As I comb through and admire all the wonderful pictures from home decor magazines, I often wonder if the homes they showcase have owners with some sort of super power that prevents them from ever having clutter? What about the shoes? Where on earth do those people store their shoes?! Well, I know we all live in the real world where everyday stuff can pile up. So here is a brief story of how an average girl (yours truly) transformed an existing space into a organizational safe haven for shoes, keys, mail, and other loose ends.
Here is the “before” picture. I had not one, but two odd nooks in my kitchen near the back door. One became a small bar area and the other one I decided to store all the things we shed once we enter the house. Ideally, a mudroom or a closet is best to store shoes, but after living in the space and discovering that we prefer to take off shoes near the door (as not to scuff and dirty our floors), I needed to make the space conform to us instead of us conforming to the space. Say it with me folks – “Make the space conform to US!”
After understanding how we used the space and knowing what would magically stack up on the kitchen counter and floors, I decided that there were three main design principles that needed to guide the transformation:
1. Take advantage of vertical space: We didn’t have a lot of counter space but we did have this tall narrow wall. Therefore, we needed to find an organization system that we could mount on the wall for all the knick-knacks, keys, take-out menus, and mail.
2. Differentiate the space from the rest of the kitchen: The first floor has an open floor layout and even though this nook is just a small area, it needed to have distinction so that house dwellers and guests know where loose things get confined to. Chalkboard paint was a fun way to define the space and allowed us to leave notes for each other.
3. Accessories addressing form and function: I refused to make a trade-off between meeting a functional need and nice aesthetics. So with design principle #1 in mind, I searched design magazines, blogs, and other online resources to find the best accessories. This is where I came to meet and love Vitra’s wall organizer and J-me’s horizontal shoe rack.
Just in case you didn’t know where to put your shoes, the chalkboard doubles as a friendly reminder to all that enter.