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Garage Envy

custom garage with urinalMost people who live in houses with garages aren't able to park their vehicles inside because they store so many other items in that space. On line sites like Yahoo put the number at around 50%. Other sources like put the number as high as 85%.

Some can't park all of their vehicles in the garage because they have three or more vehicles (and bikes) and a two-car garage. Or they have to buy very expensive parking spaces in city environments and just can't swing the additional expense.

Of the people who aren't able to get the two cars they own into their two car garages, the biggest reason is because they have other "stuff" inside the garage. That stuff can include things like power tools and equipment to do yard work as well as children's toys, bikes, skateboards, bats and balls. You name it. It gets tossed into the garage.

Which makes this space even more prime for custom storage solutions. You need to take advantage of the wall space and even the ceiling space to store these kinds of items.

So here are some suggestions for creating "Garage Envy" in your neighborhood:

From a storage and function perspective

  • garage with slat wallShelving is a must. Solid shelving is much better than wire shelving because it can hold more weight and things won't fall through the open slots in the wire.

  • At least one section with doors and a lock are helpful because you can safely store chemicals and cleaning products and not have to worry about kids getting in to them by accident.

  • Another excellent way to utilize the walls is with a “Slat Wall”. This is plastic sheeting with grooves in it. The manufacturers make all kinds of baskets and sports equipment hooks and things so you can both see and store your items. And devices are adjustable and easy to move around, so as your kids get older and equipment and toys change, so can the location of your storage solutions.

From an "I want that" perspective

  • Add color. You can do it with the just the edgebanding or with the doors and drawer fronts or with the entire system. The garage is a terrific place to add a favorite color since the space typically involves lots of gray cement.

  • Add a television. And this can go beyond just the "game day gathering". If you're organized enough and have the space, having a television in your garage is a very cool thing that allows you to keep an eye on the game while still tinkering with your toys. What could be better?

  • Add a "dog wash station". Having a hose and water in the garage can be useful for cleaning up many messes, the most popular and frequent being hosing down that muddy dog before he sets paw inside the house.

     custom enclosed dog wash

We realize that most people don't have the resources to add these "I want that" features, but isn't it fun to look and dream? Or add some things to your Houzz ideabooks? Connect with us on our page for more ideas:

Incorporating Feng Shui Into Millwork

These very balanced and beautiful spaces started with just stark drywall and a concept of architecturally tying together an existing kitchen with new living and working spaces.   

The client has a strong affinity to living life in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui (in Chinese thought) is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi), and whose effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

So that thinking was woven into every design element.  We made sure we had clear pathways and balanced elements.

We also designed a two-sided fireplace, so that this powerful symbolic element could be enjoyed from both the living room and the home office.

Fireplaces are often the center of attention for any room, and this is not just because our ties to the fire element go back to the beginning of time.  Fire energy adds a strong presence to any room and is beautiful in its’ coloring and changing shapes.

Not only do fireplaces radiate heat, they blanket an atmosphere with feelings of stillness and comfort and the crackling sounds are peaceful and relaxing.

The wood on the walls that surround this feature is Sapele.  Sapele, which comes from a large, African tree, has a reddish-brown nature color.

One of the most remarkable features of Sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular intervals. You could consider it very harmonious with a fire element because fire changes shape as an inherent property of what it is.

The praying Buddha was added by the client with the intention of serving as a symbolic reminder to practice meditation so it’s easier to live a life of balance and harmony.

Buddha literally translates to “enlightened one” and the higher off the ground a Buddha statue is placed, the more reverence it holds in the life of the owner.


Designing Harmonious Spaces

We all like our homes to feel good. A natural state of “flow” contributes to that home-like, peaceful feeling that says “welcome” when we arrive at the end of a long day.

But if you live in a house that's in an urban environment or is of smaller square footage, this design effort can take more energy because functions in the rooms often overlap.  Or you can easily see from one space to another and you want it all to look like it works together.

And that's the case with this project designed by our team member, Carey Eckstrom.  The client showed Carey a photo of something she liked and Carey used that as the inspiration for these two wall units – one in the bedroom and one in the adjoining home office space.

The client liked the wider vertical dividers, the crown and base molding and the open feel of the upper shelving.

And you can see these elements incorporated into the final designs for their own spaces.

Another feature that adds to the great function of these designs is the clipped corners. By making the ends with 45 degree angles instead of squared-off 90 degree angles, the space feels softer and the pieces fit more easily into the flow of the room.                                           

Carey also took into account the location of the bed when designing the wall unit that's in the bedroom, making sure that the TV was in the sight line with the bed for comfortable viewing.

Both units are manufactured with solid cherry wood veneer with solid wood doors/molding and matching melamine interiors.  This “hybrid” approach saves costs because only the parts you see are actually wood (a more expensive material).

Another feature that really adds to the custom look of these pieces is the built-up columns.  Adding the width on the vertical pieces that divide the sections makes the units feel more substantial and clearly adds to the uniqueness.

So if you're looking for some unique storage for your home, give us a call and we'll design something equally as beautiful and functional that solves your storage challenges.

Six Tips for Crafty Storage Spaces

Designated space designed for activities like scrap booking and gift wrapping is increasingly popular.

And if you’re one of the lucky people who has a space that can be utilized for these activities, here are some suggestions on what to consider as you implement your design plan:

1) Define what kinds of crafts you’ll be doing in that space and what kind of equipment/tools and storage you will need in order to be able to enjoy utilizing your space while being efficient at the same time.

2) Figure out location and size of work surface (where it will be located in the room and how big it can be). Will this be a large table or a custom laminate surface?

3) Storage. Determine what kind you need and where it should be located. If the room has a Reach-In closet, you should vary the shelf depths inside that closet so you can store large items on deeps shelves, yet be able to easily access small items on shallow shelves.

4) Utilize wall space to help keep you organized. Install a “tool rack” of some sort with hooks on the wall nearest your work surface so you can easily grab what you need to work on your craft.

5) Task lighting should be accessible on your work surface so you can see detail in anything that needs close up attention.

6) Share your goals, pictures and things that need to be accommodated with your storage design professional so they can guide you through the process to a successful completion for an artsy-craftsy space that your friends will wish was theirs!

Pre-Built Work as a Blue Print For Success

Having custom millwork made for your home can happen in a variety of ways.

One option is to have your local trim carpenter do the work while they are actually in your house.

This option involves designing and making the cabinetry without a detailed master plan and the use of precision woodworking machinery. And it lacks the controlled environment to build and finish to the highest industry standards.

It also typically involves a great amount of sawdust and noise because work is actually taking place and things are being created on site.

Another option is to have things engineered and pre-built. However, transforming an idea from paper to product takes skill, expertise, and a firm grasp of cabinetry and construction technology.

Here’s why having truly custom, pre-built cabinetry, is a better blueprint for success:

custom cabinet solution

Stability – having cabinets that are manufactured in a shop allows things to be put together in a more solid way – with things like rabbits and biscuits (even though those sound like things that are fuzzy and edible – they actually increase the rigidity of a cabinet). Additional bracing and support can be easily identified during the pre-build phase as opposed to an afterthought in the field.

Longevity – something that is fabricated and built in a shop means that things are created under optimal conditions using state of the art woodworking machinery and skilled craftsmen – and that means they will last a lifetime.

Finish Quality – any piece that is finished in a dust controlled spray booth and with a finishing specialist will have far superior quality than anything that’s ever done in the field. You just can’t get the optimal conditions and environment for creating a beautiful finish when you’re doing the work inside someone’s home.

Less Guesswork with Upfront Engineering – if your cabinetry is made in the shop, it’s fully designed ahead of time and incorporates all aspects that need to work together to create a truly custom solution. It’s also easier to install because it’s a set of solid box
es, not a conglomeration of loose pieces and field guesswork.

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