Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday's small project

Now that the work bench and tools are a bit organized, it is way easier to tackle other projects. One project that has been on the list is to re-hang the mailbox, but to do so in a way that makes it more useful. Below is the vintage mailbox we have for our house. But "back in the day" they apparently didn't get Crate & Barrel catalogues and junk mail, so it's too small for most day's mail volume. So, using my jig-saw and work bench, I cut a frame for the mailbox to rest on and I removed the back. I'd say it's interior volume was increased nearly double. Exciting? Not really, but I'm sure the mailcarrier will appreciate not having to fold our mail like origami and jam it into the mailbox... at least most days.

Just a bit of paint and caulk and it's done. But it's too cold out right now for that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The workbench

Eric worked really hard over the weekend and the last few days to finish the workbench. The crowning achievement of the basement organization. As you recall here's the space before:
For more drama, and an overview of the room another "before" shot (with the now-relocated doors):
And after:
All that remains is to hang our gazillion random screwdrivers, wrenches and random tools on the pegboard and to put in the lower shelf for....more storage!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back to the basement!

...on the continuing tour of our overloaded basement. I didn't take this pic last time:
The comic book stash. It greets you as you enter the basement. We spent the majority of our Saturday down there and felt mighty accomplished. First, a glimpse at the space "before" the multi-boxed cabinet goes up. That concrete wall is holding back lots of dirt, and not very well.
In front of the brick wall above all of our leftover doors used to reside leaning up against the wall. First order of business was to move them to the middle room:
Eric assembled a nifty support system and voila! Lots of storage.

As I was emptying boxes and filling the cubbies with hardware parts I discovered that it was originally used in a hardware store after all! On the side of each box is a space where the description of what it used to house (nails, screws, etc) and the sizes are written!
The man and his masterpiece:
For "fun" we then put up a shelf for our supply of spray paint:

The shelf came from an old JoAnn Fabrics store that used to be in the neighborhood but went out of business years ago. I have a small obsession with retail fixtures (thanks to my first "real" job as a manager at a Department Store) so I scavenged the place when they were having their going out of business sale and thought I could use it to house my craft stuff (specifically coasters at ComFest). Instead it gathered dust and took up space on a shelf at the old house, but it seems to have found the perfect use at this one (thus encouraging me to continue to keep other stuff I've not yet found a use for). It's an odd assortment of colors that I really keep meaning to weed out and donate to some artistic cause (we have 4 cans of dayglo orange and 4 of boring gray for instance), but in the meantime we just move it around. The shelf really JUST FIT every last can of spray paint we own, so if we acquire more we'll have to get rid of at least a few cans!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Simple but satisfying

Here's one of those ridiculously simple tasks that once done makes you feel silly that you are so excited about it. Hanging the curtain and rod in the upstairs hallway:
Hypothetically the neighbors, if their timing was impeccable, could have been catching glimpses of skin as we dashed from bathroom to bedroom as one is occasionally wont to do. This was a dual project. Eric "fixed" the curtain rod we'd purchased on clearance somewhere. By the time we were ready to used it the cute crackle-glass globes that were the finials had genuinely (and dangerously) cracked. He replaced them with these industrial knobs that we'd acquired and intended to use for our kitchen cabinets, but they just didn't work out. The curtain may have originally been a sheet that someone else converted to a shower curtain that I found at a thrift store and loved the leafy green pattern. Its varying shades looked to be a good match for the hallway's trio of greens. Once Eric had hung the rod I grabbed some shower curtain hooks (it was even grommeted already!) and put up the curtain. Magically, it hung to the precise length and didn't even need hemming. We giggled with glee!

Hints of organization in the bowels of the basement

I'm one of those people who likes to peer into people's basements. I find it one of the more interesting areas of the house as it's not all "prettified" for daily living but purposefully (sometimes) organized for projects or cluttered with all the stuff that just doesn't "go" on the main floor and more likely than not should just go to Goodwill already. (Seriously, I've moved several boxes of garage sale stuff multiple times now). So I did a photo tour of our own basement to personally track its progress. Two weeks ago the place was barely passable, but Eric has been diligently building shelves from scrap wood and putting things in their place and now you can (more or less) walk through the rooms without fear of tripping. My main area of domain is the "wine cellar" (a glamourous name for the cave that I painted, tiled and outfitted with cheap IKEA racks slapped with a coat of stain and which will likely never hold a bottle of wine with a price greater than $14.99 (hey, we're simple people). If you want to see some original wine cellar and basement pics wade through here (
Through trial and mostly error we learned that Eric's home-brewed beer does not work on the wine racks. Since it's only capped when placed on their sides the bottles tend to leak. So with leftover wine rack shelves I custom built E a rack with a ledge at the front to set the necks of the bottles up on an angle and a brace toward the middle to keep the bottles securely in place. And voila no more leaky beer bottles:
If you went through the old thread you saw the front room in the basement completely empty. It has not been that way in months and likely never will again until the day we leave (ha!). Here's the furnace camouflaged by stacks of our stuff:
Across from the furnace is a wardrobe unit we crammed down here that now holds my craft supplies:
Lacking Eric's ingenuity to assemble shelves from old door jams and such I cheated and went with the Gorm IKEA rack to house my Comfest tubs:
In the waaaayyy back room that has been dubbed the workshop here's the shelf Eric built out of old door jam pieces with shelves donated by our friend Rick:
Across the room is my former shoe rack (from the old house) converted to tool storage. We barely squeaked that one down the crazy stairs (after it sat in our dining room for months because we feared it would never make it, but didn't bother to actually check until we finally got sick of it and needed the room back for Thanksgiving), but we made it and what a diffence it makes!
Another view of the same shelf (and our glass block window that replaced the plywood). Where the wire table sits Eric intends to build a workbench:
My parents bequeathed to us (after much pleading on my part) an old library card file system (silly me I don't have a photo of it here) that in my childhood home used to hold all kinds of things. The tags on each little file label say things like: pencils, brushes, washers, nuts, nails, emery boards and stones(?!). It's an awesome place to stash all the crazy little hardware pieces we have collected over the years as it's got 96 drawers! We hemmed and hawed and negotiated about where it should live and Eric gets credit for the idea put it here where the bags of concrete and mortar are resting:
There are about 7 inches of brick shelf there to stabilize it (it's only 15" deep), and just enough room across to fit it between the cubby shelf (left) and the post on the right. We'll add legs to the front end which will leave us with shallow storage underneath, it will block the nasty dirt-filled crawlspace behind it, and put the drawers at eye-level for easy access! Wait! If you look closely in the photo below you can almost see it underneath the sled:

The shelf above came from the basement in the old house. Eric created it using our old futon frame for the shelves. He had to dismantle it to get it out of the old house and reassemble it in our basement where it holds bicycle equipment, boxes of Christmas crap, cleaning supplies and who knows what else right now. We've still got many shelves and a workbench to build before we will declare the basement "organized"!