Thursday, August 26, 2010

A little reorganization

For a few years I've been looking forward to the day when I could contain my kids. Their stuff, their noise, their messes. I wanted it contained into one room. Or at least one floor of our house. I never liked having their stuff in the basement, the family room, the kitchen, the loft, and their rooms. And the garage. And the backyard. Does it ever end? Their stuff? Their noise? Their messes?

Finally...yes. It does end. Or at least it is endING.

When we returned home from Mexico, I knew that my kids were finally old enough to have all of their stuff upstairs. First, because they have less stuff. Second, because I can mostly trust them not to destroy a room when I'm not there with them. We used to let them have space in almost every room in the house because I needed them to be in a spot where I could see them. I needed to ensure that they weren't scribbling on the walls with a black Sharpie. It seemed that whenever they were left to their own devices, they found a Sharpie. And the Sharpie found the walls every single time.

So the house has been reorganized. Or at least it is beING reorganized.

And one bit is finished. The girls "pink kitchen," which Scott and I built for Brynn's 3rd birthday, has made its way up to our loft. The bookcases that hold their toys are now in the loft. The computer that they use has been hidden in a re-vamped media cabinet. In the loft. Aside from the "homework drawer" which is down in the kitchen where I can help with homework while I make dinner, all of their stuff is upstairs! Out of my way! And I live downstairs! Where I don't have to see it! Hurrah!

I'm quite happy with the way it all turned out. Here are a few photos:

This is what I see when I come up the stairs. From the kitchen I can see a bit of the back of the white bookcase in the foreground and a bit of the art hanging on the wall. But not much else. Which is, of course, exactly how I want it.

Here is the frontside of the bookcases. They were very neat and tidy the day I finished putting the room together, but I didn't kid myself about them staying that way. I knew they'd end up messy like this but...who cares? I don't have to look at them!

The girls' pink kitchen...still in decent shape after almost five years of heavy use. I thought maybe they'd be too old for it by now, but they spent a ton of time in there this summer. Lots of "restaurant" and "house" being played. The girls' artwork is hanging on a string, held up by little plastic clothespins from our MiniSuper in San Pancho.

And next is the solid pine media cabinet passed down to us from my mom. It served us well in the days of a tube TV, but we don't have a tube anymore. I thought about selling the cabinet, thought about giving it away and then, hmm, wait a minute. It's the right size for the girls to stand at while they're on the computer. They won't become chair potatoes on the computer because they won't want to stand there all day. It has a sliding tray for the keyboard. It has electricity built in. It's got doors to keep everything out of sight. I'm not letting go of this thing!

So, we (wait, not we...I) painted it. Four coats of primer (the new low-VOC Kilz rocks, by the way), two or three coats of watered down (to keep it smooth) low-VOC Martha Stewart paint in Milk Glass...or was it Glass of Milk (nearly identical to Kelly Moore's New Linen which I LOVE and have used in several other places around the house). We took off the back panel which had cutouts for the tv and vcr and replaced it with a new sheet of plywood. We put the electrical outlets back where they would work best for the new arrangement, adjusted some hinges, put on new hardware, built a stand for the computer and...voila! Computer cabinet.

Here is how it looked while serving as a TV cabinet.

Here is how it looks now! I'm very pleased with how it came out! Check it out! The modem and Airport (aka wireless router) are up top, the computer on the new stand, the keyboard underneath, shelves down below to hold camera gear and the printer, drawers for paper, CD-Rs, a notepad or two. I love it. And if my children can prove that they will not abuse their computer privileges, maybe someday I'll buy them a stool so that they can SIT while they work. Or play.

Edited to add: it just occurred to me that this media cabinet arrangement wouldn't work for you PC people. Oh, so sad. No computer tower is just another benefit of owning a Mac, I suppose.


court said...

Love it! Hey did you guys build Brynn's kitchen from plans, repurpose something or just design it yourself. Ana loved the kitchen at the museum so we will probably need to start thinking about this soon.

Hillary Dickman said...

We designed and built it ourselves. We saw how much the girls liked the one at PB Kids but wanted it to be taller (we have large kids), longer (a good cook needs some counter space), better, and cheaper.

We built it before Scott had many tools, so it is built out of a frame of 1x2s or 2x2s (can't remember which) overlaid with MDF. A bowl for a sink, a friend's discarded bathroom faucet, and coasters that look like electric range coils on the stove.

We would probably do it differently now that we have more than just a circular saw, but it has held up better than expected!