Sorting out your storage problems starts with reassessing what you really need, writes Kirsten Craze
Storage ideas to save your sanity
Living without enough storage is enough to drive the average homeowner a little crazy. Rummaging through the backs of cupboards — or storage crates — to find what you’re looking for is a waste of time and a pathway to frustration.
But living large in a small space is possible if you’re willing to look at the bigger picture. Whether it is a pint-sized inner-city property, or a home with a poky kitchen or bathroom, storage can still be king with a little forethought.
Architect Nicolas Gurney has experience with compact footprints having redesigned studio apartments as small as 22sqm. He is currently working on a 12sqm granny flat. He’s a great believer in learning to live with less and being careful with what you bring into your home. “There’s something satisfying about inhabiting spaces without surplus or excess,” he says. “And when you consider we only occupy a square metre or two at a time, for me small places are no big deal,” he says.
“As an architect, it means that you have to work even harder to uncover solutions and solve problems.”
Anoushka Allum, interior designer and decorator from SmartSpace Interiors, agrees that you really don’t need more room to create more space. “You can be smarter with how you live,” she says. “Some people are better than others at living with less.”
To make a small space work well you really do need to be prepared to live little. Not in terms of size, but be committed to only buying when you need to replace it.
She says that means that if something new is coming into the house, something also needs to go out.
Keeping it in the kitchen
A small, poorly planned kitchen can be a cook’s worst nightmare. Anoushka says there’s one thing even the smallest kitchen needs.
“A pullout pantry in the kitchen is key,” Anoushka says. “In the kitchens that I design, I add in drawers and storage
Some people are better than others at living with less
wherever possible, like in the kickboards, or a small 300mm-wide pullout pantry can be a super use of a slim floor-toceiling space.”
If you take storage up to ceiling height, it’s the ideal place to store less-used items such as a pasta maker or rice cooker.
Nicolas says he is no stranger to tiny kitchens, but says that many clients have great expectations. “These days everybody wants everything concealed, and they want every luxury, but it’s often at the expense of bench space,” he says.
“So, anything that can kind of flip down and pull out, or slide out, to effectively double the bench space, is the type of thing that I try to think about.”
And while it might be tempting in a small home to want to hide the kitchen clutter, Nicolas says the opposite is true.
A mix of open shelving and drawers and cabinets is often the best solution, along with a good decluttering.
“A concealed kitchen tends to look quite heavy-set and boxy, whereas something more open tends to look a ABOVE LEFT: Even tenants can get storage savvy by using every inch intelligently. ABOVE: Compact kitchens don’t have to feel cluttered with the right design.
little lighter,” he says. “If you can organise the chaos, it means that the kitchen doesn’t impinge on the rest of the space as much.”
More SmartSpace Interiors, smartspaceinteriors.com