Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Arts and crafts for our new apartment

October 2, 2011
We moved into our new apartment a few days ago. We're still unpacking, and we've already made several trips to home-goods stores to acquire missing supplies.

One room where the apartment's design was lacking was the kitchen. It's enclosed by a big shelf unit, which separates the kitchen from the rest of the living room, gives the kitchen ample pantry space, adds a closet and bookshelf to the living room, and forms two bars/counters between the rooms. There's not much usable counter space for cooking, though, and with many cabinets but no drawers, there was no good space for storing utensils and kitchenware.

The solution provided by the landlords was two small drawers inside the cabinet under the sink. That was neither convenient nor pretty. So we were brainstorming alternatives. In Cambridge we had a similarly sized kitchen, and enhanced it with vertical storage: pots and pans on hooks from a shelf, knives and spices magnetically placed on the wall, etc. The trouble here was lack of wall space: the wall behind the counter is made of tiles, which is not easy to make holes through. The back of the bookshelf adjoining the stove was the perfect space, but the wood was not thick enough for screws. We also don't have a drill. What to do?

The setup we came up with evolved through several mental iterations. We wanted a bar on the back of the shelf to hang things on hooks. The bar and hooks we found at a nearby kitchen store. The bar couldn't screw into the wood, so I thought, maybe we could get thin wood beams to go vertically, screwed into the top of the unit with a 90° brace, and screw the ends of the bar into the beams. But we couldn't find wood in the local hardware stores. (We subsequently located a Home Depot-type superstore which sells lumber, for the future.) Anyway, if not wood, what else could hold up a bar? Argentina is renowned for its beef and leather... what about belts!?

Alas, after many puzzled retailers asking what we needed these random supplies for, we had everything we needed, and all within a 3-block radius of our apartment on a Saturday afternoon!

The funniest part resulted from Steph's eureka moment about how to secure the belt around the bar. Cord didn't look good. Transparent fishing line would be hard to tie. We were walking through an arts supply store and Steph suggested "those old-fashioned things used to fasten pieces of paper together... do they exist anymore?" Not knowing what it was called, I pantomimed the concept to a store clerk - dos papeles, hand covering hand, two fingers opening... and there it was, sitting on the shelf, a box filled with broches that we will never have further use for.

Here's how it came out:


During our shopping expedition, we also picked up foam poster boards at a crafts store, which we'll use  to hang photos. Stay tuned for that!

- Ben


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