When not attempting to untie his shoelaces with a fork, N. can often be found hard at work around the house. While all three of us have contributed in our own ways to making our apartment a home, N.’s special talents in the fields of bodging things together, finding and squirreling away odds and ends, and undertaking epic projects have been crucial. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Behold: the glorious kitchen counter cart. Tiled on top, it perfectly spans the space between salvaged stove and $5 dishwasher, and has room underneath for garbage and recycling (in the chic five-gallon buckets – the wastebasket in front is for compost) plus a towel bar that doubles as a handle, because this baby has casters on the back so you can wheel it out to sweep underneath.
N. is also the king of roadside salvage. Besides finding most of our cabinetry and the gas range on the side of various roads, he has a gift for tooling around on a bicycle on heavy pickup trash days and bringing back treasures. This is my new art cabinet. I don’t feel bad appropriating it, because this time he was tooling around on my bike. And also because it’s perfect – check out those built in drawer dividers! (And yes, those are Gulf Coast pecans on the countertop. Edible souvenirs are appreciated most around here.)
And even though it might not stay there forever, the remnants of sage paint match the cabinets perfectly. I’m not going to change a thing about it. Every mismatched knob, exposed bit of wood, and casual graffito brings our kitchen a little closer to perfection. I can’t believe N. offered to paint it.
That steel countertop, by the way, was once half-buried in the ground and used as a paintball bunker. When the guys pulled it out, it was full of bees. You could never tell from looking at it, right? They held on to it for several years, and now it is the centerpiece of the living/dining area. Moral: never throw anything away.
As you can see, N.’s room is an attempt at a perfect symbiotic relationship between animal, vegetable, and mineral. He is growing a selection of leafy salad greens on that set of shelves (and the ones over the other window, which you can see in the mirror) and would you check out that rock collection? And that dresser. Perks of running a furniture business include uncharacteristically flashy furnishings for your hovel.
If we were growing these outside, firstly they wouldn’t be in the ground yet and secondly if they were the woodchucks would have already mowed them all down. Because woodchucks are hungry, and they are also little jerks with discerning tastes in vegetation.
Future attempts at documenting our collaborative design of this living space might include K.’s genius at organization and wise use of space, and my tendency to hang on to garish decorative elements until I can strategically deploy them all over the house and cover every surface in colorful, whimsical clutter and/or books.