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.
We've always understood the value of space.
Using it effectively is one of our most important roles as closet designers.
So, an opportunity to work with a reknowned architect and a local developer on a "Not So Big House" is a project whose vision we see eye-to-eye on.
What's a "Not So Big House"? http://www.notsobighouse.com/
The concept of a "Not So Big House" is one of "combining the beauty of the big house with the effeciency of a small one," accordig to the creator of the concept, architect and author Sarah Susanka.
And it's a concept whose time has arrived!
Rather than spend your budget on square footage that rarely gets used, Susanka encourages people to put money toward making the house an expression of their personalities.
At Closet Works, we've always been interested in how people linve in their space. In the case of their closets, that means determining if they are "folders" or "hangers", or want drawers versus baskets, shallow versus deep. It's intimate space within the intimate space of your home.
The "Not So Big" concept addresses all areas of your home. And that's what we're going to be talking about over the coming weeks - how to make the space you live in do its' best work FOR you - sharing Susanka's thoughts on the best and most beautiful ways to utilize the space that you call home.
So if you'd like to learn more about how to maximize the space in your home, come check out the "Not So Big House" in Libertyville, Illinois in conjuction with School Street Development http://www.schoolstreetlibertyville.com/index.shtml.
We ca't wait to share what we've all come with that will inspire you!
Or better yet - three????
According to Bill Healy of Chicago it can.
And with Bill's closet makeover posted on HGTV http://tinyurl.com/3voffda - the marriage proposals started flowing in. (So you see, the lyrics to the old ZZ Top song - "Every Girls Crazy About A Sharp Dressed Man" ring true).
Bill considers himself "naturally a bit messy so I wanted to create a closet that was highly organized and worked based on how I used things on an every day basis." And you can see from the before shot of his closet that he speaks the truth.
And he feels that the absolute best thing he did in this closet was "put in two hampers behind doors like these (stacked on top of each other. One for whites, one for darks, and no excuses for throwing clothes on the floor any more!!)"
We might even suggest a hamper for the items that need to go to the dry cleaner - as they often end up on the floor or piled behind a door. Having a designated space for them makes things so much more effecient.
And one more thing that made Bill really happy with his closet -
"I always wanted my shirts to look like this!!! These are all work shirts and are not mixed up with my casual shirts which are placed at the back of the closet. I am not a morning person so I was trying to make my morning a little easier by arranging my shirts this way!"
So - what do you think? Wouldn't your shirts look better organized this way? And wouldn't both you be happier if they were?
A recent poll featured on The Nate Berkus Show said that when people were asked which they like more - cleaning their closet or having sex - 31% said they preferred cleaning their closet.
Nate couldn't believe it and commented that these 31% were sharing their intimate moments with the wrong people. Funny or true? Maybe both.
But what we're really talking about here is closets - and the all encompassing benefits of living with a closet that's organized so it works for you and the way you live your life.
Now, for those of you who don't know much about Nate, he's a total lover of closets. In fact, his is designed and organized so that it suits him as well as any of the custom shirts and suits that hang inside it.
He understands how much time and money he saves by having organized closets.
He also understands the positive impact and psychological benefits of having space that's beautifully designed and ordered so he knows what he has and can access it quickly and easily.
So, it's not about having lots and lots of stuff and then needing more places to stash it all.
It's about knowing who you are and what you like and then creating systems that work with those things.
And the solution can be as simple as putting in double hang and shelving, or it can be more elaborate, along the lines of Nate's closet (pictured above) that has been painted a custom color that he loves and includes custom pull-out drawers and angled shoe shelves.
So what do you think? Do you get great satisfaction from having a clean, organized space? Is your closet designed to suit your life and style? And is there balance between your organized life and your intimate life?
Because whether you land in the 31% or the 69%, it's a balanced life that we're all really wanting.
Not all hangers are created equal! And if you're still using wire hangers and keeping your clothing on the ones the drycleaner gives you - then you've got huge room for improvement!
Plastic hangers, wood hangers and "huggable" hangers can all have a place in your closet. Monica Friel from Chaos To Order shares some insights on which ones she prefers for different purposes.
And once you've worked with one of our Closet Works designers on getting your perfect closet designed and installed, we provide you with two complimentary hours of time with one of the Chaos To Order professional organizers so you can make sure all of your garments are organized and hanging on hangers that are "best suited" for them.