Sunday, January 18, 2009

'Ello, I Am Michel Gondry

Eh, hello, this is my house; I built it out of my dreams.

When Robin and Tiffany moved in, they brought with them boxes and boxes of things that wouldn't quite fit in their room. At the time, they weren't much interested in sorting their things, and we didn't have any type of chests or shelves or other storage furniture to contain their loose belongings. What we did have was a large, open living room, and nothing to put in it, so I agreed that they could drop everything in there temporarily. After looking at the mess for a few days, I made a suggestion: What if we built furniture out of the boxes? We kicked the idea around for a few minutes, but it was soon dropped.

Cut to earlier this week, nearly half a year after the kids and their boxes moved in. Tiffany's family had ordered a fancy new TV for them for Christmas, which arrived three days ago, meaning they now had a sleek flat-screen for their room, and a clunky old giant of a TV which would be relegated to THE ROOM. After looking at the mess, Robin started thinking aloud. "I really want to do something with this room... What if we made some furniture for it... We could make furniture out of boxes!"

Ordinarily, this would be the point where I would go nuts and start yelling about how I'd come up with that idea months ago, and don't get me wrong, I totally did, but I cooled myself quickly to start planning the work. Here is how I spent yesterday.

We've actually been using a cardboard card table for quite a while, though in a slightly different form. The top was a box used to ship Robin's bike here, which provides a nice, table-sized surface but it was previously prone to caving in if faced with holding even the slightest pressure. The TV was shipped with four large blocks of Styrofoam used to hold in place. We hot-glued the Styrofoam inside the tabletop, making it surprisingly stable. Next, we hot-glued the flaps closed, then used a combination of hot glue and masking tape to cover the top of the dirty box with 18"x24" sheets of brown craft paper. The slightly wonky edges of the box left us with some nasty bubbles underneath the paper on the sides of the box, but the top is pretty smooth.

We used to use four smaller boxes for table legs, but those boxes were going to be turned into shelves, so we took the new TV's new box and used it instead. It's made of thick cardboard, so we didn't have to reinforce it. The only modification made was that we hot-glued the flap shut. The top and bottom pieces of the table aren't attached in any way, which is why it looks so funky in the picture above.

Also pictured: the chair. This is one of the two non-cardboard things in this room that belongs to me.

Robin has an incredible number of stuffed animals, so I whipped up a simple display case. It's just a shallow box with the top flaps cut off. You can see a small triangle sticking out over the top of the box. The weight of the stuffed animals caused it to tip over, so I made an angled A-frame support that holds it up from the back, a bit like an easel. Pikachu is large enough to support himself.

We'll take this picture from left to right. First is a cable-sorter box, built entirely by Robin. It's a simple, flap-less box with a few boards of cardboard glued and taped in vertically to separate A/V and power cables for the video game systems seen on the left.

Next is the first of two matching shelves. We cut the flaps off of a box, then glued them inside, on the tops and sides of the box, along with a rectangle of spare cardboard reinforcing the back. This process is done twice, once for the bottom shelf, and again for the top. Then we'd lay down a layer of hot glue on the top of the bottom shelf, and carefully set the bottom of the top shelf on the top of the bottom shelf. After that, we'd take a strip of packing tape and place it across the front where the two shelves meet. Then, a bit more tape around the seam on the back, and, voilà, a suave shelf. It's surprisingly strong, seen here hefting a load of Super Nintendo cartridges, a case of Dreamcast discs, a box of controllers, and piles of trash.

Then the old TV.

Finally, the shrine of video game consoles, sorted now in order of importance, but by size. On top, we have the Super Nintendo, followed by the Wii and Sega Dreamcast, with the special Pikachu edition Nintendo 64 on the bottom, and some garbage wasting space back in the corner. The supports here are ordinary, unaltered boxes.

On the mantle, we have an enormous collection of Zoids toys, which was some kind of animé show, I think. Then we have our second shelf, with beany stuffed Pokémon on top, Beanie Babies in the middle, a supremely creepy dog statuette with a broken-off-and-reattached leg (why can't it just stay dead!?), and, on the bottom shelf, we have an assortment of books and art supplies and such, and, if you'll look very closely, my second belonging in this room: On top of the red-and-clear plastic pencil box, in a snack-sized Ziploc bag is one deck of my Pokémon cards.

I think the room looks a bit sparse, so I've been playing around a little with ways of prettying the place up a bit. Here we have a hastily constructed plane: cardboard, paperclips, and dental floss. We're all toying with a few other ideas.


Jake said...

Take that Nicole - not a single use of the word "blog."

cynic said...

The only thing I like is the fire.

The rest of it might be better served by being IN the fireplace, though.

La slang master said...

I like the cut of your cardboard fire.
("cut" is the synonym for "look")
(and so is "cardboard fire" for "jib")

Anonymous said...

you made that from our grandfather's magic trick.
and you should look in a bag of cotton balls for something to go next to the plane.
-sister jack/future wife of michel gondry

Jake said...

Um, the real Michel Gondry, right? 'Cause, I mean, I kinda called myself Michel Gondry in this post, and... Sister J, I really need to know that you're not talking about me, here.

I'm your brother, your brother, have some pride.

nicole. said...

nice o.e. reference and nice avoidance of the word blog! you're very crafty, are you sure you're not martha stewart?

nicole. said...

also, in reference to your comment on my blog post, i know too many people who aren't living. let's just say that.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I meant the michel gondry
for sure
I didn't even think about marrying you
-sister J who isnt marrying her brother in kentucky this summer