The solution? Create a mini, rotating gallery of family photos that covers our absolutely-essential-but-not-aesthetically-appealing breaker boxes.
Originally, we thought we'd just hang a picture over the breaker boxes and call it a day. But then we realized we'd be going into one of the boxes on a regular basis to flip on and off power to our larger hot water heater. Rather than have something that had to be removed and replaced each time, it made more sense to hinge a cover that could easily flip out of the way.
(To clarify: A 12-gallon electric water tank holds enough hot water for a good, six-minute shower. We don't take showers more than once a day, so we don't want to waste energy keeping water at shower temps 24 hours a day. We flip the heater on a half hour before shower time and flip it off when we've finished.)
Our first thought was to paint the breaker box cover white, so it would blend into the wall. But along the way, we came across some magnets our daughter had made with pictures of our grandchildren. And, voilà, the project came together: why not use magnetic paint on the cover, so we could rotate a gallery of family snapshots. We had more of our favorite pictures printed on magnets and, as we continue to have more magnetic photos printed, the extras store away in a tidy stack inside one cubby of the wine rack.
For fun, we added a set of Magnetic Poetry into the mix. Pictures can be whimsically captioned; guest poets can have have their say. What was once an eyesore, has become one of our favorite house features. And it's reminded us that thinking outside the big box lets us make the most of our tiny house.