Friday, March 16th, 2012
It’s another record setting beautiful weather day in Minnesota, and it’s Friday, so needless to say I’d rather not be sitting in front of a computer. (76 degrees in March? It’s beyond fabulous!) So I’ll keep this short and sweet for everyone’s sake.
I just finished reading “Organizing” from the Best of Martha Stewart Living collection, and I found it really inspirational. So if this warm weather makes you want to fling the windows open, dust off those blinds, and do a little spring cleaning/ organizing, this is a great new resource for you.
This slim reference book covers the key spaces in homes most in need of organization: Entryways, Kitchens, Bedrooms, Closets, Bathrooms, Kids’ Rooms, Home Offices and Utility Rooms.
The kitchen section has great examples from past featured kitchens as well as Martha’s many kitchens. But it also combines some top tips from over the years. I’ve been using the “Spice Jar Reminder” idea for years, and I remember the first time I saw the “Helping Hands” tip. Now that I have large drawers like that in my kitchen and a kiddo on the way, I’ve already started looking at how I can rearrange my kitchen cabinets to accommodate a drawer like this for the kid’s plates, bowls, bottles, etc.
Toy storage is always a challenge (with kids of all ages), so I appreciate all the detailed thought that went into this toy chest. Having “parking spots” for the cars could help interest a kid in actually putting his cars back in the proper place.
There are plenty of other creative and less complicated ideas for kids’ rooms as well.
Finally, I’ll leave you with editor Kevin Sharkey’s utility room/ closet. Compared to the entire building Martha has at one of her properties for cleaning supplies (see this past post), Kevin lives in a NYC apartment where storage is at a premium. He cleverly transformed a coat closet into a very functional and organized laundry room with a place for everything.
Here you can see the right side of that closet (the end of the dryer is in the corner of the top left picture above). I love the grid of cleaning tools hung on the inside of the door. All the different types of hooks and baskets he utilized allow each item to hang properly without having to be wrangled into place. Now don’t we all want that? Who likes to fight a broom back onto a hook after sweeping?
Be sure to pick up a copy now since it is for sale at local bookstores and drugstores (most places you buy magazines) until April 30th, or they run out. At only $9.95 it’s a steal.
Now go out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. And maybe organize a drawer or shelf while you’re at it.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
This week we continue our look at the process of designing the interiors of a home from start to finish. Since this home started as a prefab home designed by a local architecture firm, we had great bones to start with, and we just needed to tweak the details of the rooms to improve functionality for the clients. Let’s start with the lower level.
In the original concept, which was created for another client that needed a garage built into the footprint of the house due to site conditions, the lower level of the house also included storage, laundry, a multi-purpose room and bathroom.
Since my clients had room for a garage elsewhere on their site, we were able to reallocate the garage space into a larger den.
In order to offer the family a space to watch movies, do homework and craft projects, and just hang out, I added a long desk with built-in cabinetry on the right wall. There is still plenty of room for all the other functions without them falling over each other.
What had been an undesignated room in the previous plan became a guest bedroom by closing it in with a new wall and the addition of built-in closet storage that also incorporates space for a TV on the wall. The adjacent bathroom is conveniently located for both the guest bedroom and the den.
Even the laundry room can be made into an enjoyable space by thoughtful space planning and finish selections. By using washer and dryer units that fit under a standard height cabinet you gain a lot of valuable counter space. I’m a big fan of line drying clothes as much as possible to extend their life, so there is plenty of floor space for a pop-up drying rack. There is also a rod over the sink so items can be hung to dry over the sink, which is great for handwashing items or damp workout clothes that need to dry and air out. (The dad in this family is a marathon runner, so that is a real need!) I even added a fold down ironing board hidden in a cabinet on the opposite wall so that there’s no need to store and set up and break down a full size ironing board (which always seems to make the chore of ironing much less appealing).
Since there are so many floor plans and elevations for all the built-ins we designed in this house, I’m going to break this segment into 3 posts (one post per floor) so I don’t overwhelm you with information all at once.
Do you have any questions about the choices we made? Feel free to ask away! I’m happy to answer questions to help you better understand the process.