Thursday, September 9, 2010

Okay, so this has nothing to do with sewing...

I grew up in a great big two-story pink stucco house in a suburb reachable via a loooong four lane road that used to pass by a cattle ranch. I loved those cows.

I hated that house.

I swore to my obnoxious, 11-year-old self that when I grew up I would live in a neighborhood in the middle of a city, in a house that had character, on a street where all the houses were distinct from one another. I swore that house would be one-story, and easily cleaned in under an hour. I swore that walking two miles to the closest 7-11 would not mark the high point of my week. I swore I'd live somewhere that wouldn't require a car to experience some friggin' culture, dammit.

I now own a house in the middle of the city, on a street where all the houses are different from one another. This house has character. It is one story. If I ever cleaned it, it would take less than an hour to do so. It is mere blocks away from cafes, bars specializing in fancy beer, galleries (-ish), and a European deli for goddsakes. And, thank Baby Jesus, there's a 7-11 right across the street.

Thing is... my 11-year-old self did not foresee the interesting challenges inherent in living in my DREAM HOME. Because, as it turns out, my DREAM HOME falls just under 750 square feet. Granted, this is really only a problem of perspective. By most American standards, this is a small house. By Texas standards, I live in a garden shed. Or in the garden shed's garden shed. On the other hand, Parisians and Manhattanites would stab Mr. Dude and me and stuff our bodies in the crawl space to have this much room for what we pay for the mortgage.

Anyhoo, as Americans, Mr. Dude and I have got us some stuff. We have personal possessions that are really unnecessary. Our dog has personal possessions. I've tried to donate as much as I could pry my greedy clutches from to charity. And it was quite a bit. In fact, so much that after doing that for a while I decided to actually sell some of it. And that was quite a bit, too. And I am STILL getting rid of things.

But one area where I think we're down to bare bones is in the kitchen. I think I've gotten rid of all the excess I am comfortable with getting rid of. That's not to say that it only houses necessities (mortar and pestals -plural- anyone?). But it only houses things I actually use or love. Given this, things were still pretty tight. Like, so tight that my dear friend may have been overheard during the set up of my other dear friend's baby shower saying, "Holy shit, May, what the hell is up with your Tetris game of a cupboard?"

Well, this got me thinking about a potential project that could solve my "problem"... Tetris? I LOVE Tetris! Why fight it if it's what the kitchen wants?

...and awaaaay we go!

Step one, of course, was to fortify myself for the project:

Step two was to assess the super-meh blank space where my funny kitchen side door rests when it's open (which, incidentally, it never is thanks to cortico-steroid-induced-psychosis-neighbor-guy who likes to compulsively water the dirt on that side of the house - yey!):

Here we have the most unused space in the whole kitchen, just ripe for the taking. But shelves or another cupboard would block the functionality of the inside-opening door. Once Cortico-Steroid-Induced-Psychosis-Guy receives his sheriff escort for failing to show at his eviction court date (fingers crossed!), I'll be wanting to actually use this door. When my dear friend at the baby shower made her inspirational comment, she was attempting to access something at the back of my pots and pans cupboard. So I had pots and pans storage on the brain.

And is there any more efficient or iconic version of pots and pans storage than Julia Child's version?

Love it! However... Mr. Dude took one look at this and was like, "Peg board... in the kitchen?"

"It's painted," I pointed out.

"Well, yeah... but..."


"Well, it's peg board."


So I spent an afternoon looking at wallpapers to cover it, but at the utterance of the typical cost of wallpaper per roll, and Mr. Dude nearly put the kibosh on the whole project. Have I mentioned that Mr. Dude is the reincarnated embodiment of Mr. Old-Timey-1910 in terms of cost projections? It's a wonder I own a kitchen at all, and in Southern California, no less...

Anyway, here's our final compromise:

Super-fab, "vintage" craft paper scavenged from when my department at college moved after 30+ years of being in the same office space. Definitely closer to the price range Mr. Dude was thinking of, I'm sure. And in orange!! Amazing.

Step three was to do a preliminary layout of the pots and pans on the pegboard. Because I was going to be forced by my aesthetically obsessed husband to cover the pegboard with old pretty paper and moving the hooks around in the pegboard would be a no-go. Once the holes were made for the hooks, they would stay that way. I laid the pots and pans out in the order that I wanted and took photos to refer to later:

Step four involved convincing Mr. Dude to get off his sweet duff and help me.

Sike. Honestly, I have no idea how I even got this shot. This is not Mr. Dude OR Pearl in their natural states. Anyhow, Mr. Incredibly Sexy Legs Dude helped tremendously by METICULOUSLY measuring, stud-finding, leveling, and drilling the frame into place on the wall and affixing the peg board to the frame. There are no pictures of this because I'm new at this nonsense. Sue me. BUT, here's what resulted:

You'll notice that I made adjustments in the layout so the door could open without smacking into my colander.

Step five - cover with wackadoo paper using spray adhesive. Swear that the spray adhesive isn't getting you SUPER high. Admit that the spray adhesive might be getting you a bit high, but it ISN'T giving you brain lesions, sheesh Mr. Dude. Decide that said wackadoo paper isn't wacky enough, then go totally Mexican* and throw on some oil cloth that you've gone a little crackhead crazy with the scissors on, cutting around each element of the magnificent pattern so that every single blue rose shines in its intended glory. With more spray adhesive. Maybe.

Step six - refer to layout photos taken earlier and feel around with fingers and an X-Acto knife to make holes for hooks. Insert hooks. Get all stoked.

Step seven - Hang up pots and pans whilst praying that whole shebang doesn't come smashing down on your head.

Step eight - Get Mr. Dude to get Pearl to pose pretty in front of finished masterpiece, and stage surrounding counters with dirty dishes and such so that people find you approachable:

Waaa-laaa!! And as the French might say, incroyable!!!


*Pretty sure no one who doesn't know this already is reading this, but'chaneverknow, right?
I'm Mexican.

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