Friday, August 14, 2009

Tucked Under the Stairs

When you have a small house, every inch of available space counts.

And when the mother lives in it, it becomes a mission to fill every inch of said available space. Hence the tiny room under the basement stairs. That's it. Right there. There's a boat on the door! (The family room has a nautical theme.)

I don't remember that space when we were looking at the house. I have no idea what, how, or even if the POs were using it in some way. I do know that it was not finished. The cinderblock wall was exposed as was the concrete floor.

Along the wall adjacent to the door, they didn't even bother to frame it in.

But after we moved in, the mother had shelves built along the tallest wall, an area that sits immediately to the side of the fireplace box. (Or to the left of that door.) Over the years, it came to hold various small pieces of furniture and was something of a storage catch-all.

But some years back, the mother decided to use it as a place to house a budding collection of Coke memoribilia. And the little room beneath the stairs has since become known as the "Coca-Cola Room. "

The little room is usually pretty quiet but in recent months it has seen a lot of activity. We had to go through there (and remove the shelving) to install the gas line for the fireplace. Then, months later, we had to shortcut through to run line for one of the added electrical outlets. Since then, it's been in a bit of a shambles. (In keeping with the theme for the rest of the house.)

But when the mother started clearing the family room, she cleaned the little room from top to bottom, rearranged the shelves and discarded the sheet thrown over an extension rod that had cloaked the content of the shelves for years. She was pondering having me put up shutters. Then she contemplated louvred doors. And then, she even thought about a bifold. (Wouldn't fit, at least not to open and close.)

Then, she hit upon a fake bamboo shade -- which we couldn't find one anywhere! One of her friends had one laying around, meant for something else but never used, and just gave it to her. When Lawrence was here last, one of his small jobs was to cut that shade to fit the shelf unit. It now looks like this when you open the door.

The shade fits perfectly and it hides all of the stuff that it stores. Lawrence did something I was awed by to get this 48-inch shade in a 34-inch space.

First, he took electrical tape applying it backwards (sticky side away from the surface) to the still wound in a cylinder shade. He did this top, middle, and bottom.

He then measured the cut points being careful to NOT cut off either of the hanging brackets. This is why both ends were cut instead of just one.

He then used a reciprocating saw and buzzed right through it. Just make sure while you're taping it up that the CORDS are beyond your cutting point. We lucked out.

Then, voila, custom shade! Just look how nicely it fits AND operates.

With the mother's ideas and Lawrence's little bits of outright ingenuity, what a perfect little project.

So that's the little closet under the stairs. But, if you're dying with curiousity, the shelves and that bit of furniture are what you see when you open the door. But what's off to the right? Just how deep does that little room go?
Well, just take a look. This is what you see from the doorway, looking right.