next best idea

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

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. “but-whatever, at this point”

    haha! for some reason that really hit my funny bone. 🙂

    i would seriously just love to paint. pretty please to get rid of the ugly tan walls. . .


  1. tucked away « wellcrafted

Add your two cents:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: