Decorating shows have become very popular. Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and, um, well, like ten others that I can't name because I don't watch that stuff. But I will say this: there is no reason to ever have a drawer that doesn't open.
I don't know who started the trend of drawer decoys under the kitchen sink that you constantly try to open forgetting that they're not real drawers. Sometimes you think they're stuck. So you end up pulling slightly harder until you remember, "That's not a drawer at all. That just looks like a drawer for no good reason." I HATE that. I know hate is a strong word, but not strong enough to open a fake drawer.
The only possible explanation, since there's no function involved, is form. Designers must believe the place under the sink must look exactly like everything near it. They must believe that simple wood paneling would be too unpretentious for a two-bedroom apartment.
The reason I write this column is because I spent last week in a two-bedroom apartment and tried to open the fake drawers several times. The apartment is maintained by the comedy club I was working, and is a pretty nice place. It's on the second floor of a gorgeous townhouse in Louisville, and outfitted with central air, huge windows, and a deck in the back. There's a nice porch on the first floor, comfortable couches, high ceilings it's just generally a pleasant place to spend a week. Except for the damn fake drawers.
It took me a few days to figure out where everything belonged. That the silverware was in the top right, the cooking utensils were just below, and the garbage bags were in the drawer across the way. And while discovering all of this, I went for the phonies several times. After the first time, I got a little annoyed. After the second time, I got very annoyed. After the third time I tried to open a drawer that doesn't actually exist, I tried to find the drawer with the knives so I could cut the damn thing open. Or threaten the designer.
"Of course I need to carve two holes into each of your cheeks. Your nose is right next to them and has two holes! Think of how silly you look without everything matching exactly! What's that? Things don't NEED to match exactly? Thank you. You may go now."
I realized I wasn't having trouble because I was in an unfamiliar place. It was because the drawers existed. I just moved out of a two-bedroom apartment after a year of living there. And every now and then, I'd still try to open the sink. I tried it the first day in my new place, too.
There's nothing behind the fake drawers but pipes. And I've even seen some with handles. That's how important it is to a kitchen designer to have everything look exactly alike. Well, everything but the rest of the kitchen. If the sink can look like a sink instead of a counter, why does the area below the sink have to look like the area below the counter? I'm sure they covered that on an episode of Extreme Makeover, but I was too busy trying to cut open a fake drawer.
If I was ever on Trading Spaces, I would have the carpenter redesign a kitchen with no fake drawers. And my neighbors would come back and I would be a hero. They'd hoist me on their shoulders and say, "Finally! No more wasting time trying to open something that can not be opened!" And then I'd get back to my place to see a blue and red checked velvet sofa and wallpaper made out of laminated paper towels.
Okay, so I've seen the show a few times.
I actually met Paige Davis at a party once. For those of you who do not know who that is (like me, before that party), she hosts the show. She's a very nice woman, and she's married to a very cool Broadway actor. I only tell you this because his name is Patrick Page, making her Paige Page. Or "Page Two."
I haven't spoken to the Pages in a while, but maybe I should. I can ask her if anyone on the show has ever complained about the drawerless drawers. Or maybe someone else reading this is an interior designer and can explain the history behind a pointless no-drawer.
And they'll have time to do it at length while I'm searching for the knives.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of the Student Body Shots books, which are available at SteveHofstetter.com and bookstores everywhere. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.