Sunday, July 17, 2011

A kitchen table to do double duty

I've always had a thing for butcher block tables. The warmth of wood tones, the study surface that is superior for dough working, and can withstand knives and hot pots.

Imagine my delight when my boyfriend turns to me one day and says, "I think I want a butcher block table in the kitchen." His requirements? That it be capable of:
  • seating seating 2 easily, or a cozy set of 4 diners,
  • be a study additional work surface for 1-2 people since we like to make dinner together, and
  • take up less room than his current Ikea table. We decided upon a 24" x 48" table top, at counter height (36").
I set about finding such a table, and it turns out butcher block tables are often expensive, built to be butcher block kitchen work tables not well-suited to sitting at, or are larger than we had in mind.

Our solution? Butcher block top + Study, stylish raw steel legs

The Top
I've admired the Boos cutting boards, most recently I spotted Boos butcher block tops in the Dough Room at Flour + Water hiding under the table linens. After some sleuthing, I found my new favorite local restaurant supply aka toy store, Tri-Mark Economy Restaurant Supply Fixtures, carried butcher block counter tops or large 1-sided cutting boards! We were able to purchase a 48"x24" butcher block there for around $250.

The Base
We really liked the natural steel legs from Room and Board's Parsons Table, the legs are open on on all 4 sides and it's very study - no amount of chopping or kneading is going to wiggle this table. Room and Board sells tops separately from the legs - the tops sold with the table are all finished and their "butcher block" top isn't intended to be a working cutting board. We bought the 24"x48" counter-height base for $300.

An alternative could be found at Ikea, in their UTBY Bar Table base measuring just under 24"x48". We preferred the raw steel look, and open base of the R&B legs. This table base can be yours for under $200.

A more commercial look can be found with the John Boos Cucina Americana Classico table, selling a combined table + top, but it has the cross-bar by your feet and looks more sterile to us. It's $669 on Amazon + shipping...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crazy ideas for the shoe collector

I've been slowly cleaning the house, and today I began to tackle my bedroom closet. The biggest struggle I have with my closet isn't storing clothes, it's shoes. As I tackled this problem, I have employed some creative solutions that might give me an advantage in the battle with closet entropy.

Thinking outside the closet
Inspired by the Re-Nest blog post highlighting this creative shoe rack on Etsy, I decided to take advantage of the architectural molding in my San Francisco Victorian home and hang my heels above my closet. My only wish now is that wedge heels could hang as well.
Note, this may pose an earthquake hazard in San Francisco, but I don't sleep too close to my closet.

Hung up on boots
I may have gone overboard the past year, embracing the trends on boots - and am now suffering the consequences of too many tall, floppy leather boots jumbling up the floor of my closet. The solution? Hanging them up!

I used skirt hangers with very strong springs, and smooth rubber grips - these are strong enough to hang on to heavy boots, and don't mar the leather with ridges sometimes found on hangar clips. One tip: hangers that let you re-position the clips are better for keeping the boots from being too close or too far apart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And so it begins...

Here I plan to share my adventures, observations, and projects. Think of it as part how-to, part show-and-tell, and part musing and introspection.