The Hurt Locker

This post is only tangentially related to books, but I’ve got pressing storage issues (and now a solution!) here at Chez Book, Line, and Sinker.

Our house, a center-hall Colonial, was built in the late 1960s.  Since I wasn’t alive back then and only have the proportions of the rooms in my house as a guide, it would seem that those folks didn’t do much cooking and spent way too much time in the living room.

From the dearth of closets–linen and coat–it also stands to reason that people living in the 1960s had no use for jackets, towels, or sheets.  Either that, or the architect who built my neighborhood was a complete doofus.

My living room, a room that we use approximately once a year, is roughly the size of an airport terminal.  My kitchen, the room we live in, brings to mind a London phone booth.  Needless to say, storage is a problem in our mini-kitchen*.

We are so pressed for space that our microwave does double duty as a pantry. I have cousins** who have entire rooms or double-doored closets in their kitchens devoted to pantry space.  At my house, if you’d like to nuke something you must first remove the bread, English muffins, chocolate covered raisins, and popcorn from the microwave.

My cookbooks used to live inside our oven, but a fire scare cured me of that storage idea.  They are now shelved in the den, a world away from the kitchen.

For months years, I’ve been trying to come up with a storage solution.  I bought a hutch top a few months back at the Crate and Barrel outlet and was going to hang it on the wall, but that would only solve the china and crystal storage dilemma.

I really needed a narrow and slim cabinet that I could tuck into the corner of the kitchen.  Depth was a problem because our kitchen has only a half-wall into the dining room, and I didn’t want to obstruct the view.

I’ve been scouring outlets, flea markets, tag sales, and antique shops for something a bit quirky and fun that would go with our cottage/whismy decor.  While in Vermont over the weekend, I espied a PERFECT storage cabinet at Twice Upon a Time in Brattleboro.

Behold, the answer to my storage prayers:

A compartmentalized school locker!!!  Crazy and fun, especially when you consider that I work in a high school!  It’s currently a hideous shade of vomit/putty, but a few coats of glossy white spray paint will remedy that.   I’m going to store my cookbooks in one compartment and non-perishables in the others.

Of course, a school locker might not be a storage solution for everyone, but it really works for us.  I am waiting for the weather to cool off a bit before I do any spray painting, though!  I’ll post pictures when my DIY project is complete.  Have a great weekend.

*I recognize that there are larger issues in the world and kitchen storage isn’t so pressing when compared to famine, foreclosure, illnesses, and the like.  I’m just having some fun here.

**Jennifer and Kristine, I’m speaking directly to you guys.


  • At 2010.07.15 21:30, bermudaonion said:

    What a cute idea! You can never have enough storage.

    • At 2010.07.15 23:31, Michelle @ The True Book Addict said:

      I feel your pain Natalie! My house was built in the 1950s and has fairly ample living spaces, but a kitchen the size of a small walk-in closet! My mom has a couple of those lockers in her garage that I was going to use for the boys’ room, but now you have inspired me to turn one of them into pantry storage! Hell, I may use both and use one for my monstrous collection of cookbooks. Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll let you know when I get around to said diy project. Good luck with yours!
      .-= Michelle @ The True Book Addict´s last blog ..Cat Thursday =-.

      • At 2010.07.15 23:32, Valerie said:

        Great idea! That would have come in handy when my kids were younger — I could put have combo locks on to keep them from messing around in there :-).

        I do agree that one common problem with older homes is a sad lack of closet space.
        .-= Valerie´s last blog ..A Show and Tell- and Sharing Some Mid-Week Thoughts =-.

        • At 2010.07.16 00:52, emilie said:

          Thanks for your comment! It means to me and my still-in-its-taking-off-stage blog–especially from one as great as yours :). Also, this is an AWESOME idea. I love DIY projects! And you can NEVER have too much storage space.

          • At 2010.07.16 08:37, Care said:

            Brilliant! I’m sure your house is adorable. and I thought you were going to give us a movie review…
            .-= Care´s last blog ..North Dallas Forty =-.

            • At 2010.07.16 10:40, avisannschild said:

              I love your school locker and can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s painted! We also lacked built-in storage space in our kitchen (although it’s not as small as yours) and found that a unit made all the difference. And we definitely live in the kitchen and barely use the living room!
              .-= avisannschild´s last blog ..Review- Not That Kind of Girl- A Memoir by Carlene Bauer =-.

              • At 2010.07.16 11:55, dw said:

                great idea!! it’s a good thing you saw that locker, i probably would of missed it. it’s good to know i’m not the only one that lacks storage space… ahh what i would do to have a little bit more closet space.
                .-= dw´s last blog ..Review- Taroko Gorge =-.

                • At 2010.07.16 14:38, Lisa said:

                  What a great idea! I’ve always thought that lockers would make great storage solutions and then a few years back I started to notice that some places, like Pottery Barn, had picked up on that idea. But who wants to pay those prices for something that has to be available for so much less? Can’t wait to see the finished product!
                  .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Thrity Thursdays or The Space Between Us Readalong =-.

                  • At 2010.07.16 15:19, Meg said:

                    Wow! Unconventional — and I kind of love it. Definitely a creative way to get what you need out of the space. I thought you were going to say you were going to start knocking out walls and expanding the kitchen itself, but hey — this is way less mess and fuss! 🙂
                    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Getting cupcakes with Jennifer Weiner =-.

                    • At 2010.07.16 17:15, Rambleicious said:

                      This is an awesome idea!

                      The colour is a bit vomity looking, but what a find!
                      .-= Rambleicious´s last blog ..There is cake – but it’s squashy =-.

                      • At 2010.07.16 19:36, Jenners said:

                        And here I thought this was going to be a movie review!!

                        I think this is a funky and ingenious solution … I suggest getting a combination lock for the treats you keep in the house … or is that just me that needs something like that!

                        And I do think a doofus designed your house. I love that word!
                        .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Recommending Books- Part 2 Plus A Mini Wrap-Up =-.

                        • At 2010.07.18 09:45, A Southern Cousin said:

                          Fun and funky!! I would love the ability to see the ‘potential’ in a vintage item and be able to transform it into something useful! And as for oversized pantries. . . well, sometimes they just turn into receptacles for hidden clutter!

                          • At 2010.07.19 00:10, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                            Oh man all that build up, what finally worked, how did you solve your space problem, and you found a locker…how freaking awesome is that!! Don’t judge me but I kinda love the original puke color, I blame it on your awesome camera lighting in that first picture.

                            • At 2010.07.19 11:51, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                              trust me, the color is a HORROR. i can’t abide by it, especially in my house of whites, blues, and greens. ‘putty’ just doesn’t say ‘beach house’ to me! lol. i’m dying to spray paint it, but it’s been ungodly hot and humid around here. i guess i’ll have to wait until the fall. 🙁

                            • At 2010.07.22 21:39, Dishy said:

                              LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! Fab find, babe!!
                              .-= Dishy´s last blog ..Stonyfield Cafe =-.

                              • At 2010.07.27 17:52, Kathleen said:

                                Looks like you found the perfect solution to your storage problem. I look forward to the pictures once the DIY project is complete!

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