Monday, January 27, 2014

Sunny Nook in the front of the house

view facing  north east from the hallway

view facing north west from our galley kitchen

  At the front of our house is an alcove that is famously called a "breakfast nook" on the blue print.  We don't breakfast there but we have made it into a nice little spot that gets a remarkable amount of sun even though it faces north. When I set out to write this blog I was going to talk about how it is more practical sometime to break down and buy from an "Ikea" sort of place and then make adjustments to suit your situation then it is to build from scratch.

   We went out last week and bought the Ikea storage units called Expedit. On Saturday we assembled the pieces and slid them into the nook space.

  I know that Expedit is just boxes and I could have made them in the shop but.... not for anything like the cost that Ikea charged, if my time was worth anything. And while I love wood, the clean and cleanable finish of the melamine is not something that I can do in my shop, so for that reason and the fact that we like the clean lines of the Scandinavian style, Expedit works just fine. We feel that it is furniture that blends in, and is sort of invisible rather than standing out to be seen.

  Having assembled the Expedit and installed the accessory boxes I set about making the unit user friendly.  The boxes are 12 inches deep, great for sweaters and socks, not so great for the random  stuff that collects by the computers at the front door of our house.
  I decided that I would make a two smaller boxes to fit inside the cloth accessory box.  That what workshops are for, right?

  Then I decided that I didn't what to make a wooden box, it would be heavy, so I recycled the card board in which the Ikea unit was shipped.

   Making the cardboard container was like a shop project.  I had to prepare the material by cutting it to size, just like a wood project.  The layout used my standard shop tools, a large layout square, ruler and pencil, instead of a saw I used my shop knives to cut the cardboard to size.  To make the container more rigid  I made it three layers thick by gluing the layers together with Weldbond glue. I've always thought of Weldbond as the ultimate "white glue".  Needless to say the joints had to be taped since there was not enough smooth bearing surface to glue the edges together like I would with wood.

     The 12 x 13 1/2 x 6 inch box that was glued and taped together sits in the bottom on the cloth box, and on top of it sits another cardboard box. ( 12 x 13 x 4 in)
this is the container in the upper left hand of the third photo. 
  The top box has a handle that I knocked off in the shop from scrap wood  using, a band saw, a wood rasp and two different sanders. Since it have the tools I am like to customize things.  You can see in the top of the photo a three peg rack that holds keys; a bit of scrap wood, three short lengths of dowel and a bit of glue, easy peasy. 

   Now there is a place for all that stuff that hovers around the door, you know keys, note books, shopping bags, wallets, phones etc.  Instead of sitting in a heap on a table by the door it is all safely out of sight in a box/drawer.

   What I discovered as I took the photo to show off the space was something very special:

  In that photo are four things of special significance, two are wood and two are art.

  The art first, deep in the corner is an abstract painting by our daughter-in-law, on the other side of the window are the other two small paintings that compliment the painting behind the palm. Hanging on the wall is an art print of a frog, that I gave Eva for an anniversary gift years ago. The frog is very cool and was created by one of our kid's friends from University so there is a personal connection as well as artistic value.

   The wood; that little brown book case was made for my Mother by her father, at least 60 years ago.  It is a sad little bookcase that was clearly hammered together in a basement workshop with no idea that it would still be around so many years later. The other special piece is the bench that is under the window, my father cut the tree down at our cottage from which the bench is made and shaped and sanded the rough lumber with basic tools to make a bench for my front hallway, about three houses ago. The cottage is gone, as is my Father but the bench will last, like the bookcase to one day be in the hallway of on of my grandchildren's houses.  I love wood.

cheers, ianw

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