Something that always makes me scratch my head in bewilderment, & poses a regular conundrum is the area beneath the stairs in houses. I’m sure there is a holy grail on how to utilise this space (like that wizard dude, Harry, he had it nailed with his entire room jammed in there)
It turns out, once you start exploring solutions, there are a gazillion amazing transformation ideas: A simple search on google (all hail lord google), will bring up some truly wacky & wonderful designs. There’s heaps of inspiration around. From the traditional & practical – downstairs toilet or compact office, to the dreamy a ‘nap’ area (YES PLEASE), or the outright opulent: a wine cellar. In short, the list of possibilities for revamping this otherwise cumbersome area is endless. & So too it seems, are the budgets for these designs. Ah, bit of a stumbling block that. MONEY.
I’d love to create a child’s play den, with built in slide, or a storage solution Kevin McCloud would be proud of. But the little problem of money (lack there of) always came in the way of my visions. Designing & building our own under the stairs solution therefore had to be cost effective & attainable. Despite Mr. B knowing multiple tradesmen, extending to carpenters, the time & materials needed to produce something would have been easily £500 plus. Our home lacks any period character- it’s aesthetically challenged in fact, being a 1970’s house. So adding some kind of personality & bringing quirky, vibes was my plan.
I’ve long been obsessed with wood work, having dabbled in making vintage wooden plaques in the past, & so I had my heart set on some genuine vintage wooden apple crates, with the thought to stack them & create a shoe storage system. The trouble is, ‘genuine’ apple crates are increasingly difficult to track down: You generally find them on traditional farms & over the last year or two, they’ve been selling at the speed of light, as hipsters use them in all sorts of manner (Cath Kidston pop them in window displays, whilst Coke take them on the road as display cases). Given that we live in SE London, our choice was limited, we settled on a fruit farm just outside of Tunbridge wells (we wiped the seller out of his remaining 6 boxes! Like I said, they’re becoming a rare breed!)
At £14 per box, & a couple of special screws, we spent a grand total of £90. The fantastic thing about adapting this solution, was the ease at which it could happen- no faffing around with brackets, or suchlike, just attach the boxes directly onto the wall & you’re done!
Original bushell boxes or apple crates (like ours), were used by fruit growing farms when harvesting their apples, pears & plums. Farms would have their names printed on the wooden apple crates as well as charging 5 shillings for them, which was refundable upon return. Some wooden crates date back to the 1930s: such originals are in great demand, although becoming more scarce to track down. They were also used as a measuring unit- with all boxes intended to be the same size, a universal measurement of buying & selling was established.
We couldn’t be happier with the final result: I love the authenticity of the boxes, & having introduced a little piece of history (complete with farmers names printed on them) from Kent into our home.
What’s your ‘under the stairs’ solution?
Next on my interiors agenda: Loosing the baby room & Creating a den fit for a threenager!! I predict many, many nights over at Ikea!
I’ve been nominated for an award & I would be eternally grateful if you’d give me a cheeky vote- just click the picture below. Everyone who votes is entered into a draw to WIN an all-inclusive holiday for two on the Amalfi coast! (As chosen by Amara, the award sponsors)