Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Year's Resolution: Resolved

Two years ago when we gutted 2/3 of the ground floor of our house to build a new kitchen and living room, I had found a picture in one of those fancy home decor magazines of a mudroom set-up that I thought was THE coolest thing since indoor plumbing. I just had to have it. Had to. I tore the page out of the magazine, handed it over into the roughened, care-worn hands of my father-in-law, who has been known to work miracles with wood in the past and who, conveniently enough, would be here doing the bulk of the heavy work on the remodel anyway. I told him there was a bottle of cognac in it for him if he could make my old kitchen look like that before the summer was out.

The kids and I spent the next nearly 3 months in Salt Lake while Mister and his dad worked their asses off to build me my dream kitchen in the space which used to be the living room, and a cozy new living room in the space which used to be Boy's bedroom. I hardly dared ask what was to become of the narrow galley space which used to be my kitchen. Whenever I did, Mister was very noncommittal, "We'll see," he'd grumble, "Now how deep do you want the shelves in the pantry?"

Then I'd tell him, and he'd say, "No, no, no. That'll never do. It needs to be thus, thus, and thus."

Then I'd say, "So why did you even ask? But hey, has your dad said anything about the mudroom? Is he going to have time to do it?"

"Don't know, we'll see. Do you want 3" or 4" crown moldings?"


"I think 4."

Good times. Good times. That was the summer Missy broke her leg. That was the summer of "Where's my rain pants?"

Long story short though, by the time the kids and I had flown back into town, he'd done it. My father-in-law had taken that one crumpled little picture of the perfect mudroom, and basically built the shit out it. He owned that motherfucker. It was perfect! Marvelous! Wonderful! And the kitchen wasn't half bad either.

Sadly, that was pretty much the end of the story of the mudroom. I gushed, and preened, and danced a happy jig at the reality of it. But then I had to set to work finishing up the painting in the kitchen, finding a suitable sofa for the living room, unpacking the boxes and boxes of crap I had stored out of the way of the construction. You know how it is. What with one thing and another, it just kept getting pushed futher and further down on my list of things I wanted to tackle. So there it sat--unpainted, unfurnished, unloved--collecting dust and clutter and piles upon piles of shoes.

Until now.

It was my New Year's Resolution. My promise to Mister. Empty it. Clean it. Spackle it. Sand it. Prime it. Paint it. Hang it with hooks. And finally, use it in the manner in which it was meant to be used.

Check, check, check, check, check, and check!

It was nearly impossible to get a decent picture of the space, but hopefully you'll get an idea of how utterly ingenious it is from these few awkward angles.

I wish I had thought to take a true before shot of the chaos that reigned before I cleaned it out. Without any hooks to hang their stuff on, the kids would just chuck their coats and things in a pile. Mister and I had coats on hangers just sort of hooked over the edge of the lower shelf. Once I got everything taken out, I was amazed at how roomy and orderly it really was.
So there are six spaces, or cubbies as the kids have come to call them, three on either side. Each kid has their own little cubby and drawer for hats and gloves. The two back cubbies are for Mister and me, they're the only two with rods for hangers. The kids' cubbies have nothing but hooks. No hangers. No excuses. Get your damn coat OFF THE FLOOR!
We found the hooks at IKEA. My original idea was just a row of standard peg hooks on all three walls of each cubby. But I like these so much more. In addition to being just plain funky and fun to look at, I think it utilizes the space so much better.

The mirror I found in an abandoned corner of a local furniture store. It was filthy and covered with dust. When I asked the sales clerk if it was really for sale, she sort of blinked twice at it like where the hell did that come from? Then said, "Yes, yes. Of course. Everything here is."

"Really?" I asked, "Because it doesn't look like you're very interested in getting rid of it."

So she cleaned it up, wrapped it in bubble wrap, and gave me 30% off. It is, if you ask me, perfect. I'm ever so pleased with myself for finding it.

And now, Dear Lord, a word about the linoleum: I have a natural affinity for things which manage to be both dreadful and wonderful at the same time. This is why I listen to Nick Cave albums and secretly crave Fruity Pebbles. It's why I allow myself to watch Access Hollywood. I think it's why I continue to run. And it's exactly how I feel about this linoleum. I can't believe Mister allowed me to order it, but I'm glad he did. It's the first and only outrageous thing about my home decor--that, and the brick red wall to go with it. You're allowed to hate it. Sometimes I'm horrified by it. But mostly, I love it.

So that's done then. As you can see from the reflection in the mirror, the windows still need dressing. I'm dragging my feet because I don't have a clue how I want to do it. Ideas, anyone?

My next big project, which I've already half started, is to empty out Elder Miss's bedroom and redo it into a boy/girl room for Boy and Little Miss to share, then redo the little bedroom upstairs all pre-teentastic for Elder Miss. I'm pretty excited about this. Truth be told, it's why I rushed to get the mudroom done as quickly as I did. The kids have been needing these rooms sorted for years now, and I couldn't, in good conscience, start that project before I finished this one.


Anonymous said...

Jamie, that's so beautiful!!! I didn't know what a "mudroom" was. The name somehow doesn't fit the niceness of the room itself. I can't wait to see your new home. By the way, how on earth do you read Khaled Hosseini during "mörketiden"? That's just asking for trouble. I just finished "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and just loved it. It's about a gringa who goes on a self-awareness journey to Italy, India and Indonesia. She gets really fat on pasta in Italy... Gee, where have I heard THAT ONE before??? Order it and read it 'cause you'll love it. Big hug, Claudita

Jilly Baby said...

Oh it's luuuuuurrrrvly. You got the ace lino after all. I remember that day, in Gullgruven wasn't it? when we both clapped eyes on it and wondered if Mister would allow it. I'm so glad he did, it looks fab. And that mirror is cool too but does it make you look fat on the top and thin on the bottom like those 'magic' ones at the fair? Anyhoo it's gorge!

Can't wait to see it (end of March hopefully).

cymster said...

Wow..that wallpaper really made me time warp to my childhood in the '70s! Then again you did describe it as 'garish'.

I like the mirror too. It reminds me of some type of architecture of the 1930's that I can't remember (cause my job has addled my brain with tiredness). Not fascist though, oh no, not by any means.

There- I commented. Word up!

JEDA said...

No, no Melissa. No. No. No. That was my tattooed ass which I described as garish (also dreadful, and a little bit wonderful...the ass that is...anyway....) the linoleum is merely dreadful, but also wonderful.

Welcome, Cymster Darling. Now where are Pat Pat and the Canook?

By the by--in checking my trusty urban dictionary for the proper spelling of "Canook" (because I'm a piss poor speller and I can never be too sure about these things) I learned that "Canook" is not only the slang, often derogatory, term for a Canadian, but also, and I quote, "A potent, sticky ass marijuana bud that originates in Canada". Color me intrigued. Marilyn? Your kid's a pharmacist. Can he hook me up, yo?

The Alpha Grandma said...

I LOVE it! Having spent a few hours trying to make sense of the piles of coatshatsglovesscarves-mittensboots and the occasional discarded McDonald's toy, I can just imagine the difference this will make.

The red paint is so........somebody....but I'm surprised it's you. I agree the mirror is perfect. BTW, which cubbie has MY name on it? Oh that's right, I'll be there in the summer, I just need a place for my 11 pairs of shoes!