One benefit of working from home is having the freedom to tackle DIY projects gradually without sacrificing valuable weekend time.
And one drawback of working from home is having the freedom to tackle DIY projects gradually.
Last summer, I jumped into a major house painting project that ended FIVE WEEKS LATER with beautiful white ceilings, walls and trim in three rooms, plus the hallway and stairwell/entry. It was a major undertaking, one I only moved forward with because I’d forgotten just how much trouble the guest bedroom gave me about five years ago. But now that the painting is done, I’m so pleased with it. The space looks open and airy in a way it never did when the walls were a dingy ecru.
But our dining room wall was still bare until a couple of weeks ago. I bought poplar boards for shelves last October, but couldn’t decide if I wanted to stain them (a very dicey proposition), paint them (meh), or…what. I was originally planning to do the DIY Ace Hotel shelves popularized by The Brick House, but thought it would look too imposing in our small room, so I moved to basic white metal Ikea brackets that are rated to hold 33 pounds each.
Because it was too cold to stain or paint anything over the winter, the project languished and my cookbooks remained in inaccessible piles in the library until I decided just to put up the raw wood and figure out the finish later. But a funny thing happened. Once the shelves were hung and books and tchotchkes placed, I realized I kind of like it the way it is. It’s very bare bones, admittedly, but much preferable to a cramped, crowded room. A medium stain (or gorgeous navy lacquer) might match the room opposite and gold brackets would zhush it up, but the shelves recede now and bring the books forward, which seems just as it should be. Once it warms up a bit more, I might apply some oxalic acid to the wood to remove any remaining green in the grain, then sand and apply some wax for protection, but I’m very happy to have things mostly complete in the room.
I also took the opportunity to cull my cookbook collection while I was at it. Many of them are going to Goodwill, but I found three unused cookbooks that I thought you might enjoy. So to celebrate this bit of serendipity, I’m giving away these books/cookbooks over the next three weeks. The first, Amy’s Bread, was one I bought after enjoying frequent lunchtime sandwiches from the shop of the same name. Unfortunately, I never used it, because I realized shortly after delivery that adopting a gluten-free diet had alleviated nearly all of my joint and stomach problems.
But just look at that gorgeous French baguette below. Don’t you want to know how to bake it yourself? Don’t you want to tell me all about what I’m missing when you do?
If the answer is yes, just fill out the form below and you’ll be entered to win — and get extra entries if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. The contest ends Sunday, 4/13/14 at 11:59pm ET and is available to all US residents over 18. By entering, you’ll receive the new Minimally Invasive newsletter, featuring gluten-free recipes, photo tips and special offers, fresh off the “presses” starting in May.
I’ll announce the winner next Monday. I’d love to know about the very first loaf of bread you’d like to bake if you’re the winner, so share some bread-love in the comments section. I plan to live vicariously, if you don’t mind.
I miss focaccia and good po-boy bread so, so badly.
Update: Congratulations to Stacey Diaz, winner of the Amy’s Bread cookbook giveaway! I hope you and your son enjoy it!