I’m always searching for storage products and other organizational tools for my clients. Although I don’t think that bins, baskets and shelves alone can solve someone’s organizational problems, they are helpful in providing a designated place for belongings. Clutter tends to pile up when people don’t know where to put things. As the saying goes, a place for everything and everything in its place.
The Now You See It Acrylic Shelf Bookcase from Land of Nod ($249, landofnod.com) can be used in a variety of rooms. (Land of Nod)
Crate & Barrel’s Wine-Stem Rack ($50, crateandbarrel.com) is perfect for kitchens that lack storage. (Crate & Barrel)
The Now You See It Acrylic Shelf Bookcase from Land of Nod ($249, landofnod.com) isn’t just for kids’ books and toys. Its simple design makes it perfect for bathrooms, offices and family rooms, too. I’ve recently used these in a basement playroom, hung horizontally, to display Lego projects on the inside and top surfaces, but they can also be hung vertically on a narrow bathroom wall or in an office.
Crate & Barrel’s Wine-Stem Rack ($50, crateandbarrel.com) is perfect for small kitchens with little storage, but its use doesn’t have to be limited to tight spaces. Most people have at least a dozen wine glasses — and usually more — but rarely use more than four at a time. This rack makes the wine and the glasses easy to access and frees up cabinet space for other items that you don’t want to display.
Crate and Barrel’s Brabantia Stackable Laundry Sorter ($35, crateandbarrel.com) has an opening in the front that makes it easy to toss in laundry. (Crate & Barrel)
The Kvissle lidded box from Ikea ( $10, ikea.com) can be used as a desktop charging station. (Bjorn Dahlgren/Ikea)
The Brabantia Stackable Laundry Sorter from Crate & Barrel ($35, crateandbarrel.com) is appealing not so much because it’s stackable (although that can be useful when space is at a premium) but because it’s easy to use. It has a lid, which I prefer, but you don’t have to remove the lid each time you want to put clothes inside. The opening in the front makes it simple to toss in your laundry (especially for kids), and the handles make it easy to pick up and take to the laundry room. And if you want to hide it or put it away, it folds up.
I dislike seeing cords, even when they’re organized with ties, clips and labels. The Kvissle lidded box from Ikea ($10, ikea.com) can be used under a desk to conceal cords or on top of a desk as a charging station.
The dividers in the Container Store’s Clear Linus Divided Lazy Susan ( $17-$25, containerstore.com) stop items from toppling over. (The Container Store)
The Folding Wire Storage Basket from the Container Store ($20, containerstore.com) folds into at least five shapes and sizes. (The Container Store)
I have a Lazy Susan in my spice cabinet, and it works pretty well. However, the bottles occasionally topple over, which can be frustrating. With the Container Store’s Clear Linus Divided Lazy Susan ($17-$25, containerstore.com), the contents will stay upright and can be divided into categories. It’s useful not only for spices and other kitchen supplies but also for makeup, office supplies and more.
The versatile Folding Wire Storage Basket from the Container Store ($20, containerstore.com), which folds into at least five shapes and sizes, is perfect for storing all kinds of things, but it also doubles as a piece of art. It can be used as a fruit basket, a container for things such as cloth napkins, a trivet or even a wastebasket. It’s fun and functional. And because it folds flat, it’s easy to store.
The Over the Door Mirror With Storage from PBteen ($79, pbteen.com) can be hung on a closet door or attached to a wall. (PBteen)
PBteen’s No Nails Fabric Wall Organizer ( $49, pbteen.com) can add storage to a desk that lacks it. (Marili Forastieri/PBteen)
The Over the Door Mirror With Storage from PBteen ($79, pbteen.com) works well on either side of a closet door. The shelf and hooks provide easy-to-access storage for things such as jewelry and scarves in a bedroom and for perfume, hair products and towels in a bathroom. Despite its name, it doesn’t have to be hung on a door. It can also be attached to the wall in a front or back hallway and hold things such as keys, umbrellas, coats and sunglasses. The height is adjustable, making it easy to adapt to your needs.
Desk-organizing products are great as long as your desk is large enough that you still have enough room to do work. But if you have a smaller desk without a drawer, the No Nails Fabric Wall Organizer from PBteen ($49, pbteen.com) will come in handy. Not only can it hold notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors and more, but it can also serve as a display space for photos and keepsakes. And the best part: You don’t need any nails to hang it. All it requires are double-sided adhesive strips, and they come with the shelving. Easy.
Anzia is a freelance writer and owner of Neatnik. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intelligent Design and Modern Interiors Combine in Private Latvian Residence
The Guaja river in Latvia is one of nature’s own large-scale designers, having carved its own picturesque valley out of the dramatic terrain through which it runs. And, because birds of a feather flock together, the similarly ambitious Latvian team at lolot design settled to build VILLA A, the innovative private holiday house located along the river valley.
From the outside, the home is partially embedded in the valley hill, so it appears smaller on the approach than its 280 m2 floor plan spread across three floors. Inside, the house is rigged with an advanced network of smart-home systems and minimalist contemporary design.
It was decided from the outset that the house would focus thematically on exposed concrete, wood, and plants. “These three materials were the base of the comfortable and cosy feel of the space,” lolot interior designer Santa Meikulāne tells THE PLUS, a cosiness that they’ve pulled off in spite of the dramatic open space left between the first and second floors, creating a spacious atrium, and the gravity-defyingly minimalist staircase.
The furniture and internal doors were planned from the get-go to be of a single material: oak, finished variously in wood oil and wood wax. The 25cm wide oak triple-layered parquet flooring was produced in a small Latvian factory – all the furniture, in fact, was designed by the studio, and apart from the upholstered pieces all were produced on site in Latvia.
The private clients’ tech-savvy exploitation of smart devices takes care of the dynamic elements of the design: smart home systems monitor heating and solar power collectors, outdoor blinds, musical ambience, lighting atmosphere scenarios using the many in-built lighting features, and can even turn the taps on and off. The modern approach is mirrored in the furniture design, with a dramatic black, grey, and wooden colour scheme running throughout the house, punctuated by plant life.
With two first-floor guest bedrooms, a master bedroom on the second floor, outdoors pool, and an open fire, it’s a house were comfort and style meet.
THE PLUS: The river valley seems to have proven a useful tool for creating a private space for the residents. Take us through how!
Santa Meikulāne: The use of the terrain and the small forest and ravine located on the property means that the internal glazed façade of the building is completely hidden from the neighbours’ view. The pool and yard area along with the glazed façade create a closed courtyard, providing a great view of the valley and the treetops.
TP: What attracted you to the use of oak throughout the house?
SM: Historically we have a very ancient and strong tradition of producing wooden furniture, with vast numbers of excellent carpenters and small factories. Oak as a material is historically very typical for this region, and massive local oaks are still used in manufacturing today.
TP: You’ve got some great interior touches – we particularly love the elliptical suspension light. What did you want it to bring to the space?
SM: From different angles, and also from the outside, this lamp along with the light lines of the 2nd floor and the metal tie lines of the glazed façade creates a graphic modernist drawing. The client and the guests sometimes joke that it is a halo.
TP: As a designer: is smart house technology the future?
SM: Artificial intelligence is our future, and it exists in parallel with us. Artificial intelligence develops, and grows in intelligence along with its users. There may come a time when your house might remember precisely where you put your keys, or even prepare a cup of coffee without your input.
TP: What would be your ideal smart house function?
SM: My ideal smart house would know exactly what music I would like to hear the moment I wake up. Music is extremely important to me, both in my creative and everyday life. The house would know when to open the curtains to let the sunshine in – we live in the North and we could really use a bit more sun.
TP: What is the most important thing you’d like to teach artificial intelligence about?
SM: Music, sun, nature and working in a field you love.
As the temperatures rise, installing a pool in your backyard probably sounds like a really good idea — until you learn that the average cost of a backyard pool is $20,000 to $30,000. Instead of dropping a ton of cash just to stay cool this summer, you may want to consider a stock tank pool.
These inexpensive farm staples, originally designed as water troughs for livestock and affectionately referred to as “hillbilly hot tubs,” are popping up in more backyards across the country than ever before. “More and more, we see our customers turning to this innovative solution as a way to enjoy many of the benefits of a pool without the high cost,” reads the Tractor Supply Company‘s website.
Not only are they more affordable than traditional pools, they’re easier to set up, too. Once you’ve chosen a smooth area in your yard, you can seal and install the cow trough and even add a pump to make it easy to fill and clean.
To maintain the tub, drain it after use or treat it like any other pool. “We use an above ground pool pump/filter,” Annie McCreary, the owner of a stock pool, wrote on Instagram. “We do add chlorine as needed, just like a regular pool/spa. I test it daily with the pool strips, [and], I shock it once a week — so easy! If it gets too funky, it’s easy to drain and re-fill.”
We think the standard galvanized metal look offers rustic charm, but you can also customize or enhance the pools to complement the style of your home. Some users position them in the ground and add surrounding rock tiles or flooring, while others add wooden decks or siding. For around $350, plus the cost of an $89 pump, you can easily add a country pool to your yard this summer.
When you spend all day, every day, looking at pictures of interiors, you pick up a few tricks. Here’s one of my favorites—something I’ve spotted in a few different interiors, and that always looks great. As an added bonus, it’s cheaper than buying new furniture—and a super easy DIY.
The styling secret I’m referring to? A single long, low shelf. (You can also double or triple these up, as suits your needs and the architecture of the space.) The single shelf, floating a few inches above the floor, has the effect of a console, but with an added visual lightness. Above, you can prop (or hang) paintings and objets d’art. Below the shelf is a good spot for stacks of books (or shoes, or what have you), so you’re getting added storage, too.
This particular example, which doubles the number of shelves, is from the Paris apartment of designer Vanessa Bruno seen on Interiors Magasinet a space that, although I discovered it many years ago, continues to be a favorite. The bottom shelf looks to be resting right on the floor, and in this way the two shelves form a sort of un-console, a cabinet without any doors. Besides adding welcome definition to a blank wall, the two shelves provide storage for books on the bottom, and a base for a rotating collection of art on the top.
This room from Stadshem, via Inspirera Mera, incorporates three shelves, but the idea is the same — the console-that-isn’t. The particularly nice thing about displaying art on a shelf like this is that you don’t need to commit to any particular combination, and can change things at will as you see fit.
This instance of the long, low shelf, from Charlotte Minty via Interior Junkie, takes advantage of a short wall in an attic bedroom, where traditional furniture just wouldn’t fit. Although the bottom shelf floats only a few inches above the floor, this helps to contribute to an overall feeling of lightness.
This interior from Char and the City is proof that this doesn’t just work in the living room. It’s also quite nice in a small entryway, where the shelf creates a spot for shoes below and bags above. One thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re only going with one or two shelves, is that this look will have the most impact if you pick a shelf with a thicker profile, and one with a concealed mounting bracket, so it almost seems like an extension of the wall. (IKEA’s Lack wall shelves are a good example of this.)
From Poppytalk, here’s another example of the style, although you’ll notice, if you look closely, that the shelf has a support on one side, and is probably just a low bench. This is a great way to get the look if you’re not allowed to make holes in the wall.
One further no-holes-in-the-wall solution, from Lily, is to pair together a few 1x Kallax shelves. Without hanging anything on the wall, you can still do the movable art display above, and, as a bonus, the Kallax makes a great spot for storing records (or even books).
Caleb Anderson and Jenny Kirschner weigh in on the decorating dilemma
A rug typically seems like a no-brainer when decorating a space, whether it’s a long runner in the hallway, a traditional hand-loomed creation underneath the bed, or maybe even a zebra hide below a foyer’s entry table. Rugs can add a layer of warmth to a room with their luxurious materials and textures, and they can reflect your personal style depending on the pattern and color. But when you have to constantly vacuum up the shedding layers of wool, or reposition furniture to cover up that spot of red wine you spilled last weekend, the design staple can start to seem like an endless chore, prompting you to question whether a rug is really necessary at all. Here, AD tapped two interior designers to make the case for their position on the conundrum.
Rugs, rugs, and more rugs
“Rugs are singularly one of the most transformative elements in a room. They elevate an interior with different colors, textures, and patterns as well as ground a space. I once used a bright citrine over-dyed antique rug in a bedroom to dramatically set off the otherwise neutral space, and the impact was quite compelling and rich. The relevance of floor coverings spans cultures and centuries, resulting in an incredible range of styles and materials, which make them appropriate for almost any setting. Whether in a subtle rich texture, like the novel metallic rugs by Hechizoo and Pinton, the luxe woven leathers of Charles Schambourg, or a vibrant pattern, rugs are an integral part of a well-designed room.” —Caleb Anderson of Drake/Anderson
No rug necessary
“People who tend to go rug-free usually entertain and fear that a carpet will act as a catch-all for delicious accidents that invariably happen at dinner parties. For example, in a very grand, pre-war apartment I’m currently designing, my client specifically did not want a rug in her family’s formal dining room since she entertains on a regular basis. But without one, the existing space felt unfinished and a little barren. Her dining table and chairs were just floating in the middle of the space—so lonely. As a solution, I am in the process of creating an ‘area rug’ with beautiful mosaic tile. This will not only provide the same grounding appearance that a rug imparts when placed under a table and collection of chairs but also add some color, pattern, and durability to the space. I am also constructing a fabulous wall covering that adds visual interest to further make up for the lack of warmth that an area rug typically delivers. I think it’s important to compensate in situations where the impracticality of a rug outweighs the aesthetic benefits.” —Jenna Dina Kirschner
From DIY desks to hidden wardrobes, these easy updates will transform your pad. Plus, five jobs for the bank holiday
Get to work
If you don’t have room for an office, but need somewhere to put a slim desk, scour your home for “dead” space like this, by a bedroom window. Attach a piece of white plywood – cut to fit your space – to a pair of trestle legs (try Ikea’s Oddwald). Then splash out on an Eames DAW armchair.
Houseplants are making a comeback. Cacti and succulents, with their architectural shapes and low maintenance, are hugely popular, but for more drama and scale, it’s time to revisit some 1970s favourites. Evergreens such as ferns, spider plants and swiss cheese plants, with their striking silhouettes, are seriously back in vogue, say the authors of At Home With Plants, published this month by Mitchell Beazley. As are woven hanging baskets: Ondine Ash makes wonderfully retro woven designs. Create a display in an empty corner, close to natural light. Pictured left, from left: maidenhair fern, Pachira money plant and a Cereus cactus.
A lick of dark paint behind open, white kitchen shelves brings their contents to life; Farrow & Ball’s classic Down Pipe is a good match. Find similar chopping boards at Heal’s; and try Toast (toa.st) and French Connection for hand-thrown artisanal ceramics.
Hang it all
Create a wardrobe from an unused alcove or nook: screen it off with a curtain, add a hanging rail and paint the same colour as the surrounding walls. Team it with a stool; Etsy stocks Moroccan Ben Ourain cushions. (Taken from Space Works, a book of design and decorating ideas, published by Ryland Peters & Small; rylandpeters.com).
Fallen in love with some rustic shutters, but don’t know what to do with them now they’re home? Fix them to a bedroom wall and add instant character. Find similar at salvage company Lassco. A section of tree trunk adds a further rustic touch, its rough texture contrasting with the floaty curtains and crisp bedlinen. Find offcuts at woodnet.org.uk. Taken from (as before).
A closet with character
Wallpaper is best avoided in bathrooms because of the effects of humidity, but a small cloakroom is the perfect spot for a quirky feature wall. Here, pages from a secondhand novel have been pasted on the wall, with a sheet of glass used as a splashback above the sink. Habitat’s glossy Aimee mirror is a good match for this. Taken from Space Works (as before).
Revamp stairs by painting them, runner-style. Here, the floor is painted in Dove Tale and the stripes are Babouche, Mahogany and Arsenic – all by Farrow & Ball.
Running out of storage space, but can’t bear to throw books away? If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, build over-the-top shelves above door frames to use the whole space between floor and ceiling. Taken from Space Works (as before).
Five quick bank holiday jobs
1 Deep clean No excuses: spring is the time to go a bit further than dusting and vacuuming, and tackle winter wear and tear. Pressure-hose the patio, beat your rugs outside, wash the windows, and clean scuff marks made by bikes and prams off the hallway walls. For stubborn wall marks, touch up with paint.
2 Go minimal Take your spring cleaning to the next level and get rid of your possessions. Japanese minimalist Fumio Sasaki, author of Goodbye, Things, advises throwing away anything you have in multiples (scissors, salad servers, flip-flops); anything you haven’t used in a year; and your storage containers – when your things no longer have a home, you will get rid of them faster.
3 Kitchen clear-out Stale biscuits, mouldy, pre-referendum pesto, pasta dregs in six open packets: begone! Throw out anything that’s out of date or unlikely to be eaten, then decant foods such as pasta, rice and flour into labelled containers. Cooking will be so much more fun.
4 Get gardening Now is the time to plant out summer bulbs such as alliums and agapanthus, either in a warm, sunny position in the garden, or in window boxes to prettify your sills. Place broken pieces of terracotta at the bottom of each box to help drainage, before adding soil and bulbs.
5 Tackle your wardrobe Store your clothes properly, Marie Kondo-style. Fill your drawers with shoe boxes to use as dividers, then fold T-shirts, tops and socks lengthways: make a long rectangle, and fold into a little package. Store them vertically in neat rows; this way, you can see everything at a glance
Hayden Panettiere knows a thing or two about creating a super cozy abode. The Nashville star gave us a peek at her Tennessee digs in a home tour for People, where you can see a striking aquarium that she and her daughter call their “happy place,” and a wall of firewood in the living room that serves as a rustic art installation. Check out the full tour on People.com, then scroll down to see how to imitate her country-chic style in your space.
Panettiere wanted a rustic vibe in her living room, so she and her designer came up with the uber creative idea of filling the shelves with firewood. The rest of the living room aims for comfort with a monochromatic palette, earth-toned accessories, and a few odes to her Heroesdays.
You might not have a massive bookshelf to fill with logs, but you can still nail that cozy cabin vibe with a coffee table made of sticks. Keep the rest of the room light and bright with a white sofa and pale green accents. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, copy the star’s love of aquariums and pick up a stylish fishbowl.
A perfectly balanced mix of pink, purple, and white make two-year-old Kaya’s nursery sweet and trendy. Her favorite parts about the space are the snuggly rocking chair and the closetful of hand-me-down clothes from Hayden’s own childhood. Oh, and the fact she can fit into the toddler bed for cuddle sessions — too cute!
Create the ultimate upscale nursery with bright pink accents, a mod crib, and some enormous stuffed animals. Then bring the warmth with a comfy rocker, an adorable elephant side table, and teal storage bins to keep the little one’s toys organized.