Friday, January 4, 2013

Before and after: corner shelves

We have this awkward corner in our kitchen next to our ovens.  When the original owners moved in, there was one oven under the stove, but they did some remodeling and added double ovens into the wall.  (Yes, cool to have double ovens EXCEPT that ours are smaller than a conventional oven so that you have to have two of them to make up for the loss of space inside them. Six of one, half a dozen of another.)

Years ago, we bought this awkward cubby thing at Pier 1 to maximize the space in the awkward corner.  The theory went something like this: awkward x awkward = not awkward.  Sorta like when a negative x a negative = a positive.

It didn't work.

Everything always looked sloppy and (of course) it became a dumping ground for junk mail, menus for places where we didn't eat, coupons that we never used, etc.  Back in February, I just got really tired of it and proposed an idea to the only person in the house who knows how to use a hammer and nails (ie, not me):

Me: "Can we put a cabinet and shelves in that corner?"
Ron: "What corner?"
Me: "That STUPID corner right there."
Ron: "Yeah. ok."

Me: "So when can we do it?"
Ron: "When can I do it?"
[pause. Insert eye rolling and maybe a heavy sigh. Really, he doesn't have to rub it in. If I could crochet some shelves, I would.]

Ron: "I don't know.  I have five thousand trips to take this year.  And I want to finish the basement in July. [*editor's note: that never happened because "five thousand trips" turned into TEN THOUSAND trips and the basement became the butt of every joke in 2012*] When do you want it to be finished? There's no way I can do it in the next three months."
Me: "Absolutely not later than Christmas Eve.  If you can't totally finish it by Christmas Eve, just forget about it and do it next year."
Ron: "Oh EASY.  That's ten months away! I can get it done by your birthday [ie, before Labor Day]."

Oh yeah? Guess when Ron finished it? DECEMBER 23RD.  Right under the wire.  It took about two months from beginning to end.  Ron built the cabinet in the basement and then installed it upstairs.  I don't know for sure, but I think the hardest part was replicating and installing the molding along the bottom.  I heard a lot of F-bombs while that was getting done (which is really unnerving because I always think he's lost a finger on the table saw ... until I creep to the top of the basement steps and listen really carefully and confirm that he's cursing at a mistake, not a missing fingertip--it's happened before).

(Ok, it wasn't a finger tip, but it was a large chunk of a finger that made Ron's face turn white and required stitches in the ER.)

Ron also used the cabinet as an opportunity to learn how to make another kind of cabinet door.  If you look around my kitchen, you'll see one kind of door on the cabinets, another above the ovens, and now this third kind in the corner. I like the first kind best, but this new door works really well in its tiny space.

Finally, everything was ready to go for our big Christmas Eve party.  I used it as a bar area and stocked it with every martini and wine glass I own. My father in law always serves as bartender on Christmas Eve (he makes amazing cocktails), and he never really has a carved out spot to put everything and work.  Later that night, he used the space on top of the cabinet for all of the liquor and juice and just grabbed glasses from above as he worked.  The top shelf is really out of the way, so I just put those cheesy wine bottle things on top (thanks, Jen!).

After the holiday, I cleared away all the extra glasses and set it up for everyday:

Yes, apparently I have lint painted on to my walls. You're not the only one, Laurie.

Finally, easy access to the cookbooks I use all time,* my pens and pencils and the etc. that I always find myself seeking in the kitchen.  I keep all of my nail stuff in the cabinet (I hid that in the Pier 1 cabinet too  ... nails as in "Ron, I can't use that hammer or I'll chip my nails" nails ... sad but true).  You'll also find part of our ginormous supply of lint rollers in there too.

The best part about the whole thing is that it makes the kitchen table area feel a little less kitcheny and a little more dining roomy.  Someone with an actual dining room may disagree, but it's surprising what a difference it makes to that side of the kitchen.

So it's done! YAY!  Thank you, Ron!  And thank you for not taking any chunks out of your fingers this time.  Please use your F-bombs more judiciously in the future so my heart doesn't leap into my throat so many times.

* who am I kidding? I haven't cooked in three months.  Maybe I'll get to work on that ...


Laurie said...

OMG I love it! Looks great. Nick hates when you post about Ron's projects because I get too many ideas. And because of the fact that I add, "Well Ron made..." to the end of each idea request ;)

P.S. Lint painted onto walls is still better than the previous owners hair painted onto walls :)

Jess said...

It looks sooo good! And I definitely agree the other comment ;) Go Ron!

Erin S said...

I am so impressed! Ron now knows how to make three kinds of doors?!? Maybe I can get him to teach me how to make one :)

Linda C said...

Ron can do anything - REALLY!