Friday, October 29, 2010

A Room of One's Own (even if it's just a closet)...

I hate paperwork, mostly because I push papers everyday in my "real" job.  When I get home, I don't want to see anything that even remotely resembles it. 

I understand this is an ambitious request, but I'll settle for a well-organized way to at least hide it from my sight.  And it has to be pretty. 

So, I began by surveying all the rooms in my house, looking for a fun little space for myself to do the not-so-fun duties such as homework, paying bills, as well as a space to inspire me while I'm working on my creative endeavors.  My old red Ikea secretary desk just wasn't cutting it anymore. 

My search ended at the closet space in my guest bedroom.  For about $100, I was able to create a cozy office nook with just enough space for all the essentials.  When I'm not working, I can close the doors and pretend it doesn't exist.  Just what I need. 

The whole project only took a weekend, and was pretty easy even though I ran into a minor snag with the desktop (the closet walls were not built to square, so I had to make the width of one end slightly smaller).  All it took was a lovely 2x2, a 3/4" thick piece of scrap pine, paint, and a bit of imagination.  Did I mention that I also got to use power tools?  Bonus.

Here's where I started:

After clearing everything out and putting in the desktop:

The result:

I got this little wooden shelf at one of my favorite antique shops for $7.  With just a fresh coat of paint, it makes a great "reading rack" for my current magazines, books, and a handy place to keep my sketchbooks.

Close the door!

My skull paperclip holder, รก la Damien Hirst (minus the diamonds). 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Your garage has feelings too...

I know, I know - even I'm guilty of this.  When I don't want to look at something, I usually stuff it into the garage.  This typically results in me later searching frantically for the stray (insert random object here) that was so carelessly cast into the black hole of the house.  I'm quite notorious for accidentally running over random garage castaways with my car, but that's another issue altogether.

The truth is, an organized garage can make life much easier.  Depending on your storage needs, you can customize it to suit whatever functions you wish it to have beyond just being a place to park your car.

The Louards are two creative professionals who both work full-time jobs and run their own side businesses.  With such hectic schedules, they'd become tired of the disorganization and clutter that was taking over their garage.  The space was not supporting their home storage needs or the growing needs of their businesses.

Chaundra is a Certified Personal Chef with plenty of specialty equipment and supplies that she needs easy access to when heading to off site catering jobs.  Most of her supplies were being stored throughout the family dining room.  Our reorganization efforts provided her a place to store all of her (non-food, of course) items in a way that would make it easy for her to find things, and to give her family their dining room back (a very important space when you have an accomplished and talented chef in the house).

How we started out:

Inadequate and unsafe shelving held a jumble of miscellany including paint, boxes, and painting supplies.  Below the shelving unit, items such as suitcases were stored alongside firewood, grilling supplies, and a variety of tools and totes full of college memories.  We worked through the clutter and made significant contributions to the "donate" and "trash/recycling" piles.  

The result:

Wooden utility shelves provide more space for items and keeps them off the garage floor, and are a definite improvement over the old, damaged metal shelving. Clear plastic bins help keep items organized and labels make the contents much easier to identify.  The bins containing Chaundra's supplies allow her to easily grab everything she needs when heading out to a catering event. 

Having a designated place for everything (plus a little extra wiggle room) helps guarantee that everything stays organized as things are added or removed.  

With just a few hours and a small amount of money, I was so excited to help this busy and creative family make their garage a more functional space.

Monday, October 4, 2010

How do we get there? (Or better yet, where are we going?)

A (sort of) introduction...

Ever find yourself just driving along, completely absorbed in some random thought, and then you wake up, shocked at where you are and how you got there?  (And especially shocked that you're not unconsious in a ditch somewhere after running off the road).

Although I pride myself on my driving skills, it happens to me quite a bit, not only on the road, but in other areas of my life.  Often times, I feel my eyes refocus from the haze of my daydreams, and feel the swift kick of panic set in.  How did I get here?  

It's a scary feeling, especially if where you find yourself is far, far from where you'd intended to be.  I'm working on my Master's, working full time, and trying to juggle the demands of everyday life with the creative urges that taunt me in the middle of a boring work day.  The things we "must" do versus the things we "want" to do become harder and harder to manage.

A Splendid Place is my way of getting closer to doing the things I love and enjoy, nevermind the day job, the papers that must be written, or the growing "to-do" list.  It's about helping others and helping myself at the same time. 

I'll be sharing projects, ideas, and thoughts along the way.  I'd love it if you'd follow along.