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Closet Organizing Systems Blog

Sometimes Simple is Stunning with Your Closet Design

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Yes – it's true - sometimes simple solutions really make us happy.White Melamine Closet

And simple in the closet world often equates to utilizing white melamine to build the closet systems.

White melamine also happens to be the most popular kind of closet system installed in the U.S. (to the tune of about 75%).

Popular US Closet Option-MelamineThat's not to say that colored melamine or wood aren't great options – they are.  But take a look at the beauty that can result from doing white right.

It's the finishing touches and attention to detail, along with terrific closet design work by Donna Siben of our closet design team, that makes this closet work so well.

There are specific spots for shoes and for bags and for boots, along with drawer storage, shelving behind doors and plenty of hanging space.

White Melamine Closet bring beauty and sophisticationThe system is floor based to add to the built-in look.  Granite tops on the island and dresser really upgrade the look without adding lots of cost and then there's the crown and base moldings.

Moldings in any room really add to the beauty and sophistication. And they are a finishing detail that really White Melamine Closet Optionsgive a custom look and feel. There are an almost endless amount of choices if you're looking to add a base or crown molding to your project. They come in many sizes and can look contemporary to traditional and almost anything in between.

So if you're ready to solve your storage solutions challenges and want a sophisticated closet solution, give us a call or Request a Free Design Consultation and we'll guide you through the design maze and help you define the details that truly make it your own.

Incorporating Feng Shui Into Millwork

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

These very balanced and beautiful spaces started with just stark drywall and a concept of architecturally tying together an existing kitchen with new living and working spaces.   

The client has a strong affinity to living life in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui (in Chinese thought) is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi), and whose effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

So that thinking was woven into every design element.  We made sure we had clear pathways and balanced elements.

We also designed a two-sided fireplace, so that this powerful symbolic element could be enjoyed from both the living room and the home office.

Fireplaces are often the center of attention for any room, and this is not just because our ties to the fire element go back to the beginning of time.  Fire energy adds a strong presence to any room and is beautiful in its’ coloring and changing shapes.

Not only do fireplaces radiate heat, they blanket an atmosphere with feelings of stillness and comfort and the crackling sounds are peaceful and relaxing.

The wood on the walls that surround this feature is Sapele.  Sapele, which comes from a large, African tree, has a reddish-brown nature color.

One of the most remarkable features of Sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular intervals. You could consider it very harmonious with a fire element because fire changes shape as an inherent property of what it is.

The praying Buddha was added by the client with the intention of serving as a symbolic reminder to practice meditation so it’s easier to live a life of balance and harmony.

Buddha literally translates to “enlightened one” and the higher off the ground a Buddha statue is placed, the more reverence it holds in the life of the owner.

 

10 Characteristics of Traditional Design

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It’s common to find traditionally built homes in many Chicago suburbs.

And that often means traditional décor – closets included.

What elements make up “traditional” style?

Here’s a great list. Keep in mind, the more you find appealing on this list, the more likely you favor this popular style.

1. Nothing is extreme. Not color, not shape, not size. It’s more middle-of-the road.

2. It is a mix of straight and curved lines and the wood grains and coloring are mid-range to dark tones.

3. Accessories play a significant role as features with this décor. This shows up in trims, moldings and clear glass. It also shows up as accessories of all types being displayed.

4. The display features show up in pairs in an understated, not too heavy, kind of way.

5. This style feels comfortable to almost any age. Think timeless.

6. Corner cabinets and chair rails show up often in traditionally styled homes.

7. White ceilings are the most common color.

8. Reproductions of historically original pieces are a mainstay (another, more common term for these items is “knock off”). Maybe it’s a replica of a desk Thomas Jefferson used or an architectural element that dates back hundreds of years. It’s recreated to mimic the original piece and incorporated into today’s homes.

9. Things match. So not only do they come in pairs – they go together!

10. No surprises. There’s predictability to traditional style that yields a very positive element. The ride is typically smooth.

So if you feel yourself nodding in agreement, not only with most of the items on this traditional list, but wanting your closet or home office to look like the ones we’ve created, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you discover a custom storage solution with your style in mind.

Contemporary Design Elements

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Contemporary Design Elements

 A custom closet can take on any look and feel a client wants.  It depends   not only on the budget and space available, but the personal style preferences of the homeowner and the style of the home itself.

Many basic closet systems fall into a somewhat contemporary feel because of the simple lines. And lines are the most obvious characteristic of contemporary design.  But here are some additional aspects to think about if you’re considering creating something contemporary:

-As much as we might overuse the term in the Chicago area, less really is more when it comes to contemporary design. It’s not about having lots of detail or décor elements.  It’s about editing so that there are only a few, key elements that really stand out.  Sometimes even just one element that stands out.  So think less about “stuff” and more about “statement”.

-Subtle sophistication is a true component of this style.  This is often interpreted through a neutral color base that is punched up with a shot of color in one or two places.

-Existing architectural elements can really serve contemporary design execution if they include things like exposed brick, which provides a natural texture, or high ceilings, which are a common component of contemporary design style.

-Geometry also comes in to play in contemporary design.  The shapes that show up in homes that are contemporary are typically angular or straight, versus the curves often associated with more traditional design.

If these elements appeal to your style sensibilities, you’re likely a fan of contemporary design.

Designing Harmonious Spaces

Monday, July 29, 2013

We all like our homes to feel good. A natural state of “flow” contributes to that home-like, peaceful feeling that says “welcome” when we arrive at the end of a long day.

But if you live in a house that's in an urban environment or is of smaller square footage, this design effort can take more energy because functions in the rooms often overlap.  Or you can easily see from one space to another and you want it all to look like it works together.

And that's the case with this project designed by our team member, Carey Eckstrom.  The client showed Carey a photo of something she liked and Carey used that as the inspiration for these two wall units – one in the bedroom and one in the adjoining home office space.

The client liked the wider vertical dividers, the crown and base molding and the open feel of the upper shelving.

And you can see these elements incorporated into the final designs for their own spaces.

Another feature that adds to the great function of these designs is the clipped corners. By making the ends with 45 degree angles instead of squared-off 90 degree angles, the space feels softer and the pieces fit more easily into the flow of the room.                                           

Carey also took into account the location of the bed when designing the wall unit that's in the bedroom, making sure that the TV was in the sight line with the bed for comfortable viewing.

Both units are manufactured with solid cherry wood veneer with solid wood doors/molding and matching melamine interiors.  This “hybrid” approach saves costs because only the parts you see are actually wood (a more expensive material).

Another feature that really adds to the custom look of these pieces is the built-up columns.  Adding the width on the vertical pieces that divide the sections makes the units feel more substantial and clearly adds to the uniqueness.

So if you're looking for some unique storage for your home, give us a call and we'll design something equally as beautiful and functional that solves your storage challenges.

Six Tips for Crafty Storage Spaces

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Designated space designed for activities like scrap booking and gift wrapping is increasingly popular.

And if you’re one of the lucky people who has a space that can be utilized for these activities, here are some suggestions on what to consider as you implement your design plan:

1) Define what kinds of crafts you’ll be doing in that space and what kind of equipment/tools and storage you will need in order to be able to enjoy utilizing your space while being efficient at the same time.

2) Figure out location and size of work surface (where it will be located in the room and how big it can be). Will this be a large table or a custom laminate surface?

3) Storage. Determine what kind you need and where it should be located. If the room has a Reach-In closet, you should vary the shelf depths inside that closet so you can store large items on deeps shelves, yet be able to easily access small items on shallow shelves.

4) Utilize wall space to help keep you organized. Install a “tool rack” of some sort with hooks on the wall nearest your work surface so you can easily grab what you need to work on your craft.

5) Task lighting should be accessible on your work surface so you can see detail in anything that needs close up attention.

6) Share your goals, pictures and things that need to be accommodated with your storage design professional so they can guide you through the process to a successful completion for an artsy-craftsy space that your friends will wish was theirs!






Custom Closet Designs That Involve Obstacles

Saturday, July 27, 2013
In the world of work, there are typically two kinds of days.

One that is routine- you have a good handle on the tasks that need to be completed and go about getting those things accomplished.

The other is often referred to as “one of those days” – where things don’t go as planned are often filled with putting out one fire after another or coming up with ingenious solutions to complicated problems.

And closet design days can be that way too.

Sometimes it’s a straightforward Walk In Closet that needs hanging, drawers and shelves.

And sometimes it’s a closet that’s filled with all kinds of obstacles (like steam mechanicals, security panels, return vents and electronic panels for stereo systems and computer technology).

So when most people are presented with complicated work challenges – they put on their thinking caps. Closet designers do that too, along with pulling out their tape measure, angle finder, camera and video recorder and get to measuring and calculating right there on the spot.

This closet project was like building a box inside a box.

What that means is that the client wanted the system inside this Reach In Closet to go wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling and be the full depth of the space.

custom closet obstacle design

And they wanted all the obstacles to be accommodated – so we had to work both in the shop and in the field to make this function properly and look beautiful.

The material used on this project is a custom-stained cherry wood, which makes things a bit more delicate to work with.

Trim around the obstacles had to be cut and added from the field once the panels were put in place and we knew accessibility was accurate.

And, as you can see from these photos, we created beautiful custom storage solutions that accommodated the needs of the client.

custom closet design Chicago


Chicago Custom Closet Design with Screen to Machine

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Most of our clients have the same priorities when they consult with us to create custom closet organization storage solutions – increased function and space maximization.

They want to make sure that they can not only fit in all the “stuff” they already have – but want room to add more in the future.

They also want their Chicago custom closet design project to look good, work properly and fit the space.

chicago custom closet design
And all of those ultimate goals are achieved by starting each Chicago custom closet design project with a solid method of manufacturing.

At Closet Organizing Systems, we utilize a method that’s known in the industry as "screen to machine”.

What that means is that the computer design program is fully integrated with the technology of the machinery. Computerized code is sent directly from computer to the CNC woodworking machinery. All variables are calculated with high precision accuracy for results that are top quality.

After we meet with you for your Chicago custom closet design consultation, we utilize software to create a detailed drawing that gives you an idea of what your closet will look like.

Once you sign off on that design paperwork, our engineering takes over to produce a more detailed set of internal fabrication drawings.

We don’t just rough sketch something out and cut it with a saw.

We calculate the most efficient way to layout (referred to as “nesting” in the woodworking industry) the shelves and panels so we get the most from every sheet of material. This allows us to not only give you the best price possible, but it reduces our waste, which in turn contributes to our “green” efforts.

If your project is complicated (let’s say there’s some fluted columns involved) our technology allows us to calculate hinge location and spacing, along with rabbets (which are similar to a Dado, which is a groove cut in to one piece of wood that allows another piece of wood to fit snugly) and edgebanding tolerances that are within a sixteeth of an inch.

Now, honestly, most people are not concerned about tolerances within a sixteenth of an inch - but doesn't it give you peace of mind to know that we do?

Pre-Built Work as a Blue Print For Success

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Having custom millwork made for your home can happen in a variety of ways.

One option is to have your local trim carpenter do the work while they are actually in your house.

This option involves designing and making the cabinetry without a detailed master plan and the use of precision woodworking machinery. And it lacks the controlled environment to build and finish to the highest industry standards.

It also typically involves a great amount of sawdust and noise because work is actually taking place and things are being created on site.

Another option is to have things engineered and pre-built. However, transforming an idea from paper to product takes skill, expertise, and a firm grasp of cabinetry and construction technology.

Here’s why having truly custom, pre-built cabinetry, is a better blueprint for success:

custom cabinet solution

Stability – having cabinets that are manufactured in a shop allows things to be put together in a more solid way – with things like rabbits and biscuits (even though those sound like things that are fuzzy and edible – they actually increase the rigidity of a cabinet). Additional bracing and support can be easily identified during the pre-build phase as opposed to an afterthought in the field.

Longevity – something that is fabricated and built in a shop means that things are created under optimal conditions using state of the art woodworking machinery and skilled craftsmen – and that means they will last a lifetime.

Finish Quality – any piece that is finished in a dust controlled spray booth and with a finishing specialist will have far superior quality than anything that’s ever done in the field. You just can’t get the optimal conditions and environment for creating a beautiful finish when you’re doing the work inside someone’s home.

Less Guesswork with Upfront Engineering – if your cabinetry is made in the shop, it’s fully designed ahead of time and incorporates all aspects that need to work together to create a truly custom solution. It’s also easier to install because it’s a set of solid box
es, not a conglomeration of loose pieces and field guesswork.

custom cabinet solution chicago il

How To Get the Best Results from your Built-In Home Improvement Project

Saturday, July 27, 2013
The decision to have a custom storage solution designed and built in your home can bring you long lasting results and satisfaction.

It can also be a daunting process because you’re working with someone to “create a one of a kind original from nothing”, so to speak.

You’ve got the designated space where you want this storage solution to “live” – and you likely have an idea of the kinds of things you need stored there (files, books, clothes, electronic equipment, etc.).

Now you need a design/build professional to work with to make this all happen.

The most important variables to consider as you’re working on this project are form, fit and function.

Form

This is the “look” and “feel” you want your project to have.


- Do you want it to blend in with the rest of your décor, or stand out and make a dramatic statement?

- Do you like a rustic, knotted wood or a smooth, high-gloss, lacquered finish?

- Do you want open storage, closed storage, or both?

- And what about shelves, drawers and doors?

An experienced design consultant can guide you through this part and will be sure to ask you all the questions that you didn’t even know you had to answer!

Fit

Making sure a built-in fits the space is crucial – otherwise – it’s no longer a built in – it’s a mistake.

All obstacles need to be considered in terms of allowing access and making sure the pieces are manufactured so they work and fit correctly. This includes outlets and vents as well as sprinkler heads and anything else that resides in that space.

Any special AV or office equipment that will be stored within the units need to be measured and incorporated into the design – so there’s no such thing as “it’s just a standard printer” or “40” flat screen” when communicating with your designer. We need to know the precise measurements of any special equipment that you plan to incorporate into the design.

Function

Function is the place where a skilled designer can really take your project to the next level. Any woodworker can make a box and add shelves or drawers. It takes experience to know that 24” deep shelves aren’t good for much in a closet space unless they pull out. And that shallow shelving as well as deep shelving increase functionality in areas like pantries and home offices. And that corner shelves in lower cabinets end up becoming “big, black holes”.

Having an experienced design consultant, like one of the team members at Closet Organizing Systems, that can work with you to make your dreams come true – is – well – quite frankly – a dream come true.

So how can we make your dreams come true?


     
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