Our new apartment has next to no closet space. And we both have enough clothes to fill the one closet we do have single-handedly. So we’ve been looking for options. Mine mostly consisted of going to IKEA and buying a new wardrobe, but Ty thinks spending so many monies on something we might get rid of in the next year or two is absurd. Logic. Weird. So yesterday we decided to go check out some consignment stores to see what we could find to fill in the storage gaps.
First of all, we found some awesome consignment stores. Armadillo was closed, but I could see all kinds of mid-century awesomeness from the window. I’m very excited to go back. And when we went to Mosaic, FIRST they had a labrador that likes to follow you around the store. 10 points to Gryffindor. And as we were pulling up I could see the most gorgeous cabinet just sitting on the concrete being offloaded from a van.
me-I want that one.
Ty-But it’s in pieces.
me-but I bet it is beautiful when it’s not in pieces anymore.
Ty is learning that sometimes the best defense against my irrationality is to not respond. Responding encourages me. It makes me fight for the crazy, and only serves to convince me further that I really want whatever it is until I become so entrenched in my delusion that every rational argument in the universe can’t convince me I’m wrong. Probably luckily for both of us, he stopped at this point. Because when I can debate things out in my head, usually rationality is allowed to happen. But I did let myself wallow in the idea of the 1920s English dowel-construction solid wood wardrobe with mother-of-pearl inlay and some lovely Jacobean influence. Straps and jewels people! We walked around the store for a while and made friends with the owners (you can never be too good of friends with the owners of a vintage/consignment furniture store) and looked at all the other offerings. And came back to the cabinet. It was too big. And didn’t have the right sort of compartments. And was missing some beadwork. And was probably too much money. And. And. And. It was beautiful. And we could have made room for it somewhere. Right?
Wrong. Reality prevailed. We walked away. But at this point, the dream of getting all our piles of clothes off the floor was so close we could practically taste it. So we drove over to Goodwill. We’ve found good things here before. In an episode a few months ago that I still feel bad about, I wanted to think about a cabinet Ty wanted to buy and when we went back for it the next day it was gone… But we learned that good things disappear quickly. So that was a good lesson.
This time we found a kind-of awesome probably TV cabinet. And it was only $35. Thirty-five. That’s like practically free. But it was a gorgeous red-stained solid wood cabinet with some subtle Japanese influence in the details. The idea was we would get a rod and bolt it inside the main compartment to hold hangers, and put all my sweaters in the drawers. There was even a moment of excitement when I realized that I might could put hooks inside the doors to hold all my necklaces and belts.
This is very exciting people. No more necklaces hanging on the knobs of my dresser. And all the doors of the house. And laying horizontally on every empty surface. And some of the not-so-empty ones. And living inside the individual compartments of a pill case (on second thought, those will probably stay there. It is so convenient to take on trips!) We were getting excited. When we realized why it was $35.
Clearly this was a “custom” cabinet. They had drilled sections out of the shelf to put vents. Actual louvered vents you would normally see in your carpet. And they had jerry-rigged fans to run behind the vents. And then they lined every seam in the cabinet with foam weather-stripping. Everything was secured by hot glue, duct tape, finishing nails, AND adhesive. Because one method just isn’t enough.
I have no clue what they were insulating against. The vents and fans would imply some sort of server system that overheated easily. The insulation implies the opposite. And I have no clue what the giant hole through the top means. In retrospect it’s not unlikely that this wardrobe was involved in something illegal. We are in Seattle.
But we just wanted to buy something and move forward. So we did.
Because when we left our house at 5 that afternoon, neither one of us was actually prepared to purchase anything. Certainly nothing that would require manual labor and tie downs.
However both of those things were needed. Because after realizing that the cabinet was way too huge to fit inside my mariner, Ty and I took a trip to Fred Meyer to buy some winches and a rope.
Now, you have to understand. My father gave me unrealistic expectations about my ability to use a winch. I have seen my Dad tie down anythings so many times that I assumed it was one of those things we could do with out training or instruction. No You-tube videos required. Like some sort of instinct or urban-survival-of-the-fittest technique. This was Darwin. We would open the package and thread the straps through and winch that wardrobe up that a champ! And all the people dropping off and picking up at Goodwill would be awed by our prowess at tying things down. They could only hope to be as awesome and handy at tying things down as we were.
Turns out. Although I have figured out how my Dad ties knots in ropes… winches are only simple if you know how to thread the strap through the mechanism.
Ty and I do not know how to thread the strap.
So after it took three grown men to lift the upper portion of the cabinet to the top of my car, we started trying to tie it down. The rope worked great! I tie a mean knot. The winches… were more decorative than anything else. I plan to have my father give us remedial winch training at his earliest convenience. Ty drove the whole way home with his arm out the window holding on to the cabinet.
By the time we got it home, we realized that there was Ty… and me. And together we count strength at maybe 1 1/2 grown men. And that’s only because Ty counts for 1 1/4.
Through no small amount of effort and the creative use of our all-purpose LPT, we managed to get both halves of the unit up to the second story of our building with minimal damage to it or ourselves.
Ty did demo, and I removed insulation adhesive like a bandit. Then we just bolted a good solid rod to the interior, and some hooks on the door.
Et, voila. Precisely what we needed. A tv/weirdo storage cabinet that had been designed to look like a wardrobe… that we re-purposed as a wardrobe. So back to its roots really.
Also. If you didn’t immediately associate the blog post title with Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, do yourself a favor and read this post. I consider her my blog soulmate.