you can see, the ceiling, which I had insulated and finished, comes down to the floor, so it is considered a half floor. On either side of the staircase there are now north skylight windows, so the light in the room is beautiful. Poppy is drinking some water and behind her is a table with rug hooking supplies, including a cutter which cuts the wool into strips.

The wood door leads to the shed, which is a handy storage area. The slanted window is often called a witch's window around here. It is tilted at the same angle as the adjoining shed roof because there would be no room for an upright window.

The old sewing table, alongside the sofa, is where I keep my rug hooking materials as I work. And I work in the evenings in front of the tv, watching fairly dumb shows that entertain just enough but not too much to need a lot of attention. I give movies undivided attention, however. You can see the textile piece in progress stretched on a frame.

A further turn around the room shows my favorite rocking chair and a shelf full of dyed wool remnants. They come in handy for making my wool sketches or for looking at color choices.

The old cupboard holds my sweaters, and the old mirror reflects my image, showing my work attire: sweat pants and shirt, warm and comfortable. You can catch a glimpse of the bedroom through the door.

And here is my work table, an old drop leaf, with a metal typing table to hold my palette. It is a very comfortable setup for my current work. The light under the skylight is ample and everything I need is close to hand. I have a large studio in my barn, but since I've been painting very small pictures, I love working in this room.

Atop the cupboard is a still life of remembrances, with an old jug, old mirror, a metal box from Syria that was my grandmother's, and a old bonnet that I found in this house. Sharing the space with these objects is a small still life of mine from 1982.

A nude by Rafael Ferrer luxuriates on a striped bedspread, and is cushioned by the soft mounds of colored wool.

A small abstract sculpture by Darrell Petit, in the box a sculpture by Howard Kalish, on the wall an engraving by Joe Sultan.

A painting of a Brooklyn scene (my home town!) by Dee Shapiro.

Hanging on the closet door is a broadsheet with woodcut by Susan Jane Walp and poem by Jody Gladding. The triptych of framed drawings is by Deborah Kass.

*I hope you're enjoying this tour through my house. To see the previous rooms shown go to:
The Staircase
The (Tiny) Front Hall
The Living Room
The Guest Bedroom
The Back Room/Office
The Mudroom
The Kitchen
The Pantry


  1. Thank you for the tour through your aerie--I can imagine that the ability to see out over fields lends its own inspiration, along with the details of the inner landscape. I love that you included shots of the artwork. Ferrer's nude seems perfectly at home on top of the wool which echoes the stripes in the painting.

  2. Altoon,

    I have so enjoyed seeing your snug home and now I can see you working away on your various masterpieces. Thank you so much for doing this selection of rooms as it is always fascinating to see how an artist lives and where they create.

    Even though I don't comment often I come here all the time for a little slice of peace and reflection. I appreciate all that you do and your blog is a true treasure.


  3. Hannah and Cronesense, I'm pleased that you've been enjoying the house tour. It's been a pleasure for me to do it, as I love my house and love sharing it.
    Thanks for your support.

  4. We are all beginning to feel at home in your home, Altoon. Few people can organize and design a home as a work of art. It is all a unified whole, your work, your home, your life.

  5. This is too funny! We have the same house; yours in Vermont, mine in Kentucky. The layout is so similar that even tho mine wasn't built until 1924, I think they took the plans of a classic NE Cape and plopped it down in the middle of the bluegrass. But now it seems we have the same sewing table, wool, cutter, fan (tho mine has the metal cage for the timid) and even - typewriter table with slightly curvy legs (who'd have thought, grace in a typwriter stand!) What I DON'T have is your art in wool and paint. Even your house is art with the tableaus you develop. It seems you just can't help but make beauty. Thank you. I so look forward to your posts. (btw, thanks for mentioning the stairway leading up from the pantry. I had never understood why mine was the way it was.). cathyshepherd.wordpress.com

  6. hi deesha and Cathy, thanks for following my posts on my house. It's great for me to know that my readers see some beauty here.

  7. We see much more than "some" beauty here. Always a pleasure to get another glimpse of your world.

    Snow/rain coming down here as Mark left to continue marching in today's protest!

  8. What a pleasure to walk through your home with photo's. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  9. Found this blog while doing research for learning egg tempera painting. And what a coincidence, I live in a very similar house in PA, much like an Andrew Wyeth setting. For many years it seemed a little depressing to not have the place finished as in "refinished as a modern house." I now see it in a new light ...thank you so much for sharing and for your inspiration! And for your book download too. You are so generous. Feel like I've found a new friend. Thanks again. Mary

  10. Thank you for sharing your home, that part of your life. It is somehow lifting to me.

  11. I feel very touched by all the wonderful comments. Thank you all so very much for your appreciation!

  12. Does Poppy like to hang out up there with her tail hanging off the edge!

  13. Poppy loves her food, a., and sometimes her tail hangs over. Blinky, her brother, likes to lift his kibble out of the bowl and toss it down the stairs.

  14. Altoon, I just saw this entry and enjoyed it as much as everyone who wrote it already. Very artful, every inch it seems. And a nice surprise to see Raffy's nude there luxuriating in the New England setting!
    ~ Emily Brown

  15. I am impressed how you have/do so much with so little: true art.

  16. Thanks Emily.
    and Julie, on the contrary, I feel as though I have so much, everything I could want. I feel very blessed to live a life I love, wanting for nothing.

  17. This is a beautiful room....full of beautiful art!

  18. Haha! Cute! The fat cat really caught my attention. Hehe! Anyhow, I can see that this place is just perfect to be your workroom. It’s neither that large nor is it too small. You can put all your stuff there and still have everything organized. When you go here, you’d easily recognize what the room is for. ;)

  19. Hi Toony, it's wonderful seeing the world you've made. It is your Triumph, something to treasure and admire , an antidote to this moment. With Primo, Sam B and Poppy, keep flickin wooly joys! abrazos, rafi

    1. Rafi, what a treat to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words; I am very lucky in my life here. I hope all is well with you.

    2. It was B who found your delights! We be A/OK great time & timing in afro/cubes/beats galore & rubbernecking the Worl...d.