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better storage in Fionn’s room

16 Jul

Hey Elle Decor, where's YOUR hamper photo?

Now that I’m a mother, nursery tours often make me laugh.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally in love with the perfectly-apportioned room; if I weren’t, I wouldn’t be doing this.  But there’s something about a perfectly-staged, pre-arrival nursery that just cries for a three-year-old, stomping in with his toys and spit and tantrums and crayons, to make things feel a little more, um, realistic.

I don’t have a three-year-old, although I’m already having nightmares seemingly incurred by the Toy Story 3 “toddler room.”  Yes, I know that in the course of everyday life, and by no fault of their own, kids equal messes.  However, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my little baby bundle has been accumulating quite a lot of stuff over the past ten or so months.

Whereas messes are easy to clean, and relatively low-stress, the disorganization that comes with having too many things and nowhere to put them drives me mental.  My motto?  When life gets crazy, put up a shelf. Or hang a hamper.  Or screw in a hook.

Since the last go-around of Fionn’s nursery photos (from August), a few things have changed:

my friends Jarpen & Bjarnum

1. An out-of-reach storage shelf. I am crazy about these Ikea Ekby (J&B) shelves… they’ve got a slightly glossy finish, great brackets, and look much more expensive than their price ($30).  The one we have measures roughly 47″ long (wide?), but the shelves are available in a larger size as well.   As in any collector-family household, there are going to be toys/stuffed plush that you love, and want to display, but don’t want easy access to.   This high shelf is perfect for the sentimental stuff, the handmade items, and especially Mommy’s AfroKen collection (maybe one day, when Fionn becomes more gentle with his toys, they’ll come down).

You put your laundry bag in there

2. An over-the-door hanging hamper. Small rooms are short on wall space, and closet space is often at a premium.  It feels silly to extol the virtues of a laundry hamper, but I’m sure any parents afflicted with slight OCD would understand.  I remember someone saying that they loved watching garbage trucks taking their trash away.  I feel the same about hauling dirty laundry to the washing machine.  Unfortunately, Umbra doesn’t make or sell our hamper (at top) any more, but the Container Store offers a lovely alternative for $15.  Hang this ring over your door, then attach your nylon/denim/canvas drawstring bag to the metal ring.  As clean and classy as stinky shorts get.

Gym flooring put to good use

3. Wall hooks. Sexy, I know.  But I love the decorating potential that comes with super-cute hookware (hookage?). The ones behind Fionn’s door are the plain old industrial schoolhouse rounded kind.  But I wish we had ours mounted to slats from a reclaimed gym floor, previously used by athletes at a Wisconsin college.   It’s available at Uncommon Goods for $125.  Not cheap, but it’s pretty awesome.  And as with any reclaimed wood project, each piece is unique with varying court lines.  And if you want to make a theme of it, you can also buy coordinating tables, shelves, mirrors, and frames, made of the same flooring.

More than any other space in the house, it’s amazing how changeable and work-in-progress kids rooms can be.  It’s a great opportunity to have fun with your decorating, and a chance to give up on sweating the details.

Oh and by the way, I’ve updated photos in the Nurseries section to show you how Fionn’s room continues to change. Check it out, and have a great weekend.

better storage in Fionn's room

16 Jul

Hey Elle Decor, where's YOUR hamper photo?

Now that I’m a mother, nursery tours often make me laugh.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally in love with the perfectly-apportioned room; if I weren’t, I wouldn’t be doing this.  But there’s something about a perfectly-staged, pre-arrival nursery that just cries for a three-year-old, stomping in with his toys and spit and tantrums and crayons, to make things feel a little more, um, realistic.

I don’t have a three-year-old, although I’m already having nightmares seemingly incurred by the Toy Story 3 “toddler room.”  Yes, I know that in the course of everyday life, and by no fault of their own, kids equal messes.  However, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my little baby bundle has been accumulating quite a lot of stuff over the past ten or so months.

Whereas messes are easy to clean, and relatively low-stress, the disorganization that comes with having too many things and nowhere to put them drives me mental.  My motto?  When life gets crazy, put up a shelf. Or hang a hamper.  Or screw in a hook.

Since the last go-around of Fionn’s nursery photos (from August), a few things have changed:

my friends Jarpen & Bjarnum

1. An out-of-reach storage shelf. I am crazy about these Ikea Ekby (J&B) shelves… they’ve got a slightly glossy finish, great brackets, and look much more expensive than their price ($30).  The one we have measures roughly 47″ long (wide?), but the shelves are available in a larger size as well.   As in any collector-family household, there are going to be toys/stuffed plush that you love, and want to display, but don’t want easy access to.   This high shelf is perfect for the sentimental stuff, the handmade items, and especially Mommy’s AfroKen collection (maybe one day, when Fionn becomes more gentle with his toys, they’ll come down).

You put your laundry bag in there

2. An over-the-door hanging hamper. Small rooms are short on wall space, and closet space is often at a premium.  It feels silly to extol the virtues of a laundry hamper, but I’m sure any parents afflicted with slight OCD would understand.  I remember someone saying that they loved watching garbage trucks taking their trash away.  I feel the same about hauling dirty laundry to the washing machine.  Unfortunately, Umbra doesn’t make or sell our hamper (at top) any more, but the Container Store offers a lovely alternative for $15.  Hang this ring over your door, then attach your nylon/denim/canvas drawstring bag to the metal ring.  As clean and classy as stinky shorts get.

Gym flooring put to good use

3. Wall hooks. Sexy, I know.  But I love the decorating potential that comes with super-cute hookware (hookage?). The ones behind Fionn’s door are the plain old industrial schoolhouse rounded kind.  But I wish we had ours mounted to slats from a reclaimed gym floor, previously used by athletes at a Wisconsin college.   It’s available at Uncommon Goods for $125.  Not cheap, but it’s pretty awesome.  And as with any reclaimed wood project, each piece is unique with varying court lines.  And if you want to make a theme of it, you can also buy coordinating tables, shelves, mirrors, and frames, made of the same flooring.

More than any other space in the house, it’s amazing how changeable and work-in-progress kids rooms can be.  It’s a great opportunity to have fun with your decorating, and a chance to give up on sweating the details.

Oh and by the way, I’ve updated photos in the Nurseries section to show you how Fionn’s room continues to change. Check it out, and have a great weekend.

door-free closets

1 Jun

This past weekend, I lent a hand to a lovely family – friends of friends – to kick-start a redesign of their daughters’ room.  In a future post, I’ll document some of the challenges they’re facing (it’s a rental, for starters), and I’ll share some of my suggestions with you guys.

But one of the biggest realizations we made, after discussing (among other things) furniture placement, color schemes and potted plants, was the fact that the girls’ closet was seriously under-utilized.   In fact, many of their space problems are going to be solved with a few of these:

Real Simple garment storage, Bed Bath & Beyond

Not the most beautiful, but that’s what closet doors are for, right?  Right?

I once read somewhere that the difference between minimalists and the rest of us is that minimalists have better closets. And I’m very much of the “if it can be put away, put it away” school.  That’s why I’m not so into this trend I’ve been seeing lately — people removing the doors from their closets and incorporating the ‘insides’ as part of their room design.  To wit:

Little Apple Designs

I really like the work of these interior designers.  And I appreciate the fact that they’ve gained usable space (see the changing table?) from a former closet.  But it just seems so high-maintenance to me.

Here are some more photos I’ve found.  Just check out the organization going on… (btw, I’ve collected these images over the past few months so many of them aren’t sourced.  If you recognize these images, please email me and I’ll give due credit!)

Nursery, Winnipeg Free Press

Matching yellow onesies lend a nice touch, yeah?  I do like the fact that the wall cover seems to be carried into the closet.  No reason to not paint a closet while you’re painting the rest of the room (especially if you’re using a light color).

Blue bedroom, huge closet space

I’m wondering if the above photo is  part of an ad for storage systems…  But again, it feels so – exposed.  That’s why the following solution makes the most sense to me (and is the most aesthetically pleasing).

Brown and beige nursery

By removing the closet doors, these folks were able to use half of the closet space for storage and a desk.  Then they mounted a curtain rod and hung beautiful brown grommet curtains across the entire space.  When not in use, the desk area and closet area can be hidden, adding a decorative element to the other side.  When fully closed, I’m sure the closet looks much more beautiful than the typical bifold-mirror sliding doors that were replaced.