Monday, November 18, 2013

60 Our Storage Spaces: Under the Stairs Progress

Forgive me if I am full of obnoxious exclamation points today {yes, more than normal even}.  I am THRILLED!  We finished under our stairs!

As you know, we decided to take on the most neglected areas of our home, which included our utility room, under our stairs and the garage.  We are still in the middle of finishing all of those spaces as this has been no small task.  Our home has never looked worse... We have piles everywhere, have been eating quick dinners and falling behind on our everyday household chores.  That said, the progress has felt nothing less than amazing.  So far we have emptied all three spaces, sorted through every last bin, taken numerous trips to the donation centers and started tagging items with post-its as a temporary labeling system.

When I left you last time {you can read an entire jumbo update on the process here}, the area under our stairs had been cleaned out, and all of the items were temporarily living in the kid's playroom.



Because this closet is right off of my studio, I decided to dedicate this area to storing everything related to crafting, blogging and projecting.  Hoping for a gift wrap and packaging station and drawers full of happiness, this little space would have to pack a lot of storage punch.

We work in random ways around here, and divide and conquer when we can.  Finishing under the stairs was all about that.  My hubby owned this one for the most part, while I was on mommy duty by day and hutch painting duty by night.

I would quickly pop in and see the night-and-day progress as he worked, I would try to snap a quick photo each time.  Although I am sure it was much more exciting for me to see the progress, I thought I would share a few of the in-progress shots here as well.

This space is incredibly challenging to photograph.  Small, funny angles, no natural lighting, limited places to stand....

Here is the space after the sheetrock was hung.  It instantly made the space feel different, and I couldn't tell if it made it feel bigger because it was lighter with clean lines, or smaller because all of the open studs were closed off.


The Mr. walled off under the slope a little early, as it was easier than trying to sheetrock all of the way down the angled slope of the stairs to the floor.


Although it doesn't look big, this area is 3 1/2 feet wide.  Above you can see it after it was taped, mudded and sanded.

Once my hubby was done finishing the walls, I gave the entire interior a couple of coats of paint.  I went with the same color that is on the studio walls, Behr's Reflecting Pool.  Because the ceiling sloped, I decided to paint the entire interior the same color, which actually made it feel so much bigger!


Oh yeah!  We also trimmed it all out!  That was all it took for me to start bustin' a joyful move.


We also installed a new light.  Finishing touches are what these types of projects are all about.  I went with a semi-flush mount chandelier and it makes the little closet area feel nice and glam.


I love just standing under it!  It lights the space wonderfully and even casts fun shadows around the walls.


And that is where we left off last night!  Finished walls, trim, details and lighting.  And one over the moon wife!

As I mentioned, photos are not displaying the size of the space adequately.  It is actually pretty spacious at 3 1/2 feet wide by 8 3/4 feet long.  After triple measuring, here is the plan I came up with for phase 2 of this project:

I am still on the fence about whether or not I want to keep the door to the closet area.  It opens out into the studio so the benefit is that it doesn't compromise storage under the stairs.  However, it also hides clutter, which could be a good or a bad thing.  And the space is essentially going to be an extension of the office so I kind of like the idea of removing it all together.  Only time will tell I guess!

Looking directly into the area, I am going to add a cabinet/bookshelf, which I am hoping to turn into a packaging/gift wrap station.  Directly to the right of that, all of the drawer systems shown in the playroom photo above, will stack and run along the slope of the back wall.

This plan should hopefully allow for me to maximize the potential storage space, while also keeping everything easily accessible.  The problem I have had with all of these storage areas in the past, is that nothing was easy to get to or maintain.  Bins were stacked on top of and in front of one another which would cause things to pile and make it more challenging to get to the items towards the back.... The new setup creates a little path in front of all of the cabinets and drawers, giving me zero excuses to not put things away when I am done.

Over the next couple of days I am going to be putting everything back into my super fantastic finished storage space.  You can bet the kids are going to be excited to have their playroom back; their toys have taken over every other area of our home.  And mom is going to be excited to have a good system in place because chaos and I go together like oil and water.  Let the happy dancing commence!


60 comments:

  1. I love your posts, they always seem to put me in the mood to clean and organize. Whenever I'm lacking motivation, I just flip through some old posts and somehow I'm ready to go! It also makes me miss Wisconsin (we just moved to Texas) - please post some snow pictures this winter!! :)

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    1. Oooh! Enjoy the warm winter! I tend to hibernate, but I will try and sneak out for a snow photo or two for you! ;)

      xo!

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  2. It looks beautiful! I hope our under the stairs/maintenance room looks as good as yours when we're done.

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  3. I love a good closet overhaul. I desperately need to tackle every one in my house. Can't wait to see the final reveal and get some good ideas! www.styleoyster.blogspot.com

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  4. Under my stairs is my gift wrap and craft storage too! And it is currently on my list of things to re-organize in the very near future. I love your cabinets-I am going to see if I can get something similar set up for mine!!

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  5. Hi Jen,
    I'm loving the progress for this project and can't wait to see more of it. Also, I'm loving the little updates you made to your blog design. I heart gray :)

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  6. Hip hip hooray! I'm so super inspired by this project. It is my fave yet because these same spaces are the Joker to my Batman persona (nemesis indeed). Eager to see files/organization in place. You go girl.

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  7. I'm working on the same thing... just got our hardwood floors put in so we had to empty this annoying messy closet and i'm putting all my camera stuff, gift wrap and kids school supplies in there. Can't wait to see what your's turns out to look like!

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  8. That is exactly like my master closet (we made our den into our master bedroom). We have both my husband's and my hanging clothes in it and all of our shoes. Plus my wedding dress, photo albums and my gift stash. Even though it's small it fits quite a lot.

    -Amy

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  9. This is so wonderful! I am going to share this with my guy because a bit of work makes SUCH a difference!

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  10. I LOVE watching this all unfold. You really keep us waiting on pins and needles for the next installment!

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  11. This post is very motivating. That awkward space is always a tough one to make useful but you have done that and more! Love the light fixture!

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  12. I always look forward to your posts! You have such great ideas; and I'm happy to see these projects don't happen overnight! Phew ;)

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    1. Thank you Aaryn! Oh, and projects do take awhile, I try to tell myself we believe in quality over quantity {really it is because life with three boys is crazy fun}. Haha. Does anyone know of a magical project fairy? That would be awesome! :)

      xoxo!

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  13. Oh my goodness...love! And that light!

    ~Sarah

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  14. Your closet looks amazing! I can't wait to see your organizing plan in action once all of your stuff is in there. And that light is SO glam! LOVE.

    P.S. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who gets behind on everything when I have a big organization project going on! ;)

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  15. LOVE IT!!!! Would love a space like this in my home... and a hubby motivated to do it!! he he!!! Can't wait to see the next step! :)

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  16. Love love love your blog.. I am just wondering if the writing where you explain where everything is going to go is in your own handwriting or if it is a Font?
    If it is your handwriting you really need to make it into a Font.. if it is already a Font, what is the name of it?
    Thanks Heaps from an Aussie Girl

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    1. Thank you Sally! Not my handwriting {although, I wish it was!}, the font is Pea Tolman.

      xoxo!

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  17. Love that chandelier! It makes the entire space seem like it's not for storage at all :)

    Re: door, maybe replace it with a curtain instead for easier access, but can be pulled over the entryway to conceal?

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    1. In my apt I removed the door to our pantry/ laundry room to accommodate my cats litter boxes. I hung a super cute thin curtain that hid the room, but allowed easy access.

      - Megan

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    2. Absolutely considering this as an option. I think it would add a nice softness that is currently missing in the space. :)

      xo!

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  18. Jen, your space room looks so much better! I would love to see what's next in your space room soon :-)

    Joyce

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  19. Jen, This is so exciting to watch! I love the transformation so far and the amazing picture looking up at the chandy! I vote for removing the door and replacing it with a curtain and tieback...best of both worlds...open when you want...closed when you want...plus, a fun excuse to find a pretty fabric!

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  20. That's such a perfect storage area. I can't wait to see how your amazing organizing skills transform that space!

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  21. I absolutely love that light fixture! Looks so pretty! Can't wait to see the reveal. You're such an inspiration!

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  22. That is awesome! How about remove the door and put a curtain in? This way you can add another fun/print design texture to this area?

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  23. I used to have that exact closet.
    We used to call it the Harry Potter Closet.

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  24. I can't wait to see the finished product!! Lots of exclamation points!!!!!! That chandelier is awesome!
    xoxo
    Rachel

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    1. Thanks for sharing in my excitement Rachel!! <3

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  25. I thing removing the door altogether would be a great idea! You could add a curtain panel so it would add more texture and color (which I know you love)! You could add a curtain draw-back hook thing (I don't know the actual name for it) and leave it pulled back or let it hang!

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  26. Wow - this makes me want to redo every closet in our house! I vote no door - the light fixture, the beautiful paint and all of the accessories are going to look so great I say make it an extension of the room. Also - that will help with keeping everything in its place if you make it another visible area. Love it - thanks so much for sharing.

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  27. Hi Jen!

    The storage area looks so amazing already! Can't wait to see the finished product.

    I was wondering what software program you used to create the plan/layout of the shelves and storage units? I am hoping to use something similar to design a media stand I would like to get custom built.

    Thank you!

    Stacey

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    1. Hi Stacey!

      I whipped it up in Excel. :)

      xo!

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  28. Love how this project is turning out! The door on the closet may hide the "clutter" but it depends on what works best for you. Having it open may keep you more in check with keeping it organized and it may make the studio feel more complete. I know for me, if I can see all of the objects, I have to reorganize it daily, which distracts from other tasks. Having the concealed storage helps me keep it organized and not give myself a heart attack (definitely a minimalist at heart, I tend to over purge objects). Can't wait to see the completed pictures!

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    1. I feel the same way. I can't focus or work if I am surrounded by messes or clutter. I am very easily distracted. :) But I also think that the direction I am heading with the closet will make it feel less like a closet, and hopefully a very happy storage space. At least whatever I decide can be easily updated down the road.

      xo!

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  29. Jen! This is an exciting post! So much storage goin' on in that plan -- so practical. I do hope you share every detail of the cabinetry/shelves when you finish it! I am in dire need of something similar! Although, I'm thinking about also putting a system like this in my office so I could make it a craft room/office storage...so I'm glad your closet is getting glammed up! :-) Looking forward to this makeover!

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  30. Very nice project! Good luck with it and can't wait to see the big reveal!

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  31. The light is beatutiful! Only you can do this! Thanks!

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  32. Wow! Looks amazing. I wish I could hire you to come to my house!!

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  33. Question!!- Do you think that light would be big enough for a bedroom?? Thanks!! Love it!

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    1. Hi Jacqueline!

      The light only holds a single candelabra bulb, so my guess is it wouldn't put off enough light in a larger space. I think it was intended for smaller rooms/areas.

      xo!

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  34. The light fixture is sooo pretty!!!! I can't wait to see the finished space, and keep pushing through! You're almost there! :)

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  35. What a great start to what looks like is going to being another fabulous space! You may want to keep the door as it could be another surface to hold organizing implements if needs be?

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    1. I have definitely thought of that also. At least whatever I decide can easily be updated down the road. :)

      xo!

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  36. It looks fantastic, great job! Can you please share your solution to your "secret stairs" for a handrail? The hubs and I are in the beginning stages of ripping up the carpet and retreading our stairs. The only glitch...I can't decide on a handrail solution that looks fresh against the white backdrop of the walls. I searched your post on this for inspiration and I couldn't find your solution. If you don't mind sharing, I'd appreciate it. Again, thank you and your honey for caring so much to share your world with all of the folks like myself. I truly appreciate it:)

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    1. Thank you!

      We actually put on a temporary railing until we get our final one finished, installed and blogged about. :) We are planning on doing something similar to this: http://www.oldtownhome.com/2011/6/1/Hold-On-Tight-Staircase-Wainscoting-and-Handrail-Project/index.aspx

      xoxo!

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  37. WOW, what a transformation Jen! That chandelier is astoundingly gorgeous & what a buy at Home Depot I see! Can't wait to see the rest of the room & the story! Outstanding!

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  38. I have an awkward area such as this under the stairs.. thanks for the inspiration. Can't wait to see the end result

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  39. What a great use of space. I would never have thought of that.

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  40. I am really excited about this project! I look forward to seeing how it turns out...I am all about small spaces!
    http://deepinthewoodsofbelltrees.wordpress.com/

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  41. On the door / no door question: What about a curtain? That way, you could have your cake & eat it too! You could have it hiding the space when you want to, or, you could pull it to the side (using a drapery holdback or a rod extending farther to the right of the door). You could even tie a big knot in it for a bloom-like fluorish. :)

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  42. a sliding door perhaps?

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    1. Oh yes! I initially wanted to go that route, however, we have a few obstacles preventing that from happening. My desk on the exterior of the closet is built-in, leaving no room for a door to slide open and on the interior we have electrical in the way, which also prevents us from going the pocket-door route.

      Thanks for the suggestion!! <3

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  43. This looks great! I am jealous of the way your under stair storage is. Our door is at the end (so where the top of the stairs are, so it makes getting in to the back that much more of a challenge. You have given me some ideas, though, so I am excited to see the next installment (and I read in order to keep with the suspense :)

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  44. oh i love love that lighting fixture jen♥ and i cannot wait to see the outcome of this humongous storage space!
    huggies♥
    rea

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  45. I'm loving your gold bin organizer! I have a similar one in silver from the Container Store but at $200+ for a small one, I was wondering if you have a suggestion for something similar which would be more appealing to fugal husband?
    Thanks,
    Karon

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    1. Hi Karon!

      I also have a much more expensive Elfa option from The Container Store in our master bedroom closet, which I love, but that was not an option in this space due to cost. I found that IKEA had a few much less expensive options, that seemed to be fairly similar in function. We ultimately went with this system: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/11468/

      Although you can tell a difference between the expensive version and the IKEA version, not enough for it to matter to me. :) I love the way the new storage is panning out.

      xo!

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  46. Thanks so much for the info, off to Ikea I go!

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  47. I love how you had a plan with where you wanted everything to go. I am really hoping to position like things together and store them in one place instead of all over the house. I would really like to see a picture of phase 2 under the stairs and what did you do with the shelving the paint was on before you moved it to the laundry room.

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