Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Baker's Rack

Baker's rack. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

We have a routine the first Friday of every month, at least for the past few months: when my husband gets home from work, we gather up the girls to head out to our favorite barbecue place. On the way over, we'll stop off at a nearby auction house and check out the sale preview -- all the night's auction items are on display until 7 p.m.

This auction house carries a lot of household goods, old books, picture frames, glassware and knick-knacks, what I like to think of as tchotchkes (a bit of my limited Yiddish for my friend Lynda). And piles of furniture, in fact, there are really good deals to be made on furniture here - dining room sets, sofas, beds, tables, chifforobes, all the pieces you need to set up a house. We've lived in our house long enough that we don't really need more furniture. Some day, we'll clear away the plastic and Barbies and realize we may have room for additional pieces, but these days, we just like to look.

So, last week, we looked and we saw a baker's rack in the back of the room, larger and taller than any baker's rack I've ever seen. My husband and I were both impressed by the piece, and discussed how we'd use it if we brought it home. We negotiated a comfort level bid - he said no higher than $150, I handed him $50 from my purse and said $200. After eating, he returned for the auction with our daughter and they came home at midnight with a quilt, a box of costume jewelry, three collectible Hess trucks and the winning bid on the baker's rack ~ $95!

As it turns out, the baker's rack fits perfectly in the space we envisioned, behind the front door in the foyer, a space previously reserved for the Christmas tree. The rack has brass finials in dire need of a polish, and four levels of shelves. It is solid and heavy, so heavy that moving it required a call to a neighbor (thanks, Chris!) and furniture dollies. But here it is, in my home, $95 worth of wrought iron just waiting for breads, and pies and cakes and cookies and all manner of goodies to come out of my kitchen!

Baker's rack. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 Except, here's the thing - I'm using it in a different way. As a combination hall tree and family organizational area, so that I can reclaim my dining room table. I don't have a mudroom, so all backpacks and purses get placed in chairs around the table. Coats get slung on the backs of chairs. When people come over, I have to clear the table just so we can sit at it. And forget about weeknight meals at the table - the kitchen island is cleaned off and we eat there, after we pile the kitchen counter stuff on the dining room table.

The baker's rack is my new backpack holder. Each girl gets a side and I get the middle. Shoes are placed on the bottom rack, which eliminates the problem on the other side of the front door: shoes. We are a barefoot family nine months of the year, and the row of shoes by the front door gets longer every day. This is a good day, after I imposed a 2-pair per person limit:

Shoes by the door. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I think the baker's rack will adapt and change as we use it through the years. Now, when the girls are young, it's a convenient stop just inside the door where they can park their bags. It's handy to put their lunchboxes on in the morning, to grab on the way out the door. I can place packages and items that I need to take with me when I leave the house - library books, coupons, etc. We had 23 people over last Saturday night and it was the perfect landing spot for purses and diaper bags.

Baker's Rack. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I'm going to figure out a way to attach things to the rack. Coats and sweaters will definitely be on it in the winter months (there will be a per person limit on that, too). It's a convenient display for artwork. I need baskets for their saved schoolwork. If we could work in a charging station, it would be the power center of the house.

Maybe someday it will be used for boules and batards, tarts and profiteroles, but for now it's keeping my dining room table clear, and my view from the kitchen very pleasant.

Dining room table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Tell me, what do you think of the baker's rack? Any ideas for how to use it and to be more organized?


Julie Quinn said...

LOVE it! Do you think large metal S hooks would work for jacket holders?

lucy@acookandherbooks said...

Thanks, Julie! I'm going to the hardware store today to check out S-hooks and get ideas for storage - I need a place for pen and paper, plus baskets for schoolwork.

janelle said...

Doesn't it just make you giddy?! Well done! Have you ever watched the show 'Storage Wars'? My family gets such a kick out of it. Anyway: LOVE the rack and creative use. (We found a free crib/bedspring in dark metal and it now hangs as a bulletin board).

Ideas: clothespins to hang art on your rack, maybe across the top or in the top center;). S hooks for jackets---good idea Julie;). Home Depot will have cool ones for less than a home store... or plant hangers would work.

Love that you can see your dining room table!!

HapaMama said...

Great idea! And I love your dining room, too.

linda @spiceboxtravels said...

Thanks for the peek into your home, Lucy. Ingenious use of the rack, but will be a gazillion times better holding your yummy baked goods.

Caroly W said...

Lucy, I love the baker's rack. I've had a small one since right after we moved to the neighborhood we shared when you were our babysitter. I love your ideas for using it as a hall tree/shoe storage/future baker's rack/art gallery. I know you will think of more as time goes on. We also have a problem with clutter on the dining table. You have inspired me to think of moving my baker's rack out of the laundry room and into a space just inside the dining room behind the kitchen door. It could work! Thanks for the inspiration and transparency of your family life for us to enjoy. Next, I need to know the name of the auction. We are closet Sat. night auction junkies from way back. LOL

Renee DeGross said...

I just love this baker's rack! What a fabulous find!!!
Thanks for sharing the information.