Friday, May 13, 2016

DECORATING AN AWKWARD SPACE: 8 CLEVER WAYS TO MAKE USE OF THE SPACE UNDER THE STAIRS



One of America's oldest cities, Baltimore is home to hundreds of homes and structures built prior to World War II. Included in that statistic is the home I live in my husband and 5 children.  Our home was built at a time when families had a lot less "stuff.

I've often found that adequate storage at home is a major issue for our modern day family. 


Many older homes are short on space. However, odd nooks and alcoves always seem to be in quite abundance in older homes. Since space is at a premium, utilizing all available storage space at home is a definite must.


So how does one make use of those often unused and typically referred to as "wasted" or "awkward" spaces at home? 


Recently, I received a question from a reader with that precise situation.  She lives in an older home and wants to know "what to do with the blank space under a stairway"?


Finding functional and creative storage solutions is key to making the most of the awkward spaces often found in older homes.


Here's my list of 8 things you can create to get the most out of your stairway space.  To maximize your use of the space, you can create:  

1. An Inviting Reading Nook

Using the space under a stairway as  a cozy reading nook is a wonderful use of an otherwise unused space.  Imagine a serene space, tucked away from all the activity in the house where you can steal a private moment or two, curl up with your favorite book or magazine, or even take a nap. 



2. A Set of Built-In Drawers

Enclosed storage under the steps allows frequently used items to remain within easy reach without cluttering the room or taking up visual space.  These drawers would be great for storing anything from shoes to extra blankets.



3. A Home Library

This library beneath the stairs becomes the focal point of the room with its staggered bookshelves.  It also makes for a great place to display favorite collection items.


4. A Pantry 

If your dining room is located near the stairway, creating a neatly tucked away pantry would be a great use for the space under the stairs.


5. Extra Shelving or Guest Coat Closet


A small closet under the stairs is great for guests to hang coats, store winter accessories and boots or for homes that don't have an entry closet.



The multi-functional space below features an area for hanging bags and jackets, shelving for books and niches for baskets to store smaller items.


This space even incorporates an upholstered storage bench.


6. A Mini Office


If you don't have an extra room in the house to claim as a dedicated work space, carve out a bit of space beneath the stairs.  This organized mini office features open shelving as well as hidden storage via drawers and cabinets.


The space under the stairway also make a great homework area for the kids.




7.  A Powder Room

I love the idea of tucking a powder room into the unused space beneath the stairs.  While adding this convenient feature would definitely require hiring a pro,  the return on your investment would make the project well worth the expense.





Whichever way you chose to update the unused space in your home, remember to integrate design solutions that match how you and your family live. 

As you can see, storage options under your stairway can be incorporated in many different ways.  In some of the examples I've shared, the unused space has actually become the focal area in the room!

Need help figuring out what to do with an awkward space in your home?  Let's chat! Email me here.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

INNOVATION AND TRENDS: A DESIGNER'S RECAP OF HIGH POINT MARKET 2016


From modern and contemporary to the unique global I spotted, there was certainly something for every decorating aesthetic at High Point Market (HPMKT). 

In my last post, I shared 2 design trends I spotted while at HPMKT this spring. As promised, in this post, I'll share a few more of my favorite spaces, trends, vignettes and moments from my time at HPMKT. 

THE TRENDS

  •  BOLD SATURATED COLOR 

HPMKT showrooms seemed to be welcoming spring with lots of bold saturated color. I spotted vivid hues of greens, blues and even fuchsia used in textile, furniture and home accents throughout many of the showrooms. 

Heart be still! Blue, green and gold leaf made for a perfect vignette at the Highland House showroom.

A fuchsia ikat pattern rug at Capel Rugs

A vibrant emerald green wall with an over-sized glossy bold blue lamp in the Highland House showroom 

Framed 100% silk scarves (based on original artwork) and brush stroke pillows at The Blush Label

Exotic printed silk pillows at Mariska Meijer

  • GLAMOROUS LIGHTING


The showrooms at HPMKT featured an abundance of amazing light fixtures in a variety of finishes like brass, copper, silver and even reclaimed wood. 


From the elegant traditional chandeliers to the contemporary and modern style fixtures, exquisite design and attention to detail was evident in the products displayed. 


     

The substantial scale of this elegant chandelier hung high above the dining table at a fabulous dinner party or glamorous evening soiree, would definitely make a style statement



These stunning sculptural fixtures, spotted at the Visual Comforts showroom, were like works of art - absolutely breathtaking!




Other exciting features of my trip to HPMKT...

THE PEOPLE - WHEN DESIGNERS GET TOGETHER

Designers go to High Point Market to scout out new products for clients and discover the latest trends and products in the furnishing industry and to also connect with other industry professionals.
Catching up with designer friends from across the country was such a treat! It was so refreshing to gather with a group of people who all share the similar interest.

We spent hours talking about everything from what's trending in design and recapping our favorite projects to how to effectively run a design business while balancing work and family life.


With Cheryl of Dwell by Cheryl, Nicole of Nicole White Design, Erika of Erika Ward Interiors, Marisa of Artful Interiors and Ruthie Staalsen of DecRenew Interiors
Photo via Cheryl Luckett

With Erika of Erika Ward Interiors

With Corey Damen Jenkins (and fellow designer Nicole White) at the celebration for Corey's exclusive furnishing line with Leathercraft Furniture


While at HPMKT, I also had the opportunity to meet with the heads of several textile design industry leaders. It really speaks volumes when a company's executives take time to speak directly to designers about the products they offer. 

With Cyrus Loloi of Loloi Rugs

A private tour of the Capel Rugs showroom with VP Cameron Capel

With Dutch designer Mariska Meijers, Founder and Creative Director of Mariska Meijers Amsterdam


THOUGHTFUL DESIGN & INNOVATION


There were many aspects of the show which indicated that HPMKT organizers thought of everything when planning this monumental event. The organizers were in tune with the needs of both the shows attendees and the vendors.

Rest Stops & Recharging Stations Along the Way 


Although I wore my "comfortable shoes" and remembered to drink lots of water, with so much ground to cover, it was inevitable that I'd need a break at some point during the day.  No worries! The HPMKT hospitality and planning staff had me covered. There were plenty of places to rest, stretch my legs, recharge my phone, or grab a bite to eat, conveniently located throughout the venue.  

This walkway links the IHFC building to the Market Square, Commerce & Design, and 220 Elm buildings at HPMKT. It's thoughtfully designed padded window seats were the perfect place to sit for a moment and plan out the next stop on my tour.

Innovative Touches 


 The MyMarket app made navigating the show a breeze for this first time attendee and ensured that vendors' showrooms and products were easily accessible.






Using the MyMarket app allowed me to locate showrooms, schedule events and seminars to attend, search and navigate through the market based on specific product categories and essentially "map" out my entire day. Through the "magic" of the app's navigation technology, the app's map feature guides users from where you are to where you want to be simply by inputting the destination. Simply genius!


My time at High Point certainly did not disappoint. The days I spent at HPMKT was a whirlwind of inspiration, excitement, and one of a kind finds. As I return home and settle back into the daily groove, I can't wait to incorporate and share all of the trends and innovative products I spotted at HPMKT with my clients. Stick around and see how I use all that I've learned in my newest design projects this spring!