Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fabulous Second Life of a Bathroom Cabinet

This is a post that's been many months in the making. Originally it went under the title of "The Great Bathroom Adventure Pt. 3" to conclude this post over here, but a lot has changed over the past few months.

I suppose the best place to begin is at IKEA, because it seems like so most of my stories begin there. We set out on a journey to the Swedish Mega-mall one night in hopes of finding a bathroom storage cabinet (because our bathroom is very small and lacks storage, and we both like hair products...OK...I like hair products, and need some place to put 'em!). The cabinet that I liked was over $100, and was a bit out of our price range. But beyond that, we just had no luck finding a cabinet that would be functional, slim, and would fit into the decor. And by a twist of fate, on the way out, we happened to swing through the AS-IS section to find a white horizontal cabinet marked down from $80 to $30, and what a deal that was! It was a floor model of the newly discontinued LILLĂ…NGEN bathroom series.

It's not much to look at... (in fact, you can barely see it- picture a big white rectangular cabinet)
 but it's big on function!... and you would not believe how difficult it was to find
a picture of this cabinet now that it's been discontinued!
 What we loved about the cabinet was that it was narrow and could be mounted high and out of sight, it came with a shelf for even more storage, and it was horizontal- meaning that the door on it opened up rather than to the right or left- a new concept for me. And I'm a believer now. Someday, when we reno our kitchen, we're going to put in horizontal cabinets only because they're beautiful and crazy functional. On the way out, we realized there wasn't any shelf pegs to hold the shelf in place (the beauty of AS-IS, I suppose). I asked the lady working at the Returns desk if there was any way to purchase them, and she gave me a set for free! How hospitable!

We left with great hope and plans for that cabinet. And like all great projects, it sat in our closet for 5 or so months, and was an obstacle to trip on daily as I would get ready for work. The thing that held us back from installing the cabinet was that it was a beast to lift! (And it didn't really help that whenever I ran the stud finder on the wall, a little lightning bolt symbol kept appearing). Shortly after we re-painted the bathroom gray, we decided that it was high time to get that cabinet hung. And as I went to screw the first anchor in the drywall, it began to spin about 1/2" in. And sure enough, out of all of the areas of the wall, I managed to select the one that was where a screw lay, mounted into a stud. I essentially was trying to screw into a screw. The trouble was, we couldn't move the cabinet slightly up, down, left or right, as any movement would render the cabinet useless to us (it would get in the way of the door, for example). I learned two lessons that day: when mounting a cabinet, always mount the cabinet first and attach the door later, and I need to find a better stud finder. And the cabinet headed back to its home in the closet. And there's still a hole in the bathroom that needs to get filled.

A month or so ago, I started to notice a trend of taking old drawers or crates and wall mounting them in groupings for decorative storage. I admit, I did become slightly obsessed with this look, and thought it would be a great way to show off some decorative items in our bedroom. After a few trips to local thrift stores, I came up empty handed (all the drawers were still attached to desks and other furniture items).

And then, by some miraculous divine intervention, I was walking home from work at 9 PM, and a house down the road from us had an old sewing desk sitting in their yard, with a cardboard sign that read: FREE. I could just feel the angels harmonizing around me in this twist of fate. The very drawers I was searching for lay directly in front of me, and were free!! I admit, I had no interest in taking the desk as well- as I had no use for it- just the drawers would suffice. With shifty eyes, I looked around, nabbed three drawers, piled them high in my arms, and with an intense rush of adrenaline, I ran home. I did feel a bit guilty for taking the drawers only, I admit. But there was a FREE sign.

Once I arrived home, Jackie opened the front door and stared at me with wide eyes and a mouth gaping open. I think it caught her a bit off-guard to see me returning home from work with drawers in hand. I shared my vision with her, and over the next few days, set out to make it a reality. Understand this- I'm no handy man. When the cedar shims I bought to level out the back of the uneven drawers (for wall mounting) didn't pan out, I gave up. And, like many things, the drawers are sitting, waiting for a chance to shine. Jackie suggested drilling a hole in each, painting them, and turning them into planters. I think I may just do that for my spring bulbs.

I was pretty bummed out that none of my great ideas were panning out. And then, I had a stroke of brilliance: I could wall mount the bathroom cabinet (without the door), and have the same open shelving concept! To give the cabinet a bit of personality, I lined it with a bit of wallpaper. The teal in the paper really matches well with the teal that we have already in the room, and the metallic leaves and foliage really pop against the brown background. Once I removed the door, I discovered that the cabinet itself was actually quite light.

These are 2 picture frames I got from a store called NOOD. They're
male/ female symbols, and someday I'll get around to putting out pictures in.
pretty wallpaper.
 I realize that this post is somewhat long-winded, especially because the final project itself was so quick to execute. I think I learned through this whole experience to open my eyes a bit more. We're surrounded by objects daily that we seldom use, and I bet that if we gave it a bit a thought, we could give many items in our homes a second shot at life and purpose. Consider that the next time you're about to take a load of housewares to the dump. And just enjoy dreaming up the possibilities!

I think it just needs an LED under-cabinet light to brighten things up!

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