Monthly Archives: February 2015

That cabinet in the hall

The reaction to my last post was…  interesting. A few of my personal friends told me how courageous I was to expose our bedroom to the world. Were they really thinking crazy? Some friends who always comment were silent, perhaps channeling mom’s advice, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Some people kindly cheered me on, and a few even had the nerve to admit that they have had rooms in a similar condition. I was a little regretful and embarrassed that I let it all hang out, so to speak … but what’s done is done.

However, it did the trick. I got right to work sorting those ten dresser drawers, and now in addition to the mess, I have five Hefty bags full of clothes for charity. I freed up two drawers for my golf and cycling clothing, and gained enough room to store all my bulky jeans, sorted according to size.

More good news: The Heap is shrinking like the polar ice cap! It now consists of a spare pillow and the summer clothes that I unpacked after our Panama trip but never put away. But, you don’t want to read a post about drawers, do you? Nothing interesting about drawers … unless it’s the February 14, 1968 newspaper that lines them. Don’t you wish you could buy a ham for 47¢/lb?

1968 newspaper ads

No, you want to explore that incredible built-in cabinet in the hall. And I don’t blame you, because it’s one of my favorite items in this house of cool features.


tall linen closet

The cabinet goes clear up to the 9-ft ceiling. I can’t get up there without a ladder, so it’s been a long, long time since I’ve visited the upper shelves. What do you suppose is gathering dust up there?

Lots of zippered bags full of blankets, mostly … and a few treasures, such as this beautiful Dresden Plate quilt, made by my great aunt. Someday I’ll have an extra bedroom to reserve as a true guest room. I’ll furnish it with all my Eastlake antiques, and I’ll put this quilt on the bed. Then I’ll close the door so it doesn’t get covered in cat hair.

Dresden Plate quilt

Or maybe I’d use this pretty crocheted coverlet. It’s also from my mom’s family, but I don’t know who made it. It’s in perfect condition. Never met a cat, obviously!

white crocheted coverlet

Checkers and Peggy knew what to do with this granny-square afghan made by … my granny, of course. It was in my grandparents’ apartment when I was a very small child.

granny-square afghan

I don’t know where my folks found this Victorian wool paisley shawl. They’d heard a story that these huge shawls were given to brides who married on Queen Victoria’s birthday … but I have no idea whether that’s true. I do know that these shawls date from 1850 to 1890, and it’s not from our family. I need a grand piano to fling this across. I think we could squeeze a baby grand into the dining room.

red paisley shawl

red paisley shawl detail

This stuff is likely to stay right where it is. It’s fine being in a space that’s hard to access, because I don’t need it right now.

Next level down: the towel shelf. These doors drop down horizontally and are held in place with a chain. The design flaw with this is that when the doors are open, I can’t reach to the back of the cabinet. (I was amazed when Eric measured it and found it’s only 21 inches deep. I though it was probably 36 inches!) Consequently, I keep things I don’t use as often in the back, and our everyday towels in the front row.

towel shelf

chain on shelf door

The next shelf holds our bed linens. Once Eric builds the new platform bed with storage drawers, these linens will move out, but for the time being they’ll stay put. Any guest-bed blankets that I have in storage containers now will find a home here when the shelf clears out.

In the third shelf, my T-shirts are stacked like cordwood. No … cordwood would be neater. There’s another layer in the back, too, and I never wear those. Going, going, gone! Fred, our tuxedo cat, likes to burrow back in this shelf and lurk like a wolf eel in his cave. He hasn’t been able to penetrate the great T-shirt wall lately, and it bums him out. Lacy is a champion shedder with her long hair, so she is banned from the T-shirt shelf, which makes it irresistibly attractive. She offered to count the T-shirts … but when she saw there were more shirts than she has toes, she got discouraged.

Lacy in t shirts

Lacy in t shirts2

Lacy in t shirts 3

I had to let her enjoy the cleaned-out shelf for a little while. Prying her out was not easy.

Lacy in t shirts 4

Then, there’s a drawer full of sweaters. Still full of sweaters, just not as many.

The last shelf is inconveniently low, down at floor level. It contains a bunch of old picture frames and … Barbie? Yep, my vintage 1962 Barbie and some of her itsy-bitsy clothes. She’s in pretty good shape  (better than I am, admittedly) considering she’s spent the last 50 or so years in a box. The internet’s full of contradictory information, but from what I can gather, she’s known as a No. 6 pony-tail Barbie, and she’s worth a few hundred bucks. Okay, Babs … back in the box for another decade (sorry!).

1962 pony tail Barbie

The cabinet has one more secret: Under the linoleum that lines the bottom shelf is a wood-framed hole to the basement. A laundry chute, I assume. I’m not going to haul all that stuff out of there to show you … just use your imagination!

So, you wonder, how’s it going in the bedroom? I’m halfway through purging the closet. And Eric and I have settled on which mattress to buy and a design for our platform bed (which he’ll build), but we still have some important decisions to make. We’re getting closer to pulling this all together. Stay tuned! And watch out for wolf eels.

Fred in t shirts