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Instant Art Unboxed

After a weekend spent trying to fit all of our stuff into the nooks and crannies of a rather small Cape, I am loving *LOVING* this clever board game storage idea dreamed up by the lovely lady behind Infarrantly Creative. She needed a little color for her game room and a way to get said games out of the way. Inspiration hit, and a few short hours with a table saw later and WHAM. Art, or something close enough to it for most folks.

game board storage 2

Clever, yeah? And easy to DIY if you’re a fan of board games who doesn’t even have a game room. Even better if you happen to have vintage versions of classic games! But, you say, how are you supposed to get the boards out of the frames when you and the fam want to sit down to a round of Monopoly or Chutes & Ladders? The short answer is you don’t!

game board storage

The pieces and rulebooks are all stored in the back of the frame, so they’re right there when you take the whole works off of the wall. Love it, love it, love it!

Craft Room Envy!

Long story short, I’m sewing a new deeper diaper bag for myself. The old one is awesome, but much more suited to the needs of a newborn than a little chick who’s less than a week away from being a year old! I’m avoiding thinking about where the time goes by contemplating the task of digging out my craft room, which was once my home office. I moved my laptop into the living room so as better to watch the baby, leaving what ought to have been space to sew but became a temporary storage room straight out of that show about hoarders. Not cool, not cool.

Today’s post is meant to inspire me to make my now craft room a little bit more suited to its purpose, but perhaps it will also inspire some of my dear readers, who I know for a fact can get pretty craft when they want to! Here are five cool craft rooms in which there’s a place for everything, and everything appears to be in its place.

craft room 1

(via Making Memories)

craft room 2

(via Crafty Intentions)

craft room 3

(via Heather Bailey)

craft room 4

(via Bliss Tree)

craft room 5

(via Making Memories)


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Creative Uses of Difficult Spaces

Difficult spaces make organizing… annoying. Having no logical places to put things makes it hard to keep anything for any length of time without clutter taking over. Luckily, one can create logic in a difficult space, sometimes using craftiness alone, but more often with a little money and the help of a clever contractor. To inspire those readers who deal with difficult spaces on a day to day basis, here are four fab solutions to problems of organization.

under stair wine rack

An under the stair wine rack might be particularly enticing for the homeowner who loves a glass or two or three but has a kitchen that simply won’t accommodate a little wine cooler.

loft storage space

Is that a bike up there? Why, yes… It might not be entirely convenient a place to store one’s bicycle year round, but perhaps it could live up there during the winter when it wouldn’t be in use much. Think of a storage loft as a smaller garage alternative. Those without bikes could store luggage or a fire safe or linens without anywhere else to live.

living room workspace

This is a great idea for those who, like me, work from home but don’t have the space or inclination to put together a private home office. I’m actually typing this at the writing desk in my living room because my home office has been taken over by baby supplies, so I know this solution works. Putting the writing table behind the couch isolates it to some extent from the rest of the living room so you can maintain that work/life divide.

stair bookcase

And then we have the stairway bookcase, which is a classic solution to the very real problem of possessing too many books. I think this one is rather novel, however, as each stair simply wraps around at a ninety-degree angle to create a shelf. Plus the stairway itself is narrow and steep, making it a great way to access upper floors without losing a lot of first floor real estate.

(Photos via micasa)

Drawer Clutter? Box It!

As drawer organizers go, most are pretty boring. You pay for a molded piece of beige plastic that, hey, is at least easy to clean and keeps forks or tea bags or whatever from migrating all over your drawers. Sharilyn of lovelydesign found this lack of pizazz distressing when she decided to find a drawer organizer for her little girl’s kitchen gear. What’s out there wasn’t pretty and it certainly wouldn’t inspire a wee one to keep plates and bowls and cups in good order.

drawer organizers

drawer organizers 2

drawer organizers 3

So what did Sharilyn do? She created her own drawer organizers and made them just as durable and as customizable as anyone could wish for using thick millboard and bookcloth. The best part? She posted the directions as a pdf so DIYers can craft their own drawer organizers… which don’t have to be pink or pretty, of course. Yours could be black and masculine or, um, green and neutral? It all depends on what sort of paper you use.

Boot Tray: Do I Need It?

Living in New England after having lived elsewhere for most of my life, I am constantly amazed at how much snow falls each year. And with that snow comes the sand they use to grit the roads and the rock salt everyone uses to de-ice driveways and sidewalks. Never in my life would it have occurred to me to spend money on a tray upon which to put dirty boots, but the combination of plenty of wet and snowy weather and a mobile baby has changed my mind. I need clean floors, which means I need a way to sequester the sand and salt and melting ice that doesn’t involve simply leaving shoes on the floor of the mud room.

boot tray

Do I need a boot tray like the one above? OMG, yes. Preferably in a mud room as large and airy as that one. Do YOU need a boot tray? That depends… do you live in a snowy or wet locale and prefer clean floors to somewhat yucky floors? You could, I suppose, clean every day or even after every outdoor excursion, but that’s a little silly when a boot tray will keep dirt and other ick sequestered for a time.

boot tray 2

Mistress Martha suggests taking a mass market boot tray and customizing it with smooth river stones. On one hand, I love the way this looks and it gives the water somewhere to go so boots aren’t sitting in it. On the other hand, that water is then hiding in nooks and crannies created by smooth river stones, necessitating regular cleanings of one’s boot tray. In the end, we decided we’d rather have a low maintenance boot tray out of which I can tip lingering moisture than a chic one full of problematic stones.

Laundry Gets a Lift

Think of laundry rooms… what comes to mind? A corner of the unfinished part of a basement, like mine? A moist, linty space where clutter gets out of hand very quickly? Or do you picture something organized and, dare I say it, pretty? It’s easy to ignore the humble laundry room, but perhaps it is nearly as easy to take the time to make it a little nicer to be in.


It might even be chic, like this mostly monochromatic laundry room dotted with splashes of color — love that rug — and complete with a sofa on which to rest one’s bum while folding laundry. (via)


NtB Loves: Somewhere to Sit While You Remove Your Shoes

Whatever one calls them — hall trees, entry benches, or furniture for the foyer or mudroom — there’s nothing quite like a bench where one can remove waterlogged boots and ice encrusted mittens after slogging through a weather-ridden world. Those who have the space for a hall bench or a hall tree are lucky in that they can keep street detritus corralled in an easy-to-clean spot in their homes. The rest of us have to find the space, but making room for at least a hall bench is oh so worth it. Right now, I’m digging on these hall benches from German firm Car Möbel.

hall bench

The pretty blue color on this hall bench makes it perfect for not only an entryway, but also a kid’s room, where it could double as a toy box and a spot to curl up and read on chilly Sundays.

hall bench 3

Clean lines and neutral white make this hall bench versatile. At home in modern or beachy decor, it offers plenty of seating and storage potential… think a spot for shoes or a place to stash baskets of hats, gloves, and scarves.

hall bench 4

Great for a beach house or country cottage, this hall bench is everything the one above is with the addition of a sweet wicker storage basket that keeps clutter out of sight (and possibly also out of mind).

hall bench 6

Hall benches are country? No way! This one would feel right at home in a mod and minimalist house or apartment as a temporary space to stash things like those organic apples from the farmers market.

hall bench 7

unfinished wood means this hall bench could work in a variety of settings, though I like it in a primarily white space without a lot of other furniture. It would also be sweet in a dressing closet (for those who have them) or a laundry room, so one could sit and fold in peace.

Shelving It

The Beard and I are starting to think seriously about home renovations, which is a good thing when you consider that I have an office and he doesn’t, and the entire upstairs of our house is basically unfinished. We think, though we’re not entirely sure, that we’ve figured out a way to turn the upstairs floor (which is currently divided into two fairly large rooms) into two small offices and one big master bedroom. That would leave us with two children’s bedrooms on the first floor and a basement that said children can eventually destroy, thus saving my living room from wear and tear.

This change, if it’s even possible, is quite a ways off, which is fine since we’re still, nearly eight months later, getting used to managing the day-to-day responsibilities of being parents, homeowners, employees, and well-rounded grownup people. Oh, and Horde warriors, but that’s another tale for another day.

Back to those small offices. I’m not sure what The Beard will do with his other than fill it with expensive audio equipment and an ankle deep pile of papers, but I plan to actually work in mine since that’s what I do in my current, rather more expansive home office. Moving upstairs will mean some things have to go — like my freestanding bookshelves, for example. So what to do, what to do…

There’s this:

storyteller shelves

Isabel Quiroga’s Storyteller Shelves could be a fun DIY project resulting in some truly deep shelves. And cheap, too, if I have the patience to scour the classifieds for legged coffee tables that are just about the same width. Plus a similarly-sized desk. Overall, I love the look (not to mention the color!), and it’s something I’d consider if it happened that the Craiglist freebies board became inundated with shorty tables.


Would You Like Some Books to Go With That Wine?

Looking for a unique storage solution?

Ten Green is a modular shelving system that’s perfect for enterprising highbrow college students, almost everyone in their 20s, my mom, her girlfriend, my MIL… basically anyone who finds themselves with extra wine bottles lying around. Zero-Waste Design, in collaboration with Coach House Trust, designed shelves made from empty bottles and wooden planks, with no glues necessary. That means the shelves are adaptable, eco-friendly, easy to put together and take apart, and portable enough for those moving in and out of university apartments.

wine bottle shelves

You can find the DIY instructions linked off of Zero-Waste Design’s web site — both the technical drawings and the assembly instructions are there. It’s up to you to find the wood and the bottles needed for construction, but a combined trip to Home Depot and the local package store should net you everything you require.

The shelving system is designed for very simple construction, appropriate to the Trust’s facilities such that it could in the future be produced through one of their workshops. It uses reclaimed bottles and wood, and no adhesives, thereby becoming extremely simple to disassemble and reconfigure or reuse for other means.

See pics of different permutations of the Ten Green wine bottle shelves here!

Get Hooked

Fish gotta swim, bird’s gotta fly… and sometimes stuff has got to hang. Like coats. And keys on lanyards. Diaper bags. Even sneakers. Round these parts, we’re partial to using the largest size planter hooks as coat hooks because they end up looking interesting and different, but they cost a lot less than some other interesting and different options. Which isn’t to say that most coat hook options are that pricey. Check these out:

bach coat hookdart coat hookswooden coat hook
flip coat hookbird coat hookeye coat hook
colorful coat rackjardin coat rackchrome coat hook

My favorites are the dart coat hooks and the weird eyeball one. (As always, click on the pic for more info.) Now you tell me, where do you hang your hat?

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