Mid-Century Storage

Today’s reader Q & A comes from another college friend, Christy (Carnegie Mellon represent!). She, her husband Chris and their adorable daughter Hazel just moved cross-country from a condo in the heart of Chicago to an incredible tree-lined property, complete with horse barn, in Seattle.  But between two grown adults that work from home, a baby on the verge of walking and a menagerie of pets, they are in desperate need of storage until they have the opportunity to start the large renovation they’ve been planning.

As a result, they’re not looking to spend a lot as most of these solutions will be temporary. But, as both Christy and Chris are both very design-minded and crazy artistic, I’ve been charged with the  request that my solutions “can’t look ugly” and in terms of style, Christy said “I hate that country shit.”  She is also definitely not a fan of wicker (so there goes most of my basket ideas).

Here’s a little bit more about Christy’s design storage dilemma, in her own words:

OK, so here’s the deal:

We are completely overhauling this house within the next year (gut remodel), so I have been hesitant to fully “move in” and make my space just so. However, I have recently come to the realization that with all the other stress in my life, at the very least, I need my most-lived-in space to be a lot more livable in order to maintain a peaceful state of mind. (aka: SANITY)
 

I spend most of my time when I’m at home in these two connected rooms: the family room and kitchen. The family room serves three purposes: 1) Hazel’s play room, 2) My office, and 3) Relaxing on the couch in front of the fireplace (sadly, this rarely happens). 

 
This house has many attractive features, but one thing it is severely lacking is STORAGE. You will see from the pics of my kitchen that we are exploding out of the space. Believe it or not, my kitchen in our condo in Chicago had about double the storage space. We had tall ceilings with floor-to-celiling cabinetry, a large original built-in in the hallway, and a huge pantry. Now we have no built ins, no pantry, and only one row of cabinets (first world problems!) But it does suck, because then we end up using our precious counter space for things like loaves of bread and ridiculous milk frothers.
 
Oh – and our aesthetic tastes tend to converge around Mid-Century Modern +/or warm contemporary. We hate ultra-modern stuff (read: cold!) and love a good, simple, hardwood furniture piece. We dislike things that are “clunky.” I love industrial objects juxtaposed with warm organic elements. It’s the German in me coming to terms with the Artist somewhere in the middle. Luckily, my husband and I agree on most things aesthetic.
 
Anyways. I need help. And I can’t spend a lot of money. And I have like no time.  –  Christy

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So, let’s attack the kitchen first as it seems their milk frothers are running over. I’d assume all of their cabinet space is filled to the brim. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at any additional areas we could take advantage of for more storage. Next to their wall oven is the perfect place to add some hanging shelves. Depending on how sturdy Christy can make them (she’s quite handy and is the one who taught me how to use a drill), she could use it as extra space for smaller kitchen gadgets, like those frothers, coffee grinders, etc. Alternatively, she could use those shelves for additional food storage.
kitchen shelves straight shot
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open shelving ikea
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In the open area to the right of the wall oven where the windows are, I’d recommend a bigger island/bar cart than what they have now. It will give them both additional table-top surface as well as additional space on the shelves below. I think the Ikea Forhoja is her best bet. It’s simple, made of real wood (and could be customized if she chose to keep it) and always has high demand for resale on Craigslist if they choose to not bring it back in to their renovated space.  It could also be put to great use for dinner prep if they are living in the space through the reno.  Finding a space to make a makeshift kitchen is essential to surviving a major renovation.
forhoja

forhoja 2

Moving in to the living room, the first thing I would add is a console table behind their sofa. This will give them a shelf for additional storage and an open area underneath to store some of Hazel’s larger toys without having them out in the open. I wouldn’t recommend this table in terms of style for Christy, but it illustrates a creative way to store kids toys in an aesthetically pleasing way:
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Some examples of great console tables that would coordinate with their current style are the Foundry table from CB2 for an industrial look or a vintage piece like this mid-century modern classic.

Cb2 Table

MCM Table

Underneath their new console or their coffee table, I would add some Christy-approved baskets for Hazel’s smaller toys. These from CB2 and Crate & Barrel would fit right in to their mid-century modern style:

CB2
Crate & Barrel

For that long wall filled with Hazel accutrimont, there are two ways Christy could go: the budgetary/immediate option or the pain and gain option. My first inclination is to spend a little more on some pieces that Christy and Chris can keep and use after the reno such as a mid-century modern George Nelson-style shelving system. It would require some rearranging of their artwork, but this option would provide the additional storage they need in the living room and still provide lasting value to their overall furniture collection.George NelsonI see this as something that would be a great piece in Christy’s future office to display her artwork, stacks of books, and pictures with her favorite red-headed friend, kind of like this one:

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(Yes, this picture is now 10 years old… I suddenly feel ancient)

Alternatively, Christy could go with the lower cost option that is still made of solid wood and would not require her to put giant holes in her walls (or break her budget).  I’d suggest going with the World Market Espresso Charles Slanted Bookshelf.  The style is simple enough that it could blend with the current furnishings and as it’s moveable, could be reused post-reno.  Also good for resale on Craigslist if she chooses not to keep it.

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A third option would be to go the budget friendly, industrial route.  This option from Ikea would add a significant pop of color and hide toys behind closed doors.  Another great piece that could be carried over to the future space, repurposed in Christy’s art studio, or resold.
Ikea
Beyond furniture, there are a few other options Christy could opt for that would help corral throw blankets, magazines, and the stray dog chew toy.  I’m loving this basket (Christy, trust me on this one) from Crate & Barrel.Crate & Barrel Basket
This storage ottoman from CB2 would provide storage as well as an additional seat for when the house is filled with more grandparents than chairs, which from what I hear, is a likely scenario.
CB2 Stool

So what do you guys think – any other storage options you’d suggest for Christy?  And in case anyone doubted that a bunch of sorority girls knew how to drill (get your minds out of the gutters people!), here’s exhibit A:

christydrill

(This may be my favorite picture of this girl.  She’s kind of bad-ass.  Although I’m slightly afraid that she may be revoking my design privileges for posting this…)

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