Creating My Own "Wintergarten"

Every time I walked past the third room in my flat, I saw a shelf against the wall, a few garden chairs that came from the balcony but had to make way for a hammock. As well as a desk, and a road bike leaning against the wall. This rather random set up, also lead to the room's nickname of storeroom, or because it also stored the litter boxes ... cat room. In the end, it looked a little sad and since making a flat into your "home" is a slow progress I decided that I should do something with this room to make it more homely.

This also coincided with my then just uncovered love for plants, and looking at what my mother had done with my old room. In there she stored all the plants that wanted warmer temperatures during winter. Thus, I would create a sort of indoor Wintergarten!

What I needed first was a plan! So I began to draw up ideas on how I could move the furniture around, what to add and to get a general idea. The details were meant for later. I experimented on paper, moving the shelf to the other wall, or maybe the desk here, and what about the litter boxes?

In the end, the end result consisted leaving the "west" side alone, meaning that litter boxes and desk would remain in place. This was to be the working area, and not much change would occur there.

In order to create a split between the "office" and the "Wintergarten" I would need to visually divide them. Luckily, when I picked the furniture for my flat I loved the idea of Kallax shelves, which are very open, and thus I simply decided to use this. Hence it was moved next to the desk. This also had the side effect that I found an easier and more practical way of storing office goods and computer games within reach.

This small change already created a more open, better organised and isolated area for working on the desk. It also meant that the balcony table and chairs would stand more freely and create the centre of the eastern part. I also left the cat transporters in place, in the faint hope that one day my cats will use them out of their free will.

The cats also gave the inspiration for what else I needed to add. After all cats are idiots and almost every plant is bad for a cat, thus, I would need a cat secure shelf! What better way to do this by getting floating shelves!

Thus, I decided to browse the IKEA catalogue and see what they have on offer. During this adventure, I also saw an adorable shelf for the corner which I had to get. While the floating shelves are the same wood and colour as the rest of the room, the corner bit stands out. However, I decided to not care ("too adorable!") and since it is in a different than the floating shelves, I doubt anyone would really be bothered by that.

Then I went shopping to IKEA and also picked up four fillings for the lower "squares" of the Kallax - of course with floral prints - as well as a smaller shelf for my balcony. Overall, the IKEA trip cost me around 70€ but because I still had shopping coupons from work for Christmas, I went out with a bill of zero. During this time, a carpet had also been added to the room because it had been a birthday gift I had wished for.

While looking for floating shelves I also checked out amazon, and in doing so I stumbled over adorable plant and animal prints that I decided that I needed to have. They cost 20€ . Those needed frames as well, which came at a price of 60€ - ouch.

Then everything slowed down ... I would need assistance - i.e. my brother - in putting up the floating shelves. Furthermore, I tore a ligament near the end of February, so I really did not feel comfortable balancing on any type of ladder.

At least, this gave me enough time to consider where to hang up the floating shelves:

Putting it on the same side as the desk and the Kallax would mean that my cats would have easy access to it. After all they consider the Kallax more fancy stairs than a shelf. So it would go on the other wall, and the garden chairs underneath!

So one faithful afternoon, my brother found enough spare time to help me. After some measuring, drilling into brick walls, and a broken bolt, the shelves were attached! In the end, the lower shelf is at about a height of 1,60 m and the upper one 1,90 meters. This was also the same day, I did my flower haul, so everything would be near the finish line after that weekend. After a little re-potting the room was as good as ready!

Sadly, the shelf did not turn out to be as cat secure as I had hoped but then again that is the same cat the yeets himself onto the top of windows from a window sill, so I am not sure why I had been surprised that he would yeet himself onto the upper one. However, at the same, Daytona had not been interested in the flowers, instead he just wanted to be closer to a piece of lint that was on the ceiling.

This meant that my Wintergarten was as good as finished. All I needed now was to hang up the pictures! For this I waited until my foot would be given the okay again - happend at the beginning of April. Also the same time that Austria was in lockdown due to Corona. As such, I used the hour and drilled into the walls at a time when my neighbours wouldn't mind that much.

Unfortunately, I do not know how my power lines run and there was one socket suspiciously close underneath a possible drill hole. While it would be logical that they would run down - much closer - I couldn't be sure either. Since I had already gotten an electric shock years ago, and you're meant to keep hospital empty, I decided to not risk that one and attach the zebra image with a glue strip.

This ... unsurprisingly ... crashed down. Luckily, I was able to catch it but what I wasn't able to catch was the fern image that it tore down with it. As such the frame broke. In the end I used a tesa hook for the zebra image, while the rest are typical wall plugs and screws.

Between hanging up the shelves and the frames, some time past and I moved the plants around a little. The chestnut lives on the lower shelf now because it tended to grow stubbornly against the wall in the corner. Then I moved the sickly fern - which I closely tended to in the kitchen - into the my "garden room", as well as giving the money plant a sunnier place. I surrounded it with the cacti, so the cat won't touch it - which started all the trouble for the poor thing, a year ago.

At the moment of writing my little Wintergarten looks like this:

What comes next? 

While this finishes the transformation I had planned for in winter, there are some future ideas and plans:

Obviously, I want to fix the broken frame. It is not beyond repair so some glue should bring it back to life. Then I ordered a set of Peperomia as well as another money plant from an online florist to #TreatMyself during those rather sad times.

The biggest future plan is that I want to paint the walls. I am not sure about the colour yet but I want it to be something light, and not white. Furthermore, I used to store my road bike in this room and leaned it against the wall. Sadly, after a while the handles left smudges, so the white is not clean anymore ...

Would you create an urban jungle, or smaller indoor Wintergarten in your flat? Let me know!

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