Our breakfast room would be a lovely place to enjoy morning coffee and read the paper, with sunshine streaming in the east windows, a vintage table cloth and a vase of fresh flowers on my 1930s table. But no—that’s not what we use it for. It contains our sideboard (known as the “annex,”) but it has a more important purpose: It is the Kit-Cat Room—24-hour buffet, watering hole, herbal aromatherapy lounge, and restroom … exclusive hangout of the meow crowd.
Ideally, we’d put all these accoutrements in an attached garage, but the garage is out in the backyard, the back hall is too small, and the basement is off-limits to felines. Cat paraphernalia has to go somewhere, and let’s face it, the cats significantly outnumber us and have us well trained. This room is really theirs, and we rent space for the sideboard.
Patrons of the Kit-Cat Room:
You can imagine how hard I had to bargain to turn their private room into a sanding and painting booth. Now, I don’t recommend sanding and painting in the same space, much less in a space that contains a litter box, but we didn’t want to take the carcasses back downstairs, and anyway, the basement is less of a clean room than the kitchen. This is not the kind of curtain the cats had in mind for the Kit-Cat Room, but it does filter the light nicely, don’t you think?
So I went to work with the sanding mouse. Eric coaxed one of the old windows open a couple of inches for ventilation (not an easy task). Later, we found it had swollen with the rain and would not be coaxed closed, so I rolled up a towel and stuffed the opening. Will we operate that way until spring? I spent hours sanding carcass #2, crawling halfway inside, trying to get it as smooth as silk. The house’s previous owner had painted the interiors of the original base cabinets a fashionable Chinese red (popular in the late 40s), which was so dark that I lost half my pots and pans in the murky depths of the corner cabinet. So, initially I’d planned to paint the interiors white, to match the exteriors and give me a chance to actually see what I had stored in there. But when I saw all that beautiful birch wood, I decided to use clear semi-gloss polyurethane instead. It’s light and bright, more durable than paint, and shows off the gorgeous birch grain.
The first coat of polyurethane fuzzed up the grain. Damn it. Back to sanding again (and creating another layer of dust). After three coats of polyurethane, the interior looked awesome. The blond wood almost glows. This is what I will see every time I open a door. Besides my pots and pans.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the curtain, Eric was mortise-and-tenoning his heart out, crafting the face frame for carcass #1 … up and down stairs from shop to kitchen all day, dry-fitting the pieces. He assured me the process will be more streamlined as he fine tunes it. We are both learning as we go. When I look around the room and visualize all the cabinets that must be built—nine carcasses and some 25 drawer or door openings—it’s more than a little daunting. Will we ever be finished, much less in a few months? Then it hit me: this is the state our kitchen will be in for many weeks to come.
Look closely and you can see Duke wiggy-wagging his approval.
Please be patient, kitties. I promise, some day you’re going to have a beautiful new Kit-Cat Room, and you’re gonna love it!
PS – Ever since I started writing this post, I’ve been unable to shake the vision of our cats dancing the cakewalk to “Willkommen.” I’ve got to get this song out of my head!