Thinking inside the box.

July 28, 2008

Yes, I live in a tiny house. And yes, I strive to create nice sightlines and weird vignettes. Therefore, I am proud to announce a new addition to the Living Small house, handmade by my dear friend, The Choir:

It’s a thermostat cover, or, “thermobox.” No more unsightly plastic thermostat for us. Just an arts-and-craftsy oak box, worked in wood by a Washington artisan.

Yes, I realize that this is unnecessary. But I contend that when you keep house in a teeny space, eye-pleasers matter. When my eye snagged on that icky thermostat and the mismatched patches of painted and unpainted wall around it — true fact: the thermostat had been replaced twice, and neither of its predecessors had taken up the same footprint, thereby creating silhouettes in previous paint colors on the wall — I got a little twitchy. Wouldn’t you? (Is this OCD?)

I’m willing to bet that everybody has a niggling eyesore in his or her home. What’s yours? Do you plan to change it? Leave it lie?

Thank you, The Choir, for making my little living space a little more aesthetically awesome.

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11 Responses to “Thinking inside the box.”

  1. Michelle said

    I love it! Anything that masks necessary modern ugliness with Arts & Crafts beauty is worth the time and money invested.

    As a renter there’s a lot that I have to accept about my little place (or risk insanity). My top two eyesores are: 1) the placement of the refrigerator in front of a big window, blocking 80% of the morning sun, and 2) the presence of paint over the hardware on all the doors. Thus, the cabinet doors don’t close because of the layers of paint on the hinges, and the gorgeous period brass backplates on all the doorknobs throughout the house have been similarly coated. If we owned this place, I would certainly do a kitchen remodel that would allow for a better configuration of appliances (and more counter space!), strip all the metal hardware, and refinish the wood floors that I suspect are lurking under the wall-to-wall carpet.

  2. Oh, renting. Sometimes it’s nice (like when you have replace the toilet), but other times — not so much. Have you considered approaching your landlord about tearing up the carpet yourselves? He or she may be glad to get some free labor that will likely make the place more attractive to future renters (everybody loves hardwoods, right?).

  3. Corrie said

    In response to Michelle’s comment, I knew a group of people in graduate school who ripped up the carpets in the house that they rented, and it was like a new house afterwards.

    Regarding the eyesore issue, for me it’s the little everyday things that there never seems to be enough room for- the vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies, extra pillows and blankets, and SHOES! There is never enough room for shoes in a small house. Right now I have a rack for them hanging over the door to my basement, so if one of the shoes falls off it falls all the way down the basement stairs. But at least I don’t have to look at them.

    On another note, I started a blog recently, 421 Living- http://421design.blogspot.com/ – hope you like it!

  4. Charlotte K said

    Do you anticipate this interfering with the operation of your thermostat? I remember studying thermostats in … oh maybe 7th grade… science and being told they need to be fully exposed to accurately read the temp. Of course if you are keeping it set very low maybe it doesn’t matter so much.

    Just wondering. I have held on to the Dreyfuss Honeywell in my living room instead of replacing it with a programmable simply for style reasons! (But I keep it at 60 in the winter)

  5. Corrie: I hear you re: the shoes. Right now, we have a basket near our front door, but it doesn’t seem to hold all of Mr. Living Small’s un-Small kicks. Either we need fewer shoes or a smarter storage mechanism. Oh brother.

    Charlotte: This is news to me. I hope the box doesn’t interfere too much with the thermo’s ability to gauge the temperature. I suppose we should have researched that before the box was built. Again: oh brother. During the winter, we generally keep it at 68 or 70 (daytime), and turn it off at night. We turn the furnace off completely in the summer. So, hopefully, we won’t run into mechanical/energy-use issues come November. Thanks for the heads up, whatever the case may be!

  6. Grant Wagner said

    About the box affecting your thermostat, don’t worry about it to much. While the box will effect the temperature it reads, it will do it consistently and evenly. It just means you’ll need to set it a few more degrees beyond the desired tempature. Once you find a comfortable level, you can leave it alone.

    As for my hated eyesore, there is a feature in our kitchen/dinning room to separate the two spaces. It’s a wall, about 4 inches tall, coming from the ceiling, with a cap of very darkly stained oak. The previous owner was always putting in small touches like this to make the space more comfortable, but most of them were done so poorly, it’s sad. This one in particular drives me up the wall, because it looks like a poorly hidden seam of a double-wide trailer.

  7. Thanks, Grant. That makes sense re: the consistency of inaccuracy.

    So, are you going to take out the ceiling-wall? Or paint it? Leave it up?

  8. Grant Wagner said

    Being just an eyesore, it’s pretty low on the list of our fixer upper. When I get the time, I’ll completely knock it out and just plaster where it was.

  9. Or you could hang a beaded curtain from it to get that late-60s harem look.

  10. Aaron said

    I was reading through your older posts and saw this one. With your concern toward all things green, you should consider a digital programmable thermostat. Check it out here http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=thermostats.pr_thermostats, I know that the one I bought a couple years ago cost me 24 bucks.
    I love the blog and can’t wait to downsize, three kids at home. Right now with two teenagers, I like them to be able to get farther away. :)

  11. Thanks, Aaron. I haven’t seen the programmable thermostats — I wonder if it would function with my very, very old furnace. And, really, we use our thermostat differently than most, I think; we turn it off at night, and turn it on only when we get really cold. Once the house is heated up, we turn it off again.

    Thanks for the compliment, and good luck with your (eventual) downsize! Keep me posted.

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