You know how sometimes the way you want things to work and the way your space allows them to work don’t cooperate so well? Man am I suffering from that. I moved here from an apartment with a bigger kitchen and–who’d have guessed?–bigger cupboards. Silly me; I assumed cupboards were standardized. Nope! The ones in our “new” apartment are noticeably smaller. As in, a juice pitcher is too tall for any of the shelves. A wok is too wide for any of the doors. And so on. Our front closet takes up some of the slack: I stash lesser-used serving pieces and appliances in there along with coats and Christmas decorations. But some things, like large skillets, need to stay within reach despite space restraints. Thus:
Pure function. The shelf, meant to perch over a commode, has instead spent its entire career holding kitchen supplies. (We used it in the last place too.) But it’s wobbly; it’s in the way basically everywhere I move it; and it’s just plain ugly. Not to mention it throws off the room’s symmetry like none other. It bothers me.
One day recently I’d had it. I moved the knives and butter safe back the counter, which I’d been straining to keep clutter-free but–whatever, at this point. I rearranged my cookie sheets and pizza pans so I had room in the under-oven drawer for my skillets, then banished the ugly shelf to the study closet. Maybe it will get a second chance; maybe it won’t. But here’s what I’m dreaming of now:
My friend Shelli sent me a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens, and as soon as I saw this in the January issue, all I could think was, “That would WORK!” I scribbled the measurements of our dining room above the article text–maybe you can see it if you squint; I don’t know. Basically I need to lay my hands on a couple shelves in the ballpark of 20″ wide. I’ve looked at IKEA and a few other places. I want to price materials and see if I could custom-build them even cheaper, but that might be pushing my luck. Here’s where they’d go:
Ignore the trash can and protruding broom handle. I’ll figure out a place for that stuff. But how darling would it be, really, to have that bare wall cozied up with “built-in” bookshelves and seating? We even have a bench there already.
Right now it’s full of toys so when young guests finish their dinners they can entertain themselves while remaining in sight. I can imagine squishing it all the way up to the wall and hanging an upholstered-headboard type “back” on the wall. Throw on a couple pillows, snug it all in between two tall shelves…. I can see it. I’m trying to decide if I’d want the shelves white or wood or some “real” color–probably not real color because I like to mix things up regularly. But I do think it would be cool to either paint the back of each shelf a bright color or cover them with a subtly patterned paper. So there you go. That’s what I’m scheming. If you have ideas about how to acquire/build inexpensive narrow shelving, hit me with ’em in the comments! Are you dreaming anything big for your home?
Photo from Better Homes & Gardens taken by Angus McRitchie