Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gladys get a makeover

So, we all know my English home's gots some storage is-sues. I've been sucking it up and making do; I hate clutter and having things on display, so I've become somewhat of an expert at maximizing storage (and shoving things where they can't be seen).

My biggest challenge to date has been shoe storage. One day when I'm fabulously wealthy, I'll have one of those MTV cribs closets that are bigger than the average bedroom and has a whole wall of little cubbies to display—err, store shoes. But until then, I'm forced to get creative in my limited space.

Enter Gladys.

Gladys is a china cabinet I bought on eBay for £20 (that about $32). I don't know anything about her origin or age, but the seller was able to tell me that she came from an estate sale of the belongings of a woman named Gladys. Of course the name stuck. It's a classic-- like every good grandmother name (Matilda, Frances, Mildred...). It was, as they say, kismet. Small enough to not take up too much space; stylish enough to be on display; and big enough to house, oh, at least 15 -18 pairs of shoes.

Alas, while Gladys had great bones, the old girl was a bit of a wreck. Cracked and peeling, various layers and shades of stain, she was in need of an overhaul. After trolling the internet for inspiration, I decided that I would bite the bullet and apply a coat (or four) of glossy black paint-- 1) because I fell in love with all the makeovers I found online; 2) because she was a bit old fashioned for my taste and I felt like she deserved some sprucing up; 3) because I loved her curves, which reminded me of a piano; and 4) because I couldn't bear the time commitment of sanding, re-sanding and then more sanding it would take before I could apply stain (umm—so much for that; it required multiple rounds of sanding which, coupled with the dismal weather and not being able to do anything outside made this project drag on for about 4 months). Oh, and 5) because I had an idea that I could use the awesome Orla Kiely wallpaper I bought a few years ago for another project but never used.

So, below is Gladys' journey from great to even more awesome (if I do say so myself). The wallpaper worked terrifically as a way to brighten up the dark interior and serve as a backdrop for my art-- err, shoes (and in fact, it’s a bit of a shame that the shoes cover it up). And the black gloss paint? LOVE. It really does make her look like a piano. Alas, my clodhoppers mean that only the high-high heels fit on the shelves straight on, but I've managed to get 18 pairs in there, so not too bad. I plead the 5th on how many pairs I have in total.

Meet the original Gladys.


Friday, June 24, 2011

What if?

"'What' and ‘if’ two words as nonthreatening as words come. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: ‘What if?'..."

"I don't know how your story ended. But I know that if what you felt then was love - true love - then it's never too late. If it was true then it why wouldn't it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart..."

"I don't know what a love like that feels like... a love to leave loved ones for, a love to cross oceans for... but I'd like to believe if I ever felt it. I'd have the courage to seize it. I hope you had the courage to seize it. And if you didn't, I hope one day that you will."

--Letters to Juliet

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Premium Space

When you live in a small space, every nook and cranny is at a premium. My adulthood has been spent living in expensive cities where living spaces are priced at exorbitant prices per square foot so you a) try to get the most bang for your buck without sacrificing things like running water; b) try to get the biggest space to lowest vermin ratio; and c) get super creative at storage solutions.

My big city experience have been tested in the English countryside over the last three years-- because while property is considerably less expensive (okay-- crazy cheap), English people 200 years ago were apparently super small and had no stuff. So they didn't need things like closets. That meant that our little "two up, two down" (for all you non-English real estate peeps that means two rooms on the ground floor, two rooms-- and a bathroom on the second) needed some adjustments to make way for me. Taking advantage of the ceiling height, we built up in order to not make the already teeny rooms teenier.

There was one hold out-- the guest room/home office. While we'd created great storage where we could-- building narrow cabinets from floor to ceiling flanking my desk and converting an alcove over the stairs into a storage closet and accessible from the room, I was still reserving the majority of space for a bed for house guests. This week, I finally gave in. I figured that with only one house guest in three years, it makes absolutely no sense to reserve much needed space for a "what if." After all-- we live here everyday. So last night, I made a plan (and enlisted MRN to execute it right there and then) to free up some space in our cramped bedroom by converting the guest room part of the office into a much needed closet. I'm now in the midst of decorating bliss (really, just rearranging furniture and moving a dresser into the office... and freeing up some walls for artwork-- whoop-whoop).

And for anyone who may decide to visit in the future? I'm afraid it's the sofa for you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Random Information

Did you know that you can still "flush" your toilet even if the flusher is broken? Oh yes, dear readers it's true. And I know this is true because I'm on day #2 of not being able to flush mine. Boring story of broken toilets aside, apparently all you need is a big pot filled with water and voila! Instant flush. So lesson for the day-- stockpots have an infinite number of uses.

PS-- I dream of the day when I have more than one bathroom. I'll even settle for a half bath.

PPS-- Lesson #2 of the day is to not be overzealous with the dumping of the water in the toilet. That just leads to all sorts of problems. Just saying.