Thursday, August 15, 2013

Storage Solutions

 On May 1 and 2, 2010, torrential rains fell in middle Tennessee with some areas receiving as much as 19 inches of rain in a matter of hours causing devastating floods in many parts of the area.  The Cumberland River runs through Nashville, winding like a snake so that it affects many areas.  On the west side of town, there is the Cumberland and the Harpeth River which also flooded.  

The house we lived in previous to our present home was directly across from the Cumberland River.  We could see Opry Mills Outlet Mall across the river.  Opry Mills sits on the land where Opryland used to be.  Our house had 40 inches of water in it at the time of the flood.  That was before we moved to Nashville and the house was completely rebuilt after the flood.

The thing that is hard to imagine is that we were way above the river which means there was an unimaginable amount of water that flooded both sides of the river - Opry Mills, the beautiful Opryland Hotel, and the Grand Ol' Opry on the east bank of the river - and many, many homes on the west bank of the river where our house was located.  This happened all over the city in the low places between the hills.  A lot of downtown was flooded because it sits along the river.  If you have never been to Nashville, it is extremely hilly which means the water ran to all the low places.

On the west side of town where we now live, there was also a lot of flooding because there are two rivers running through the area.  Many homes have not yet been rebuilt.  The condominium complex we are living in also received flood damage.  That meant there was a need for rebuilding all over the area and quickly so that people could return to their homes.  It did not mean that all of the contractors and builders were necessarily the best in town.  Everyone was in demand.  Our condominium had to have work done in it.  You are probably asking yourself what the odds are of moving from one flooded area to another?  Actually, they are quite high since there was so much flooding.  The May, 2010, flood was declared a 1,000 year flood which means the chances of it happening again are practically nil, thank goodness.

The only problem I had with this condo when we leased it was that the top cabinets in the kitchen are really high in the air.  Like someone who is 6'5" could use these cabinets.  I am only slightly over 5 feet tall and I can only reach the knob on the bottom cabinet.  Therefore, all the top cabinets are pretty much useless to me except for things I don't use often.

There was a contractor working on the bathroom when we first moved in and I asked about the cabinets.  He said there should have been at least a 12" space at the top of the cabinets, with 3 less rows of tile between the top and bottom cabinets.  Presently, the tops of the cabinets are against the ceiling.  So, it wasn't just my imagination!  Our landlady said she will have them moved down which is awesome.  It just won't be right away.  Therefore, I had to find a storage solution for all my casseroles, glasses, platters, etc.  All my cooking pans are on shelves in the utility closet, but this is what I came up with for the kitchen.

Since open shelves are quite the rage now in kitchen decorating, I thought why not use my bookshelves to solve my dilemma.  So, that's what I did.  I had an old white bookshelf that had been in our daughters' room while they were growing up.  These shelves held all their memorabilia from school.  When we moved from Evansville, I boxed all that up and sent it to live with them.  The bookshelf came with us, since there were no built ins in our new home.  After we moved in, we purchased another bookshelf to hold all our games, videos, and books.  I could not find a white one, so we bought a black one and they lived side by side in our sun room.  These were going to become my kitchen solution after our move here.

They needed to match, so we primed them with white primer so there would be no bleed through on the new paint.  I used flat white paint on the outsides, and Annie Sloan chalk paint on the insides of the shelves.  I did not want them to be to matchy/matchy with the bar stools, so I combined some Duck Egg Blue and Provence Blue to create a color similar to the bar stools, but slightly darker.
Then, it was a matter of placing all the "stuff" on the shelves.  If you look, the bowls on the middle of the top shelf are older than me.  (Didn't think that was possible did you?)  They were my moms and she got married in 1947.  Most of my casseroles were wedding gifts in 1969 and I still use them every day.  Now, they are past "vintage" and almost antiques.  They have certainly been useful all these years.
The bottom right shelf contains many of my cookbooks and the baskets above contain all my cloth napkins, dish cloths, and tea towels.  It is actually quite handy and I really like the look.  It's much easier than trying to pull things out of cabinets.  I may just keep it this way.
 This arrangement also solves the problem of where to put the trash can.    That seems to be an issue in almost every kitchen I have ever had.  Do you have that problem or is it just me?  The trash can now sits to the right of the bookshelves in a perfect little unobtrusive space.  Two problems solved.  I love when that happens.

This is another instance of thinking outside the box to solve a problem.  Storage can be such an issue.  If you are having storage problems, look around and think about what you could use or do differently to stretch or create new storage.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  Two $30 bookshelves and some paint solved our problem.  It could solve yours too.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Look through magazines, catalogs, and websites like for ideas.  You don't have to spend a lot of money on expensive furniture.  There are thrift stores, Goodwill, craigslist, and consignment stores where you can find real bargains to solve a dilemma.  All it takes is a little imagination and some paint.  You can do it!  donna