So, it’s just two days into 2013, and we are going to IKEA. We moved down south at the same time we moved into our new Brooklyn space, a shared 2 bedroom apartment in “Clinton Hill” (which is actually smack dab in Bed-Stuy, whoopsie!), then, two weeks later our sweet roomie gave her 30 days notice. We promise we were very nice? In the woo-woo world of excellent karma and the right things happening for the right reasons, it has all worked out for Sweetheart’s sister and her husband to take over the larger-2nd-room-with-a-heretofore-unused-attached-office-room-that-will-be-perfect-as-a-nursery-for-their-pending-bebe. It truly couldn’t be better. We get to hang out all the time, they don’t have to put their infant to sleep in a bathtub, we’re in a whiskey loving family compound (now Nate is drinking for two) perfect for built-in-dinner-parties, and when that little peanut arrives we can hold it in our arms and sing it Tom Waits songs right off the bat. Shangri-la…we just don’t have a sofa. So, in the grand tradition of Liz Lemon and freelancers everywhere, Sweetheart and I are taking a day trip to Red Hook to survey Karstads and measure Endorps and try not to break up.
More Liz Lemon here.
After seeing Jenny’s Mom’s sideboard looking so fresh and so clean (almost as an aside in this post about the lovely green wallpaper), I decided to tackle our identical Ikea NORDEN for my first project. I capitalize NORDEN because anytime I say any Ikea name I say it loud and in a bad/deep Swedish accent. Here is the naked NORDEN:First, let me tell you a few things about our apartment. It is the whole bottom (read: basement) floor of a classic Brooklyn Brownstone. The kitchen is HUGE by New York standards (110 sqare feet) and our landlords re-did it a few years ago, choosing the marble-and-cherry wood finish and stainless steel appliances that were so very popular at that time. All the nitty gritty kitchen functiony things about it are pretty great (storage, counter space, big sink, dishwasher [!!!!!], large gas range with griddle etc.) and we cook in it ALL the time. But… it will never look like this:It will never look like this for a few reasons: a) I am not Julia Child (sigh) b) our kitchen has no windows, it is, in fact, in the very middle of our apartment which is in the very bottomest darkest basement and c) there are no plugs in the kitchen into which to plug such a thing as a standing mixer and/or a lamp so- no-knead bread and overhead lighting it is. But I digress. Since I couldn’t just up and move to France, it was time to paint my NORDEN. For that I needed my Mama. We had ingeniously scheduled for her to come and visit at the exact time when the need to revamp was reaching a critical fever. With her help and guidance, we had two major projects lined up, first take care of das Norden and second, to paint the old secretary that I use for my desk (spoiler: you will be seeing some pictures of this very soon). We went together to pick out paint and decided on these two colors. Martha Stewart Oolong Tea- a sandy celadon we hoped would read less yellow- for the NORDEN, and Gabardine- a blue-green-grey color equal parts “stormy sea” and “I think the man in this suit is a spy”- for the secretary. Even after many inspiration based e-mails on the subject and lots of in-person discussion spent contrasting the colors of my pots and pans, we still probably talked about it for, like, an hour at the Home Depot on Nostrand Avenue next to the Sugar Hill club. We got our paints mixed, bought a few tools and a fair amount of wine and got to work sanding and priming. We had help the whole time:After our first round of sanding and priming, we had to leave the NORDEN in the middle of the kitchen overnight, so we ordered takeout and started in on the wine. About a bottle into it we looked at each other and said: We’ve got the colors backwards! NORDEN must be GABARDINE not OOLONG! In vino veritas. The next morning we started in on the gabardine, and spent most of the day on the floor. We had a very good time down there:When all was said and done, we loved it. We kept looking at it and saying “It looks more blue than green!”, then “it looks more green than blue”:Do I wish my kitchen were different? Yes. Do I wish it was brighter, airier, and not lit by four recessed floods? Yes. But, honestly, I can’t realistically change those things, so instead of maintaining some sort of bitter renters inertia, the simple act of just painting the NORDEN made our kitchen feel absolutely marvelous. Now the cast iron wok and the red dutch oven are friends, the fruits and strange amaros are close at hand, and we feel a bit more human.
More ever-loving thanks to Mama, who- as we’ve already established– never does anything half assed.
Julia Child’s marvelous kitchen from here.
In which: my mama comes to town and we begin to execute a series of much discussed craft projects (increasingly-ambitious-proportional-to-the-amount-of-wine-we’ve-had) painstakingly designed and overseen by Nipsey Russell the cat. More to come…