My New Favorite Thing: A Vintage, Stainless Steel Dish-Drainer

Oh man, do I love my new dish-drainer. Weird-o, right?

Probably, but just wait until you see it to decide:

Vintage, stainless steel dish-drainer at your service

Yeah, you can’t resist either, can you? Maybe I’m not so weird after all!

No, it’s ok. Don’t worry about it. I know I’m kinda weird already. With a mother and father like mine, I had no hope!

Where did I get it you ask? Well, I met a very nice woman who was cleaning out her mother’s house, when I spotted this. I asked if anyone wanted it, and when it seemed there weren’t any familial grubby mits for it … I asked if I might give it a good home.

She said, YES!

There were lots of pieces pulled out of their display locations and put to use as I prepared for Hurricane Irene, which meant a lot of work for my new favorite thing. Here are some more pictures.

Prepping for Irene by washing a variety of pitchers. My new dish-drainer does a fantastic job and looks great doing it!

Sweet, rounded corners.

Look at that precious, little foot!

It comes complete with a precious, little utensil dryer.

Ok … ok … one last photograph because I cannot get enough, which means you can’t either!

Sliding, gripping arm to make sure it fits the sink. I love this thing!

And with that … I leave you and your envy to go back to the top and revisit my new favorite thing!

Admission of an Addiction

It’s true, I’m an addict.

It started as an interest. I do it occasionally. No pattern. No regular effort.

Then, it became a weekend thing.

At some point, it became a daily thing, but I still thought I had it under control.

Now. I’ve come to realize. I’ve lost any control over it I had.

I’m an addict of design blogs.

There, I’ve said it. Judge me. It’s who I am, and I’m going to wave my ‘design blog’ freak flag. I can’t get enough Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, and Fresh Home Ideas.

And I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss Ready Made. I lived for the arrival of each issue!

Today, on Twitter, Apartment Therapy posted:

Moving Out: A Top Secret Note for the New Tenants – http://ow.ly/5L3Qu

What? What’s this?! Top Secret Note??? Tell me more.

After reading Apartment Therapy’s post, I clicked through to Manhattan Nest to read more. What a great story!

I can hardly do either recounting justice. If you’ve made it this far in my post, I hope you’ll click through to both posts. They are touching and inspiring. If you only pick one, go ahead and click through to Daniel’s at Manhattan Nest … you will not be sorry!

Spice Storage: Construction & Installation

There’s this small space between my front door and my coat closet. Originally, I’d thought I’d find some Anthropologie-esque (but not as expensive) shallow hooks to provide somewhere for visiting dignitaries and my friends to hang their stuff when they visit.

Where the Spice Rack will Go

Then, I saw a post on spice racks, and thought, “Aha! I’ll build a narrow spice rack for that space, and reclaim the cabinet above my stove where I’m not supposed to store spices, anyway!”

… Back to the lumber yard I went …
… On my BIRTHDAY …

My plan required:

  • Moulding (11/16″ x 1 1/2″) cut to size (for my purposes, 2 pieces 54″ tall, and 8 pieces 9″ wide)
  • L-brackets for the shelves (6 packs of 4)
  • Corner, L-brackets for the encompassing rectangle (2 packs of 2)
  • 1*2*3 Primer + Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Anchors & Screws to attach to the wall

One, fine Saturday morning, I began construction on my spice rack back laying out the pieces.

Laying Out the Wood ... Getting a Feel for the Project

One-Cat Demo Crew

Now it was time to get to work. The pieces were in their places, the spacing figured out, and the hardware acquired!

First, I used the corner L-brackets to create a sturdy rectangle using the two longer pieces of moulding and two of the shorter pieces.

Making My Marks

Tool Space, Kitchen Space, Lily in a Measuring Cup?

FitzKitty Foreman - Taking the Measuring Tape for a Spin

FitzKitty Foreman - Are We Done Yet?

Basic Rectangle to Outline the Cabinet - Completed

One Squared Off End of the Cabinet - Now for the Shelves

The Other End of the Cabinet - Awaiting Shelves

Frame completed, it was time to add the remaining 9″ pieces ladder-like to create the ledges on which the spices will sit. Each ledge used four L-brackets, two per side. The reasoning for this was to ensure each ledge was stable for the jars about to be placed on it.

Clearly, I'm Impressed with the Corners!

Looking Up The Spice Rack Ladder Style.

Another Ladder Like View of the Spice Rack

Once the building of the “ladder” was complete, it was time to clean it off, and then paint on two coats of primer + paint.

Bulls Eye 1*2*3 Primer + Paint - Genius

Primer + Paint

I let the primer + paint dry overnight. The next morning, I installed the spice rack in the selected location. As you have probably noticed, my cat’s no exception to the curiosity rule. For this reason, I intended to install the rack higher rather than lower. I put it in place, ensured it was level, and used a pencil to mark where the holes should go. Finding the middle ground between holding it securely in place and marking up the wall (scraping metal against paint leaves marks) wasn’t easy without help.

Installation in Progress

Installation Complete - Awaiting Spices

Voila! My new spice rack is installed! With any luck, it looks built in, though I guess showing off my effort here will bely that … Now, to find me some lovely spice jars to replace my plastic, grocery store ones…

Installed Spice Rack with a Few of My Lovelier Spice Jars.

Deconstructed Installation

One of the reasons I chose the paint color I did was because I had a photograph I wanted to blow up, print in quarters, frame, and install above the loveseat.

Horizonless

Horizonless

I took this photograph while on Holiday in Labrador, and I thought it would provide a nice endless view thereby enlarging the tiny space that is my apartment.

Only trouble was, the file wasn’t large enough to print at the size I needed. This means I’m still on the hunt for a photograph. I’m hoping to capture something on my next trip armed with my new-ish DSLR.

Without a photograph, I must admit I wasn’t very motivated to go through the installation process. At the same time, I was tired of having the task hanging over my head.

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

Yup, I’m the crazy lady with a black cat who bought a white slipcover.

FitzKitty Foreman is On-the-Job, Literally

FitzKitty Foreman is On-the-Job, Literally

Now, I’ve read all the helpful hints about mapping the installation out with butcher paper or similar. I didn’t have butcher paper. I had something else I could use, but then got frustrated because these IKEA frames have hanging wire on the back not easy to measure mounts. So, I took the best measurements I could and hoped for the best.

Taped Instructions to Neighboring Wall

Taped Instructions to Neighboring Wall

Unsure why that photograph turned out so funky. It’s the kind of thing that happened pre-digital camera.

Measurements, in hand, I taped them to the neighboring wall so I could see them clearly while measuring, marking, and hammering.

Honestly, and because I feel like bragging, the first round of the installation turned out well, except that the vertical space between the frames was considerably narrower than the horizontal spacing, which is what the following picture is supposed to demonstrate.

The Spacing is Off

The Spacing is Off

The horizontal spacing has been fixed.

Deconstructed Frame Installation, Awaiting Photograph

Deconstructed Frame Installation, Awaiting Photograph

Now, to fix the no-photograph situation.

Found! Baskets for the Reclaimed Closet

A few posts ago, I wrote about reclaiming my coat closet. It was a great moment, but I was short on matching storage baskets to fit the space.

I admitted that I build the shelves to fit a (not yet acquired) Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. What I didn’t tell you was that I had built the middle shelf specifically to fit baskets from IKEA. Only problem, IKEA was out of the baskets.

Quick reminder of the installed shelves:

Shelves Are In

Shelves Are In

Over time, the storage was used, but not as I’d intended:

Temporary Storage Solution

Temporary Storage Solution

For some of the baskets, such as the one shown, I made labels out of empty cereal and granola bar boxes.

Storage Lables

Storage Lables

Two fruitless visits to IKEA later, I found myself passing a Pier One that was “closing for renovations”. Uh huh. We’ll see about that. What it meant for me, was that I found lined, bamboo baskets that were just the right size for less than IKEA’s out-of-stock option.

Lined, Bamboo Baskets

Lined, Bamboo Baskets

While I’m busy with the total renovation of my apartment, my toolbox (that woven basket with the (more traditional) blue toolbox on top is where my (unacquired) KItchen Aid Stand Mixer is going to go.

Occupied Shelves

Occupied Shelves

The closet isn’t as streamlined as I’d like it to be, but it is so much more functional! Wow. I can close the door! I can get to stuff! Not only can I hang my coats, I can hang my guests’ coats!

Full View / Coat Closet

Full View / Coat Closet

Verdict: ReClaimed!

Oh Happy Day: Tilt-Down Sponge Storage

I thought I was moving up in the world. Not only did I have my own place, but I picked up a set of Rev-a-Shelf’s tilt-shelf offering sponge (and a little more) storage under the sink.

First, there was the original kitchen without a tilt-shelf.

Before ...

Before ...

When J was over to scope out the “About a Bed” project, I mentioned this acquisition to him. Before I knew what happened, he was under the sink asking for a screwdriver.

It Tilts!

It Tilts!

It Returns to Start!

It Returns to Start!

Gotta love that!

A New Shelf Enters My Life

On a recent shopping spree at IKEA, I saw the EKBY GRUVAN shelf, which I thought was super cool. The only problem? It was too long for the wall against which stood my desk.

EKBY GRUVAN Shelf

Then, one day while perusing the IKEA website, I discovered there was a smaller size! Perfect.

On the very next IKEA shopping spree, I picked one up. This weekend, I installed it.

Here’s what the space looked like when I started:

My First Space Renovation

My First Space Renovation

I’d already made one attempt at improving my Home Office Nook. It was fine; better, even, than what it had been. It could be better, though, and the EKBY GRUVAN shelf was the answer.

At first, I thought it needed to go above the knife rack I’m using as an office organizer. While that is true, the brackets can flank the magnetic strip rather than go above it (making the shelf really, really high).

First Attempt Fail, Second Attempt Success

First Attempt Fail, Second Attempt Success

If you look closely, you can see where I had to patch the wall above the magnetic strip. Then I made the final attempt, and installed the brackets on either side of the magnetic strip, which still puts the shelf high enough but not too high.

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Installing the Shlef

Installing the Shlef

And then the final, with the desk and the magnetic strip back in place and the shelf put to use.

Finished Installation - It's Like a New Space

Finished Installation - It's Like a New Space

Reclaiming the Coat Closet

When I first looked at apartments in my current building, I saw one where someone had turned the coat closet into a pantry. At least, that’s how I thought of it when I saw the floor to ceiling shelves in the closet instead of a clothes rack.

The apartment I ended up with, though, had a legit coat closet.

Pantry envy convinced me to turn my coat closet into a pantry. It’s a (pretty) well built building, and the clothes rack is a wood rod built into wood railings that line the interior. I wasn’t about to put in the effort to remove it. So that shelves went in underneath, and the closet acted as:

  • pantry
  • cleaning supply closet
  • luggage storage
  • all-purpose-storage

The various layers of the closet:

Kitchen Closet - Layer 1

Kitchen Closet - Layer 1

Kitchen Closet - Layer 2

Kitchen Closet - Layer 2

Kitchen Closet - Layer 3

Kitchen Closet - Layer 3

Kitchen Closet - Layer 4

Kitchen Closet - Layer 4

Needless to say, there was a lot going on. The closet was cramped and overwhelmed. Accessing anything inside was a chore, and forget closing the door!

Around the time I put up the shelves, I tried to put shelves all the way up. I ran into some unforeseen trouble with the upper portion of the closet, and gave up.

Part of reclaiming the closet meant the shelves moved from under the clothes rack to above.

First, I had to “build” the shelves. When I say that, what I mean is, I couldn’t bring myself to buy more lumber (there’s a veritable lumber yard under my bed). That said, I had the right length, but not the right depth. So I put two pieces together using mending plates.

Building the Shelves

Building the Shelves

Shelves – check.
Braces – check.

Braces

Braces

Time to get the tools ready and on-hand.

Tools at the Ready

Tools at the Ready

When I “designed” these shelves, I made sure to make a dedicates space for a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer I don’t have, yet. I’d also like space for a sewing machine I do have … just at my mothers. However, I’m not sure this is the right spot for the sewing machine.

A couple of nails put in place with a few whacks of the hammer, and the braces were up:

Half the Braces Up

Half the Braces Up

The Other Half of the Braces

The Other Half of the Braces

Voila! Nailing braces into the sides of the closet was so much better and fast than the first time I tried this!

Shelves Are In

Shelves Are In

Details

Details

Now, to find baskets for the shelves.