Friday, January 30, 2009

Small Office screams "I'm drowning, save me"!

Today, I am taking over this space.

It belongs to a young family with a 4 year old and newborn in a home they have really outgrown. They are making a smart decision by making it work for them and focusing on maximizing what space they have!

This small space is just enough room for a desk and some storage but maybe it's not big enough for that chair? We'll have to figure that out! Oh, and the fishies are really causing a problem so I must find a home for them. And it seems they have file cabinets and bins that are functioning well but I must minimize their view. The color is so fun and I plan to have a great time playing off of that! And what must one do when they can't spread out? Spread up! Look at those naked walls!

By evidence of the piles, I also have issues I must help resolve and will find systems that are manageable for this busy family so they can see their desk and enjoy their space!

This is going to be fun! I'll show you what I pulled off next week!

post signature

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My kitchen window treatment, revisited

A reader was kind enough to ask about the window treatment in my kitchen that she noticed in my fall decor pictures. She wanted a closer look. Thanks for noticing it because it was the first thing I ever sewed from a pattern and was TONS of work! I choose the fabric because it has all the colors that are in my main living areas and I personally LOVE to sew with plaid because it makes measuring and cutting and sewing SO much easier (you just follow the lines!) so I felt for my first pattern it was just the way to go! I bought the same fabric that one of my sofa slipcovers is made from, a butter yellow duck fabric, and that is what backs it. So here it is a bit closer.

The red trim seems rather bold close up but it's a large area so it works! Now, I went to this reader's blog, Little *Precious Boutique, so I could actually refer to her by name but I didn't find it anywhere. I did see her amazing vibrant photography thought! She mentioned about having hers made but if she has anything to do with her etsy show, she seems to sew! So, whether you need this for yourself or whomever sews for you, this is a pattern from Vogue & the number is V7984. Here is a picture of all that comes in that pattern, obviously I used the bottom right. I added the trim and one thing I did that wasn't on the pattern was to wrap a part of the trim around each loop. With such busy fabric, that part just blended in and you didn't notice that detail and that tiny bit of trim fixed that! I will warn you, this requires a TON of fabric and I was stunned at how much I had to buy. I don't remember the exact but it was 3 or 4 times the length of the window, just an FYI!

I taught myself how to sew many years ago because I just could never find what I wanted or if I did, I was appalled at how much it cost. I started unsure of how to make a square pillow and just kept at it and now will tackle almost anything and am still amused that I now get paid to sew!

My most favorite topic though when it comes to sewing and why I sew is that a huge thing I love to do is to alter store bought items. Sewing is essential to take something simple from ho-hum to WOW. Here is an example of that. My client found this bedding that she loved. You can see some of the throw pillows on the couch that has the coordinating striped fabric which is also on the shams on the bed. This is the set where you have some choices but all that was availabe for windows was a 40" long valance. My client bought 2, thinking we'd just pop a rod on top of that huge window and it would work. OH NO, IT WON'T! Ha! Imagine just a straight line of a short valance on this huge window and massive room? But in her eyes, it was the only option so her though made sense. You can't buy this fabric elsewhere so what choice do you have? That's where a decorator and someone who can see things differently comes in! So, I found gorgeous store bought drapes in cream and had her return 1 valance. I took the other valance and chopped it up, sewed on loops, redid the seams, bought these finials and completely altered that boring valance into toppers of gorgeous 10' tall treatments that you could never buy from a department store. It's these little details that transform a space when decorating.
Very soon, I will show you a few things that were done with items I didn't love in a 'bed in the bag' type set for a nursery. I put another boring valance as well as sheets to good use and can't wait to share that project with you! Oh, and the mobile--I can't wait to show you what was done with the baby mobile! Coming soon . . .

post signature

Friday, January 23, 2009

Home Office Before and After

Is it mid November? Because that is when I promised this after! I'm SO sorry! It really takes a bit of time and focus to edit, upload, and write a blog entry and I bow to those that manage to do this every day!

This client is a busy Mom to two wonderful kids and has several businesses, all run from home. She is really smart and really knew what would work for her and what wouldn't and was quick to make a decision. She just didn't have the time or the systems in place to manage it all! I am confident that, after our weeks of organizing and giving her rules that fit the way she works, she will be able to not only manage these spaces but translate what she learned to the rest of her home!
The Project:
Get the office area under control


Help her plan and move into the new family/playroom
(that my husband built for her family!)
The office:
Let me point out a few things that we needed to find solutions for and then I'll point them out in the afters.
-1st they itemize (this is regarding taxes) so they keep ALL receipts. They didn't know where to put them. Filing them daily doesn't make sense for their time. Their solution was to put them in a gift bag. The thought was that it was big enough to hold them all and it was within easy reach so it worked. It is the light blue one on the floor.
-they had a desk that was designed for large CPU computers and lots of software. An entire shelf above the monitor was just for disks and the space for the large computer tower was tall and skinny and it became a place to just pile stuff out of the way.
-Pictures are very important to her and there were many, everywhere!
-she was WAY ahead of me on one of my must haves and that is binders. She knew binders were the way to go with records that have to be maintained and she had lots of them, in many sizes and colors.

Here's a closer picture of the desk. Most of what is on the floor is from that tall area made for your CPU. She is well traveled and has many maps that she needs for future trips!

She has lots of photo paper and cards and different types of paper and it was an area where she truly didn't know what she had.

Here is the after!

The entire area is now a great space that functions well for her. I didn't take pictures of every area in this room but there is a huge bookcase and that was redone as well. We moved some furniture around to create a space for all her pictures which was a huge goal of hers.

All her supplies are now in bins that fit perfectly in these drawers and are labeled to ensure she can find whatever she needs! Behind these bins are 2 magazine holders that have all her maps, sorted by domestic and international.

Her binders are virtually identical to what she had before EXCEPT they are now all white and all have the same style label. It took perhaps 30 minutes to change these over and what a difference this makes! She is also using a Family Resource Binder that I made her (details in a past blog entry) and she LOVES it and said she didn't know how she didn't have this before!

So what is that pretty red container for? Her receipts! We did this in November and it was getting full but we felt it was a good size and would work for the entire year. If not, she may need to pull them out and file them once a year and NO mess or pile, or gift bag on the floor!

The area where the unused disks sat now have every day items like stamps and her business cards as well as a spot for cards that she is given that once were in 7 different places. I don't like to give ALL my secrets away but one is to certainly look at things differently. Like the red planter is now a receipt organizer. The cute white bins with the fabulous tags on that tiny shelf? They are from the Wilton section of Joannes! Yes, candy trays!

All of her photo paper and other paper are now sorted and easy to get to. Everything has a label and a 'zone'. Everyone has a 'thing' that they seem to have too much of or love and she loves having cards on hand! She had SO many! We sorted through them to ensure cards had envelopes and decided to get rid of older ones so that whatever she kept would fit in the one bin you see. Then they were categorized by event--if she needs a sympathy card, she can now easily grab one! If she needs any paper, she just pulls out that basket and grabs what she needs!

Now, the Family and Playroom:

I didn't take a picture before we got busy--it's SO easy to get into a groove and work and then go, "OOPS, I need before pictures"! This space was completely empty on day one. We discussed layout and what things were needed and they went on their own and bought the furniture which I think is great for this space! It is Ikea and is part of their Expedit line. For rooms like this, Ikea is fabulous and the Expedit series is THE greatest open storage for scrapbooking too! It holds 12x12 paper systems and scrapbooks perfectly!

Okay, back to this great room--they set all the furniture up and then I started pulling all the items that we decided need to fit into this space from 4 other rooms! Small toys, all books, all games and all craft items. Here it is at the start of the piling phase.

The biggest challenge was to not only sort through all the girl crafts and get them organized but to create a system that an adorable but busy crafting preteen could actually keep up with! I'm sure it seems hard to organize a business but let me tell you, taking on a girl's collection of beads and markers is just as challenging! Here are some pictures of these items as I moved them into the room.

Here is the After!

Most of this is rather self explanatory. Books in one zone, games in another, toys in another.
Here is the craft area.
What do you see? Craft bins? No? How about kitchen items? Back to my opinion on using items for a use other than what they were made for! The markers are in utensil bins straight from the Target kitchen section. Think about it--those are usually dishwasher safe or at least easy to clean and they have perfectly sized spaces for all things crafty! I have tons of these in my home. One full of just kids scissors and glue, put away for the next kids' party. You can get cute and colorful ones at stores like Joannes once summer comes out but this was in the Fall and this space is for adults too (umm, did you see the cool projector screen? Which was put in that spot because when the entire wall of sliding glass doors are open, you can watch it from the pool!). So the stainless was really a perfect choice. This type of bin also grows easily with your family and has many future use options (um lipstick and makeup brushes once the preteen is 14?) so they are a great investment. What else can be used another way in the future? How about that great wine bucket that is currently holding crayons? Oh, for the parents though please. And do you see? The beads are in the bead boxes again!
More kitchen items coming your way! The disposable 'tupperware' type containers are perfect for crafts as well as for a drawer where you are sorting electronics. Label the lid or edge and break down all the small cords for ipod, blackberry, canon camera, on and on--just the right size. These containers have all her tiny things sorted and NOT labeled. Why no label Miss Organizer who loves labels? Well, kids always change their stuff. AND the bin is clear. So, this allows her to change things as she gets new products without having old labels and then it's 'wrong'. This will always be right as long as she keeps like things together and she can identify each bin easily since they are see through.
This was a great client and a rewarding project! I hope you enjoyed it!

post signature

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am so honored!

I was featured today on Today's Creative Blog! How cool is that? I love Kim's blog and go to it all the time. I'm always so impressed at the talent that is out there and am honored to be in the same category as the others who are featured on her blog.

I'm still a blogging newbie so I don't even know how to link to it but the site is
maybe that will be a link?

I have to confess that I started the day facing my largest personal organizing challenge! I moved into my home last spring and focused so much on the house that I allowed and contributed to the complete disaster that would be called my garage. Though a car has never been in it so is it even a garage? That is, until TODAY! I woke up, emptied the storage unit that I should have done last year (with my brother who is SO sweet to help me) and then cleaned my garage! It's fabulous! My husband even drove my car into it, just to show me how a real garage works!

So, I finished the day finally feeling legit! I organize for others and pride myself in living daily in a Pretty and Neat space yet I would cringe when those garage doors went up. So I get this one 'issue' pulled together and truly feel relaxed and rewarded for the effort and then I log onto my blog and see that I am her featured blog today! So I feel legit, twice!

If you are visiting because of her blog, I am going to try harder to blog more often this year! I am working on many great projects and can't wait to share them with you!


post signature

Monday, January 12, 2009

Laundry Room that needs a counter and more storage!

I wanted to share a laundry room that I just redid. This home is beautiful and the homeowner had lots of things to store. The laundry room did not work for them at all. The storage was too open, there was no area for hanging so the original homeowners hung the rod on the left and the storage they did have didn't maximize the height of this room. You can't quite see to the ceiling but there is a lot of room above the cabinet.

Look at the space they have now! These cabinets give her so much storage that when they were first installed, she was worried they were too big. Seeing them so deep and so high was not at all what she was used to! Once it was done and she was able to use this space, she loved how much storage she had! This area is hard to photograph but here's another where you can see how I wrapped the washer and dryer with trim that matches the cabinets. She has a rod to hang clothes and still space to fold and stack. The cabinets all are increased in depth to maximize space and allow many serving pieces to fit up high.
She no longer cringes when the door is open and can be proud of her laundry area which is now gorgeous like the rest of her home!

post signature