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Award Winning Old World Charm In A Walk In Closet

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Top Shelf Award Winner - Old World CharmSometimes architects and homeowners have different views on how much closet space is really needed, and this project was a great example of that. The originally proposed closet space was about half the size of what we ended up with.  The client wanted separate His/Her areas, so plans had to be adjusted. 

What we did was extend the closet space into a loft area for “Her” closet space and converted some additional space in the master suite into “His” closet.

The new space for her was now much bigger, but it was narrow. She wanted to create a dramatic, elegant environment in harmony with the “old world” style of the home,  which included existing crown molding at the ceiling and Brazilian cherry flooring.

She also wanted the entire closet space to have doors and drawers, so that nothing was visible except the beautiful structure of the closet. But remember, the closet space was very narrow, so we advised against enclosing everything because it would be very difficult to access.

In our design plans, we wanted to visually “widen” the space so it didn't feel so narrow, so we utilized a mirror and columns with strategic placement.

Old World Charm - Summer Flame Melamine with Rubbed Bronze Accents

As you can see in the photos, we located the mirror on the back wall and flanked it by two columns. This served the important function that full length mirrors fulfill (allowing you to see yourself and your entire outfit – head-to-toe) and it gave us the illusion of more space.

Another strategic design decision we made was to lower the system height so you could still see the crown molding located at the ceiling.

We met her other storage needs by incorporating hampers and jewelry drawers. We also created separate wardrobe areas. One for casual items she wears frequently near the front of the closet and one for seasonal and formal items in the back areas of the closet.

And what materials did we use to create this beautiful space? A melamine called Summer Flame (along with thicker, 3mm edgebanding), glazed, raised-panel fronts and oil rubbed bronze accessories.  The client added her own black marble top and chandeliers to really put the fashionable finishing touches on her space.

This closet was so well designed and came out so beautifully that it actually won a Top Shelf Design Award, which we're very proud of. Carey Eckstrom designed this beauty and we're quite proud of her as well.

Purge the Pantry

Monday, October 20, 2014

The pantry is an easy place to pile things in to. And pile things on top of each other. Think about it. Most items in your pantry have an individual cost of under ten dollars each. They are items you've purchased with the rationalization that they are in the “food and nutrition” budget. Individually, they don't cost a lot of money.

luxurious wood pantryLaundry room pantry

There's also the element that you purchased them with the intention of either:

  • using the item to create a meal
  • have someone in your family enjoy it as a snack
  • include it as party of the food festiveness of one of your social gatherings
  • save you in a pinch when you have to serve something quickly and don't know what to make
So how do you keep your finger on the pulse of what's in your pantry and keep everything fresh and easy to access?

neatly organized white pantrypantry grouping items together

Here are some suggestions that will make it easier:

Expiration Dates – if the date has passed – out it goes. It's a great, non-subjective filing system.

Gourmet Glut – you know you've done it. Purchased something that sounded great while you were shopping on an empty stomach, grabbed something off the shelf that looked tantalizing but the instructions seem overwhelming and too time consuming for you to ever actually make. Out it goes.

Now group like minded things together. Canned vegetables in one area, boxed side dishes in another. Snacks in a basket or container of some kind. Not only does this help you organize and get rid of things, it helps you save time on future shopping trips because you can easily see whether or not you have cream of mushroom soup for the casserole you're making for dinner.

Donate – It's a storage designers favorite word. If it's the gourmet goodies you're letting go of, put them in a box and drop them off at a food bank or food pantry so someone can benefit. If it is items past their expiration date, take them immediately to the trash, never to be seen again!

Time for Textures

Monday, September 22, 2014

textured melamine mahogany White has been “where it's at” when it comes to color selection for custom closet space.

Not only is white a traditional color in its' sense of style and timelessness, but it's what most of our customers over the years have chosen to have installed in their homes.

And it's great. Truly. We love the simplicity of white.

But we've got a new excitement for “texture”; as in textured melamine.

Texture is all the rage right now in the home furnishings and design markets. Technology has allowed for the creation of materials that look lifelike and dimensional. They're fun and exciting and can bring your own sense of personal style to the closet or home office that you're working with us on.

They also have been created in colors and hues that are nature-like, but either dramatic or elegant. The colorings can be subdued and simple or contrasting and vibrant.These textured materials have the look and feel of real wood products at a fraction of the cost. That's a plus for your budget.

bathroom with textured melamine entertainment area with textured melamine

textured melamine reception area textured melamine walk in closet

Take a close look at the pictures. They demonstrate what the product looks like. However, it's really best to be able to see them in person, because then you can also “touch” them to feel what the texture is like. Give us a call if we can show you some new, creative options for your custom storage or closet project. Perhaps a new work space in your home with one of these wonderful options?

textured melamine wine rack


Tricks To Make Small Spaces Feel Bigger

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If you happen to live in a house that has a couple of bedrooms and a garage, perhaps even a basement and/or attic, then you have lots of places to put your “stuff”. And that makes it easy to buy “great deals” when you find them or add to your collection of holiday decorations on a whim.

But what if you don't have all that space? Where do you put not only the things you love, but your shoes and shirts? And how do you make the space “feel” spacious and comfortable without having stacks of items on every surface?

off white work play area work media space

Here are some great tips to achieve just that:

Create Zones

-Give some thought to the things you do and create space accordingly. Do you need space to work and if so, how much? Would you like a designated space for dining? There has to be a sleep zone, and a zone for relaxing is always nice.

-As you identify these, group your personal belongings accordingly and then incorporate visual cues like paint colors, floor rugs, even pieces of furniture spaced strategically to divide the zones in to their appropriate areas.

Trick Your Eye Into Seeing More Space

-Mirrors are a terrific and simple way to do this. They can be small or large. Wall mounted or sitting on tables. Singular or grouped together. You can place them on the wall at window height to create the illusion that there actually is a window in the spot. It expands the space. You can even put a large mirror on the wall next to the side of  your bed so it looks like an entrance to another room.

horizontally hung mirrors  multiple mirror wall grouping

-Hang curtain rods at ceiling height and hang curtains that are the full height regardless of where a window starts and stops. The vertical visual creates the illusion of bigger.

-Place your lighting strategically so your eye goes to different heights and locations in the space. You can do this by combining the use of floor lamps, table lamps and wall sconces.

Use Furniture That Multi-Functions

-A bench that also works as a table or tables that can be used as seating. Murphy (or Wall) beds are terrific space savers and the design options offered today are quite diverse. There's actually a Wall Bed that also serves as a desk. It's amazing. Here's a link to a video if you'd like to see it in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1QZCCB6QKw

wall bed

Build In Storage At Every Opportunity

-Display space is nice, but not as important as storage when space is tight. Keep in mind that you can “go up”, meaning that you can use the walls as “vertical storage” with shelving or cabinetry.

-Using baskets and boxes helps keep things looking nice and stylish while still functional and increasing overall storage capacity.

Combining even a few of these tips into your living space, whether large or small, will help you feel better, find things more easily and live life more stylishly.

And consider customization because custom storage options make use of every inch of space and can be personalized to fit almost any purpose. Give us a call if you'd like some help figuring out custom storage solutions for your living space.

Closet Lighting

Monday, July 21, 2014

closet task lightingDetermining your navy blues from your blacks seems like a minor thing in life – but walk out the door with a mismatch and suddenly it feels epic. Or foolish to say the least.

Good lighting is an important factor in getting the colors and hues correctly – so here are some guidelines to adding lighting into your closet so it's easier to pull together your outfits and show yourself in your best light.

So, where to start?

First, a basic introduction to get started.

There are three “groups” of lighting categories that we should first shed some light on. They are – LED, Incandescent and Compact Fluorescent. For those of you who want to know specifics, this link to a wonderful chart will help with that:

www.designrecycleinc.com/led comp chart.html

For those of you who are less concerned about details and more concerned about effects, LED is the “present” and the “future”. Its' predominant benefit is that it uses less energy than other light sources and lasts longer. It also doesn't get hot like most lighting does, which is a big benefit when putting lighting near clothing.

Then there's the aspect of what you want the lighting to do.

Is it task lighting? Ambient lighting? Are you not sure?

led closet drawer lighting shelf rod puck lighting

Here's the difference:

Task lighting is directed at a specific area to make it easier to complete a visual task, like determining if you have grabbed the navy blue shoes or the black shoes.

Ambient lighting is designed to illuminate areas of space in order to create certain effects.

For the majority of people with Reach In Closets or small Walk In Closets (5 x 7 or 8 x 10), TASK LIGHTING is the most appropriate.

So what choices do you have when it comes to task lighting?

Here are some great options:

cordless led lighting

Cordless LED Rechargeable Lighting (Hafele makes a product like this). There are magic words here. Cordless means you can put this anywhere and not have to be concerned about hiding wires. Rechargeable – we know what that means. And LED means long life (it also technically means Light Emitting Diode). All great contributing elements to a successful closet lighting venture. www.hafele.com/us/products/led-lighting-system-loox.asp

Recessed or Surface Mount LED Puck Lighting – Puck Lights have been around for a long time. They're shaped like they are named and work in a wide variety of situations.

Remote Controlled Lighting ( Rev-A-Shelf makes a product like this). This option is great for the gadget friendly amongst us. As you can see from the picture, there is a remote control that looks much like your car key Fob. This feature allows you to control your lighting from the remote from a distance of up to 30 feet. And it's dimmable, so you can have the results of task lighting with the added benefit of ambient lighting.

remote controlled led closet lighting

Closet Organizing Systems ranked one of America's Best Rated Closets Companies by Closets Magazine

Friday, June 27, 2014
Closet OS ranked America's Best Rated Closets Compaines

Closets Magazine has ranked Closet Organizing Systems in Bartlett, IL as one of the top closet organizers in their article "Finding America's Best Rated Closets Companies."  

Making sure our customers have an exceptional experience with Closet Organizing Systems is our ultimate mission as company. Our mention in this article is a powerful testimonial for our company, but it did not come without efforts from everyone focusing on quality of product and quality of service . A big "Thank You" to our employees and all of their efforts for making this acknowledgement possible.

http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-archives/closets-magazine-archives/Americas-Best-Rated-Closets-Companies-for-2014-261769981.html#sthash.jUUHRuDw.dpbs



Vintage Cars In An Award Winning Garage

Friday, June 20, 2014

custom vintage car garageGarages were created to protect cars from the outside elements while we're not driving them. Yet, most garages today are so filled with other household items that the cars are parked in the driveway and the garage is used for storage.

However, some people value their autos so much they build garages around the needs of the cars, and we were lucky enough to design and build such a project.

The owner is a vintage car collector who wanted a showroom quality space that could house not only his cars, but storage for all items needed to maintain the cars, as well as his collection of car memorabilia. And he wanted room to hang out and have “shop talk” as people visited and shared their love of everything automotive.

But when you think “car storage”, you have to go beyond the concept of just pulling your car into the garage. Way beyond. In this project we had to calculate the installation spacing of cars and a car lift system. We also had to  investigate and test a special Linex (TM) coating (which is a durable and liquid resistant countertop surface) to go on top of an MDF (medium density fiber board) core for the countertop.

showroom garage hangout  muscle-car-memorabilia-garage

In addition, we had to design the cabinets and spacing around his existing toolboxes, air and water hoses, and existing “slop sink”. But here's the topper – we also had to plan and build for a urinal cabinet area. Why go in the house when you can go in the garage, right? You know the saying – happy wife = happy life!

We manufactured the cabinetry out of a brushed aluminum melamine and used built-in J-Pull handles that were a powder coated black.

urinal garage cabinet areaThe manufacturing of the urinal cabinet is almost a story unto itself, as it had to have a waterproof lining and be contour shaped so someone could walk into it and use it. But wait, there's more!  We also built in cup holder space because when you're having this much fun, why be without your beer for even a minute?

Does that sound like a dream garage to you? Just give us a call. We can make you one too (and we won't tell your wife!).


Color Trends and How To Put Them Into Your Closet

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Since we like being on the leading edge, we're jumping ahead to 2014 to take a peak at what's trending on the color horizon and how that translates into your  home environment.

Color spurs emotion and creates atmosphere. It alters mood and impacts how we react to things, whether that's clothing or room design.

So what kind of mood do you think the country is in? What colors will be seeing a bit of a resurgence and which are a new twist?

Experts from Sherwin Williams (http://www.sherwin-williams.com) and the Pantone Color Institute (http://www.pantone.com) see the following:

shades of grey color pantones

Shades of Gray

You'll see more than 50 shades of gray and it has nothing to do with best sellers at Barnes & Noble. Gray in all its' shades has been making its' way back into environments for the past year and is coming on strong. Or muted, if you're being literal.

grey melamine closet trendThe closet industry has had a standard gray melamine offering for decades (though sales have not been very robust in recent years). So if you're really excited about this somewhat sedate color, you can do it very cost efficiently. And if you don't want to make too much of a commitment, mix it with some white or a darker wood tone for a contemporary spin.

You can also look at newer shades (remember, I said there are more than 50) to be on the leading edge of the trend, but your fashion-forwardness will require an increase in budget.

soft white color closet trend

Light. Delicate. Simple. Soft.

- These are the terms association with some of the Sherwin-Williams colors with names like “Steamed Milk”, “Balanced Beige” and even “Non-Chalant White”.

This trend is also easy to incorporate into your environments with materials that you can readily find (similar to gray). Of course, there are always new spins on standard offerings, but the budget-friendly options can still give a nod to your fine design aesthetic.

Science Meets Fantasy

Not just influenced by “green design”, but influenced by “bio-design” (inspired by nature at the molecular level), this color trend “incorporates a merging of architecture, industrial design and art that integrate living systems” according to Sherwin-Williams. Their new paint options include “Library Pewter”, “Relic Bronze” and “Sealskin”.

The pewter and bronze can be incorporated into custom storage solutions most readily through hardware (handles, hinges, accessories). Or, you could make a statement with one of these colors by selecting an on-trend material for your counter top surface. What I love about this idea is that you get the opportunity to select from the coolest material options with over-dosing on a trend.

brass fixture hardware trend

Cultural Ties

While America is often referred to as the “melting pot”, many of us embrace our roots and the culture in which we were raised. Honoring tradition and heritage through color is a great methodology. Colors include “Ceremonial Gold”, “Georgian Bay” and “Capri”.

The return of brass gives nod to this trend in terms of hardware, in both shiny and matte finishes, and includes several versions of oil-rubbed bronze. You can incorporate this into lighting fixtures as well.

So if you'd like to give a new “nod” to some of the space in your home – give us a call so we can come out and help you move in to what's trending.

Another Good Year for Closet Organizing Systems at the 2014 Top Shelf Awards

Monday, April 21, 2014

Closet Top Shelf Awards LogoBill Curran, was the winner with his project "High Gloss Garage" in the Garage over 600 square feet category and Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” in the Home Office under 150 square feet category.

We are pleased to be adding our latest 2014 Top Shelf Award wins to our previous awards since entering the contest a few years back. To date, this gives Closet Organizing Systems a grand total of 10 wins and 5 honorable mentions. Design winners were celebrated at the 2014 Cabinets & Closets Gala Awards reception in Somerset, NJ, during the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo. Awards are given to honor designers for their creative organizational solutions and woodworkers for their outstanding design, craftsmanship and execution. Each category is intended to highlight functionality and originality, as well as design.View our Top Shelf Design Awards wins from previous years.

High Gloss Garage Design Top Shelf Award 2014Custom Garage TV Cabinet with LED back lightingIn the Garage over 600 square feet category, Bill Curran took the win with his project "High Gloss Garage”.  This sleek custom garage cabinetry system includes high gloss red, black, and wire bronze finishes to achieve a modern high-end car connoisseur look. The countertops were finished with a Mayan dyed copper metal laminate and all drawer boxes were lined with black and red speckled vulcanized high-impact rubber matting. Some added features include integrated seating bench, personal beverage center, concealed hot/cold water retractable hose reel, and a wet/dry shop vacuum system.

The TV was also equipped with its own high gloss surround cabinet with tiered picture frame to further accent the garage colors. The TV cabinet has LED back lighting to make the TV appear as though it is floating in space. Red and Black mouldings were added to the upper soffit area to conceal a multi-color LED lighting for added ambiance. To finish things off two car lifts were installed for more good boy toys. View full article

    

Tom Mayfield's Top Shelf Award Home Office for Active Consulting Business design Impressing in the Home Office under 150 square feet category, Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for his “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” project. Some of the challenges included creating more efficiency, work space and elegance for the daily operation while including a separate work center for limited use from a much larger room to one with only 127 S.F.

pull out printer shredder shelves in Home Office designFor this design, we created an L-shaped desk with a separate work space for computer and manual tasks. The desk adjoined a credenza across the entire back wall that placed all working files and office equipment at his fingertips. A free-standing triple lateral file for retained records with a bookcase above was placed nearby on a side wall, and a TV screen was mounted on the wall for easy viewing. We also created a second work station for an out-of-town business partner consultant that could be easily disguised in an existing closet space when it was time for him to leave. View full article

Closet Organizing Systems will stay the course and continue to impress as we look forward to entering our latest designs in the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards competition.

Multifaceted Office Space

Thursday, March 20, 2014

office mudroom shared spaceThe customer had just completed remodeling an area at ground level of their home by combining smaller spaces off the kitchen area into one larger room in which they wanted to have a multi-purpose office room that would combine the diverse functions and needs for their business office, lockers, laundry, craft working space, and cabinet storage. A large window limited the space on one wall and a small alcove presented a creative challenge with real space limitations.

Each of the six areas needed to have a defined space that was large enough and complete enough to serve the needs of both the parents and their children. The area also serviced as command center for a variety of family activities in addition to a business office.

multi-purpose office room

One area of the space was set up with 4 lockers for the kids. Each would have three hooks for clothes and back packs, space for shoes, and a closed overhead cabinet. The seat bench laminate top crossed the entire width of the locker area and was tied into the adjoining office space. Bead board backing in the lockers, raised panel doors on the cabinets, and a crown and base moulding added a degree of elegance.

The office work area was placed in the corner with ample desk and counter space extending along each wall. The base cabinets provided space for file drawers and their printer on a pull-out shelf. The upper cabinets housed other storage needs along with mail sorting and slots for papers and envelopes. We added lights over the entire work surface and used the same marbleized laminate for the desk/counter top. The remainder of the office area provided space for 2 floor-to-ceiling closed storage cabinets with pull-out trays and shelves for a variety of business storage needs.

The hobby area double served as a business packing area for several people could work on projects concurrently. The Island unit had a multi-drawer section on one end for supplies and a closed cabinet at the other end was for larger bulkier supplies with space between the for stools on both side of the work surface.

shared hobby office area     office and laundry room combination

The laundry area was an alcove with a stacked washer/dryer and sink cabinet for laundry supplies. The customer needed more storage, so we created a closed cabinet mounted on castors that could easily moved to access connections for the washer and dryer. All elements in this area, even though in an alcove on a separate wall, had the same visual appearance as the rest of the room.

office space and hobby area storage     wrapping paper cabinet opened 

Finally, we had to find space for gift wrapping paper and supplies So we created a special base cabinet with a wrapping surface and large pull-out bin behind the cabinet doors that could hold multiple rolls of gift wrap and a tray for ribbon spools. A drawer at the top provided space for other needed supplies.

office floor to ceiling storage

Combining six entirely different multi-functional needs into one cohesive, efficient, and aesthetically attractive office space design where six family members could all be involved in different activities concurrently, with ample space to not interfere with one another, completely hidden storage, and no clutter.


     
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