Tiny House Part 14: Open Shelving

I said last week that I was determined to have open shelving. My dream was actually floating shelves, so I was beyond delighted when I realized that’s what was being built for me. They were also able to take advantage of the framing to give me two built-ins that you’ll see later.

These floating, open shelves are above my washing machine and the top shelf runs all the way to the far wall. I love how my decorator friend put my art on the wall behind my dishes. I am not at all gifted in this area and would never have gotten that far out of my box! This print in particular adds just the right touch behind my clear and white bowls. For the curious, it’s Claude Monet’s Sunset in Venice.

I found this print of Sunset in Venice on Amazon. It is slightly larger than mine at 16×11.

And for the record, one of my glass bowls sacrificed itself when I decided I needed to confirm the name of the painting. I now only have one clear glass bowl sitting up there. I am sad. (Not really, just disappointed in myself for dropping my phone on the stack of bowls while trying to take a picture of the small print instead of just pulling the frame off the shelf.)

My friend also created the floral piece on the bottom shelf, not only to add color but to help tie in the gold of the upper shelf’s baskets. When I was searching for those three baskets, I was hoping for yellow to match the stripe in the multi-colored basket, but true yellow is hard to find. After I’d dubiously decked out the top shelf and sent her the photo, she set about creating some gold accents that would pull the color further into the room. You’ve already seen one of them if you read the library post. She actually painted a medical dictionary (An intentional salute to my love of words) gold and laid it on the shelf as an accent piece.

All four baskets are of woven rope. The three oval baskets on top came as a set. The rectangle basket on bottom came in a set of three as well; you’ll see the other two later. All the baskets arrived squished flat. This is why some are more consistently formed than others; I only devoted so much effort to getting them properly shaped. Both styles are available in a wide range of color options!

The top three baskets contain, from left to right, cereal (Yes, I like cold cereal – dry, because I don’t like milk), whatever I need the second basket to hold at the moment, and my hair stuff (dryer, flat iron, straightening brush, combs and brushes…) You can see that, at roughly 13 by 8 by 8 they hold a lot. So does the basket on bottom, which is 15 by 10 by 10. It handles the bulk of my cleaning supplies, which you can see peeking out a little bit.

So, basket links…

CubesLand Yellow Baskets for Shelves Storage/Organizing,Cube Shelf Closet Storage Baskets Bins Set 3,Long-lasting &Skin-friendly Toy Storage Basket Bin,Stylish Room Decor Basket,Cotton Rope Basket

MINTWOOD Design 3-Pack Storage Baskets for Shelves, Playroom and Classroom Storage Basket, Book Basket, Decorative Storage Cube Bins, Woven Closet Organizers, Nursery Baskets, Rainbow

To the left of the rainbow basket is my glass jar filled with Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean. I do have the same laundry detergent as a liquid in the rainbow basket, but these pods are my go-to. It’s my favorite detergent, and the colors are perfect for my house.

Finally, you have my paper towel holder and, hiding behind that, a small crock with my toothbrush and toothpaste.

And this has gotten long, so we’ll handle the other end of the top shelf next week.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 11: The Bathroom Tour Continues

So last week I talked about the pictures over the toilet. The frames are cheap things I picked up and spray painted. The mats are from the craft store. And, believe it or not, the photos were printed on a copier because budget was a huge issue back when I first needed them to decorate my work office years ago.

You’ll see that they built in shelves for me on the adjoining wall. The teal things on the top shelf are toilet paper rolls wrapped in tissue paper. My decorator friend recommended it as an attractive way to store extra rolls, and I adapted her plan readily because the tissue paper also protects the paper from absorbing the yuk that’s thrown into the air when you flush the toilet. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google “toilet aerosol’ and prepare to cringe.) I also put the lid down on the toilet before flushing to minimize the impact. Studies show that the spray is twelve times worse with the lid up.

Knowing this has a lot to do with many of the details of this small room. Since taking this picture, I’ve pulled half of my towels. I only need a couple readily available, and that gave me an extra shelf for toilet paper storage.

This photo shows all of the built ins, and you can see I use baskets that hold and mostly protect a lot as well. The one on top contains my makeup and all that goes with it. The bottom one contains toilet paper in thoi photo, but when I moved those rolls to the other shelf I ended up using it for a variety of necessities that I wanted to keep handy. Because these things are stored in the bathroom, I need to remember to be extra scrupulous about things like cleaning my makeup brushes.

Random note: I took these pictures without thinking professionally. So yeah, the deodorant you see by the towels is Native and the little spray thing on the next shelf up is Poo-Pourri that a friend gave me. I never think to use it. I mean, you have to sort of plan ahead, you know? Still, if you do use it the stuff works great!

My friend made this peg rack to hang above the built ins. It was one of the many little things she did, or instructed me to do, to provide more storage and ready access to the things I need. Long pegs hold my towel, and the cotton T I use for my hair hangs fine on the decorative knobs she selected just for me. The two hats don’t get worn often, but store better here than anywhere else, and the jewelry you see is pretty much all I own after some serious jewelry downsizing. At one point, I had massive amounts of jewelry of all types, but now I mostly wear a sterling silver cross I was given a few years ago and just take down one of these pieces when an outfit demands it.

This medicine shelf is one of those ideas I would never have come up with on my own. I’d kept these things in a totally unattractive tote that literally fit nowhere. The day she showed up with this shelf the tote was sitting on top of my fridge, which greatly offended her artistic sensibilities. (I say that very tongue-in-cheek.) I would never have considered open shelving for these items even though I intentionally requested open shelving for the rest of the apartment. This thing is perfect. Once a week, I pull down my regular supplements and pills and go to my desk where I refill my weekly pills containers I told you about previously. If I need something, anything, I can get my hands on it easily, which was great when I cut myself a couple of weeks ago and needed a bandage.

One of the reasons this shelf works so well is the height at which she mounted it. Because it’s mostly above eye level, in this small room you tend not to notice it. Then she mounted my peacock picture beneath it, which also helps draw the eye away from the bottles and boxes.

I’ve had a thing for peacocks for years, but after seeing those peacocks during that cruise I’ve loved them even more, so this piece quickly found its home right here. It fits the theme, fits the wall size, and as a bonus it gives you something other than a white wall to look at while you’re seated. I laughed when she pointed out that detail, but quickly realized just what she was saying. It is an essential part of the decor.

We’ve made our way three quarters around the room. Next week we’ll finish off with the shower. Oh, how I love my shower!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 8: The Library +

The “+” comes before the library.
It seemed to be a good time to give an
overall look at the main room, so here goes.

In this photo you can clearly see the stained concrete I like so much. To me, it looks like well-worn leather. It’s a breeze to keep clean, which is especially good since I have access to a pool; coming in wet is not a problem. Another thing this photo reveals is the curtains I’m using instead of doors on both the closet and bath. The closet curtains don’t reach all the way to the floor since I ordered them long before I knew what my actual measurements would be. Eventually I’ll order a longer set or add something at the bottom, but for now they’re fine. The bathroom curtain is also short, but that was intentional as I wanted to leave a large space at the top of the doorway for airflow on those rare occasions when I have the curtains closed.

One last bit of randomness about the “kitchen.” Those white boxes you see beside the mirror are the same box frames I use elsewhere. The friend who spent several hours not only redecorating my tiny home but also making things (like the lamp and book easel on my desk) to use as accents in it, hung those there and gave me orders to fill them with art I liked. They mark a goal. My primary care recently told me, “It’s time to do something just for Tammy.” I took his advice to heart and, since I’ve been wanting to learn watercolor, I ordered some supplies. I am determined to not only learn, but to create pieces I feel comfortable putting in those frames.

Now the Library and, yes, I use the word loosely. You get two photos because I thought it would give a better idea of how everything fits together. Bonus peek at the bath included free of charge.

The first thing you likely noticed about my library is the small number of books. I wasn’t kidding when I said I did a hardcore purge in all areas. These physical books that remain are my essentials. The bulk of them being Bibles should not surprise anyone given my book Experiencing the Bible (shameless plug). The others I refuse to get rid of for one reason and another.

I shared previously that I’m an aphant (one who has aphantasia); people as high on the scale as I am can remember what people and places look like to a certain extent, but that knowledge is conceptual, not visual. Consequently, I need photos and that’s why pictures of my kids and grandkids take the primary position in these shelves. Even the parrots on the wall were photographed by my sister on my surprise cruise getaway. (No kidding. She literally scheduled with my boss and booked a cruise for my birthday. She’s the best!) They serve both as art and vacation reminder.

The blue basket on top is convenient for extra storage; right this minute it just holds my lighters and matches; it’s nice knowing I have storage waiting for me to use it! The flowers and the gold-painted dictionary were gifts from my decorator friend. She knows my love of words, so the dictionary is not just an accent piece but a nod to my passion.

If you’re wondering about the framed quote on the top shelf, it’s from Mark Twain. It says, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

Now, the reason I’m able to have so few physical books…

Bonus: You now know about one of my favorite authors.

I’ve lost pretty much everything twice in my life. The first time taught me a hard lesson and led to my getting my very first kindle as a gift from a friend who had upgraded. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about reading ebooks in the beginning, but learned quickly that I liked it. By the time that Kindle had died, I was carrying an iphone and started using the Kindle app. That was hard on my eyes, though, creating strain I didn’t need. (I tended to read for literal hours at a time. I still can.) So, after much research, I bought a Kindle Paperwhite that, a couple of years ago, I replaced with this Kindle Oasis.

I love this thing! You can tell by the wear on the cover that I use it a lot. As they say, it’s not the age; it’s the mileage. The Kindle Paperwhite (and Paperwhite Oasis) uses an e-ink that is very easy on the eyes. This Oasis also has adjustable lighting as well as the up/down buttons you see on the side. The regular Kindle Paperwhite did not have these buttons, and I would probably not want to go back to doing without them. And this e-reader is waterproof! So yes, reading in the tub is just fine.

So, to get back to my original point. I pretty much stick to paper books for non-fiction, which is what you mostly see on my shelves, because I mark those books up. I want to be able to come back and find things of note and relocate where I’ve recorded my thoughts on a topic. On the other hand, except for a few random non-fiction books, my Kindle is filled with fiction across a variety of genres. I don’t even know how many books I have on this thing and it’s nowhere near full. My TBR (To Be Read) list is massive, which would not be possible if I were limited to what I could fit in this room.

Since I’m on the topic of ebooks, here are some hints for those concerned about ebook prices. First, subscribe to BookBub. You’ll get alerts every day of books in your preferred genres that are on sale or free. A large number of my ebooks were picked up this way. Another thing I do is keep an ebook wishlist on Amazon. I update it any time I find a book I want to buy eventually, and every couple of days I’ll log onto Amazon and check out that list. If any have gone free or been marked down dramatically, I’ll hit the Buy Now button. So loading your kindle doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You only need to pay full price when you want to read it today.

And that’s it for this week. Like last week, I’ve chosen to put all of the product links here, at the end of the post.

SMILE Weaver Peacock Blue Curtains (closet)

Deconovo Turquoise Curtains (bath)

Experiencing the Bible

Kindle Oasis

Huasiru Case for Kindle Oasis

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Tiny House Part 5: The Chair

I moved with an office chair in tow. It had been serving ok, but there were some things I hadn’t considered, had failed to comprehend until I was actually living in my one-room apartment with my single chair. The reality was that in my previous apartment I’d reached the point where I hardly used it at all.

When you live in a larger home, you don’t think much about where you sit. You just get up and move if for any reason you’re uncomfortable. Without realizing why, I had taken to doing a large part of my work on the sofa. It didn’t take many days of living with my worn out desk chair to see the problem. It was wreaking havoc with my back. My budget was limited enough that I couldn’t purchase a new one right away, but that did allow me time to do the proper research.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I had a “New Apartment” wish list. (I still do, actually.) I put it to work where this chair was concerned, moving potential options onto the list and back off as I compared specs and product reviews. After many days of scouring Amazon and reading reviews, first deciding one way and then another, I finally settled on three that seemed best, and used Amazon’s feature that lets you “see” an item in your home. I quickly realized that two of the chairs I was looking at were too big for the space. That was a challenge I’d not considered, and I am grateful to Amazon for the help!

So I settled on this ergonomic office desk chair, and it was totally the right move!

There were certain things I was specifically looking for in a new chair. Clearly, I wanted quality. I also knew I needed lumbar support, preferably adjustable support, and I wanted arm rests that flipped up. This, of course, enables me to push it under the desk when I’m not using it; regaining those few square feet is a plus. Lower on my list, but still necessary, was the ability to raise and lower the seat and the option of letting the chair rock if I wanted it to. (I do. Often.)

So, the fun stuff. I’ve been putting together my own furniture for a while, simple things anyway, so I wasn’t intimidated by this project. When it arrived, the box was a little heavy, but not so much that I couldn’t carry it safely (I’m not 20 anymore.). It was packed impeccably, with every part clearly labeled with a letter (A, B, C) and it came not only with printed instructions, but directions to a YouTube video that took care of every question I could have possibly had. Bonus? Angels started singing when I pulled out the supply kit and saw a REAL allen wrench. If you’ve dealt with many self-assembly items, you’ll understand my joy. The thing has an ergonomic handle that made putting the chair together easy. I will not be loaning it out; it’s mine.

So yes, I put the chair together myself with no problems. I’d tell you how long it took, but I didn’t pay a bit of attention to that. Just know that at no point did I suffer any level of frustration.

My new chair has been a true blessing. It’s sturdy, has great casters, offers an adjustable lumbar support (See photo above.), and has those arms that swing up out of the way. It is comfortable even after hours spent hard at work doing all of the things. It’s my dining room chair. It lets me kick back while chatting on the phone. It’s great. Regardless of the hours I spend in this chair, my back is now happy.

Finding just the right chair when you’ll only have one to use is a big deal. I’m so happy I discovered the right chair on the first try! In case you want this one, here’s the link again. And once more I share the legal disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Next week, we start discussing the center of my home: The Office.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 1: The Dream

I’ve been fascinated by tiny houses since I first learned about them and I’ve always felt that, if I were alone, I could live in one and enjoy it. I loved the idea of getting rid of the unnecessary and paring my life down to what really matters.

Through the years, my conviction grew, especially as life with my husband became increasingly challenging. I pretty much ended up living in our bedroom until after his passing when I was able to “move back into” the rest of the apartment. Living in the whole house was amazing at first, but eventually it began to feel like too much. I didn’t need almost 1,000 square feet and, frankly, I grew uncomfortable with that much space.

When he passed on October 1 of last year, I lost his income, so I knew immediately that when my lease was up I would have to move out of our two-bedroom, one bath apartment. The challenge was that rents in our town have increased astronomically in recent years and my options were extremely limited. I knew that, if nothing else, my kids would welcome me into their home, but no one wants to do that to their children. Well, I didn’t.

I must pause to give glory to God here. Losing my husband’s income left me literally unable to pay the full rent. He’d been sick for nearly ten years, and life with him had been expensive. Our savings was gone, and the credit cards were maxed out. And no, as I imagine is true of many narcissists, he had no life insurance. No matter how tightly I ran the budget, how much I went without, I was consistently hundreds of dollars short of having enough to last a month. The money simply wasn’t there. BUT GOD WAS.

God provided faithfully. Every. Single. Month. For months on end, people gave me money without knowing why they were giving it. It was always exactly what I needed to make up for the shortfall. I did eventually start receiving my widow’s benefits, which made things worlds easier, but that was months later. God made sure my rent was paid one way or another in the meantime.

Eventually, after months of housing research and lots of prayer, not knowing what I was going to do, a beautiful offer was made to me. I was invited over and shown a small area inside a big building. “If we built this out, could you live here?”

“YES! I definitely could!”

And so, we jumped in. They started work on putting things together at their place, and I began taking things apart at mine. Some parameters were already set. The area they’d selected had originally been intended as a sort of pool house: It had three walls in place, one window, and an area that was already partially plumbed and would become my bathroom. The footprint was 22′ by 10′. Yes, I was moving into 220 square feet. My tiny home dream was going to become a reality at the same time my financial burden would be greatly reduced. Double win! (Well, triple win, because I was going to live only yards away from my very best friend.)

Within days of the decision being made, I’d gotten my hands on a pad of graph paper, mapped out what I thought would be the final footprint of my efficiency/studio/tiny home, and started reality checking. What were the necessities? What was possible? What was doable?

It was time to start working out a plan.

And this is the first in a series that will cover my tiny home life!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C