Over the last two months, we’ve talked about other uses Canadians find for their tiny homes, such as adapting them for use as an office. We also discussed considering a tiny house for your primary residence. This month’s newsletter is all about storage ideas inspired by the tiny house movement that we can all use – in a traditional home, office, or a tiny house.
Let’s start with furniture. Booth-style seating, benches and ottomans make wonderful storage units. Most often they are box-shaped and naturally lend themselves to keeping linens and blankets in a guest space, family games and toys in a den, and table dressings in your dining area or kitchen. Even beds come with built-in drawers underneath while headboards with shelving and nooks are easy to find. Coffee tables with built-in drawers or ones made up of hollow cubes offer both practicality and style.
Look up for further storage opportunities. If building, consider cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling. Many people don’t think to do this since we’re accustomed to seeing them only coming up so far, with plenty of (wasted) wall space above. Extra-tall cabinets, or an additional shorter set mounted above the main wall cabinets, provide much appreciated extra space for items used less frequently.
In the March 2018 issue of this newsletter (http://www.go2d4.com/2018/03/01/simple-secret-safe-place-hide-valuables-home/), we talked about hidden storage for securing valuables when leaving on a vacation. One example offered in that issue was the use of the unused space behind the toe kick in your kitchen, immediately below your lower cabinets. This area can just as well be used for holding items you won’t use often. Yardsticks, measuring tape, a small hammer and a screwdriver come to mind.
Another potential (and larger) place to store household items is your staircase. Most are constructed of a series of wooden boxes that are nailed shut. What if you had room within each step? And depending on how you plan to use those compartments, you can design the openings to be either on the side or to the front. If you’re not building but instead have a home you already live in with a set of stairs, call Mike today at D4 Construction (phone: 250-572-4812) to expertly retrofit these practical storage spaces for you. If you’re building now, you can incorporate this design choice into your plans.
Tiny homes offer lots of ideas for multi-use furniture and items you may already own. A traditional kitchen island is uncommon in tiny homes, but residents of these terrific tiny spaces will often have a smaller rolling island. It serves as a place to prepare food as you would expect, and then doubles as a place for the homeowners to sit at while enjoying a meal or playing cards.
If you decide to use the island to hold small kitchen appliances, they can easily be relocated as needed. If you want a place to corral those spatulas and large slotted spoons, a couple of nice baskets will fit on the shelves. Baskets can easily be moved elsewhere when using this small piece of furniture for game night. When not preparing meals, the top surface can double as your coffee or tea station, again freeing up valuable countertop space. You can get a great deal of added value from this one piece of furniture.
In your kitchen, consider having some wooden beams installed across the ceiling. Aside from adding architectural interest to your home, hooks can be screwed into the wood to hold large and unwieldy items. Install a pot rack and hang your largest and heaviest pots and pans; you can easily imagine the space you’ll free up with this one addition. Of course, this will not apply to homes with higher ceilings.
Not enough space to hold your spices and seasonings? Consider adding a magnetic board to the side of your refrigerator. Check your local retailers and online for magnetic spice and herb containers that will easily attach to the side of your fridge or to this type of board.
Other hanging ideas include indoor plants hanging from a wall hook in front of windows (or look for small planters that will fit sitting on your window sills) and hanging vegetable baskets. If you have tabletop lighting, consider changing to overhead or hanging pendants to further free up horizontal surfaces.
If you don’t have enough bookcases in your home and have a need for storing some reading material in your room, consider installing a shelf above the door frame inside the room. An inexpensive and small flat-folding step stool, commonly found at home goods stores, can be propped against the wall behind the door for easy access. Bookends probably would be impractical and possibly dangerous here (if the books were to fall over pushing the bookend off the shelf) but lipped metal brackets will do the trick. And if there aren’t enough books to cover the length of the shelf, lay several down in a short stack along with a picture frame or other décor. It’s a great way to get some smaller items up and out of the way.
Do you have a no-vent fireplace that juts out from the wall? Depending on your specific type, you may be able to have an alcove created on one or both sides of the protrusion, providing additional storage. In my own home, I have this feature on one side. The only door near this nearly hidden open compartment leads to the master suite and, since that’s a private space our visitors won’t see, I don’t mind having the alcove there at all. It’s very handy and is used to house our landline telephone, modems and other electronics that I don’t necessarily want visible to guests but do need to have accessible.
Unless you need an entire home office, a flip-down desktop might be a great solution for your office needs. You can purchase one or have one made – a simple smooth surface that is hinged to fold up and out of the way yet falls open to provide a writing and working surface when needed. You can also have a more substantial unit built with compartments to hold everything from a laptop and tablet to basic office supplies. Mike at D4 can skillfully create a unit and install it to provide maximum use of your space. Call him at 250-572-4812 to arrange for a free estimate. When located near your kitchen, the open surface can double as an additional food prep area – yet another added bonus!
On your outdoor porch or patio near your grill, consider installing a shelf from your local hardware store. Sturdy hooks screwed to its underside will secure the larger tools required of grilling. Generally speaking, these long-handled and heavy utensils take up a great deal of room. After cooking, wash them as usual and hang them on the hooks beneath the grill shelf. Your tools are handy when you need them – no need to go hunting for them in the garage. Just give them a quick rinse before grilling again and you’re good to go.
When thinking about creating more places to hold your things, decluttering and removing non-essentials should be the first step in assessing your storage needs. Items used ten years ago may be neglected now, simply taking up space. Give them away, donate them to a charitable organization or throw them out if not in good shape.
Many of us live in older houses built when house plans didn’t include large walk-in closets and extra storage throughout the home. Call D4 today at 250-572-4812 to adopt some or all of these solutions. Mike will deliver some much needed, additional space that will, in the end, create a more harmonious home for you and your family.
And by the way, if you adopt any of these ideas, please call us at the number above. We’d love to see your photos. Who knows, they may even get published in a future issue of our newsletter!