This used piece of furniture transformed my relationship with reading

I have tried everything. I charge my phone in another room. I delete the Instagram app for several days. I put my phone on airplane mode before taking a walk through the park. But some nights, when the sun sets outside my velvet chartreuse curtains and the day feels like an entire week, nothing sings quite like my phone’s siren song.

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What I want to do is read. It’s the hobby I loved enough to become an MFA. When I close my eyes on a Friday night and imagine the weekend ahead, I dream of long, languid hours of uninterrupted reading. Living in a one-bedroom apartment with my partner and our dodgy work-from-home began to make reading less of a priority and more of an afterthought. The sofa, where I write most mornings, is the only place to relax in the house – also a very busy area after 10am. 17. I needed something. Not my own room, exactly, but a chair all to myself.

Inspired, I took to Craigslist, desperate to find a piece of furniture that reminded me of the armchair I bought at a neighborhood garage sale as a kid in Iowa. It was dusty blue with pink flowers. Sinking into its worn pillow, I wrote a note to my first crush, finished my first Hemingway, and sewed a skirt I was making from a vintage tablecloth. It was pleasant enough, which is to say, I was not inclined to sleep between its arms. And it was mine, which perhaps mattered most.

The armless slipper chair that caught my eye in another Brooklyn neighborhood wasn’t perfect. There was some wear on the lower leg. Thanks to its once-relevant designer branding, it was a little out of budget, but not too much. Spatially, it was a winner. My partner and I drove over a sunny Thursday night, paid over a clunky third-party app and came home a chair richer. As I pulled it into the apartment, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the chair I’d retired to after basketball practice as a kid.

Slowly, I found time to read throughout my day, thanks to its welcoming slant. A laptop can’t quite balance and my lanky frame is too long to curl up for a nap. Instead, I’ve marked the time between the invisible end of the workday and my evening activities with a glass of seltzer and a few chapters. The chair isn’t perfect, but my to-read pile is getting smaller by the day. So in some ways it’s exactly the antidote I had in mind.

This piece is part of Transformation Month, where we feature amazing home makeovers, brilliant little tweaks, inspiring before and afters and so much more. Go over here to see it all!

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