Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Command Central


I can’t think of one person who doesn’t have a clutter problem.  And it usually starts just inside the door.  It can be the back door, front door, side door – whichever door is most often used to enter the house.  At our house, we usually enter through the mudroom door, which is off of the garage door, into the family room/kitchen combo.  I can’t tell you how bad it got under my skin that, when my family came home, they would pile their JUNK on the kitchen island!  Actually, I’m kind of getting angry about it again just writing this blog!  Ha!  Sooooo, when I wanted to use the island to prepare something or actually eat there, I had to move everyone’s “junk” to another spot, only to find the island piled up again within hours…..something like this:


Grrrrr!  But in all fairness, there was just really nowhere else to put things down when you came in the door.   And if you have kids in school, you know that they come home with lots of papers.  And if they have extra-curricular activities like scouts or art class, this mean MORE papers.  I felt like I was about to drown  in papers!  That island was always covered in PAPERS!!!!  When the builder put this kitchen in, they/he/it really overlooked an opportunity to maximize the usefulness of this space.  I’ve seen many a kitchen with a little built-in desk area using the same cabinetry as is in their kitchen, which would have been a great idea for this space.  But maybe it just wasn’t in the budget.  At any rate, when I first looked at this vacant house, I thought the wall next to the garage door was just wasted space.  You can see part of the door to the mud room on the left side of the photograph below.  See that empty wall space?  Shouldn’t SOMETHING be there?  It would be a great place for a china hutch, I thought.  But with the formal dining room just around the corner, I decided that wouldn’t make much sense at all.  Then, after living here a while, I decided what this space really needed was a “Command Central.”  This is a space the whole family uses.  We have a family "written" (my husband thinks this is ridiculous with all the technology we have in the house) calendar so that we all know who's doing what that day which is easily accessible as we're walking out the door.  It's also where we charge our phones.  The kids each have a drawer for school work.  The dog and cats have a drawer for meds and treats, there's a drawer for construction paper and color books, which leaves a couple of miscellaneous drawers.  By the way, the photo below was taken during a house hunting trip to Cincinnati, before our relocation here almost four years ago.  The kitchen looks nothing like this now.  The cabinets are the same unfortunately (not in the budget yet), but that’s about it.


Command Central first got it’s start as a baker’s rack – quick, easy solution that I got as sort of a package deal when I bought the table that I’m now using in my studio.  I don’t really like backer’s racks in general though because everything is exposed and ends up looking junky and dusty.  No offense to anyone that has one!  That’s just me!!!  Now, if you have a bunch of pies or cakes to load on that baker’s rack, that’s just fine with me.  Actually, now that I think about it, the baker's rack that we had was really a wine rack.  But we have our wine in another room so we didn't need to utilize it in that way.  Plus, I would never leave my wine glasses hanging on that rack to get all dusty and dirty. Too many people have baker’s racks to hold their junk because they are inexpensive and easy to install.  To me, most of the time, they just look…..junky.  But at least the junk was off the island, right?  Not really, but it was a start.

IMG_5086It wasn’t until I was working on the bay window that Command Central really starting taking shape in my head.   After removing the white “bathroom” tile from the kitchen backsplash months earlier, and re-tiling it with slate mosaic, I ended up having to paint the area above the kitchen cabinets gray to offset the slate.  You know how one project always leads to another? Right?  It just didn’t look right being the lighter color up there.  I initially stopped the gray paint where the bay window started – having it only above the cabinets.  But this didn’t look right to me either.  The bay window really needed to blend in with, and be a part of, the kitchen – especially to visually separate it from the family room.  Welp, while playing with painter’s tape and scissors one day when I was on the phone, for some reason I cut out a couple of  little leaves.  Then it dawned on me to attach them to the bay window, paint the bay window with the gray paint, remove the tape leaves, and voila!  Nature is a big influence in my personal design style so I thought this idea to be brilliant - for our home anyway.  Although it’s not everyone’s design style, it shows that the possibilities are endless with paint, tape and scissors.  With me being an artist and all, I could have very well just painted these leaves if I wanted.  But really, ANYONE could do this!  I thought this project was a lot of fun AND I’ve never seen it in anyone else’s house!!!

IMG_0300I  knew that I wanted closed storage for Command Central, but I also needed a way to display papers that we needed to keep out on a daily basis.  I thought a dresser might be the best option for storage.  Before searching for a dresser though, I measured the wall to determine how wide the dresser could be without impeding the flow of traffic.  I also wanted the dresser to be roughly the same size as the space between the alarm panel and the thermostat so that I could trim out the area with some nice molding to define the area as one big unit.  I was also trying to bring a mid-century modern spin into the space and, what do you know, there it was, on Craigslist, a mid-century modern, sturdy, little dresser by Bassett Furniture.  Just what I was looking for, for only $20!  Okay, actually, it was $30 and I talked him down to $20.  I know, I know, I’m so bad!  It’s almost like stealing, isn’t it? I get this trait from my mother.  Since the bay window is directly across the room from Command Central, I wanted it to visually take up just as much height on the wall as the bay window - so as to balance the room. I also wanted to mimic the cornice that I built over the bay window so I raided my stash of paintings that did not yet have a home and found this abstract that I did once on a scrap piece of thin wood panel.  It was the perfect shape to mimic the cornice!   

IMG_1975 (2)

I did modify the top left corner of the painting a bit to bring some of the greenish color found in the countertops, cornice and the base of the island to this side of the room.  And I already had the “K” too that was taking up space on a bookshelf because I could never decide where to hang it. I finally found the prefect place for my “K.”  YAY!


I cleaned and oiled the dresser, sprayed the brass hardware to match the stainless steel in the room, and we lived with it like this for a while – although from the beginning I wanted to paint it a bright color.  There is just so much wood in this room (kitchen cabinets, wood floor, wood doors and trim, and a huge 10 foot floor-to-ceiling wood fire place surround) that I thought a pop of color was needed.  So one day I took a leap of faith.  After all, what did I have to lose?  $20?


I gave the dresser a good sanding and then decided to use glossy teal (looks like baby blue on my computer screen but it IS teal) spray paint to give it that modern look.  I know a lot of people paint furniture, and everyone has their preferences.  MY preference is usually spray.  I think you get a more professional finish.  I DO NOT like brush strokes and I find that when I use a roller, it leaves a bumpy finish which I don’t like either.  And if you have a sprayer, you don’t even have to be limited to ONLY the colors available in spray paint cans.  Now, I see updated, painted furniture in antique malls, etc. all the time that have visible brush strokes or a bumpy roller finish, and people still buy the stuff like crazy.  It’s just not my preference.  The bad part about spraying though is that I can’t do it inside my house, and the temperature has to be above 50 degrees in the garage to get a good smooth finish, so I’m limited as to when I can refinish furniture with spray paint.


Isn’t it cute?  It would look great against an orange wall since they are complimentary colors.  In this space though, there are a lot of orange tones in the wood so I think it’s the perfect color for this space.
Please let me know what you think about my Command Central!  Do you need a Command Central too?

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Hannah said...

Love this! The kitchen, eating area at bay window, and command central are probably one of my favorite things about your house! :) especially the colors and leaves.

HomeGirlDecor said...

Thanks Hannah!

Claire said...

Love the organization center-we all need that and this is super with the board and dresser together-I'm your newest follower -stop by for a visit!

HomeGirlDecor said...

Thanks so much Claire! Loving your blog!