Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Disappearing Wood Box

Ever noticed how even though you think you've got things planned out to the nth degree, when reality sets in it doesn't always follow the plan?

In remodeling the kitchen, I first thought I wanted a floor to ceiling storage unit put in this area. That would have meant taking out the double window which looks out onto our enclosed small back porch but you can see through the porch to the outside.

We put heavy brown paper over the window and lived with that for a few days. It took a very short time for us to become aware that we wanted that window view into the area in back of our house.

So the window stayed and I designed a lower storage cabinet.

I knew I wanted part of the unit to be used for wood storage. And I had not planned on putting a door on that section. We lived with the wood box door-less for a while. Then I got nervous.

As anyone who heats with wood knows, safety is a matter of great concern. The vent for our wood stove is on the front of the stove. The front of the stove faces the wood box . . . at a bit of an angle, but still facing that way.

Most of the time, that vent is closed nearly all the way. But when getting a fire started, the vent can be open to show as much as a 2" x 1" gap. We have, very infrequently in the past, seen wood snap, pop and shoot a spark of glowing ember out through that hole. I had visions of the possibility (highly unlikely) of one of those sparks being propelled farther than probably possible and landing in the wood box and smoldering there.

"Um, honey? I'd like to put a door on the wood box."

Okay, I'm much happier now. I didn't mind the open door and looking at the wood. Matter of fact, it was handier when loading the wood into the stove and I liked the interesting way it broke up the face of the cabinet. However, having the door covering the stack of wood just makes the whole operation that much safer.

Here's a shot of all the doors of the cabinet standing open. I don't want to store any food stuffs in that cabinet because it stays warmish when the wood stove is perking away, and since the stove is our main source of heat all winter long, I store baking dishes, pans and appliances that aren't affected by the heat in the cabinet.

I guess that's why I marvel that people will have an architect design a house for them. Has the architect lived in the house? Actually lived and worked within the plans? Even when designing something to your own specifications after giving it tons of thought, you don't always get it right. The first time.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

Funny you should say that... a friend of mine bought a house that she then gutted, including the kitchen and bath. She and her husband hired a designer to come up with a new kitchen and master bathroom plan that the contractor could work with. It was a very pretty design but not very functional or practical. In fact, the designer didn't even take the existing plumbing in the walls into account in the bathroom plan at all! Between them, my friend and the contractor ended tossing her plans and doing it themselves.

I can attest that she has a lovely kitchen and bathroom :)

I am not surprised you decided to keep the window - I wondered about that when you first mentioned covering it up... Also, probably just as well you listened to your inner voice regarding the spark issue. I often get those sorts of worries and sure enough...

Sue said...

Great idea in covering up the window to see how you'd like living without it.
I know if I could do it all over again, I would have lived IN this house for a full year first---before attempting a re-do. Though I am happy with the house, there are things I definately would've done differently (had I KNOWN at the time how we would REALLY live in here!)

Judy T said...

Great idea covering the window for a while. I, too wouldn't want to get rid of a window. Any natural light is a good thing.
Even doing my own designing for the kitchen, there are a few things that I would change if I were doing it again- which I'm NOT. But there is definitely an advantage to knowing your workspace and what you want and need.

Dirt Lover said...

Great idea with covering the window! Beautiful cabinets, by the way. My in-laws have a cabinet for wood right next to their stove. They added it in when they remodeled, and had a door opening from outside and inside too. It gets loaded from outside, and Dad doesn't drop wood pieces across the front room. Pretty smart!

Sparkless said...

Some people even make up temporary wood templates to see if they will like their new kitchen set up. I like how that cabinet works. And it's always better to be safe than sorry so good call on the door Mama Pea.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Ok, I just have to know, how do you keep any hitchhikers off the wood? I could just see me loading a whole colony of creepy crawlies into that box and them migrating into the appliance cabinet. Maybe I am just a little bug shy. But it is a very nice cabinet.

Mama Pea said...

Jen - Thanks for all your support!

Sue - Yup, they say you should do that just to "get the lay of the land." You know, see where the sun comes up/goes down in all seasons, what windows it hits (or misses), which areas of the house you tend to naturally feel more comfortable in, etc. Unfortunately, that's not always possible to do!

Judy - For a person who does a lot of cooking, what could be more personal and important than a kitchen!? I'm betting that you did a lot more things right with yours than not.

Lori - I've seen those wood boxes that you load from the outside. Ingenious! Me? I just sweep the floor a lot.

Sparkless - We used some cobbled together old cabinets to see how the center island in the kitchen would work before building the "real" one.

Jane - Ya know, we just don't have any real problem with creepy crawlies on the wood. Maybe it's because it gets so darn cold up here in the winter they are all killed off? When we're wood working outside, every now and then we'll see what we call pine beetles but rarely do they make it indoors. So (knock on wood -- ha ha!) it's not a problem.

Carolyn said...

Glad you kept the window! I was a bit worried when you originally mentioned that you were going to cover it up. You know, because it IS OUR window too!!!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn Renee - Ooops, sorry. I almost forgot that I need to run any big decisions by y'all before moving on! ;o]

Patty said...

Beautiful, Mama Pea! I just love it all!

Leigh said...

Very interesting post! I agree that wood stove clearance is something to take seriously. I never would have thought to make a wood box look like a cabinet, but it's very clever actually! And I loved that you thought to cover the window first, before covering it with cabinets or worse, replacing it with a wall. That's such good advice, to see it one's ideas are changes that can actually be lived with. I'm trying to do that with our kitchen as well. Your kitchen, BTW, is a dream. Love those fresh light cabinets.

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Patty!

Leigh - You're so complimentary! Thanks. I know your kitchen is going to be unbelievable when you're finished. You've put so much research into getting it right . . . just as you do everything else! An admirable trait, for sure.

Erin said...

I'm so glad you kept the window, I agree you would have wanted it back!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Yup, I came to my senses (on that one!) just in time!