Organizing: Adding Shelving to Poorly Used Spaces

Just a few small tweaks can make a huge difference to utilizing storage, and being way more organized within! And then when it’s all said and done, you wonder why it took you so long, right?

Over the weekend I tackled two small spaces. Here’s the difference installing just a few shelves will make.

Cupboard over the stove.

Such a pain to access, and often underutilized!

Wasted space, no? I keep these things up here because I don’t use them that often, but that’s no excuse to have them stored so inefficiently, now is it?

A simple installation of two prefinished shelves, cut to size, and this space is like a whole new custom cupboard. I actually have a stack of fondue plates sitting on top of the grill. They’re set in a tray making them easy to lift out, and the cupboard space to be put to full use. As far as access goes, I have a small step ladder tucked close-by.

Hall closet.

Whoever built this home did not make the hall closet deep enough. As a result we don’t use it to hang anything in it except empty hangers, because otherwise the door rubs on garment sleeves when it’s opened and closed.

More wasted space! It was actually filled to capacity with stuff toppling over, but I didn’t think to take a true ‘before’ photo… this is a quick phone shot snapped in the knick of time. Here, I keep my basic sewing things for quick access, and the rest is downstairs with more craft supplies. Recognize the little red tool box?

We installed a quick rail and bracket system with simple pine boards.

Tip: I didn’t buy prefinished pine shelving because it was twice the price of a plain pine board. I also had the board cut right on site into the shelving size I needed, and was good to go!

This closet is storage for all things seldom used, but easy to access when needed. Did you notice the iron and ironing board in there? Yes, all things seldom used!

So if you’re wanting to beef up your storage to be more efficient, don’t get bogged down in the details. Shelving will never fail you, and you’ll be so glad you added it in!

How are things working out for you in your home? If you read my project motivator and friend Carol’s post over at the Design Pages, then you’ll know this is all part of a bigger plan to knock a few projects off the ‘to do’ list. There will definitely be bigger and prettier projects to come! Stay tuned 🙂

This article was chosen as a favorite story of the week by Savvy Mom!

Thanks Savvy Mom, and thank you for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

What’ll Happen to the ‘Other’ Books?

If you read my post the other day on the bookcase reveal, you’ll remember that I had to seriously thin out our books.

I bet you’re wondering what happened to the ones that didn’t make the cut. Let’s just say that ‘thinned out’ doesn’t exactly mean ‘purged’.

Here’s where they are now.

I did go through them, and have moved some on, but what you see here are the ones we’re keeping. We love our books, so now these ones need to find a new home within our home.

I’m trying to bring some colour and fun into the office, and what I do still has to work with our desks. Details on that later.

But for our books, here’s the solution.

These colourful paisley storage boxes, and they’re even turquoise inside! How perfect is that?

I have 2 full sets, and will be sorting and storing our books in them. And these boxes won’t be hidden away out of sight. Nope, instead they’ll be showcased in the office so we can enjoy the colour and cheer they bring to the room.

And yes, I’ll probably be doing a basic list of contents like I wrote about here, so book retrieval is easy and fast!

Much better than keeping them in boxes in the basement, don’t you think?

I hope you stop by again. That way you’ll get to see the office as it continues to unfold!

It’s about coming home… and home is a remarkable space that tells your story. I’d love to give you a hand with that! Contact me here.



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Guest Posting at Décor Adventures

Today you’ll find me over at Décor Adventures

…where I’m sharing 3 of my top tips for keeping an organized home… ’cause you know, it’s just that time of year.

If you haven’t stopped by Décor Adventures, trust me, you’re in for a treat! You can be sure Jessica will be DIY-ing something amazing for her equally awesome 112 year old character home. Have you seen her home? Yup, I’m in love! And if you’re a Pinterest person, guaranteed this is a one-stop pinning op! After all, it’s not every day you can put today’s spin on a century old space! Come on over,  join me at Décor Adventures for a visit!

Oh, if you didn’t see Jessica’s post from yesterday, be sure to check it out. She’s got some awesome decluttering tips to get you started!

Thank you, Jessica for inviting me to guest post! I’m super excited to be here!

Volunteering Helps Make Things Happen!

I’ve been lending a hand to the Ladysmith Golf Club with some consultations, and a bit of this and that. You might remember the exterior makeover. Members have been working very hard through the Fall to give the inside of the clubhouse an update. As well as offering some design advice and providing a colour consultation, I did a little sourcing for them too.

That’s always fun, don’t you think?

I sourced this mirror at Home Sense for half price. You can just see a glimpse of it in the bathroom.

This club house is quite tiny, and there was very limited wall space to hang a mirror. An oval would have worked as well, but because the light fixture is round, and the basin is round-ish, I stayed with a true round shape. Oh, did I mention the clubhouse is round? Seriously. Another reason to ‘mirror’ the round shape here!

Another key piece for the revamped club house was a bar height table and stool set for the staff. They wanted bar height so the staff would be able to keep an eye on the course when sitting down. The only catch was the allocated space for it. Let’s just say, there wasn’t much area to work with, so not just any set would fit.

Here’s my rough sketch of the area from a plan view, meaning I didn’t include the height in the measurements.

The grayed out areas are dead space… Do you remember, I mentioned the club house is round? Well this is what happens when you put square fixtures into round spaces. You end up with unusable space like this.

Here’s a quick look at the area. I haven’t been in to take my own photos, so this is the only one I have of this spot, but it will give you the idea.

To the left is a full-size fridge, and this new cabinet area to the right will be the coffee counter plus storage. The till doesn’t sit here, it sits on the counter you see in the foreground. So that big gap in between is where the bar height table and stools will sit.

As you can see from the sketch, the usable space is tight, and especially when you factor in having enough room to push a stool back. So the obvious option for a table was to try to find something that was… can you guess?

You got it… round!

The upgrades to the clubhouse were being made on a limited budget, and by volunteer labour. So my sourcing began with Used Cowichan, Nanaimo and Victoria, as well as Kijiji and Craig’s List. There were a surprising number of options… until the measurements factored in.

And then I came across this ad on Used Victoria.

After a bit of communication tag, I was able to obtain the table diameter and the stool measurements. One more visit to the club house for another look and to double-check the measurements, and the table set was a potential because it would fit the space. But it still had to be viewed for condition.

This is a mock-up of how it would fit in the space. Keep in mind that the table can snug over into more of the unusable space because it’s round.

There’s usually just one staff member working at a time, so the second stool won’t be used as much. You can see it’s a tight squeeze, but will fit.

Coordinating the viewing was another hurdle because with the table set in Victoria, which is an hour away for me, just popping in wasn’t an option. But after a week and a half I was able to set something up, and this past Thursday finally got to view the pieces in 3-D! They are solid rubberwood, in mint condition, and now sitting in my living room.

Here’s a look at the set in my living room.

What do you think?

I think given the limitations we were working with between space and budget, these are a score!

And soon they shall depart for their final destination! I can’t wait to see them in their new home 🙂

So if you still have Christmas shopping to do, or you are searching for something at a reasonable price, don’t overlook your 2nd-hand options. There are unbelievable deals to be found. And you know what, sometimes you can even find things being given away for free!

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

A Rub Down on Towel Storage

Bathrooms can be challenging spaces to work with. They are often quite small, yet there’s a demand for them to function as if they were the largest room in the house! And one of the biggest issues is around towel bars and towel storage. I’m often asked where a towel bar should go, how many are needed, should a ring, hook or bar be used for hand towels, etc.

We all know towel bars are commonplace in most bathrooms. But you can always go with something that’s a little more unique…

Like this rustic barbwire set.


Have you seen barbwire towel bars before?

I won’t try to pretend that this bathroom topic is something new. But I will show you a bunch of cool ideas, and maybe you’ll find an idea or two that’s new to you.

Like mounting two or three bars on the back of the door instead of taking up wall space.


Can you see what a great space saver this would be?

Or have you ever thought about mounting a shelf over the door?


So often the vertical space is overlooked and underutilized. I also like the function in having a hook handy to hang a towel on like this one here.

And since we’re focussing on the door area, I thought I’d throw this one in too.


Over-the-door racks are common, and you can find them almost anywhere. But I thought this one was a little different than what you usually come across. One thing to watch for is the thickness of the bracket that slips over the door. Sometimes these will be too thick for the door to close properly without causing damage to the door frame.

If you’re into DIY projects, then I bet you’ll love this idea.


These are vintage wooden hangers inverted and hung as a towel bars! Isn’t this a cool idea? I think they have a little Mid-Century Modern feel to them too. If you want to see how to DIY, click here.

Oh, and did you notice the glass doorknob above? Well what do you think of this one below?


Isn’t it pretty? What an awesome way to feature a vintage glass doorknob and have a place to hang your hand towel! I love all the things you can do with glass doorknobs (which I wrote about here).

And for one more DIY idea, you might like this au naturel towel bar made from a branch instead.


I can see this in a cabin in the woods. Click here for the DIY tutorial if you want to make one for yourself.

Of course you can always go with a classic hotel towel rack.


These are a great space saving option and they add a little touch of cache in the hotel chic way!

For more of a shabby chic charm you might like this variation on the hotel towel rack instead.


The hooks create a cottagey feel, and the rack itself stands out as a feature. What a perfect piece for bathroom décor.

I love the use of ladders for shelves. And I think this one is perfect here.


Why drill into the tile when you don’t have to?

Of course if you don’t want to drill into your tile, or drywall for that matter, you can always opt for a free standing towel rail.


You can find towel rails in a wide range of sizes and styles, and they’re great because of the flexibility they allow you in your bathroom space.

Or if you have just enough floor space, you can opt for a towel caddy instead.


This one is even on wheels. How handy is that?

And we definitely know that baskets are always a great way to go. But have you seen baskets mounted like this?


Or like this?


Did you notice these baskets are mounted on grab bars? You can also use towel bars as long as they’re strong enough.

When it comes to using a repurposed piece for towels…

I’ve never seen wall mounted file pockets used like this before.


Have you? What a good idea!

And this wrought iron rack is another creative favorite.


It’s an effective use of space, and a unique feature, especially for a guest bathroom.

Storage is never enough in a bathroom, so it’s important to be strategic with your use of space. Go up, go down, meaning make the most of your floor to ceiling space. And if you can incorporate multifunctional pieces, even better.


But the key is to think outside of the box, and beyond your typical towel bars and storage solutions.


You will be happy you did… Unless of course an antler rack like this one is way beyond outside of the box… which it just might be for me!

What creative solutions do you use for your towel storage? Do you have enough space, or would you like more?

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Spring into Organizing

Organizing Under the Sink

Good Things Come in Small Spaces

Swinging Book Storage


It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Floating in Space: Kitchen Carts & Portable Islands

When it comes to your kitchen, do you have enough space for storage, for prep and for the ultimate meal creation? Islands, peninsulas, breakfast bars – to name a few – have their purpose and have their place. But what if your kitchen doesn’t have any of these, and is screaming out for more? Have you thought about integrating a portable Island or small kitchen cart?


You just might be able to have the best of both worlds if you do. All you need is a place for the portable Island to call home, you know, when it’s not in use, and an area to spotlight it when it is.

Here are some examples for you to consider.

First you need to determine how much space you have to work with. And then the fun begins. This unit has the knife block and towel bar accessories on each end. Not all spaces will allow for these extras, but if there is room, this is a great way to contain every day items.


 I also like the closed storage of the drawers and cabinet style base of this Island.

Here is another variation. No accessory add-ons, but there is a nice balance between open and closed storage.


You get the span of a sizeable working surface, and a gorgeous feature in the butcher block top.

If you really want to mix things up, and set your portable Island apart as a feature in your space, something like this one would definitely do the trick.


You can’t see any wheels or castors on this unit, but that’s the beauty of hidden castors. Pure style from top to bottom! And another great feature is the drop-leaf extension at the back. What a practical way to add to the available working surface.

Form does not have to be sacrificed for function.


Isn’t this French Country piece a beauty? This unit has not been constructed with castors so it is less portable than others, but it would be easy to replace the wooden bun feet with castors instead.

If your space is really at a premium, maybe a compact butcher block style is the way to go.


Again, there are no castors or wheels, but they could easily be integrated. I think this square unit is stunning. It exudes total style with great features for function. If you wanted to conceal the open storage underneath, a large basket or wooden crate would look great here.

 I mentioned the drop-leaf feature earlier. I think this is such an ingenious bonus on a kitchen cart or Island, but also a great way to maximize a small area in general. Check out these examples of drop-leaf and slide-in features.


What’s not to love about this heavy duty drop-leaf unit?

Or this open and spacious one?


What’s really cool about this cart is that it’s foldable. So just like the old card tables or TV trays, this kitchen cart can actually be folded up and tucked away when not in use.

Note the lower working surfaces on this next unit. Do you see how these ones actually slide back into the cart?


And here is a more typical version. Do you remember this feature from the days when kitchens had cutting boards build right into the counter area above cutlery drawers?


So you can see that form and function do not have to be sacrificed in a smaller space. There are so many options and styles available, there’s sure to be one that will suit your needs.

And don’t forget, the shape of an Island or kitchen cart does not have to be square or rectangular.


Would this oval suit your style? Would you need to add castors or wheels if it was in your space?

Kitchens are the heart of the home, and they are also where you need to maximize function. Do you have enough counter space in your kitchen? How about storage? Would a portable kitchen Island or cart work for you?

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Multi-purposing Pantry Pull-outs

A Girl’s Best Friend in a Dental Cabinet!

Ms Martini Needs A Cart

Good Things Come In Small Spaces


It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Good Things Come in Small Spaces

Good things come in small spaces… or is it that you can put good things into small spaces if you maximize every square inch?

When I saw these spaces, I was impressed with the creativity and imagination that went into utilizing them. I decided to ask my 16-year-old daughter Kaleigh what she thought of them. So starting with the one she liked most to her least favorite, here’s what she had to say…

Space #1

Kaleigh: This space feels lofty and cozy, and it’s the most interesting because of it’s cool angles.


Well, what more can I say? It is lofty and cozy, and there’s definitely architectural interest at play! She also said she loves that it really is a mini loft with the bed in it!

Space #2

Kaleigh: I love this cozy little nook. I just want to curl up and read in it. It’s small but big enough, and I LOVE the comfy cushions!


I’ve always had a thing for window seats, and even though this one is a mini-mini version, I was instantly drawn to it. Everything about it. It’s like a little escape from the world where you can still watch the world go by.

Space #3

Kaleigh: I like how this space feels clean and uncluttered. It’s inviting and organized. It doesn’t really feel like a nook, but I like it.


I am totally loving the use of this area. It’s perfect for what could potentially be wasted space. I think the attention to detail is awesome with the arched ceiling over the desk, and the heavy-duty file drawers are pure function. I’m wondering about the area above the drawers – maybe there are shelves open to the desk. What do you think? I also like that the desk area is so well lit.

Space #4

Kaleigh: I love the bookshelves up high. It’s interesting and nice.


I really like the ingenuity of creating bookshelves between the floor joists. And what I like so much is the use of what would otherwise be dead space. The books are out of the way, yet still accessible. How creative is that?

Space #5

Kaleigh: I don’t really like this one. It looks too cluttered with everything out in the open, but it is a good use of space.


I can see where Kaleigh is coming from, but I can also see how much thought was put into this area. The books are organized by colour, and there is definitely intention to how the shelves are presented. What I like best is how the screen is integrated into the shelving. It just blends in rather than taking over the area as the focal point. If you look closely at the screen you can see a bed in the reflection. Do you think this could be a student’s room in a dorm?

I’m always fascinated with small spaces and curious about how they are treated. Even if an area doesn’t have a lot of square footage doesn’t mean it’s a waste of space. It’s only wasted if you don’t utilize it!

Tip: One of the best ways to max out your space is to go vertical. Be creative, floor to ceiling, with your storage choices and you will get the most out of your space every time!

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Related Posts You Might Like to Read

Multi-purposing Pantry Pull-outs

Office Overhaul – Hubby ‘Zone’ & Shared ‘Zone’

In & Out of the Closet

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