rescue shelf

shelfpierre just informed me that my habit of finishing arbitrarily sized areas down to the smallest detail before moving on to the next arbitrarily sized area is weird. i think it made a lot more sense upstairs, where we abided by the “one room at a time” rule so that our whole house didn’t feel like chaos. since i can focus really well on the task at hand and ignore everything else around me, this strategy worked well for me. rooms remained in non-functioning disarray for months, and then, when i got to them,  progress was sure and swift.

but the basement is (now) all one room, making it hard to know where to start (and where to stop). so my strategy of working on certain areas until they’re complete is a little unconventional; instead of doing the floors, for example, i’m doing part of a floor — up until a line i’ve decided is the end of that “section.” i think i knew if i assigned myself the task of priming and painting all the brick walls before i could move on to a fun project, this renovation wouldn’t have got past demolition. this is why we’re hanging shelves on one side of the basement, and still swiping at cobwebs on the other side. IMG_2584in keeping with the theme of this basement renovation — salvaged, cheap — i pulled this piece of wood, saved for the shelf i knew it could one day be, out of our shed. last spring, when i went to halifax with my friend erin, pierre adopted some mature grasses from our neighbours’ garden. the grasses weighed about 80lbs, and pierre and our neighbour used this old piece of wood to lever the root balls into place. it got left in our yard and, even though it was covered in dirt and just looked like a dry old piece of wood, i liked the size and shape and quietly tucked it away in our shed. IMG_2588um, it’s a good thing i did! pierre did an amazing job with our palm sander and several different grits of sandpaper, followed by some mineral oil — all things we had lying around. IMG_2589the l-brackets were saved in the demolition; they’d been holding up these weird little shelves / nightstands, fixed into trim covering the drywall seams. i spray painted them a high gloss black (leftover from the bathroom renovation) and we also had six tapcon screws leftover from hanging a hose holder. IMG_2590the shelf also fits perfectly between the window stud “built-ins” and this pillar, which i ended up painting behr’s silver hill, leftover from painting our shed. it’s a great blue-grey, good with the flour sac curtains and the overall colour scheme. IMG_2592unsure what’s going to deserve to call this shelf home — some combination of yoga straps and blocks — but for now i’m good with it just being the warmest, best-looking, empty shelf i think i’ve ever seen.

a few things learned with this tiny project:

  1. i should really let pierre do all sanding / oiling of wood. lucky him there’s a seven — now ten! — piece set of teak patio furniture awaiting his magic touch in our shed come spring.
  2. we should always wait for the right pieces to come along. it’s so tempting to run out to ikea to buy what you need to fill a space — i was all set to go buy this hemnes shelf for this space, when i remembered i had this stowed away — but we always end up replacing ikea furniture when a more unique / well-made / interesting alternative lands in our laps. and one always does, if you’re patient. it’s such a waste of time, money, and natural resources to buy something you know you’ll eventually replace; something to remember as we furnish the basement, as i’m sure we’ll be eager to get it “done” as soon as we can.
  3. we’re on the right track down here! if we can keep moving along this wall, and around the room, completing as we go… i might be biased, but i think things are shaping up rather nicely in the basement lair.
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