Sunday, December 12th, 2010
Setting up a playroom so that it is fun and inviting with plenty of room to play while still being organized and easy to clean up seems to be a challenge for many families. I like the bold colorful palette of this room that will work well for the kid(s) as they get older because there isn’t a hint of pastel anywhere. I can see the room converted to a hang out as they get older with a TV on one of the red locker storage units and comfy chairs or a big sofa added for teenage activities. The open floor space will be used for playing Wii games and dancing. Even the Star Wars artwork above the red and green storage bins will still appeal to (most) boys of all ages.
Since this room will transition over the years the parents wisely utilized affordable storage solutions from IKEA. Both the red storage lockers and the white units with red, white and green bins are from IKEA. Everything is at a height that the kid(s) can easily reach which makes it easy for them to get and put away their own toys.
What solutions have you found for keeping your kids’ play spaces and bedrooms organized?
Photo source: freunde von freunden via dwellstudio 3-2-10
Friday, November 19th, 2010
Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks with no signs of slowing down, but I feel guilty leaving you hanging too long without a fresh dose of design. So I am hard at work on a post on the latest trends in the interior design world fresh from the color trend forecasting group and the High Point Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina.
In the meantime, here is a reminder for the weekend to act like a kid and have fun in your space! Even if you don’t have children, a well designed home allows kids of all ages to play (even if they are 64 with grandchildren on their knees… Vera, Chuck and Dave. Sorry, The Beatles just pop into one’s head without notice sometimes. That one was for my parents.)
Seriously, why isn’t every home built with a staircase like this?! Sliding down the stairs on your butt or on a pillowcase for better traction is nice and all, but a true slide? That’s love.
You don’t need a New York City loft in order to build your kids a maze, though it doesn’t hurt. What about the long unfinished basement you’ve been wanting to turn into a playroom? This could be fun for the whole family and with little play areas inside the maze, kids can tuck themselves away from others for some privacy (a room of one’s own, in a sense).
When designing a backyard, some people think in linear terms: benches are for sitting, and steps are for walking. Pish-posh. Think like a kid – every surface is ripe for usage. A bench becomes a table and steps become seating.
This is how landscape architects think when they create public spaces. They know that people like to have options and to make the space their own. For example, in Bryant Park in New York City, the lawn is full of lightweight chairs that people can move to suit their mood. Being able to move the chair where they want it gives them a sense of ownership. Do the same for your family and guests – create flexible spaces and seating options so they can play in their own way. [For more on this topic check out William H. Whyte's studies of people's movements in and through public spaces. Fascinating!]
Ok, so you’re grown up now, no longer living the Joey and Chandler bachelor lifestyle with a foosball table where a dining room table should go. But just think: if you buy one for your kids you have an excuse to play it whenever you want and now it’s called bonding time with your kids instead of goofing off. Pretty cool, huh?
Not to mention, adding a punching bag to help release all that pre-teen angst is a pretty good idea while you’re at it.
And if all else fails, kick off your yellow rain boots and jump on the bed until you feel better. (I think she’s jumping on her brother’s bed, by the way! If you jump on someone else’s bed you don’t have to worry that you’re ruining your own bed, and worrying would take some of the fun out of the jumping.)
I hope this has inspired you to cut loose this weekend and have some good old fashioned fun.
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.
Monday, January 4th, 2010
I’m an organizing nut and have been for years. I don’t believe that being organized means you have a minimalist looking home without piles. As long as the piles are a system that works for you, and you can easily access everything, that’s what’s important. My husband still thinks piles = mess, but it’s the way my brain works and he’s adjusted.
With the start of the new year, and fresh resolutions in many people’s minds, I figured I wasn’t the only one looking to purge and start fresh. So with that in mind, here are some inspiring images of organized homes, beautiful built-ins, and tidy spaces.
Some quick suggestions for lightening the load:
- Join a group like “freecycle” in your area to find a good home for your unwanted (but still in good shape) items. You’d be amazed at what people post! Craigslist also has a free items section.
- Donate items to Salvation Army or Goodwill
- Hospital waiting rooms could always use an infusion of magazines
Remember the cardinal organizing rule: get rid of the things you no longer need or use BEFORE buying new storage containers because you don’t know what you’ll need to store until you’ve completed the shedding process.
I like this room’s use of wall space over the TV for additional storage. Notice that the furniture is all at the kids’ scale, including the TV stand/storage piece.
I think the long bed made from two twin mattresses is a great design solution, whether it’s a big bed for one kid who likes to have sleepovers, or it could work as a guest room/den solution. The storage below the bed and on the wall takes advantage of often wasted spaces.
Entry ways are always a challenge, no matter how much space you can allocate to storage. I like this example’s mix of cubby sizes and use of baskets – 1 per family member or type of goods (ex. mittens and scarves vs. sports equipment) tends to work well.
A well organized pantry (and spice rack) is my idea of happiness! I love this creative use of a shallow space to create a lot of functional storage while utilizing an interesting old door to add personality to the room.
I hope these images have inspired you to add a little more organization to your life and home.