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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bill 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.

How To Organize a Shared Closet

Thursday, February 20, 2014
his hers shared closetThe “His” and “Her” sections of a closet ( or His/His or Hers/Hers) come up frequently in a design consultation. Honestly, it's often a 2/3 Her and 1/3 His division.

But once you get past that, what about getting a handle on all the items you're hoping to store in this shared walk in closet?

Here are some ideas for creating harmonious space (and maybe even a better love connection).

If you're a husband and wife ensemble, you need to go through your “ensembles” together.

neatly organized shared closetsYour colorful fashion doesn't always allow enough space or access for his fundamental function. So, try on the clothing in question and get that second opinion. And be open. If your spouse hates the sorority/fraternity party shirt that looks like it  came from the movie Flash Dance, you should toss it. Same goes for his version of that.

Here's the upside of going down that path. It facilitates communication between the two of you. You can be honest with each other and avoid future arguments as you're ready to walk out the door. It also might shed some new insights on what your partner thinks is “hot”. How cool could that be (or hot?)?

As for specifics, focus on one person at a time. Allow a certain number of veto votes for those items you just love so much you can't dream of parting with them.

shared closet storage ideasAlso, put some “storage structure” into the closet. If you have a column of shelves for shoes and it allows a total of 24 pair until it's maxed out, then you now have a set number of shoes that are allowed in the wardrobe. If you buy a new pair, an old one needs to go.

Also, if you have double hang rods, consider having the top rod be “his” and the bottom rod be “hers”. The taller the person, the easier it is for them to reach the upper rod.

And be respectful. Don't just throw things on the floor that your partner has to step over when they enter the space. Either install some hooks somewhere or make it a point to either put things back on the hanger, folded back on a shelf or tossed into the laundry bin. The floor is no longer a choice!

By incorporating these strategies and putting in a few hours of time, you'll not only save yourself a ton of time over the long haul, but you'll likely improve your relationship. Sounds like a win/win!

2013 Angie's List Super Service Award

Monday, January 20, 2014
Closet Organizing Systems has been awarded an Angie’s List 2013 Super Service Award for a fourth consecutive year. We have been selected for achieving and maintaining stellar service ratings by customers in the Closets category.

Our top priority continues to be providing superior service to back our quality organizational products throughout Chicago and the surrounding areas. We pride ourselves in maintaining positive customer relationships which have resulted in this honor once again for a fourth year. 

Less than 5% of thousands of businesses earn this award which honors excellence among service. Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have to meet strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, a pristine rating from their customers and following Angie’s List operational guidelines. 

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued support and feedback. As our promise to you, we will continue to learn from our experiences together to keep on creating positive customer experiences. Thank you!

Six Design Trends to Keep Your House in Style

Friday, December 20, 2013

Have you've looked around your house lately and thought things needed an update? Maybe the pillows are tired and the accessories have been the same for years. Here are six trends to jump start your style.  Adding any of these elements will give both you and your space a lift.

brass fixture tie rack and knobselegant print interior design trend

The Big Brass Band we want to say “say it isn't so” - but it's true. Brass hardware has returned and is showing up in the latest home projects in a variety of way. If you like it, it's a pretty easy transition. You can switch out some handles, perhaps get a brass lamp and vase or candle holder. It will give you the update without the long-term commitment. Here we're showing the brass look inside a closet – just in case you want to make a longer term commitment!

Simply Elegant – think classic kinds of prints. These are great if they match your personality. They have good staying power, as anything classic does. Pictured here are window coverings from Home Decor.

gloss cabinet and table trends

Gloss – love this trend. Technology in material development allows for using gloss materials that don't require as big of a financial commitment as they used to. A great way to incorporate a small amount is to just do a few doors or drawers. Then in a few years, if you've planned correctly, you can change those out for a different material.

Bright Colors – another fun trend that's also somewhat driven by technology. We now have the ability to make all kinds of things in all kinds of colors. And bright isn't just for kids anymore.

antique home updating elementsman cave design trends

Antiques – perhaps this is a fondness for a simpler time when things seemed to move more slowly or an appreciation for the paths we have walked in order to get to where we are. And the paths our grandparents have walked. Antiques can honor family heritage or just be incorporated for beauty and tradition.

Sophisticated Man Caves – never really liked this term, but it seems to work for the men and that's what matters. Dedicating space that allows boys to be boys is a great idea on many levels. It continues to be in demand and evolving. We're seeing bar space and gadget space and an overdose of electronics. All fun and fancy.

Closet Obstacles Are No Hurdle For The Closet Organizing Team

Monday, November 18, 2013
maximize closet storage around mechanical componentsIn both new construction and remodeling projects, builders like to “hide” all kinds of mechanical things in the closet space.

Of course, that is frustrating to us because we are challenged to “maximize every inch” for the items that need to be stored within that closet.

But we're always up for a challenge, and we thought you might like to “see” the story of a very complicated one.

We designed some closet spaces in a downtown pied-a-terre for a client who is very specific about knowing what they want. And what they wanted was beautiful, functional closets. Real wood, custom stained to match the solid wood doors and trim in the home. And they wanted these closets to look as built in as possible, so backing material was essential in order to achieve that look.

So what's the big challenge?
reach in custom closet with recessed fuse panelmaster closet electrical obstaclesIn one of the Reach-In Closets there were nine obstacles that needed to be designed and built around. Those obstacles included a security system, a steam mechanical, and other electrical wiring for all kinds of technology in the home. In the Master Closet there was a large fuse box panel where we needed to have storage, as well as angled walls to contend with. Plus, the space was not large, they wanted as much behind doors as possible and they wanted angled shoe shelves (which take up more room) and drawers.

Talk about a puzzle. And talk about the need for a talented, dedicated installer (we love you Justin!).

So if you're building a new home or an addition to your home or doing a remodel, and feel like you MUST locate some of these kinds of things inside a closet space, here are a couple of recommendations:
  • electrical component storage space accessabilityPlacement should be as high up on the walls as possible so they don't interfere as much with functionality. They will be accessible if you need to get at them but, let's face it, you don't need to adjust the steam mechanical on a daily basis the way you change shoes on a daily basis. This allows for functional structure and storage to be designed and installed.
  • Plan Ahead - meet with your closet design professional BEFORE you have finalized any decisions with the contractor/plumber/electrician/AV professional. Communication between your team members almost always nets the best solutions. It's likely they will be fine with locating a mechanical up high. And if not, then have the space designed so the location of these mechanicals can “land” in a space that is not going to ruin the functionality of the space.

Organize Your Media Cabinet

Monday, October 21, 2013
Media Wall OrganizationMedia cabinets and closets are a place in your home where a couple of hours invested could net you lots of new storage space. And, perhaps, even some new entertainment value.

We all have a bit of “old media syndrome” - whether it's cassettes, VHS or DVD's (dare we not say 8-Tracks). We're so “full of media” that we often can't find the titles we're looking for when we want them. Plus most of us have outdated items that we'll never view or need to reference again (remember, you can find almost anything on line these days, with the exception of your personal wedding video, though perhaps you uploaded that to You Tube too!)

Here are some action steps to take that will bring your media in to the 21st century:

Get a couple of big shopping bags or boxes for sorting. One box is for any duplicates as well as for things you no longer have the technology to watch (like tapes that require a VCR) and don't love enough to pay to have transferred to new technology.

modern home theater solutionshome office media center

Second box is for those items you want to have transferred to new technology, along with a “by when” date that you'll get it completed by. We're not making a “to do” pile here. We're committing to getting organized, getting rid of and getting current. If you're really good with technology and have the time, you can do these transfers yourself. If not, you can take them to somewhere like Costco and get it done for around ten dollars each.

Third box is for the “keepers”. In order to really save space and time, you should take all of these out of their plastic cases and put them into binders with appropriately sized sleeves. They will be easier to find in the future and allow you more space to buy more media (who doesn't like that idea?). You can find media binders at places like Office Max or any other office supply store.

pull out media shelvingIdeally, you would organize things alphabetically. And it's a good idea to leave an open space every “here” and “there” so if you add something later, there is space. Be organized, but perfection is not required.

Also, consider accessibility. Make sure you have some storage low enough for kid's if you allow them to access the media. On the other end, don't go so high that you can't see what the media is or read the title. If you incorporate the binder idea, you can go higher because you'll be pulling down the binder and looking inside.

And don't get too specific in your media storage solutions. Face it, media is a result of technology and technology changes as fast as we can turn around. You want to incorporate design that isn't so specific that it can't be changed. Sometimes drawers can be “over-divided” and then your options become limited. You want organized spaces that have flexibility. Shelving that is adjustable and a combination of open and closed storage is ideal.

Good luck! And send us your pictures once you've re-organized. We would love to see your progress. And if you need help, give us a call at 866-521-4267 and one of our designers will schedule a time to discuss your project with you.

Garage Envy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

custom garage with urinalMost people who live in houses with garages aren't able to park their vehicles inside because they store so many other items in that space. On line sites like Yahoo put the number at around 50%. Other sources like Ask.com put the number as high as 85%.

Some can't park all of their vehicles in the garage because they have three or more vehicles (and bikes) and a two-car garage. Or they have to buy very expensive parking spaces in city environments and just can't swing the additional expense.

Of the people who aren't able to get the two cars they own into their two car garages, the biggest reason is because they have other "stuff" inside the garage. That stuff can include things like power tools and equipment to do yard work as well as children's toys, bikes, skateboards, bats and balls. You name it. It gets tossed into the garage.

Which makes this space even more prime for custom storage solutions. You need to take advantage of the wall space and even the ceiling space to store these kinds of items.

So here are some suggestions for creating "Garage Envy" in your neighborhood:

From a storage and function perspective

  • garage with slat wallShelving is a must. Solid shelving is much better than wire shelving because it can hold more weight and things won't fall through the open slots in the wire.

  • At least one section with doors and a lock are helpful because you can safely store chemicals and cleaning products and not have to worry about kids getting in to them by accident.

  • Another excellent way to utilize the walls is with a “Slat Wall”. This is plastic sheeting with grooves in it. The manufacturers make all kinds of baskets and sports equipment hooks and things so you can both see and store your items. And devices are adjustable and easy to move around, so as your kids get older and equipment and toys change, so can the location of your storage solutions.

From an "I want that" perspective

  • Add color. You can do it with the just the edgebanding or with the doors and drawer fronts or with the entire system. The garage is a terrific place to add a favorite color since the space typically involves lots of gray cement.

  • Add a television. And this can go beyond just the "game day gathering". If you're organized enough and have the space, having a television in your garage is a very cool thing that allows you to keep an eye on the game while still tinkering with your toys. What could be better?

  • Add a "dog wash station". Having a hose and water in the garage can be useful for cleaning up many messes, the most popular and frequent being hosing down that muddy dog before he sets paw inside the house.

     custom enclosed dog wash

We realize that most people don't have the resources to add these "I want that" features, but isn't it fun to look and dream? Or add some things to your Houzz ideabooks? Connect with us on our page for more ideas:
http://www.houzz.com/pro/closetos/closet-organizing-systems

Gift Wrapped Spaces

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
gift wrapping counterIf the saying that it's “better to give than to receive” is true, then having a dedicated space in your home that allows you to wrap gifts easily becomes a “must have” item because face it, we all know you're a “giver”!

So what sort of function is a must have in this space? Here are some great things to consider:

gift wrap kitchen cabinetHorizontal Surface Counter Top – you need a place to actually do your wrapping. So, make sure you incorporate counter top surface at a comfortable height that allows you to lay out a large piece of wrapping paper and spin your boxes around while your taping and attaching ribbons. And be sure you can comfortably stand in front of this space. An overhang on the counter top is helpful in this situation as is open storage below so you don't have to move out of the way to open drawers.

Wrapping Paper Rolls – these work well with one of two options. Either standing up in a drawer that is deep enough to keep them from falling over OR on a dowel or rod of some sort that allows you to  just pull the paper, tear the right size and wrap.

Ribbons – ribbon is really easy to access if you are able to have it on some kind of small dowel rod so you can easily pull the length you need. You just need to be sure that your rod is not bigger than the traditionally smaller hole sizes at the center of any spool of ribbon.
ribbon storage ideasribbon spool storage using laundry basket
There are also some additional interesting ideas for ribbon storage that you can DIY. Consider plastic baskets with holes that allow you to pull ribbon through the holes for access.  These photos can inspire some ideas of your own. We found them on Houzz, a really fun website dedicated to design and home improvement.

gift bag storage spaceBags and Bows – storing and accessing these is a slightly different approach. Drawers can work well for bows. Built-in vertical slots that allow you to “stuff” the bags is a great option, as is this mini shelf shown in the photo. 


stylish craft storage roomScissors, Tape and Other Tools – we like the idea of having some kind of peg board o in the wall or side of a cabinet that allows you to grab what you need, use it and hang it right back up in it's place. If that's not an option for your space, then baskets to corral things are also great because they can be easily moved around while you're working and then stashed back in their permanent location.

If any of these projects inspire you to become a more organized “giver” - then give us a call to set up a consultation to see how we can help.

Closets With Angled Walls and Ceilings

Thursday, August 01, 2013
Angled walls and ceilings present unique design challenges in closet space.

White Attic closet with hardwood floorWhat initially looks like great little “cubbie” space or “nooks” because of a curved wall or angled ceiling often ends up expensive to build out.

And it isn't always highly functional.
And here's why -
We all have specific items that need to be stored inside our closets. And these items “occupy” or “take up” defined amounts of space. For example, a pair of blouse that is 22” from shoulder to shoulder won't fit very well in a space that is only 18” deep.

In other words, just because you put a rod up in a location does not always mean that the hanging garments will fit within that space. If the rod is too close to the wall or a return wall isn't deep enough, the clothing may stick out in to a walkway or the hanger might not fit within the space.

So creating storage solutions in spaces that have angles can be tricky and require planning if you want to maximize function and have it look great.

Here are a couple of tips:

Dress shirts in attic closet-The industry standard rod height for short hanging garments is approximately 42” from the floor. Shirts and jackets require about 24” in depth in order to fit in to a space. Placement of rods should accommodate these parameters.

-If you are using panel material (like melamine or wood), the system needs to attach to the structure of the house for stability. So while a large number of closet systems are installed using what is known as a “hanging system”, this approach can't typically be utilized in situations with angled ceilings because you can't adhere the system to a flat, vertical back wall. That often means that a “floor-based” system is best because the panels go all the way to the floor and can be secured there so the system doesn't fall down.


attic master closet-Shelving units will typically need to have backing so items don't fall behind the unit and into any “dead space”.

-Low shelving doesn't always make sense. Attaching shelving to the walls within the space that has a straight, vertical wall is often difficult to access because it's low and you have to really bend down to get to it. The forward angle, or  pitch of the ceiling prevents easy access. If you go with this option, you should consider it for long term storage and larger items that you don't need to access on a regular basis.

-Less structure often equals more effective storage when it comes to angled and unusual spaces. We often have people who want to organize the space underneath stairs. They have seen some gorgeous pictures on sites like Houzz or Pinterest and want to re-create the look. While this is a need we can meet, it requires a serious budget. Custom designing and building something to fit so beautifully and specifically requires not only math and good machinery, but on site trimming and cutting as well as fillers and possibly even the making of templates in advance.

Attic closet storage nooks Attic closet organization

The more economical option is to plan to store larger items that you don't use on a daily basis (like holiday decorations) in this space. Put in some simple shelving that will allow for that.


     
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