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.