Cupboards are really useful, especially when they’re nice and wide with lots of shelving like the under stairs one in our basement.  The only problem is though, when I bought the house just over a decade ago, into the cupboard went a pile of stuff I didn’t want to deal with (vintage ceramics, bits and bobs, paperwork etc).  And there it stayed for years, gathering dust and keeping company with a growing collection of half-used tins of paint.

The basement renovation made me face up to the reality of the no-longer-useful cupboard of stuff.  I had already cleared out the nearby hall cupboard of redundant stuff in order to convert it into a pantry and so under the stairs was next on my hit list.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, we have an open plan basement room consisting of kitchen/diner/lounge/playroom, all occupying a fairly modest space.   As we’ve grown into a family of four, the lounge/playroom area had become cluttered and chaotic, so once the new kitchen/dining area was in place, I set about reorganising.   The plan was to empty out the cupboard and get rid of the contents or relocate them elsewhere in the house then use the cupboard to house the growing collection of kids’ craft stuff, wheeled toys, fancy dress costumes and then shove all the random bits into baskets.  This way, we could properly tidy away at the end of each day, and keep things reasonably organised and tidy.

The horror of Clearing Out Day

We got cracking on the big clearout last summer: first, everything was removed and relocated to either the tip or elsewhere in the house.  Then we set about getting rid of some of the very awkward shelving which consisted of two rows of wooden slats across the full width of the cupboard.  We removed slats so that the shelving only occupied the rear half of the cupboard and cut out any awkward low down shelving altogether.  Once that was done, the lino tiles were given a good scrub.

I think we unscrewed about a million bloody slats, all screwed down in the most awkward places

Although this cupboard has been transformed, it’s still just a modest cupboard which has been cleared out and tidied up a bit.  The main aim was to make the space clean and usable and hide all the bloody toys, with an aim to spruce it up properly when we had some money to spare again.

It’s beginning to look like a useful space!  Shelving now occupies only the rear half of the cupboard, and some coat hooks have been added

But something unexpected happened once the cupboard had been filled with a few toys: our four year old, Clover, immediately adopted it as her house and she kept disappearing inside and shutting the door.  So we added a little light and a floor cushion and it was officially her little home.

Peace and quiet in the cupboard – I think there’s tea and cake in there too

I had always planned to repaint the doors as they were a fairly lacklustre pale green but ended up going around in circles trying to decide on an alternative colour.  I visited Homebase one day still totally undecided but a few minutes later I had a rather vivid pot of yellow paint (Sun Dust 2 by Dulux) in my hands and off I set home with it, reminding myself we could always paint over it if it was too much.

As you can see from the photo below, it IS bright, but it doesn’t dominate the room because the cupboard is set back from the main lounge a bit .  It constrasts nicely with the off-white painted wood floor and it also makes a lovely backdrop for photos…

The new yellow doors, providing a dramatic backdrop for my endless, pointless shots of bits of furniture

A final touch was a pair of ceramic cloud knobs which finish the doors off perfectly.

Sibling shennanigans – today it’s trolley racing
Another pointless furniture shot!

And so that’s the story of the cupboard – not really a drastic makeover in terms of innovation or style, but we’ve gained a massive amount of useful storage (even the Jumperoo fits in there at night) and our girls have a little place to call their own, with shelves full of accessible toys and games.

The only problem is that everyone wants to use it!

Get out!!  Daddy has been well and truly rumbled
A front door each.  Nine month old Marigold is now old enough to venture into the cupboard too, much to Clover’s horror