While in Asheville last week, I read and heard a lot about 'mixed use'. Asheville, as I understand it, is committed to being a mixed use community which means (again, as I understand it) that businesses and homes all coexist in the same downtown region. It also means mixed in the sense of socioeconomics. So I've been thinking about how the suburbs really messed up the whole mixed use thing that evolved sort of naturally in our cities. It made sense for business owners to either live above their shop or allow someone else to do so. It also made sense that after all the trouble the cities went to in designing the cities and their park systems, etc., someone should be there on the week-ends to enjoy it. Central Park may be the greatest example of encouraging such a community.
So I've been noticing the examples of 'mixed use' around my house. In our home, it's less about mixing people than things. So here are a few examples of 'mixed use' in the Koppelman house.
1. The copy machine in my office is currently open with wet paint palettes propped up inside it to dry. It's actually a great use of space and somewhat decorative. AND I copied something in it, earlier.
2. Once the kids realized that my desk lamp was magnetic, they began to hang all their school papers on the tiny desk lamp. So now it's a refrigerator/bulletin board? (and, of course, a light)
3. The dining room chairs are a lovely place to sit for a nice meal, however they also seem to have evolved into hat racks. It seems that basebal caps hang nicely on the turned of corners of the chair backs. I'm not as happy about this mixed use.
4. The standing toilet paper roll in our bathroom has become Spiderman's climbing spot. Currently Spidey is poised at the top while several seemingly lesser superheroes are all scrambling at the bottom, trying to reach him. The holder also continues to hold toilet paper.
5. The slight indention on the top of the water cooler in the kitchen is apparently the perfect spot for discarded earrings and hair barrettes,rubber bands, and even a hairbrush. Its proximity to the mirror in the butler's pantry makes it convenient to have a refreshing glass of water and create the perfect ponytail.
6. The long, antique wooden bowl on the kitchen table holds three candles, a nice lighting element at dinner. However, the children have recently begun to add kindling by tossing their pencils in there after finishing their homework. This morning a roll of tape, a stapler, and two paperclips had been added. So now we have a complete office system on the kitchen table. Mixed use, for sure.
7. My daughter's nightstand might be the ultimate example of mixed use. From that small space, she can easily do the following things without getting out of bed!
enjoy a bottle of water, charge her ipod, listen to her ipod, charge her phone, use her flat iron, set her alarm clock, practice her clarinet, put on her shin guards, choose from a wide array of scarves hanging from the headboard of her bed and decide which of her necklaces to wear (hanging from the lamp). Additionally, she can do her homework (plenty of paper and pencils there), read seventeen magazine or any number of books, do her morning devotional, respond to a friend's camp letter, and reflect on the good times her life has brought with a tall stack of pictures.
Who says we don't have enough mixed use space in downtown Edenton?
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I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.