Mar 032015
 

I thought we’d buy a fixer-upper and gut it.  But our future home has a functional layout and beautiful finishes.  So instead we’d just like to make a few tweaks…

Main floor BEFORE and AFTER

1) Open concept: Move the fridge and attached cabinet to the blank wall.  Knock down a few walls and replace them with a big island that will open from both the kitchen and living room.  Pots on one side, toys on the other.

2) Separate units: Enclose the stairs for a separate basement apartment.

3) Master closet: Steal the kitchen pantry to enlarge the master bedroom closet.

4) Laundry: Steal space from the current linen closet and nursery to allow for a wide laundry closet.*

5) Kids’ closets: Steal the nursery closet to enlarge the kids’ bedroom closet.   We envision two kids sharing that bedroom.  (Surplus kids can go in the basement.*)  The nursery will hopefully become a computer room for teenage kids to do their homework.*  Babies and computers don’t need closets.  Although I might be a bit naive considering Sam doesn’t own any fluffy pink dresses.

 

*More on these things later.

Dec 012014
 

When we sold our house, we had exactly twenty days (offer date to move date) to purge just enough to squeeze ourselves into the new apartment.  Now, it’s time to tackle each space one at a time to evaluate what really belongs here and make room for new priorities.  Case in point, we’ve recently decided to buy everything in bulk to save the planet by reducing packaging let’s be honest: to save money.

The Costco life is tricky in a small home.  Most people wait until they have a basement with a chest freezer and storage shelves.  My strategy will be to use our two hallway closets:

Cleaning and linen closets on floorplan

These closets already work pretty hard for us.

The cleaning closet holds everything home-related such as cleaning supplies and out-of-rotation decor.

The linen closet – which I will tackle first – is for anything people-related…

A messy pile of linens:

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Birthday and Christmas gifts:

Gift shelf - hidden

Toiletries, medicine and our donation bin:

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And wrapping paper in the door:

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The gift shelf and wrapping paper are fine.  But the rest of the closet needs to work a little harder so that we can store bulk purchases in there too.   More on this soon, hopefully!

Nov 272014
 

This post is sponsored by Floorplanner. Just kidding. But it should be.

When we downsized, we said goodbye to most of our furniture, an abundance of kitchen cabinets, and six giant closets.  I was terrified our new apartment would be the next space on Hoarders.

To find a spot for everything that survived the purge, we drew a diagram on Floorplanner and ended up with this:

Apartment floorplan

If you are moving, measure the rooms and use Floorplanner!  It’s well worth your time.  Why spend sweat and money bringing furniture to a new home only to discover that it doesn’t fit there?  Purge before you move!

And in our case, we needed to come up with a storage solution.  Floorplanner made that obvious:  the living room was big enough to fit bookshelves behind our sofas.

We wanted 8 matching bookcases which meant we couldn’t rely on Kijiji (our usual furniture source), so we settled on the Ikea Billy in black for its price ($69) and for a little contrast with our off-white sofas.  It was still expensive, but selling the rest of our furniture more than covered it.

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We anchored them to the walls and removed their backs to lessen the black hole effect.

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Wicker baskets hold things like greeting cards and instruction manuals.  And in case you can’t tell that we love Ikea, these boxes hold everything from receipts to craft supplies to Christmas mugs.

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We store extra blankets and pillows in the shelves hidden behind the sofas.

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If you have space in your living room (or any other room for that matter) bookshelves add so much function and only stick off the wall by 11 inches.  Of course there are downsides to this design.  Most of our art is sitting in storage.  But ultimately I’d rather look at my stuff on the wall than trip over it on the floor.