Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Projected life

Right now, my life seems to be all about projects. That’s a good thing, actually: It keeps me focused on moving forward, and it keeps me busy. It may be tiring and a lot of work, but what matters is that I keep going. I get busy enough, though, that sometimes I forget to mention a project.

Three weeks ago today, I began my biggest-ever project, and the day before, July 19, I did a smaller project. Technically, I suppose, that one-day project was the final part of my kitchen shelf project (apart from filling the shelves, which has been postponed by my biggest-ever project). It was also among the easiest projects I’ve done yet.

The gist of the project was that I wanted to take the three mirrors that used to be on the kitchen wall where the shelves went, and hang them vertically in my entryway (before and after photo above). That meant taking down the wall-hung coat rack, fixing the wall, re-doing the mirrors to hang vertically again, and adding a traditional coat tree. Have I mentioned how easy it was? Well, relatively speaking, anyway.

The first step was actually finding a coat tree I liked. Back in June of last year, I found one I really liked—for $425. Clearly that wasn’t going to happen. So, I got something else I liked, a plastic rack that hung on the wall. It was designed to look like a city skyline in silhouette, and pulling down on the tall buildings revealed a hook for the coats (see photo at the bottom of this post).

Much as I liked the rack, I wasn’t happy with it: I had a lot of trouble hanging it: It was somewhat off-centre, which annoyed me, and it was slightly off level (mainly because I didn’t have a good spirit level at the time). I also thought it wasn’t big enough for the wall space.

When I took the mirrors down from the kitchen wall, I knew I’d re-use them, but wasn’t sure where. I thought about several different places in the house, but in the end I decided I liked the idea of hanging them vertically in the entryway. I felt they’d fill the space better, and would probably reflect light from the sidelight window by the front door into the house.

The next step was to find a coat tree I liked. I had trouble finding anything that I liked, because most of them were cheaply made, too short, too old-fashioned, faux antique, or in some other way not appropriate for the style of my house. I looked again at what had been my favourite last year: It was up to $525. It was even more not going to happen.

I ended up buying a black metal semi-modern one from Kmart—but online. A little digression is necessary: Kmart in New Zealand is owned by Kmart Australia, itself a wholly-owned subsidiary of an Australian company called Wesfarmers. The company was briefly very popular for its “on trend” home accessories at affordable prices, but: Every time I’ve gone into the Kmart nearest my house, I’ve walked about without buying anything. That’s because they have never had what I was in there to get, even when their website said that location had it. In addition, they had nothing but self-checkouts, and I don’t like them, and hate them when they’re the only option (I was told recently that they added some with check out operators, but I wouldn’t know: I always walk out empty-handed). I ordered online to make sure I could actually get what I wanted, and so I could avoid the store.

I ordered on the weekend, and the order arrived Monday morning (apart from one item that was coming from another part of the country). I decided to assemble the coat tree, and I have to admit: I was surprised at how robust it was and also how good the quality was. It cost me $22. Bit of a savings, that.

Next, I took down the wall-hung coat rack (I'll re-use it in the main bathroom), and then removed the wall anchors. I next patched the holes (which I’ve become pretty good at, to be honest). A magic eraser cleaned up the remaining marks on the wall from my dubious installation work last year.

While the wall dried, I turned my attention to the mirrors. When I hung them in the kitchen, I had to install horizontal wires on them, but I left the original picture wire anchors in case I ever wanted to hang them vertically again. I got my picture hanging supplies, installed the wire, measuring the slack in the wire to make sure they’d hang at the same height.

I got out my biggest spirit level, and after I found the centre point in the wall, I drew a level line. I marked the evenly spaced spots where the picture hooks would go, and hung the mirrors. I checked them for level and stood back. They didn’t look quite right.

The wood frames of each mirror are somewhat warped, and not in the same ways, which meant it would be very difficult to get them all perfect. Instead, I moved one of the picture hooks (apparently I hadn’t measured the slack in the wire quite right), re-hung the mirror, and decided that it was close enough for three mirrors with somewhat warped frames.

I put the coat rack in the entry, hung my coats and a hat on it, tidied a little bit and took a photo. The job was done. The whole thing took me maybe four or five hours.

I’ve been happy with the results of the project. The mirrors do reflect light, as I’d hoped: In the before photo above, the curtains on the opposite wall were wide open, but they were closed when I took the after photo, yet the after has nearly as much light as the before shot. The difference is even more noticeable when the curtains are open. Mainly, though, it visually expands the space, which is actually the main thing I wanted, aside from reflected light (Side note: I had to take the after photo from a different angle to avoid being in the reflection of the mirrors; I hadn’t considered that when I took the before photo).

So, that’s another project done, one I took on because I’d finished the kitchen shelf project, and the mirrors I took out of there, I realised, would be best used by the front door. In fact, they look better there than they ever did in the kitchen. In my opinion—which is the point of all of this, of course.

The next day, I began my biggest-ever project, which I keep plugging away at. I’m giving the main part of the project two more weeks, after which I want the main part of my house back to normal, even if the garage isn’t actually finished. But a real update on that project will have to wait for another day.

Sometimes I may forget to mention a project, especially a small one like this. What matters about all of them, though, is that they keep me focused on moving forward, and busy. All of which is good.

So far, my projects have all turned out good, too.

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