Friday, June 22, 2012

The stench of IKEA has wafted into our home...

Well, it's either IKEA, or it's just the smell of NYC in the summer...

Way back when, when John and I decided to turn "the room we walk through" into a nursery and a hallway, we agreed that additional storage solutions were going to be a major necessity. We've lost one closet to the baby's room, but we've also eliminated the captain's bed that used to be in the guest room section of "the room we walk through". Stored (hidden) within the captain's bed was a veritable treasure trove of hoarder's delights-- lots of clothes from the early 2000's (just in case they came back in style), weird sentimental objects from both of our childhoods, John's first student film (in full, captured on film...) There was a wide array of must-keeps hidden inside that bed frame. However, the bed had to go, so we had to figure out where we were going to hide all of the stuff we were embarrassed about keeping.

Of course, my first instinct was to search Craig's List. I thought, "Surely we can find some giant, vintage piece that will solve all our storage woes." And this wasn't entirely mistaken. I found this huge almost-antique beautiful wood armoire (4-doors, 72" wide X 84" tall) that was apparently semi-collapsible, easy to transport, and a mere $900.00. I was so serious about this piece that after an intense budget meeting with John, I contacted the seller and said I could offer him $600.00 in cash and next day pick up if he'd accept my offer. He, very graciously I should note, declined my bid--sadly, though understandably-- and we were back to square one.

In the back of my mind, I knew IKEA was the obvious place to look for these closets, but I was trying so hard to resist the cheery allure of those Build-It-Yourself Scandinavians... Going to IKEA brings out the nastiest in me. I become impatient, hyper-critical, closed-minded, and generally unpleasant to be around. (Luckily John finds this tendency all very funny, or I'd be stuck shopping alone.) Friends of ours had purchased IKEA's Botne Storage system, pictured above, and I had to confess, I didn't hate it. However, the friend who bought and then built it did hate it, which wasn't exactly the glowing review I was seeking. His primary complaint was that the whole bloody thing was falling apart, admittedly due in large part to his half-hearted assembly in the first place. He emphasized the need to properly level and anchor the whole affair, or it would slowly jiggle itself into a heap of particle board. Good to know, I thought. Noted!
After more scouring of Craig's List with little return, things were getting dire. The trigger had to be pulled or we were going to end up eating dinner with John's student film and my leather jacket from high school sitting with us at the table for the foreseeable future. Very un-parent-like it seemed to me...

With hate in my heart, we paid not one, not two, but three visits to IKEA to look at these f--ing cabinets. (I have IKEA hate to spare, so three visits didn't even spread me thin...) The first time was just to browse, the second time, we were supposed to be shopping, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, and the third time, we came home with a Volkswagen station wagon full of cheerful swedish instructions and many large cardboard boxes.

(May I just say, to emphasize my point, that when I googled "IKEA is Swedish" to make sure I wasn't muddling my Scandinavian furniture companies, the first two google suggestions were "IKEA is Swedish for crap" and "IKEA is Swedish for divorce." Evidently I am not alone in my opinion on their products...)

We bought a slightly different system than the Botne-- something called the PAX-- which was gigantic in all the right ways-- except for getting it into our apartment, which required a visit from John's dad and brother, because even I was a little skeptical about carrying it, pregnant, up our stairs. I'm no wussy, but those buggars were heavy!
I never thought I'd say this, but the photo above really doesn't do them justice. They're rather slick looking in person, but with more charisma that the tall white box shown in the photo, and they have a ridiculous amount of storage space.

Here's where things get a little better... Because Fernando, the whirlwind of wonder contractor who has been helping us with this project, was still working in our apartment, I asked him if he and his guy would assemble, level, and anchor the closets, so that we wouldn't be faced with the same heap of rubble currently afflicting my friends with the Botne system. Fernando kindly (sainthood?) obliged me, and they finished constructing them yesterday. They are now officially the only thing is this building that is standing at a perfect 90 degree angle with the earth, and in the event of an earthquake, will probably be the only thing remaining of this building. Watching them assemble these closets was a furniture building art form-- incredibly organized and systematic-- with none of the profanity or strewn screws typically associated with IKEA assembly. They should consider making a series of how-to-assemble videos to be sold for an extra fee along with the PAX system. It would be money well spent for the buyer and they'd make a fortune!

So-- the end result: We made it out of IKEA without a violent incident, we managed to buy these closets but escape the task of building them, and now we've got our very straight new closets installed into our newly renovated hallway. Next up: I've just got to tackle the grueling task of going through our other closets and organizing everything so that everything is in its place and there is a place for everything....

Easy-peasy, right? Ha.

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