Updated: Jun 20, 2020
I don’t want to brag, but I’ve got mad organizational skills. It is what matters to me the most in design; that there is a place for everything. I have seen so many HGTV dream homes built with no real understanding of how most families actually live, and they don’t build in near enough storage. I think “organization” is the first piece of design I conquered. And I would rather sacrifice design than storage solutions, but I've never actually had to. Closet systems are so precise now, and so many places have such great storage solutions that this just isn’t an issue. I like to design for how clients actually live, not how they think they will live once they get that magical house done “just right”.
And if I hear one more designer complain about having to design a living room around a TV….well… Look, all I am saying is the reality is that we, as a nation, watch a lot of TV. Most people have one place in the house where they watch it communally, so GET OVER IT. Be brave and figure out how to incorporate it into your design instead of complaining about it being the focal point. And no more couches positioned to make TV viewing not so comfortable. Embrace the way people live.
Any who…so organization. When you think “storage solutions” most people think of closets. And I absolutely LOVE designing closets. I’ve often wondered if I should work at a closet store, I love designing the space that much. I use every inch that I can to maximize what is there. So on this site, you will see a number of before and after closets. Feel free to reach out if you are ever in need of good closet design solutions. It’s my favorite part of this job!
So here is an example of a really small space that I designed for a laundry room in the rental we were in for a year. There was just so much wasted space. We also improved the master closet because I just couldn't function with the inefficiency and wasted space in there. I am sharing this example because it shows my process. There's no before pictures, and I am still learning and figuring out how to take pictures of indoor spaces.
So here is where I start... a rough draft.
The big picture on the bottom is what went up over the laundry machine. The top right is what went up in a nook that was in the laundry space. Honestly, it was this nook that drove me crazy because there was so much potential and just wasted space.
Before I start a project, I take time to consider what I have, where I want it, and how I want the storage to work. I have a lot of bins in my house, so I have some standard sizes that I know I need to adhere to. I wanted to use this laundry space to store sheets, winter clothes for my girls (the bins over the W/D), paper products, cleaning products, and a big (almost) twin size rollout cushion we used when friends would spend the night. We had three teenagers in the house, a sleepover was not unexpected. It's a chunky piece of a cushion that didn't fit under anyone's bed. So I made a place for it in this design.
Next, I take meticulous measurements. My husband will likely be the one hanging these pieces. The more he knows, the easier this will be. We have a couple of places that we like to get our materials, but for these types of projects, we favor the versatility they have at Home Depot. I knew I wasn't going to be painting this room or changing the floors, so I decided to go with raw wood for some contrast instead of standard white shelves.
The height of the first shelf is positioned to allow the cushion to be rolled up underneath.
The second shelf was made much shallower. Two reasons for that. First, I don't have enough cleaning products for a deep shelf. Second, by making this shallow, I created a work surface here. I had a place to actually fold clothes if I wanted to. I think I only did that for towels, but still, that work space came in handy for other things as well. We used a 9" bracket for a 10" shelf. The dimensions of the shelf are based on two rows of product, and placed to fit the tallest cleaning product we had.
The next two shelves were placed specifically for the height of paper towels and some bulky sleeping bags the girls have. All of these materials were spread out all over the house, and having one space for them was very gratifying.
This space became functional and easy to keep organized. And when chaos reigns in those teen years, having this "work" just helped so much!
If you ever need help organizing or designing a closet or laundry space (or even a garage), feel free to drop me a line. I can do in person consultations in Vegas, or remote plans anywhere else in the country.