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.
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.