Duo Ventures

Monday, August 20, 2012

Creativity Closet Makeover

The idea to create an all purpose 'creative' space developed a few weeks ago as I was trying to organize some storage bins in the garage.  The bins were a jumble of holiday decor, Halloween costumes, mementos (old baby clothes, school work from kindergarten-college, yearbooks, graduation cap & gowns, sports trophies, journals & souvenirs from my study abroad/backpacking trips, etc).

Originally, my goal was to re-organize the contents of the bins into 2 main categories:
1. things we need to access yearly (holiday decor which would be stored in the garage)
2. things we need to access only when we want to reminisce (mementos which would be stored in the attic)

So how does this relate to a creativity closet?  Well, in the process of organizing the bins, I also began to find things like my old knitting supplies, tons of photos, and lots of random art & craft supplies.  I discovered tons of half-finished projects that had been shoved into bins for years.

Our system for storing all things 'creative' was very disjointed.  We had some stuff in Nader's "music/art studio", some stuff packed away in those garage bins, and other things scattered throughout the house.  Suddenly my garage organization project turned into a complete re-do of our art/music studio.  You know how that goes - 1 project turns into 500...

I began by bringing all the bins into the living room & separating everything into categories:

Ahhhhh!  This gives me anxiety:

I like to visually assess everything we have first and then figure out how to categorize & store it.  Once I organized all the "memento" bins & put them away in the attic, I was ready to begin evaluating what was going to go in our new creative closet.

I started by making a list of everything we owned that was in the art/craft/hobby category.  This is what I came up with:
PAINTING/DRAWINGpaints, brushes, sponges, oil pastels, drawing pads, pencils, markers, canvases
SEWINGsewing machine, fabric, thread, pins, buttons, ribbon
KNITTINGknitting needles, yarn (I learned how to knit in college & I actually made some really cool scarves!  Did I forget how to knit?  I sure did...)
SCRAPBOOKINGpaper of all sizes, stickers, adhesives, binders, scissors (I don't actually scrapbook, but I tried to at one point.)
COLLECTIONS: seashells & coins (I collect coins & paper money from every country I visit)
WRITINGNader's journals & notebooks
JEWELRYbeads, tools
PHOTOSall photos
MUSICsome favorite CD's, books on music programs for Nader's studio, computers, headphones, keyboard, microphone & stand 
DESIGN/DECOR IDEASmagazines, catalogs, paint swatches, inspiration board

After looking at that list I realized we had a lot of stuff to store & our current closet shelving situation just wasn't going to work.  This is what it looked like when I started:

Yikes, right?  

Thankfully I had an idea of what I wanted to do from some Pinterest inspiration of course.  First thing we did was clear out the closet & remove the existing wire shelf:

Then we patched up any holes & repainted the closet with some leftover paint we had from the living room - Wheat Bread by Behr:

After the paint dried, we installed the adjustable shelving system we picked up from Home Depot:

Next, we had to venture out to find some storage components including boxes, bins, drawer units, glass jars, over-the-door shoe organizers, etc.

We began by putting together a drawer unit - Alex Drawer Unit from Ikea:

Then it was on to all those Kassett Boxes from Ikea.  OMG.  That definitely took some time.  I know there are some of you out there who know exactly what I am talking about!

Finally, it was time to put everything away.  I bought some glass jars from Hobby Lobby during a 60% off sale.  This is where we are storing my shell & coin collections, buttons, ribbons, thread, & some art supplies:

All of our paints are stored in 2 clear over-the-door shoe organizers - easy to access & see:

Before & After:
Our studio is almost complete!  We just need to label everything & do a bit more "sub-organizing".

Mel & Nader

Friday, August 17, 2012

Laundry Room Makeover

We'll have to blame this room re-do on the Container Store - we this photo in their catalog & it gave us just the inspiration we needed for a little revamp of our own.  We had been trying to reconfigure our storage/organization system in our laundry room, but just couldn't commit to a plan until we saw that photo.

Unfortunately, we do not have an 'original' before shot of our laundry room due to the fact that we were so excited to get started & forgot to snap a before photo for reference purposes.  However, we think you'll get the idea from the picture below.

Imagine this room with the addition of a fixed wire shelving unit across the back wall, a bronze flush mount light fixture (AKA: boob light), & ugly linoleum flooring (Mel's dad helped us install some peel & stick floor tiles last year):
So you get the idea.  Not cute or functional.  Our water heater is also conveniently located in our laundry room.  Also not so cute:

|paint & shelves|
First thing we did was paint the entire room using some leftover paint from our stairway & upstairs hallway - Smooth Stone by Glidden.  After the paint completely dried, we installed an adjustable rail system from Home Depot.

FYI- there is a top 'hang track' piece that helps with keeping it level as you install - we opted not to buy it, but we would recommend that you DO purchase it to make things easier:

We decided to go with solid white shelves (as opposed to the wire ventilated shelves- like in our inspiration photo) because we felt that storage containers would slide on & off more easily.  To maximize our storage space, we wrapped the shelving around the room in an 'L' shape:

We also needed an area that we could hang dry certain clothing items, so we added this bar which works awesome:

|new lighting|
There are no windows in our laundry room - which means we do not have ample natural light & the existing light just wasn't cutting it.  So, we swapped it out for a new square fixture that we got on clearance @ Lowe's (see the 'before' photo above). 

Unfortunately, it simply wasn't giving off enough light - so we moved it to our foyer & replaced it with the Alang ceiling fixture from IKEA.  For more details on that, you can check out our photo tutorial: how to install Ikea Alang Ceiling Lamp:

|buh-bye water heater|
Next, we had to figure out a way to hide that ugly water heater.  While we were @ IKEA, we saw the KVARTAL ceiling mounted curtain track system which we thought would be the perfect solution.

Luckily, it did work out perfectly!

Side Note: We've received a couple of comments in regards to this solution being a potential fire hazard or fire code violation.  We did not initially take this into consideration as the curtains never actually touch the water heater.  However, as one reader mentioned, there may be minimum clearance requirements within your insurance policies & fire codes.  We recommend that you research your local fire codes before implementing this system just in case.

It's nice that we can hide it away, but can still access it if needed.
(Click here to see how we installed the IKEA KVARTAL track)

|the details|
We picked up a bunch of storage bins, baskets, & jars from Garden Ridge.  All of our extra paper products (towels, TP, tissue) are stored in the white metal bins.  We also keep other miscellaneous items (heating pad, beach stuff, etc) tucked away in the baskets:

Mel also found this metal laundry hanger @ Hobby Lobby & thought it would work perfectly to store our mini ironing board:

The color wasn't quite we we were going for - but nothing a few coats of white spray paint couldn't fix:

Next, we used some over-the-door shoe organizers to store all of our cleaners on the back of the door.  These things are awesome - they allow you to utilize a frequently underused area of your home AND they free up space underneath the sink:

And finally, a couple of glass jars work great to hold our DIY laundry detergent, clothes pins, & loose change:

|future plans|
Eventually, we would like to upgrade to a front load washer/dryer set.  Our plan is to build a washer/dryer stand so that we can store the laundry baskets underneath, as our floor space is limited.

A little Before & After action:
What an improvement, right?  Now it's functional, organized, & pretty!  

Happy washing, drying, & folding!

Mel & Nader