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Happy Hour : Updating a Musical Bookcase

Every been in a restaurant when it turns "Happy Hour?" You notice the mood instantly changes as everyone is ready for fun. Whenever I'm having a Bad Hair Day, my cure is always a personal Happy Hour. Of course, I'm hopeless addicted to interiors; so for me, this hour is all about decorating. In this series, we'll look at some quick and happy mood changers for our very own Happy Hour. Each should take about an hour - a mere 60 minutes - to perk up our minds and our rooms. Let's get the party started.

When we moved into our upside-down house twenty-three years ago, we had this bookcase built against a leaning half wall. On the other side is the staircase down to the bedroom floor. Besides shoring up the wall, the bookcase was designed so that P had a place to store his stereo equipment, record albums and cds. Now, I'm not sure I need all of his music. I gave his 6' tall Carver speakers, which had hugged another wall, to one of his audiophile friends. The photo above is the after photo. Let's see how I got there.

Right before the painters came in, I emptied the bookcases.

It was hard to believe that these four 22" wide shelves held 400+ record albums. I decided to just use the top and bottom shelf on the right for albums. I kept 200 of P and my favorites - mostly from the 1960's and 70's - and mostly jazz and reggae with a smattering of Joanie Mitchell and Carole King. Actually, P didn't play records anymore as he could better hear the nuisances of the instruments using his Sonos Sound Bar and Shopify&Pandora apps. I'm playing his playlists of Bosa Nova and French early 20th century chanteuses which brings me joy.

I sold the other albums to Don at One Bad Apple in Castro Valley. I'd looked on eBay (a laborious process) and none of the 200 records were worth much more that a couple of dollars. Guess no one really wants Funk Inc's 1973 Superfine album. Go figure.

As Don looked through 200 albums in the blistering sun, he said P kept his records in meticulous condition. No surprise there. Finally, he said, $200." Not missing a beat, I said, "Sold." Maybe they'll go to a good home. As for the music CDs we had, Don said that there is really isn't any market. Most people just stream their music now. Before donating to the Salvation Army, I sorted, keeping a few including my friend, Ricardo's playlist of San Francisco-themed songs. So fun to play when cruising over the Bay Bridge into the City. After all, we are "(Sit-in' On) The Dock of the Bay."

I decided to store the CDs I did keep in baskets. Whew! That was a long intro to get to my Happy Hour. I had four baskets in two different colors. A YouTuber taught me how to stain baskets. I guess I should have been able to figure out myself.

Staining baskets is super easy. Just use a foam brush and wood stain. It did take 3 coats. That's it for my Happy Hour. To be honest, no one really needs matching baskets but it looking at them makes me happy.

Here's the finished bookcases, including all P's stereo components. Right now, nothing is plugged in so I'm storing the plugs and cables in a basket. Next year, I'll work on getting the turntable hooked up to the Sonos Sound Bar so I can play our vinyl. In the meantime, I'll run my music through Pandora&Shopify. I'm sure Jimmy, pictured here in his fall cable knit sweater, will enjoy the tunes, too. If you're like me, maybe there's something in your rooms that bugs you a little. I've spent the last 9 months fine-tuning things here, both big and small, and I can't tell you how satisfying it is. Here's to an easy, inexpensive and gratifying Happy Hour!


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