Thursday, February 8, 2024

A honey-do project

I'm sure you've heard the term "honey-do project," referring to a project a husband does for his wife to make some aspect of the home easier to handle. Well, Don just did one for me.

This is our antique hoosier cabinet. Don and I bought it as newlyweds and it's my favorite piece of furniture we own. We put a little lamp (which has a tiny bulb in it) and keep it on as a sort of night light.

Since moving into our current home, I've been storing my cookbooks on top.

While it's otherwise a fine place to store the cookbooks, there's one major problem: I'm short. The hoosier is tall. So whenever I needed a cookbook, I had to use a step stool.

This is nothing unusual. This house is made for giants. It seems everything is juuuuust out of reach for a shortie like me.

So finally I asked Don if he could make me a shelf for the cookbooks in a kitchen corner underneath the cabinet.

And, dear man that he is, he did. At first I was just thinking of a shelf on brackets, but he thought the load of books would be too much weight on the wall, so instead he made a stand-alone shelf.

Here it is, fitted under the cabinet. I couldn't put the cookbooks on it right away because the glue had to dry.

Here are the cookbooks, installed in their new home.

Honestly, this is the first time in over 20 years I've had the cookbooks within easy reach! Even in our old home, the cookbooks were stored in a cabinet nook near the stove that was hard to access simply because they were juuuust a bit too high for me to reach, especially the upper shelf.

So having easily accessible cookbooks is a luxury indeed!

I cleaned off the top of the hoosier and moved a couple of pretty-but-functional items there instead: the coffee grinder and the butter churn.

What a honey-do project!


  1. Lovely! I did (sort of) the same thing at our farmhouse. Cookbooks on a shelf over the dishwasher, butter churn and old crock on top of the cupboard on the far side of the dining room.
    When we moved onto the farm all the upper cabinets were three inches higher. I, too am short, so couldn't reach much past the first shelf. Plus the cabinets were a weird distance from the ceiling. There was a gap there but it was too small for anything but dust and bugs, lol.
    I took all the cabinets down, one at a time, and lowered them three inches. It made a big difference! Now I can put crocks and a large, pretty stockpot on top; plus I can reach to at least the second shelf without having to grab a stepstool.

  2. Sometimes it feels like a cruel joke the way most kitchens are designed with so many cabinets out of reach.
    When my parents finally got around to building their house, the lower cabinets and thus countertops were shortened for my midget mama. The upper cabinets must be lower too. It's the only place I could ever reach all the shelves, though the top one required tip toes, and a stool if something was on the back of the top shelf. On top of all the shelves were .jars of canned veggies that didn't fit in the pantry. My father was tall and had no problem reaching cabinet tops.
    Seriously, shorter cabinets are so much easier for a short woman to navigate.
    Don's shelf looks good. I especially like that there's space below the books to slide stuff under and out of the way.
    I also like your little lamp. It's probably able to do a better job.

  3. I agree with the post above regarding the elevated bookshelf, so you still have storage under it - Great job, Don!

    I tower over you with a height of just under 5'4", which I recently read is the average height of a US woman. My cupboards go to the ceiling, and I have a naughty habit of climbing up to the counter tops to reach things if no one is around. Something I shouldn't do. (I am between you and Don in age).

    However, at my in-laws the world changes. They built their house and made a few adjustments. Let me explain, my MIL was 5' 10" and my two sisters in law in that family are 6'0" and 6'2". All the men are/were 5'11" and taller. At this point I get the things in the lower cupboards, and they all reach the high ones!

  4. I am 5' 7.5" and would love the bookcase he made. The area underneath is genius. Shortly before I was 12, my short mother relied on me for reaching high things, getting them down and replacing them. She had five children, four tall and one short. So, she had plenty of help. I can reach to 7', a good skill to have.
    The Hoosier cabinet it lovely. I like the lamp on top.

  5. Shortie here, we now live in a house that has 8' ceilings, the kitchen cabinets though plentiful are also ceiling height. So after I get on the stool and then on the counter top I can reach the top shelf. Of course I use the very top shelf for items that absolutely positively have to be kept dry. In my case salts and matches, items needed but not used constantly. I often think of writing a book with a title, My life on a stool I have stools everywhere. How I managed to have tall kids and grandkids is still a mystery to me.

    1. Be careful little granny. I too have done the stool to counter and back down trick many times, but after a few times making the stool wobble on descent, decided to give it up. Not worth a possible ER trip.

      Sometimes there are things in life I'd like to re-do. Not my actual life, but some of the external framework. In a new scenario I would promptly, and at an early point of encountering such obstacles as high kitchen cabinets, spring for a re-do, even if only a modest one. If it were a pair of shoes or jeans, nobody would endure an ill fit. Why endure decades of climbing around on surfaces that are also, not intended for climbing on? But I did, and thankfully had good enough balance to catch myself without breaking anything, including me, when there was an occasional slip.
      What I'm talking about is really just a change in mind set. Comfort is important in shoes, clothes, lifestyle (rural, thank you), and even kitchen cabinets. The things we realize in old age.

  6. Ha – "My Life on a Stool" – love it!

    - Patrice

  7. You have a copy of "The Woman's Home Companion" cookbook. I learned to cook with that book. My mother used it all the time, it eventually wore completely out. After she died, I started looking in antique stores for it. Over a few years I was able to find a copy for all of us siblings (7). After that, although I always look for it, I rarely ever see it again. I think she was looking out for us.

  8. I, too, grew up with my mother using that cookbook. When I saw a copy in a used bookstore, I just HAD to have it. The memories!

    - Patrice