Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not-So-Big Improvements

My parents have been in town since Monday...and it's been fantastic! Typically, their visits are only a few days before they're ready to bolt for the airport and get back home...but I played the daughter-in-distress card and gave my dad a list of things as long as my left leg that needed to be done around the house. I managed to keep him busy from the moment he got here until the moment he left...and, though he's unlikely to ever admit it, I think he enjoyed himself....and, though I know he'll never admit it, I think he's looking forward to coming back!

We spent Monday in the yard. Dad declared one variety of planting I'd inherited "go-to-hell bushes" and we headed straight to the hardware store for clippers. He took almost every one of them down while I raked 9 bags of leaves. There's still a good bit of work that needs doing back there (Dad thinks his next visit might include a chainsaw!! Yay!!), but I can now tell where to build a swingset for the Monkey...and I have an idea for a spot for The Littlest Kitchen Garden. Progress!

Tuesday we took stock of the inside jobs and made a list of supplies. There were some necessary items that needed to be addressed (hanging cabinets back over the refrigerator where I had to take them down...filling a hole in the floor behind the kitchen cabinets that was letting in cold air from the laundry room...possibly caulking a window...etc.)...but my personal prime directive was to invent shelves in a 4" x 33" bit of wasted space on the stairwell...

I've been a bit of a devotee to Sarah Susanka since Monkeydad brought home The Not So Big House book a few years ago. Her premise is that people don't need more space...you can live well in a small amount of space if it's properly designed and utilized. That philosophy completely resonates with me and I've been trying to incorporate what I can of it into my own little not-so-big house. So....the minute I discovered that there was 4" between the trim on the door to the stairwell and the perpendicular wall, I began jonesing for shelves...and enlisted my dad to help me build them.


We didn't have plans or anything. We dreamt it up over coffee on Tuesday morning. I told him I wanted to finish the front of the shelves with trim to hide the support system and make them look finished -- the location is a bit unusual so I wanted to be sure they looked intentional. I originally planned to paint them the color of the wall to make them blend in...but when I saw them up, they were so beautiful I didn't want to hide them! I took Mom with me to the paint store to pick out an accent color. After painting most of the afternoon yesterday, I wound up with an unexpectedly gorgeous "corner of epicurean delight" (or, if you prefer, the chocolate martini zone)!


As an added bonus, we also got the materials to replace a shelf over the stairwell (the supports were already in place). My feeling on open storage is that it has to be sort of artfully arranged...so I made a first go today at a "storage vignette" with a combination of a tall flower arrangement (that picks up the green color from the kitchen, the dark burgandy of the shelves on the opposing wall, and the off-white of the walls) and stainless steel pieces that aren't used every day. The longer term plan is to include a pendant light hanging down a bit toward the right side to fill some of the expanse of white wall and, more importantly, to illuminate not only the vignette, but also the stairwell (which gets awfully dark!). One thing at a time though...


My dad is awesome! I'm thrilled with how our little projects turned out...and I gained some cabinet and counter space in the kitchen to boot! Woohoo!

With my parents on the plane back home, I'm riding high on the wave of productivity...but now it's on to the yucky stuff. I've got an eye appointment this afternoon...and I have to navigate this state's DMV process (beginning, I think, with some sort of safety and emissions testing). I expect that will take up a big part of tomorrow as well.

Good thing I've got some killer shelves to come home to!

5 comments:

towwas said...

Um, you have a chocolate martini zone. That is awesome. But you know what it needs to be complete? A picture of me. Yep. That's what's missing. How could it be a chocolate martini zone without me?

I Blog, You Blog said...

I will correct that in a few weeks, no? You're coming to personally inspect the martini zone, if I recall correctly...

Yay!!

present&accounted4 said...

I cant WAIT to partake of the chocolate martini bar, and of course to see all of your dad's handiwork. But mostly I'm cant wait for the liquid chocolate buzzy goodness!

I Blog, You Blog said...

T -5 weeks and counting! Woohoo!

J.Bro said...

Our weekly paper has a cover story this week that makes liberal references to The Not So Big House. When something gets recommended to me twice, independently, my personal rule is that I have to buy it. (So no one else recommend that we buy a hybrid - we can't afford to be forced into it)

http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=22279