Find­ing stor­age space needn’t be a chal­lenge

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

YOU are look­ing for a space to pile up books and mag­a­zines that doesn’t look clut­tered or junky. You’d like to tuck in a desk for your com­puter that doesn’t need to be cleared off when you de­cide to eat. A comfy chair would be lovely to curl up in and read in a quiet cor­ner.

But where? Find­ing a pre­cious few feet of liv­able or storable space is a con­stant chal­lenge, but it is there for you if you do a bit of in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and yes, sort­ing through what you have.

If you’ve lived in a home for a few years, it’s a given there is stuff in boxes, cup­boards and un­der the beds that won’t be missed. Tidy up and de­clut­ter, and empty spa­ces will emerge. Clean out the at­tic, paint the walls, throw down a car­pet, and there’s a quiet re­treat for work, re­lax­ing, play­ing an in­stru­ment or craft­ing. De­sign along with the par­tic­u­lar shape and di­men­sions of the area. Dorm­ers cut off head room, but a bed or desk or row of stor­age cab­i­nets fits per­fectly in the nooks.

Max­i­mize bed­room closet space with or­ga­niz­ers, rods on two lev­els, built-in shelves and shoe racks. Sep­a­rate out-of-sea­son cloth­ing, pack into cloth­ing bags and store un­der the bed. (Do this twice a year and edit while you are at it for more space next sea­son.) Some­times more space sim­ply means more ac­ces­si­ble space.

In the kitchen, pare down to es­sen­tials and look for kitchen cab­i­net or­ga­niz­ers such as spin­ning shelves for awk­ward cor­ner cab­i­nets, slid­ing shelves and built-in spice racks.

Fur­ni­ture can be re­cy­cled and re­placed with pieces that are more ver­sa­tile.

Switch up the lumpy sofa bed for a mod­ern sec­tional with built-in stor­age. Opt for a nest of tables that of­fers you three us­able sur­faces when needed, yet takes up min­i­mum space. Stretch book­shelves to the ceil­ing so your col­lec­tions are vis­i­ble and close to hand with no wasted space.

Spe­cial-pur­pose ap­pli­ances bring prac­ti­cal ver­sa­til­ity to kitchens and bar ar­eas.

Elec­trolux of­fers a tan­ta­liz­ing va­ri­ety of de­sign op­tions and mod­els (www.elec­trolux­i­con.com). Warmer draw­ers, re­frig­er­a­tors and fridge draw­ers that fit un­der-counter are great space-sav­ing so­lu­tions.

We hap­pened upon a fab­u­lous Elec­trolux un­der-counter wine cooler, an ap­pli­ance I was more than happy to wel­come to our home. While en­vi­sion­ing with de­light the se­lec­tion of wines we could now store in an en­vi­ron­ment suit­able to the type and vin­tage, I searched my kitchen for avail­able un­der-counter space. And then I spot­ted the stairs, or more pre­cisely, the area un­der the stairs that was just off the kitchen.

In the ‘be­fore’ shot you can see we had an old fridge with odds and ends rest­ing on top, and a stack of car­tons. Shoes, boots and other para­pher­na­lia got shoved in there, too. This was it. Time to put this area to bet­ter use. Cus­tom-built cab­i­netry and shelves were de­signed around the di­men­sions of the wine cooler. The new wood was trimmed and painted to match the ex­ist­ing decor.

This spot is no longer an eye­sore; in fact, it’s one of my favourite places to visit. Deb­bie Travis’ House to Home col­umn is pro­duced by Deb­bie Travis and Bar­bara Din­gle. Please email your ques­tions to house­2home@deb­bi­etravis.com . You can fol­low Deb­bie on Twit­ter at www.twit­ter. com/debbie_travis, and visit Deb­bie’s new web­site, www.deb­bi­etravis.com.

Cfter: Space un­der the stairs has been trans­formed into a well-de­signed wine pantry

that suits the home’s ar­chi­tec­ture and dé­cor.

Eefore: +id­den space un­der the stairs can be­come an un­or­ga­nized stor­age

catchall.

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