Interior Design Dilemma

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What can I do with this space? 

We received this photo and question on our facebook page. 

We urge anyone with a similar dilemma to ask themselves two questions:  # 1 - What do we want to store in the space?  #2 - How much do we want to spend?  Our answers include a range of suggestions and various price points.

Do-It-Yourself Solution # 1

- install a tension rod and hang a fabric panel from it.  We recommend using polyester fabric panels because polyester hangs beautifully, is washable, inexpensive and durable.

- Adjust the height of your tension rod so that your fabric panel hangs properly.  The bottom of the hem on your fabric panel should sit 1- ½” above the floor.  You may need to hem the fabric panel if it is too long or comes with an unfinished hem (If you don’t sew use iron-on hem tape). 

- Attach drapery weights to your panel so it hangs properly (again, you non- sewers can always pin them to the underside of the hem).

- Installing prefabricated adjustable shelving to the back wall will add functionality to your new closet.  Be sure to measure the depth of the shelves and install the tension rod so the light switch is still visible and accessible.

Our second “do-it-yourself” suggestion is slightly more involved, requires a bit more skill and an organized closet (there is no point in having open shelving if your shelves are a mess). 

Do-It-Yourself Solution #2

- Measure the width and the depth for your shelves.  In the image you will notice the shelf below the light switch is deeper than the shelves above, this is to accommodate storage of a laundry basket.  Take your measurements to your local hardware store.  We like to go to Windsor Plywood to have shelves cut (the big panel saws at the likes of Home Depot are not setup to cut small pieces). 

- You don’t want your shelves to be too thin (the shelves shown in the photo are 2” thick).  You can accomplish this by gluing 2 pieces of 1” material together.  We recommend using a paintable material, plywood and MDF both work well.  Apply a generous amount of wood glue and clamp the shelves together.  Be sure to line up the exposed edge of the shelf on a flat surface when gluing & clamping.  You will need to sand the exposed edge of the self to ensure a clean finished edge. 

- Once the shelves are glued, you may have to sand both ends with an orbital sander, to get them to fit between the walls perfectly.  Give the entire surface of the shelves a light sanding. 

- Next, put a few coats of paint on your shelves before you install them.  Once you have painted the first coat of paint, fill any imperfections with wood filler before putting another coat of paint on them.  If the exposed edge of the shelf shows evidence of gluing the two pieces together, use a wood iron-on edge tape to finish the front edge.  Paint the edge tape the same as the shelves.

We recommend using the same paint colour as the wall, or painting the shelves to match your trim colour (seeing as the trim colour in the photo sent with the question is wood, this is not an option for this particular closet).  Another option is to paint the shelves to match the vanity colour.  You either want the shelves to blend into the wall, or tie in with another finish in the room.

- There are many different options for shelf brackets available.  We really like these wood brackets (they have predrilled keyhole mounts located on the back of the bracket) for a clean installation.  Painting these brackets to match your shelves will create a custom millwork look.

If you don’t want your laundry basket to be visible you can always install a tension rod below the bottom shelf and hang fabric.  When designing with open storage we recommend getting your baskets and laundry hamper before installing your shelves, and using them to assist in determining installation heights.

Then again if you have the budget, we love custom cabinets.  We design and build a range of styles to suit your existing space.  When it comes to built-in cabinets you want your home to have a consistent style and look throughout.  Of course being the style mavens that we are, we have lots of ideas for integrating new style into your home.  Replacing a few cabinet doors with new custom doors, adding beadboard to backsplashes, brackets to upper cabinets, and replacing hardware is a great way to incorporate the look above into your home, without completely replacing all of your cabinets.   

Just for fun, one more custom cabinetry suggestion: How about a modern look?  This idea was inspired by a couple of furniture pieces we love.  We like to think our modern cabinet design reflects a mix of Blu Dot with a little Jonathon Adler thrown in.   

When it comes to design and imagination, the sky is always the limit!  There is no right answer to your design question, simply a range of possibilities with price tags attached.  We hope our ideas have inspired a solution for your space and we look forward to seeing the after photos.  We would love it if you posted them on our facebook page.