Monday, January 26, 2009

Form Follows Function

It's winter. It's very cold outside. I've been spending a lot of my time indoors. Examining the space with the eye of a designer and the budget of a pauper.

I have a tendency to try and solve problems in my head. All kinds of dilemmas from what to cook for dinner based on what I have in my fridge, to what kind of job to apply for based on my credentials. Yup, I'm at it again. Job-hunting. Anyway, I digress. But lately, since I've been spending a lot of time indoors, I have mainly found myself addressing decorating challenges afflicting the new house. I have a LOT of ideas swimming in my head. Too many to afford.

In November, when we moved into the new house, it was suggested by many that we take our time and gradually (over time) upgrade the house. No rush! However, when you see something on Craig's List, like this antique Chinese room divider, I just had to leap. It was definitely a need, not a want.

The dilemma: The house has a sunroom at the front - an enclosed porch area that acts as a storage space for coats, shoes, bags of salt and shovels (for the snow), empty boxes, etc. I once made the mistake of leaving my winter coat in that space and could not bring myself to wear the coat afterwards, as it was freezing. Brrr! The sunroom is not insulated and whatever temperature it is outdoors, can also be found inside that room.

Which got me thinking...Where on earth are we going to hang up our wet and snowy winter coats when coming indoors? (For the past three months we had been hanging up our coats on the backs of our kitchen chairs.) There is no closet or alcove to hang up coats in the main entrance to the house. And although there is a wall that I could install some wall hooks, I just thought that would obstruct the overall flow of the house and create clutter in the entrance way. I had to think fast and come up with a solution to this problem before Summer arrives.

I decided a folding Chinese screen would do the trick. Craigs List is great for finding inexpensive used items and I have seen many of these screens / room dividers over the past few months but nothing I was strongly compelled to purchase. Either I didn't like the style, or the colours, or the price, or the painting on the divider...for instance, Chinese warriors on, no thanks!

When I mentioned my brilliant idea to J, being the analytical one, he hemmed and hawed over the idea, finding reasons that it might not work...functionally that is. Let's just say, I proved him wrong.

The room divider is situated to the side of our entrance way, between the living room and the entrance. This past weekend when the in-laws were over, the divider held up not one or two coats, but four winter coats in total. And it did not fall over or collapse under the weight. Hurray! It served it's intended function perfectly.

I also found out something else about this room divider. It blocks cold air from entering the living room when the front door is opened. So later today when I go out, not only will I have a warm coat to wear but when I open the front door to exit the house, the cold draught blowing into the house will be stopped by the room divider. Two problems solved with one product. Don't you just love dual purpose products? I do!

I plant to 'fix-up' the folding screen in the Summer by sanding and varnishing/painting it. For the time being, I will be fastening some 3M removable wall hooks on the side that faces the hallway.

Do you have a product you love that also serves two purposes? Leave a comment and tell me what makes this product so great and what two roles it serves.


kickpleat said...

looks like a great find! i love craigslist for that.

cserdan said...

Oh, we have that same dilemma. We have wall hooks by the front door and live with the clutter during the cold months. When we are expecting people, we will declutter and toss everything into the storage room.

As for a functional piece of furniture, I love my coffee table. It has a covered storage area and we put all of our magazines and kids art supplies in there. Everything is hidden from view!

That is a gorgeous screen! A great find indeed!

Bijoux said...

kickpleat: I've bought a lot of my furniture from CraigsList...the only problem is with the job posts on that site, I sent my resume to a scam job post in error, and some creep now has my resume!

cserdan: My husband wanted to get a stand-up coat rack but I use to have one years ago and threw it out because it kept falling over. I love the sound of your coffee table. Storage is a big issue in my house...not very many closets or cupboards to store things so I keep having to find furniture that serves several functions. I do enjoy doing the research for it though :)

Doll Creelman-Migliaccio said...

I think it's a great idea. I hate the clutter by the door...coats and boots and who knows what all. I just keep telling myself, "spring is coming!, soon!!!"

Enjoyed reading your blog


Bijoux said...

Thanks Doll! The issue with snow this year has been exhausting. It takes 10 minutes longer in the morning just to get boots, hats, scarves and gloves on. I'm with you on the count down to Spring!!

Laurie Constantino said...

Very clever solution! I understand why you NEEDED that screen. I'm coveting it myself. As for dual purpose items, and one that I love beyond belief, are our coffee tables (yes we have two). They are Shaker arch style, made of cherry, very simple, but the tops lift up. Not only does this provide hidden storage and declutter the room, but it's really nice to eat on them when the top is lifted - no hunching over the food. They are the best pieces of furniture I've ever had.

Bijoux said...

Laurie: I'm really enjoying my Chinese screen. It has proven to be a useful item in the living room. I'm glad I insisted to my husband that we buy it. Your coffee tables sounds great! Such a versatile and useful item to have in your living room. Storage combined with an efficient eating surface. It can't get better than that.