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Closet Organizing Systems Blog

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?

How a Disorganized Closet Can Cost You Money

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Many of us would like to have closets that are better organized and dream of someday having a custom closet. But can a disorganized closet cost you money? In a way, it can.

A recent study conducted by Cooperative Insurance found that "3,000 women were surveyed and the results found that the average lady has 11 pairs of shoes worth nearly $660 sitting in our closets that have rarely or never been worn," according to Yahoo Shine.

So, what does this have to do with closet organization? It's simple - if your closet isn't organized you likely don't know how many pairs of shoes you actually own. If your shoes are buried at the bottom of your closet instead of arranged on a shelf in a custom closet, you may forget about a pair or two or twelve.

A custom closet solution will allow you to see all your shoes - making it more likely that you will wear the shoes you have more and less likely you will spend money to purchase shoes you don't really need.

Although, that may only be part of the problem. According to the study and Yahoo,
  • 37% of women buy shoes to cheer them up
  • 52% buy shoes specifically to go with a new outfit
  • 18% buy shoes to keep up with a trend
  • 10% buy shoes because they're plain old obsessed
  • 31% have knowingly bought shoes in the wrong size because they liked them
  • 22% have shoes all over the house and even in their car
  • 21% never get rid of old shoes
While an organized closet or custom closet solution may not help with all of the above, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

A Home Office That’s Working

Saturday, July 27, 2013
You do all of the work all of the time – so why not utilize home office organization to make your personal workspace really work for and with you.

Try these design and home office organization tips to increase your productivity:

1) Add Bins
- whether inside drawers or on shelves – be they leather or wire or wicker – bins become simple organizers that you can easily drop things into by category or topic.

2) Pop some wheelies – as in furniture that has wheels. Movable carts are easier to move and can be rolled with you and your laptop if you want to work in location other than your desk.

3) Go wireless and cordless – then there’s less to get hung up on! You have flexibility in both placement and function and nothing to hide, camouflage, route or add power strips for.

4) Think “Executive Suite” and add a table or console – either on the side of your desk – or behind you. It provides an added storage spot and can make you feel like the CEO that you know you really are!


home office organization by closet os

Make A Grand Entrance with a Closet Storage System

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Whenever you’re entering a space – whether it’s a room, a building or even a town – the initial impression has a big impact on your experience.

So don’t let piles of keys, phones, gym shoes and wallets make you feel unorganized when you enter your home.

Incorporate a closet organization system and these ideas to make it look and feel better:

1) Consider a closet storage system with doors and drawers. Then you can hide all the things people dump when company calls closet storage systemsimply by closing things up. And if you plan wisely (or get lucky) you’ll have an accessible electric outlet so those gadgets can be plugged in and charging while in hiding.


But if that’s not an option, try a recharging pad. Duracell, Philips and Powermat offer options.

2) Incorporate space for hooks – preferably staggered at two different heights. It’s the easiest way to get family members to stop throwing things on the floor.

3) Build in shelves for shoes. Shoes are notorious clutter bugs. Shelves provide an easy space to stash them and make life less stressful.

4) Reflect Beautifully! Adding a wall mirror – or some mirrored doors to your closet storage system – can be a nice touch of elegance and give you that “last look” as you dash out the door to face the day ahead.

Is There Dirty Laundry In Your Family?

Saturday, July 27, 2013
In some families, doing laundry is an everyday task – between fashion crazed teen girls who go through ten outfits in one day or boys athletic uniforms that need to be laundered after practice several times a week – it can feel like the Washer and Dryer are almost never shut off.

So how do you plan an effective space so doing laundry can be easy and stress free?

Consider the following:

-A horizontal surface for folding clothes – because let’s face it – many of those freshly laundered items need to be folded before they can be put away in your fabulously organized custom closets.

-A rod or valet rail to hang things on hangers right as they come out of the dryer –saves ironing time and decreases wrinkling. You can also use these for air drying items.

-Shelves for detergents and stain removers

-A built-in ironing board – or a space to store your ironing board and iron.

-A utility sink for hand washing

-Designate a shelf/hanging space for each family member. If they’re taught early on to take the clean clothes from their section of the laundry room and put them away in their bedroom, mom’s job just got a whole lot easier.

Here are a couple of before and after shots of a laundry room remodel. You would never know it was the same space, would you?

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