Thursday, June 26 2008
It was day number two of my big push to get the new stove hood and microwave oven in place. Yesterday I'd successfully spot-welded a galvanized stovepipe attachment (complete with duct fan) to that metal hood I'd found at the go cart track. Today I took that large unweildy assembly and carefully attached it to the bottom of a two foot tall shelving unit made of wide sixteen inch planks. After some last-minute edits to the new framing in the northeast corner of the kitchen, I lifted and installed that heavy motherfucker in place. It looked good once I added some decorative mitred framing to the front edges of the wooden shelves. Later I installed some switches to the left of the stove to control the duct fan and a lightbulb. It's all pretty simple stuff, but it took a surprising amount of time to get the necessary pieces and put it all together. The result is kitchen that looks a little less like it was slapped together in a day by a mob of MDF-slinging contractors following a blueprint. If you watch much Home and Gardens Television, you know that coordinated and designed spaces are what most people want. Instead of keeping what works and throwing out what doesn't, people like to opt for radical redesigns, where freshness trumps "dated." Not me. I prefer interior spaces that exist as harmonious, organically-evolving palimpsests, ecosystems of artifacts where the most functional and robust survive and eventually replace the cheap, the brittle, and the ugly.
Gretchen returned from Maryland late this afternoon, bringing with her a trunk full of groceries from a Trader Joe's. The kitchen was still something of a disaster when she returned, but by this evening I'd gotten all the tools and building supplies out, hooked up the new microwave, and made the place functional again. This was important; I'm always writing about my laboratory, but the truth of the matter is that the kitchen is by far the most active laboratory in the house.
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