We are embarking on a new construction build and family move. It requires a great deal of planning. Last week you saw the items I use to ensure the plans are just right and all the building information is in one place, organized and readily accessible. This week I am giving some tips on how to plan for living in your new home, ensuring the spaces and storage fit your needs. After all, why else would one go through the tedious process of building?
The process begins with knowing what you have. This is yet another great time to purge! And everyone knows how much I love to purge! The point is not to make the move easier, but to ensure you are taking with you to your new home what you love and use. Knowing what you are taking, provides you the perfect opportunity to build the cabinets just right, include the perfect shelves in your closets etc… Too often we just get excited about a new home, new possibilities and we fail to remember the same people will be living in the new home, taking with them all their same stuff, including habits! The new plan not only needs to flow, but you need to know exactly what you will be doing in each room, how you will use the space, and what storage items you will be taking with you. It’s the nitty, gritty details that will create the home of your dreams. You can have a great floor plan, beautiful flooring, extravagant light fixtures, but if you don’t have the right space for your stuff, you will be frustrated and unhappy. You might as well take time now to try to get it right!
So, where to begin that overwhelming process. I begin by taking one room at a time. I write down all the things I love about the room. Next, I write down all the things I dislike about the room-decoration, function, storage etc… Then I attempt to brainstorm solutions. Once I have completed that process (which can take a couple of days and MUST include interviews of the other family members sharing the space) I get out the new plans and consider where and how I can implement the solutions. Most often this requires lots of measuring, looking on line for inspiration and even some catalog shopping. I know, it sounds tedious. It is a little, but it can also be inspiring!
This week the Master Bathroom was assessed. Currently there are separate his and her walk in closets. The new space will have one big closet. Immediately it became apparent there would need to be some clear delineation using built-ins so the space felt “separate” and husband and wife each had “their” space. There is no linen closet, and neither party wants those items in the closet, so clearly some linen towers/cabinets need to be built into the separate vanities in the new home. Neither husband or wife likes clutter, so drawers, and cabinets need to be able to hold toiletries and be easily accessible. Here are some shots from the current master bath.
The current bathroom has some great storage. This either needs to be replicated or cabinets with similar measurements built in the new house. The use of Lazy Susan’s is one of my favorite tools. In this cabinet there is a his and hers. The shelving is adjustable so tall items can be incorporated. Perfect spot for those items you use multiple times a day. Another great space for storage is the front of the sink. A pull out tray is great for holding toothpaste, floss and toothbrush. If you choose to keep a toothbrush here just know you will have to wipe it down once a week to keep mildew from building up. Clear acrylic trays are great for makeup, nail clippers, hair brushes etc… Again though. These items need to be measured and given to the cabinet maker so drawer dimensions will accommodate the storage items already owned and utilized. Storage over the toilet is a must for me. It just keeps life simpler. Toilet paper is in reach. Medicine can be kept sorted, contained and out of reach in handy $5.00 Rubber Maid white bins from Wal-Mart. Again, measure! I would not go to the expense of having adjustable shelving in here, making it even more critical you know your measurements and what you want to store. Having items already organized in this way also makes the move easier. Like items can be packed together, the storage items placed in the same box, and in the case of the bins over the toilet, they can be packed with all the items remaining in them.
The closets can be a little trickier. Remember, that the new space must be usable, not just pretty. And it must be usable for the person using it-not you as the designer or planner. Rods should be hung at different heights-not just for pants, dresses or etc… but also based upon the height of the person using the closet. My husband’s rods are hung 8 inches higher than mine. This eliminated an extra shelf in the top of his closet, but ensured taking things off the rods would be comfortable, and his clothes would not drag the floor. It is important to also include shelving for shoes, or if like me, space to place a store purchased shoe organizer.
What are we doing different? We will have a second linen tower. I don’t keep a lot of linens (remember only two sets of towels per person) but we still seem to need more storage than we have now. We have also agreed we would like space to sit in the new bathroom or master closet, along with a landing spot for rings, watches, wallets etc… The decision has been made there will be two chests, one on each side, of the new closet. I have also determined that in the middle of the closet, tucked close to a center wall of shelves (16-18 inches deep for shoes and storage bins) will sit an old hope chest from my husband’s family. It has been an item moved from place to place, never quite finding a home in the current house. A pretty rug underneath and maybe a seat cushion will turn it into functional storage-perfect for keepsakes, special blankets and a place to sit and put on shoes. I am thrilled to know this family piece will finally have a home, serve a purpose and no longer prove to be a decorating challenge.
Going through this process took some time. I had to take extra time to really talk to my husband about his ideas, things that worked or didn’t work. I had to be intentional. That theme has been running through my life. Maybe I need to call it the Intentional Home, in lieu of the Well Planned Home. Being intentional makes us better. Being intentional provides opportunity for creating better spaces. Being intentional makes us think about how we live, what we want to change, what we love and who we are. Whether you are moving, building, or just trying to get your home in order, remember just that. Be intentional.
Next week I’ll hit the kitchen. Hmmmm-dishes are my weakness, this could be tough.