Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small Spaces: Adapt and Overcome!

Oh, the elusive dream of having a school room! How you taunt me so with your visions of desks and chalkboards, and informative maps of the world. How I long to have a computer corner, and a book nook where I can neatly file encyclopedias and classic children's novels. I want bulletin boards to showcase artwork, and a place to mount my steel pencil sharpener.

But, alas, I live in the real world where I've learned to adapt and overcome! While we are truly blessed in the area of land and cattle, we are busting at the seams in our modest little house.  For a few years,we've been hoping to move to a new property that would better suit our needs.  But what we want doesn't come available very often, so we must be patient in this waiting game.

Until that day arrives, we've joined the ranks of those who happily homeschool at the kitchen table.  Each child has a table or desk in their room, and a bookshelf too.  Our jumbo sized laundry room doubles as the computer room with two additional shelving units for encyclopedias and books as well.  

For years, I've had a little cart  in the kitchen that held each child's school curriculum. But this summer, as boxes of school books started arriving at my door, it became apparent that they weren't all going to fit! In fact, I had two full boxes of books without a home.

So I did what any girl would do: I called Dad.  I told him that I was thinking of building a homeschooling cabinet all by myself, and that I was at the lumber store to pick out my materials. Then I asked him how to work power tools, and router shelves.

That was all it took.  I could sense his blood pressure rising at the thought of me attempting to use the power tools, so he volunteered to make it for me.

I had a few instructions:
-must be completed quickly! (School was starting)
-must have 3 shelves (One for each child)
-must fit in the space next to the refrigerator
- must be really rustic looking.  Nothing Fancy!
(That last one was the toughest for my dad because of his meticulous nature. But I held my ground: No sanded edges, no high quality wood, no expensive hardware.)

I told him that I wanted it to look like it came out of an old barn so that it would match my farmhouse kitchen. He was inspired by barn doors, and ran with the idea!

Here's what he came up with!

First, I painted it with two coats of a Ralph Lauren color called "Cabin Red".

Next, I sanded off all of the edges and roughed it up to make it look older. Then I wiped Ralph Lauren "Smoke Glaze" on  the corners and throughout the cabinet to age it even more.

It has plenty of room for the kids' school books.  They each have a magazine holder for them to put their completed workbook pages into for grading.

I think it goes nicely with my farm kitchen theme.  

 What I love most about it is that at the end of each school day, we can put things away and close the doors.  Then my kitchen still looks like a kitchen, and not a classroom.

I've found that with a little creativity, and some ingenuity, you can accomplish a lot. Our small space plays double duty as both kitchen and school room, but I refuse to be taken hostage by the cluttered look of schoolbooks in my kitchen.  This was a perfect solution to our challenge.


  1. I absolutely love it! It is beautiful!

    My dad used to be like that about oil changes, and still is about other things, but now I have trained my husband to be like that! LOL! All I have to do is say I am going to do it myself and they hop right on it.

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  3. I love it! And it looks wonderful in your kitchen!
    PS Love your dog's name...Boone...that's my maiden name.

  4. Your cabinet turned out so cute and I love the little chalk board above it!

  5. It is fabulous! And, it would go great with my antique heirloom farm furniture too. Must make a note to come steal it from you! ;) (giggle)

  6. Perfect! I love the barn look! Beautiful paint job!