About 10 years ago during one of my nesting phases I had this strange yen to take up sewing. I’d always hated it before, but perhaps my left brain thought some right brain creativity would give it a much-needed break from the high-tech world that was my life. Why it chose sewing I will never know, its more science than art really, but as though possessed by some demon, I found myself buying a sewing machine and more fabric than I could possibly use in a lifetime.
I laid the fabric out on the dining room table, marked out the pattern of a simple pillow and began to cut. It didn’t take me long to realize I had made a critical mistake when my left brain sent my right hand flying across the table looking for the mouse to hit the undo button. I’m sure you can figure out how the rest of that saga went, but lesson learned.
So when it came to measuring our new apartment I reminded myself there would be no undo button and with only 60 square meters of space – about 650 square feet, there was no room for error. With three grid sketch books, my camera and a measuring tape, I headed over to the new apartment full of hope and promise. As my eye surveyed each wall in the living/dining area I suddenly had another OMG what did we do moment. I couldn’t see a small couch fitting in the room no less a dining area and the variety of other things we would need to store our stuff and make the room livable.
Upstairs in the loft bedroom I just about fainted. The room measured roughly 330 cm x 350 cm, about 11ft x 11ft and the wardrobe left behind by the previous tenant made me feel like the walls were closing in. I choked back the panic and went about the business of measuring and photographing the spaces.
Fast forward three weeks and my sketch books were covered in drawings, measurements and notations but I finally had the beginnings of a plan. Time to go back and remeasure and pace it out. I marked the plan out in the rooms and that’s when I saw them – two glaring mistakes that sent me screaming back to the drawing board. Our mid November move-in date came and went and I was no closer to a solution than on day one.
I sketched and re-sketched until I was in a circular frenzy. The plans whirling around in my head from the moment I woke up until the second I went to sleep. Every measurement of every room, every wall, every piece of furniture permanently etched in my mind.
I still held out hope though. The lease wasn’t up until December 6th so if I could just get the kitchen designed and ordered, we could still be in the new apartment by the first week of December. But all inspiration had been drained from my mind like a dried out sponge and I no longer felt equipped to design the kitchen myself.
Along with my friend Penny, I trekked over to a local furniture store I’d been using for some time and fell in love with a kitchen on the showroom floor. A renewed sense of hope washed over me but just one hour later I met the cold light of the dawn. As the Christmas season was quickly approaching the salesman explained, there was zero possibility I could have a kitchen installed before the New Year and oh by the way, this kitchen will run roughly €25,000.
It was time to go back home to IKEA. With any luck I’d be able to figure out the kitchen and say what you will about IKEA, they are the king of small spaces. Perhaps it would be just the design inspiration I needed.
And the saga continues…
If you are just tuning in, you can read the rest of the saga at Moving from Posillipo to Chiaia.