It's not only the inside of your closets that need to be organized.
It creates tremendous peace of mind to look around your space and NOT see messy spaces - to not see piles of paper or "to do" lists or post it notes.
And sometimes a trip to an organizing mecca like The Container Store or Office Max can yield tremendous benefits.
Benefits that add to the wonderfulness of your custom closets. Heck, at Closet Works , we don't just love organization inside a closet - we love organization anywhere we can find it!
What about you? Do you have some personal tricks or devices you use to keep yourself organized and on track? We'd love to hear about them!
At least that's what we're hoping to repeat again this year.
Three members of our stellar design team have been named as finalists in the closet industry "Top Shelf" design competition.
This first project was submitted by Lynn Casanova. The storge solution was built in to a 125 year old Chicago home in desperate need of storage. The basement is U-shaped with the larger space for TV and guests and the smaller portion for a bedroom and powder room. The biggest issue is that the powder room is located with the bedroom area. The issue then is that the bedroom can not be separated from the TV room by doors because if were, a guest would have to go through a bedroom to get to the bathroom.
The solution is to leave the space as an open area and keep everything behind closed doors. The space needed to store TV equipment like receivers and routers, as well as clothes for the son. Also the client is a cycle enthusiast. Storage for extra bicycle wheels, helmets, cycling suits all needed to be accommodated in the space and hidden from the TV area.
Our second finalist, Tim Higbee, designed a space in a Chicago high rise apartment offers very little storage space. In this instance the client needed a home office that could also accommodate storage for linens and pantry items as well as office equipment, space for an extensive record album collection, and his prized bobble head collection.
The space available was a hallway leading from the living room to the bedroom; one side being floor to ceiling windows with a view of the magnificent Chicago skyline, the other side with angled walls that was a five sided bay. The need for an unobstructed circulation path dictated that the work surface would need to be a peninsula. The client's modern aesthetic directed us to the use of Wenge as a finish, solid and glass insert doors, and a contrasting solid surface for the work surface.
The single brushed chrome leg allowed us to continue an open feeling on what could have been a heavy, overpowering system. The result is a rich, modern, multifunctional space that does not inhibit the intended architectural design or flow of the apartment, and compliments the design elements in the adjoining rooms, while capitalizing on the large windows, creating a workspace environment appropriate for a Chicago high rise.
Our third finalist, Sue Tinker, shares that "this space was unfinished above a 4 car garage. The ceilings are all angled and there are built-ins under each of the 3 window alcoves. The focal point is a large island with a beautiful chandelier and a small desk are at one end. The hanging was left open except for 3 way mirror doors that cover up the shoe shelves. The materials are laminate with solid wood front doors and drawers. I don't usually envy the closets I design, but I think I could be happy with this awesome space!"
There are a million and one different ways to get life organized. And closets are a great place to start.
One item that works really well for people of all shapes and sizes (particularly those of us who are vertically challenged) is this clear basket that has a handle. It's easy to grab, easy to see through, it's venitlated for breathability and can be added to any custom organization system.
We also offer a variety of other baskets that can be installed within your system that help keep things in order. What most people like about baskets is the ability to see through them, so whether it's several bags of chips and crackers all smooshed together or your workout clothing all tossed in a basket,, baskets allow you to see what's at the top and the bottom and even what's in between so you can grab it and go.
As design consultants, we work closely with our clients to do our best to make sure their custom closets work for them in the best possible way.
So when design consultant Lynn Casanova met with this client, there was lots to strategize about as she wanted to be sure absolutely everything in her wardrobe had a home.
The client wanted purses organized so she could grab and change them out easily, she wanted to be able to see her shoes and have an appropriate place for her boots.
Divders for sweaters and shirts was important, as was the location and amount of hanging.
So together the designer and the client worked through the revisions and the math as well as the aesthetic to create a custom storage solutions that qualifies as a "dream closet" for this happy client.
Working in an urban setting where space is quite the commodity, most rooms do double duty in terms of function.
And one of the most popular "double duty" purposes is putting in a wall bed so a room can be used as an office or den - but then accomodate guests when they visit.
Award winning team member Sue Trainor worked on a really special one.
"My goal on this project was to design a queen wall bed for a small townhouse in Chicago. The home did not have an extra guest bedroom so we needed to create this space in their family room for overnite guests" says Trainor.
With that in mind, the colors needed to work with the decor in the room- light maple floor with dark brown contemporary furniture.
"My client wanted a mix of four color combinations; cocoa, maple, alloy silver and white" says Trainor. She also designed space for some hanging, drawers and a light bridge across the top.
And additonal design element that adds alot of interest is that the unit has three depths. The far left cabinet is 25 inches deep to accommodate hanging, the center wall bed is 21 inches deep and the far right section needed to be 12 inches deep so as not to block the window.
We hid the electrical chords with a back panel that was set forward. There are flip up doors above the bed and 1 1/2 inch thick floating shelves on the right - all of which give this highly functional piece a really high level of beauty.
As Trainor puts it, "The unit looks great in the room and my client was really happy with the end result. It's not always easy to pick color combinations that work well together but this was perfect."
Don't you agree?
Any chance those extra "piles to be organized" laying around your house are actually contributing to your weight gain?
According to several experts on the Dr. Oz Show, those extra items inside your closet - and inside your refrigerator - can actually be contributing to the extra inches on your waistline.
Ask yourself the following questions and check out their solutions for ways to help you move towards a more fit and organized life:
1)Are there UFO's (Unidentified Food Objects) in your refrigerator? Perhaps some holiday casseroles chinese takeout?
The solution for getting rid of all kinds of stuff in your frig' whose contents or "use by" dates are unknown is to put all leftovers in clear containers with labels.
And if you can't quite get yourself to the uber organized state of easily being able to label all your leftovers, at least get the clear containers. They make life so much easier in any storage area of your home and garage because you stand a much better chance of at guessing correctly about what's inside the container.
2)Are there any clothing items laying on the floor in either your bedroom or closet? Experts feel that clutter leads to people having a more difficult time sleeping.
People who have a difficult time sleeping are often tired.
When we're tired we tend to just 'grab and go" - not taking the time or energy to make sure what we're putting in our mouths is actually good for our bodies.
Solutions to help with this include taking a serious look at all the clothes you're saving for the "one day I'll fit in to this" celebration to arrive. If you have five pair of jeans that are hanging around (literally) waiting for you to lose ten pounds, that's serving no purpose except defeating yourself. Keep one pair for inspiration and donate the rest to someone who can make use them NOW!
3)Are the colors of your dining room or dishes red? Studies suggest that the color red actually stimulates the appetitie. Think about it - the logos of eateries like McDonald's and Wendy's often involve the color red. And Christmas holidays filled with red and green often lead us to overindulge "in the spirit of the season" with no regard to the colors of the tablecloths, napkins or dishes.
The solution is to tone it down. Think blue. This color is believed to relax people. And while there aren't many foods that are actually blue (with the obvious exception of blueberries), you can incorporate these soothing colors into linens, dishes, even the wall or seat coloring. Personally, I love the timelessness and flexibility of white dishes. You can change the look easily without making a big new investment. But if you are thinking about making such a change - use smaller plates. Studies also show that the larger the plate, the larger the portion.
What a question!
And just how would you answer? Honestly?
Would you need to go and do a count? Does the thought of doing that make you a little nervous?
Because it seems to when we meet with clients and assess their storage needs...even though we're sworn to secrecy regarding what that actual number is.
Still, one of the questions we're asked most frequently is "well - how many pair of shoes do most people have?"
So with that in mind, we know that people love their shoes - and really, really, really want to keep all of their shoes - so we came up with a few tips to help you increase the shelf life of your shoe collection.
You can download it for free -
Yep - that's what came to me as I rolled over late last night in delightful bliss. Happy stomach, happy mouth, happy feet = Happy Thanksgiving!
And I don't see it as a day, by the way. I don't even see it as a season. I see thankfulness and gratitude as an awesome and very grounding way to live each day.
It just so happens that for this girl (and many, many others) one of the things we're very grateful for is our shoes. We love them, we show them off and it's hard to shine without them.
So in addition to moist turkey and flowing chardonnay, I'm thankful for great shoes and a great place to store them.
I'm also really grateful for opportunities with a project called "The Not So Big House". This concept was pioneered by architect Sarah Susanka and is something I've followed for years. So, when Closet Works Designer Jane Van Almen brought this opportunity to the table for considersation, we leapt at it with enthusiasm because it's so in sync with what we do as closet designers.
We believe in maximizing space and making it beautiful and interesting. We love effective design and we appreciate that people need to be able to really live and function in their space.
And that's alot of what Susanka is about.
And you have an opportunity to actually see, first hand, examples of her approach to a "Not So Big House" in Libertyville, Illinois in conjunction with School Street Development.
The house will be open on weekends over the next several months. You can check it out -
Ever had one of those days when your phone is ringing, the TV is blairing, your son is (loudly) listening to music, your daughter is chatting while listening to You Tube, the dog is barking and your husband wants to know what's for dinner - and you just want a moment of peace?
I'm guessing that you have.
So, how do you "get away from it all" without leaving home (or going to your car and locking yourself inside)? There's an answer.
It's called an "Away Room" and it's a concept pioneered by architect Sarah Susanka in her "Not So Big House" book/lecture series.
An "Away Room" is a term Susanka and her team use that refers to the function of this space because it provides a place to escape from everything else going on in your house and it can have several functions. It can be a cozy, slightly more formal space for adults to converse or it can be a quiet space where you can work or read and not be bothered by everything else that's going on.
This space is typically separated (physically and accoustically) from the rest of your house by something like French doors, Pocket doors or by distance from other rooms. It's also smaller in scale.
Scale is an important element. Something that's 11 ft. by 12 ft. or smaller works best. And if you use formal furniture, it will be feel formal. Casual furniture and it will feel cozy. And if you "furnish it with soft, easy chairs, wicker rockers and old family photos, it will offer a more comfortable place for living" according to Susanka.
If you'd like to get a first hand look at a great example of an Away Room - visit Susanka's latest design project (in conjunction with School Street Development in Libertyville, IL) and see and feel what the space is like.
The home is open from November 19, 2011 through May, 2011 on the weekends. You can find more info at:http://www.schoolstreetlibertyville.com/nsb.shtml
Sometimes bigger feels better.
Face it - when you've got a home or office space that has lots of space - you end up having lots of space to put your stuff.
But perhaps your preference is better over bigger? Granted, we all like a bit of elbow room. But we don't just want dull, boring additional square footage. We want the added space to work FOR us and the way we live and we want it to reflect our personal style.
Architect Sarah Susanka has some terrific suggestions and conepts in her series of books - "The Not So Big House".
She believes (and teaches) that "People who are attracted to architecturally designed houses also tend to seek out a higher level of detail. So a good architect will suggest reducing square footage to allow for more detail."
And that makes sense, doesn't it? You're already familiar with this concept when it comes to automobiles. "The quality and detail of a Mercedes, Lexus or Jaguar are far more important than the size of the car. More space does not equal more comfort. In fact, size has nothing to do with the appeal of these cars. If you want nothing but space, you can buy an equally expensive SUV" states Susanka.
And she's not advocating that everyone live in small houses. She's suggesting that "when you build or remodel a house, you evaluate what really makes you feel at home. In other words, concentrate on, and put more of your money toward, what you like rather than settling for sheer size and volume."
And if you'd like to see some great examples of ways to do this, as well as get some ideas to incorporate into your own home, visit Susanka's latest project in conjunction with School Street Development in Libertyville, Illinois. The two have joined forces, along with many other like-minded partners (including Closet Works) to build a model home and neighborhood development called School Street.