As most of us do in NYC, renting comes with it own rules and regulations. That doesn’t mean we have to leave things exactly as we find them. There are plenty of things you can do to make your apartment a little more personalized while not causing any long term damage. When it comes time to leave, take it down, patch it up, and take it with you. Just because you don’t own it, doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own!
First on our list was our kitchen. Approximately the size of a small walk-in closet, we needed to find a way to utilize every inch of space we could. In our last apartment, friends gave us a pot rack that we installed in our kitchen. Long over were the days of me having to dig in the cupboards for cook wear. However, I can’t say that I have the most attractive pots and pans, not by a long shot. I’m going for that “Grandma never washed the iron skillet” look…..for flavor. But nobody sees the pans (unless they be snoopin) and I have this sort of moment when I look at all the pans hanging in front of me deciding which one to use. Even though I obviously only have one that will actually work for the task at hand, the fact that I can cook an egg in a saucepan just because I want to, sort of makes me feel like…I’ve made it. Sad maybe, but I think its great to celebrate the small victories to get you through each day!
On moving day, we walked into our recently refinished apartment to find a duplicate rack sitting in our otherwise empty living room. What are the chances that the landlord for this apartment had gotten the exact same IKEA pot rack as our friends who lived a borough away?! Now I would have TWO pot racks. No more pans or pots to hang off of it, but more space in which to hang them! Its like like winning the lottery, and then they tell you they messed up and it was actually worth double. Oh yea, I’ll take it.
In the last apartment everything went up without a hitch. It seemed that there was a stud every two feet (pun intended). Sadly, our construction karma must have been used up because we moved into the apartment made with “air” studs, concrete drywall, and that had “level issues”. The brownstone was built in 1899, which is pretty freaking cool, so I guess it makes up for the temporary frustrations*. At times, I think it’s straight up the Money Pit, but at other times, when I’m not trying to install anything, I see the loads of charm it has. Moral of the story, even though things may not go according to plan, take a step back, think of what you need to fix it, go and get that stuff, and finish it. Sometimes you just need a longer screw, it happens (amiright?).
Here are the basics that you should have to put up your own rack, get the extra shelf space, and see how sub-par your pans are!
Wall Anchors (if needed**) and screws (Sold together)
Electric Screwdriver/Drill-I highly recommend Ryobi (future post to come about their products)
1/16″ size bit (-ish. Fancy right?) You are just using it to check for studs and create starter holes for the anchors
Stud Finder (although I trust it about as much as my gaydar…..which is out of callibration)
Hooks for hangin
1.) Use the stud finder to see if there are any “studs” you can use to secure one of the ends of the rack. Once you know where the studs are, use that information and have a friend hold up the rack on the wall where you want to install it. Keep in mind when determining the height that you want to have it high enough that your pans have room to hang down, but low enough that you can put things on top. Use your level on one of the shelf bars to make sure it’s level (If we could trust the floors were level, we could measure up from there, but in this 1899 construction, I know they slant like a highway). Mark the holes on the wall.
2.) Take your electric drill and drill into the drywall at your marks. This is when you are going to find if you are really hitting studs or not. If the drill puts up a little resistance but quickly goes through: no dice. If it gives you a little resistance, chances are you got lucky and got a stud! Congrats! Remember we talked about little victories earlier? Breath it in (but not the dust!).
3.) For those holes that don’t hit the stud, I recommend using the E-Z Ancor brand 75lb anchors. There is something about the large threads on the screw and ease of use that I have found to be the most successful. And when it comes to weight load, its like a stock of pizza boats, you can never have enough.
3b.) The E-Z anchors say that they can be used without pre-drilling. Now, I am slightly untrustworthy of the “no pre-drilling method and was raised by a man who insisted on pre-drilling, so of course, I pre-drilled. Just a little start gave me enough gap to get the anchor started right at the threads. Use the Phillips bit on your electric screwdriver and slowly screw the anchors into the wall (slow, nice and easy). Should slide in like butter. Wherever butter may be sliding into.
4.) Once the anchors are in, turn and high five your trusty assistant because you my friend, are in the clear….almost. The track is in, just have to send the train down it.
5.) Have your friend hold the rack back up to the wall. Take the screws and start in one corner, working your way around, using your screw gun to screw in each screw into its matching anchor. Say screw one more time. Screw.
6.) Throw your level back on top to make sure it still it and that’s it! You’re work is done! Now it must pass the final test. Go ahead and hang up your pots and pans using the larger hooks. You used those heavy duty anchors, so it’ll hold as long as you are hanging normal pan wear and you don’t put your teenager up there.
7.) Take a breath. Did it stay up? SUCCESS! (or, I’m Sorry. Start at step 1 and repeat…fingers crossed. I’ve been there.)
Enjoy basking in the glory of your pot and pan collection and onward to the next rentovation!
Remember: Just because you don’t own it, doesn’t mean that you can’t make it your own 🙂
*Please remind me that when I am 1 hr into my next project and can’t find the stud….again
** If you’re in a NYC apartment, You’ll need them
Couple pictures of the products (click each to find where to buy it):