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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.

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


     
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