May 13, 2010

Cape Closets..Oh the Irritation

When we first bought our house one of my thoughts, probably the one that came after "holy crap this place is a pit!", was Yay! Closets!

Will and I have spent most of our life together with basically no closet space. Starting with our first apartment that had one tiny closet in the whole place, which pretty much meant no storage at all, through the series of itty-bitty closeted bungalows and onto our flat in Dublin that had a long but shallow wardrobe that all three of us had to share. It's always been an issue. The house we lived in before we bought this house, however, had a very large closet in every bedroom plus two linen closets and a deep coat closet. Bliss. That's what comes form living in a newer house I guess. So this house, though not quite as blessed with closet space, seemed like a pretty good compromise. And best of all, the room with the most closet space was ours. We could even have something we've always wanted. Separate closets. Man, I am easy to please, I get all goosebumpy just thinking about ample storage space.

Because here's the problem. We live in a Cape. So while our room has FOUR closets, none of them are actually very functional. In fact, the room isn't really that functional as it is. Two dormers smack in the middle of two different walls, four closets and an angled ceiling means that we have no walls without some kind of issue. When we moved in we devised a plan to eventually put a series of drawers into the knee wall, which will, someday, happen- making the room about a thousand times better, but until then we faced a dilemma of what to do for drawer space, and hanging space for that matter. The narrow closet that will (fingers crossed) become the home of our washer and dryer if we can figure out how to get the drain situation figured out, is really too deep and skinny to be useful. It's dark and a pain to get things out of because you have to pull out the iron and the laundry basket to get back to the hanging part. So for now, it has out of season coats and crap we never need but don't want to get rid of (Ok, not crap. if it was crap I'd get rid of it. Let's call it sentimental items of clothing that are rarely, if ever, worn again. ie. wedding dress, fancy suits, dresses that I would love to wear but really, where do you wear a strapless dress in Charlottesville with two kids. Someday though...)

Then there is the small kneewall closet often referred to as the pit of despair. I probably don't need to explain why. I try not to think about that closet at all. It gives me hives.

The two closets flanking one of the windows were the best bet for actual usable space. They were, sort of, clothes closet like. Meaning they had a bar for hangers and were decently deep. We tried to find skinny dressers that would fit in each of them, leaving space still for hanging but everything was either too wide, too tall, too deep or too expensive for something that would only be there until the knee wall drawers made it to the top of the list. In the end we went with shelves and baskets which work fine. In fact, I've gotten kind of into the look of them. It;s sort of like a bedroom version of my no upper cabinets fixation from the kitchen. It (almost) forces us to be neat.

But still the hanging stuff never looks that good. Unless you have thirty white shirts all hanging in a row, I'm not a big fan of exposed hanging clothes.

Enter my World Market-wont-let-me-return-these-things curtains.

Back in November I started looking for curtains for our dining room. I knew what I wanted but I couldn't find them, at least not for what I wanted to pay. I popped into World Market, which has been a favorite store of mine for years, and picked up something that I thought might, might work. And then got home and hated the way they looked in there. Too dark. too patterny, and totally opposite of what I wanted. When I finally got around to taking them back after Christmas they had changed their policy about returns- you had to have the receipt for curtains or linens. I know, I hear you, always keep your receipts. But I'd gotten used to the whole, stores looking up your receipt with your card - which is actually kind of scary, like the part in Minority Report where he goes into the Gap and the store knows what his last purchase is...Ahhhhh.....snap out of it! Ok, back to World Market. I puffed and pleaded and told them I'd never shop there again which sucked because we wanted to buy a bench for our dining room that day and I was too pissed to do it and still can't bring myself to go back.

Anyway, I've had these shoved behind my shoe baskets for months now. Pissed that I couldn't return them and eventually, forgetting about them. So when I was fishing out a pair of flip flops the other day and spotted them I realized they were actually kinda cool in our bedroom. Which says one of two things. Either I was buying these subconsciously for our room, or, I get hung up on certain color combinations. Probably the latter. Sad. But also good because I yesterday I cut them up and made curtains to cover the ugly messy sides of the closets AND the really ugly mess that has resulted in our washing machine STILL BEING BROKEN (please be able to fix it when you come today Frigidaire repair person. PLEASE!!!!)

Will forbade me to spend money on this project. I did spend some but only $1.03 which is what they charged me for a piece of PVC pipe at the Habitat Store. It was close to nothing so I figured it counted. Because of the weird slanted walls inside the closets I couldn't use tension rods so I decided to hang the curtains on the pipe and screw the pipes into the wall directly.

I measured the pipe and cut them with a saw that I forget the name of (miter? maybe? Some kind of handsaw as we know I am not allowed to use power tools other than the drill, and then only if I'm good)

I sanded the ends and pre-drilled holes about an inch from each end.

Then using really long screws I screwed them into the wall, forcing the pipe to stay away from the wall a little so that the curtains slide open and shut easily.

It's not doors, or regular closets, but it's better. Of course now I can ignore the mess more easily instead of trying to keep on top of it. But that's probably better anyway. Who needs to stress out over messy closets? Right?