Archive for ‘Client Projects’

August 13, 2012

Makeover Monday::This and That

by heatherkp

Today’s just a few misc. makeover projects from both our move and clients.  The first is an example of a hall closet that contains some linens and a lot of “medicine closet” items that don’t fit into the bathroom.  We didn’t buy anything for this project, just sorted through what was there, relocated some items to other areas and switched things around into containers that were more functional for each type of item.

We relocated all the cleaning products to the kitchen that were spread between there and the hall closet.  This cleared up the whole top shelf for bathroom and linen related items.  We used appropriate sized containers to hold hand towels, wash cloths, extra personal care items, medicines, make up and first aid items. 

We were able to easily fit all the household cleaning supplies under the sink.  We utilized on container to hold products that could be taken room to room for cleaning in other areas of the house. Moving along to my own house, I fell in love with this chandelier in our Dining room immediately!  Unfortunately I don’t think it had ever been properly cleaned.  And by properly I mean dis-assembling it by removing each crystal and soaking them, wiping them with a soft cloth and brush to get off the years of grime.  This took me almost 4 hours and there are almost 350 crystals but what a spectacular difference it made!

Finally, this is our master bedroom before and after.  It’s a small room and we are not able to fit our one large dresser in here but everything else works well and I love the serene blue of these walls which is almost the EXACT shade of blue we had painted in our MD living room before we left.  I love this room!

July 30, 2012

Moving Monday::Kitchen Basics

by heatherkp

We’ve finally landed in our new home.  It’s been a LONG haul and a very much anticipated transition with bumps and curves along the way that no one could have anticipated.  We’ve been “in” the house for just a week now and we are quickly coming to love it.

We feel very lucky to have found it, it’s pretty much exactly what we were looking for in a fantastic location.  After living in a house in MD that was big but still didn’t fit our needs and then not having any space of our own we feel like we’ve found just the right size which includes a new studio space for me to create art and textiles and a workshop for my husband’s tools and business.

Now to share with you some of what we’ve been doing in the house and some tips on organizing your way through unpacking.  Start with the basics!  Last week I mentioned some supplies to have on hand to make the transition easier but the next step should be to get your Bedroom(s), Bathroom and Kitchen set up.  These are the first areas I unpacked since I wanted to be able to really start using the space.  I got the clothes in the closets (removing all the wardrobe boxes from the picture), next came unpacking luggage into our dressers and linens and toiletries into the linen closet and bathroom.  With these practical things out of the way we could find clothes to dress and go about our normal routine.  May seem obvious but man did it feel great to put clothes into drawers and closets after living out of luggage for quite some time!  But I’ll share closet organization in another post…

Next I focused on the kitchen.  I had 20 boxes of kitchen, dining room and bar supplies!  We have a small house built shortly after WWII and the kitchen is a galley type with no pantry.  I have 1 curio and 1 china cabinet to fit all our non-essential dining items and I was quite concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in the cabinets!

Somehow I managed, with room to spare (not much).  I started by really thinking about how I would use each zone of the kitchen and since it’s not eat in I wanted the dishes and silverware to be easy to access from the dining room (which adjoins the kitchen).  I determined which items I wanted in each cabinet and drawer (roughly) and then started the process of unpacking and putting things away.  As I came across the inevitable items I’d forgotten about and didn’t yet have space for I set them aside on the dining room table.  I also mentally reserved space in certain spaces for these and other larger items as I worked through each box and cabinet.  Since I don’t have much counter space our microwave, toaster and mixer are the three items I knew I would have to keep out.  The rest of the small appliances went into the cabinets.

I had certain organizing pieces/tools I used that are flexible and can be made to fit various configurations, like baskets,  that hang from the shelves (below) and risers (above), these can be great help if you have tall cabinets and in some situations they can almost double your useable space.  I find that containing smaller items (like lids, spices, utensils etc) in baskets or bins makes the space easier to keep tidy and it makes it easier to grab what you need and return the rest without disrupting everything around.

Finally there were the cleaning supplies under the sink.  I wish I could tell you the name of this contraption that I used, I’ve had it for ages and the great thing is that the “shelves” snap in place and can be configured around pipes and other obstacles.  I’ve used it in the last 2 houses and it’s a great organizing tool (I’ll see if I can find it and post a link soon).

Overall I had to be flexible and re-think how I organized quite a few things since I use to have a pantry and a lot fewer drawers.  These cabinets are also much deeper than I was use to, which makes for extra storage but I will have to move things to get to the less used items.  That’s okay with me.  Each person has to customize their space to their needs and that’s the fun of organizing for me, finding a fit for each person’s specific needs and desires.

PS…I have no garbage disposal in this kitchen and that white bin on the top left is my compost bucket:) fits perfectly!

June 18, 2012

Makeover Monday::Kitchen Edition

by heatherkp

Disclaimer:: These photo’s are not very good and I apologize, I think those of you who regularly read my blog know that I’m normally a much better photographer.  These were taken with  my new phone and I’m still getting use to the settings.  Okay, on with it.  This project was in a very small home (just over 800 Sq’) in the historic Byrnes Down neighborhood.  The homes in this neighborhood were built in the 40’s as “war homes” and their sizes reflect this historic fact.  This particular house is the home of 2 adults and 2 kids who love to cook and entertain but their very limited cabinet/cupboard space has made it challenging.   In the 4 hours we worked, we tackled 6 of the 8 cabinets in the kitchen.  These 6 cabinets must hold ALL the food and dishes.  The remaining 2 cabinets are under the sink and above the refrigerator.

Above the sink-Open cabinet

Because this is an open cabinet (i.e. dust will accumulate etc) I wanted it to be filled with frequently used items that were not cluttered looking so we opted for glasses and a few serving pieces.  The top shelf contains seasonal and less used items.

Dishes and Glasses

The daily china and smaller glasses stayed in this cabinet.  Less frequently used barware was moved to the dining room and a shelf riser was installed to double the amount of short glassware and coffee mug storage.  Again the top shelf contains fine china and less frequently used items.

Lower Storage Left

The opposite side of the kitchen (this is a galley style kitchen) only contains 4 cabinets.  This side has a trash can that lives in front of one side so the left had to store less frequently used items such as larger serving pieces and small appliances/accessories.  Whenever possible I like to use containers to keep like items together, this makes it easy to locate the items when you need them and know exactly where to put them away.  We took advantage of the tall space to use another riser for canned goods.  A few frequently used utensils hang on the inside of the door since there are only 2 drawers in this kitchen.

Lower Storage Right

This side (of the oven/stove) holds the cooking items and every day items used to make the kids lunches.  By corralling all the wraps, bags, foil etc. into a door mounted unit these items are now easily accessible without bending down and digging through the cookware.  The deep cabinets allowed for this good size unit to be installed and the other door can still be used if needed.  Doors are a great place to store things when space is tight.

Food Storage Upper Left

All the food staples need to fit into two cabinets less than 30″ wide.  The other drawback to these cabinets is the lack of shelving, with only 2 useable shelves in each it was necessary to bring in shelf risers to accommodate more storage.  The client may install additional risers or shelves in the future to fit even more in but we decided to work within boundaries of only purchasing 4 items (2 shelf risers, one stepped spice rack and the inside the door unit for the foil etc). The top shelf contains baking goods and other less frequently used foods.

Food Storage Upper Right

Lastly the upper right cabinet contains the more frequently used breakfast and snack foods as well as pastas, rice and other staples on the top shelf (where a step stool can be used to access them relatively easily).  When its constantly necessary to use a step stool I recommend finding a small collapsible one that can be mounted on the wall or slid into a tight space for easy accessibility.

Shortly after leaving this client she sent me this email:

“So excited to use our organized kitchen! Thank you Heather!”

As with all organizing projects it’s important to re-evaluate how well the changes you made are working for you.  I will follow up with this client to tweak things and be sure the “system” is working for them.

May 14, 2012

Makeover Monday::Year Long Transformation

by heatherkp

When I left Maryland I tried to wrap things up with most of my clients as best I could or pass them along to other organizers.  I had one client though that was making very good progress on her own and we had discussed before leaving the possibility of my continuing to work with her “Virtually”.  We began working together in one room tackling the transformation of the guestroom into something more comfortable for guests and also creating a functional work space where this client could work on the computer and her family genealogy projects.  When I arrived the room and walk in closet were crowded with many years worth of papers (personal, financial, you name it) mixed in with the genealogy papers.  Together we set to the task of sorting through these papers and deciding what to keep, what to toss and what category the keepers fell into.

Entrance to room

Guest Bed

Desk

Walk in closet shelves (all clothing that was hanging here was relocated)

As you can see from the before photo’s things were a bit of a jumble.  We worked together on average twice a month for a few hours each session.  Along the way as we began to see progress and as room was created we started to discuss the clients vision for this room.

  • How did she want it to feel and look?
  • How did it need to function in their day to day lives and for the guests who frequently used the room?

I discussed all of this with the client and asked her to gather some inspiring images to share what she liked.  We ended up working from one particular photo for the rooms inspiration.  Before things got finished the room actually looked worse!  That’s pretty common with almost any organizing project.

Things were pulled from the closet to sort through and this stained glass lamp served as inspiration for the color palette in the room.

The paint color was chosen and the room got a fresh paint job.

Furniture was re-arranged and cherished accessories were sorted through to select the ones to be used and displayed in the room.  This was roughly how things looked when I left Maryland in November.  I knew my client had her work cut out for her but I also was confident in her progress and motivation to complete this project.  So, we embarked on monthly phone coaching calls where she and I would “work” through her goals, progress and obstacles along the way.  I was very excited to see her progress when I returned to Maryland this past month.  Based upon what I had heard had been done in my absence, I knew she had done a great job.  This is what I saw when I returned!

A big part of this rooms re-designed focused on the function as a guest room for musicians and a genealogy office.  I also wanted to help this client use and appreciate the sentimental memorabilia that tied into the overall theme of the room and were too beautiful to be shoved in a closet!   Several stained glass lamps are being used and the violins and other musical instruments are now on display.  Furniture was relocated out of the room and the gold chair was brought in from another room. The primary color palette inspiration from the lamp worked well with most of the accessories and furnishings the client had on hand.

This desk is much more proportional to the room and was the only piece of furniture purchased.  The client loves it, I love it!

The closet got a transformation with the installation of shelves built to fit the basket filing system we created for the genealogy files.  In this case the client wanted to be able to pull out one family’s papers to work on at a time and she wanted to be able to work on them in this room or other areas of the house.  The final detail will be putting tags on the filled boxes.  No filing cabinets in sight!

The client has a bit more genealogy filing to do to complete this system but this part of the task will be something the client can easily handle on her own.  I know this because I see how incredibly far she has come in the past year of working together and in the past 4 months of her working with me on a coaching only basis.  Way to go!  I love to see these kinds of transformations, they can be so self motivating as the clients see how much progress they have made.  Working with clients virtually isn’t for everyone.  I only recommend working this way with specific clients who are interested in doing much of the work themselves, they have clear and specific goals encompassing a specific project and are very self motivated.  If you think you might be a candidate for working with me on a “virtual” coaching basis, send me an email and we can set up a free phone assessment.  What transformations have taken place for you in the past year?

 

May 7, 2012

Moving Monday::Stuff Left Behind, A Wedding, A Puppy & A Shower…

by heatherkp

Yesterday we returned from a whirlwind 11 day trip back up to our former hometown to visit family and friends.  The trip included a wedding, a bridal shower (for my future SIL), trips to museums in DC, several parties (one on our behalf~Thanks!), family time, meeting my new family puppy (Katinka who we fell in LOVE with), my best friends 40th birthday (I’m not too far behind!), two client appointments and packing up our remaining “stuff”.  We “moved” 5 1/2 months ago now and have had this trip planned since.  I was asked to photograph a cousin’s wedding last week, which was really perfect timing for us to make this return trip.

Congratulations Matt and Chenoa!

Congratulations Matt and Chenoa!

My future SIL being playful!

My Puppy Sister, Katinka (A Coton de Tulear)

When we left MD last November we had to leave behind quite a few things at the last minute.  It wasn’t that we didn’t plan well, it wasn’t that we ran out of time but we didn’t have the space we anticipated in the truck we rented so we had to improvise.  Thanks to family and a couple friends we stowed away some treasures in MD during this time.  We had to leave behind a beloved model ship and dollhouse my grandfather built, our big TV, my Herman Miller Aeron chair, the rocking chair my brother and I were rocked in, many-many plants and quite a few garden tools.  We had to rent another U haul trailer to bring it all back but we did it!  It feels so great to know that we are here with all our stuff.  It also felt great to decide to leave a few items behind.  After living with everything in storage for so long I am so much more detached from our things.

The next exciting phase of our move will take us from our family’s place in Pawleys Island to downtown Charleston.  Later this week we will make that transition, one that will give us the much needed perfect space and timing to really know the place we are going to be living before we make big commitments.  It’s been challenging living like a gypsy but in the end I think this will help us have better area knowledge so we make a wise decision about where we will live next.  In the past we have made decisions about where we were going to live after only brief visits and in a few of those cases we felt stuck with something less than fantastic but that’s not gonna happen this time.  It may be another couple months before we finally have a home we can call our own but it’s going to be worth it in the end and I’ve learned a lot about flexibility and a certain sense of freedom that comes from living in limbo!

April 2, 2012

Makeover Monday::His & Hers Walk in Closet

by heatherkp

This was a case of a beautifully designed closet that just wasn’t functioning so well.  Without calling in anyone to redesign the closet or purchasing anything new we made do with what they had and re-organized some things so that more of what was needed fit into the closet in a neat and tidy way.

His and Hers Before

Her Side Before

His Side Before

About 4 hours later (mostly working by myself on this project) I had this closet finished.  On her side I sorted tops, bottoms and long dresses and jackets by clothing type and color.  I re-located less used special occasion items to a second guest room closet, created drawers designated for specific items such as hats, jewelry, belts and lingerie.  This freed up space for the client to use other bedroom furniture drawers for items that should not be hung such as sweaters, other knits and casual/frequently used items.

On his side I sorted full suits by season putting the warmer season suits to the front since we are shifting towards summer (at least here in the south).  This client also has quite a collection of bow ties and suspenders which I hung on a multi section hangers (often used for scarves or pants).  Again I sorted shirts and pants/shorts by type and color leaving suspenders attached to several pairs of pants in this case.

We got rid of almost everything on the floor and many of the decorative boxes and items cluttering up the shelves.  We used the shelves for shoes (both in and out of boxes and drawer bins), bags, hats (on the top shelves) and photo albums.  She liked keeping these albums in the closet but if she needed more shelving space she could remove them to another area in the future.  The closet is a nice space to keep photo albums if you have the room and you can always pull out a few at a time to have on display in a more public room of the house.

His and Hers After

Her Side After

Her Side After

His Side After

Tip: Store items that are not needed often in the back of deep corner shelves in containers that are easily pulled out.  For example shoe; a shoe shining kit. Label the edge of shelves so you know what’s hiding in the back of each.

March 5, 2012

Makeover Monday: Home office remodel

by heatherkp

This was a fun project that I started about a month ago.  This client recently began working from a home office and although the design of the room and built in desk are quite beautiful there were some issues with functionality.  The clients punch list was part design and remodel and part organization and efficiency.  At our first meeting I took an assessment that included the following:

  • Purchase a new larger monitor (which wouldn’t fit on the original desk top)
  • Re-arrange & relocate artwork
  • Rebuild or bring in a new/different desk
  • Purchase paper shredder
  • Eliminate clutter and create more desktop space
  • Keyboard tray/desktop had no room for use of mouse
  • More leg room
  • TV viewing in room -better positioned seating
  • Crowded (too much clutter)
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Space to store supplies
  • Storage for important archival documents
  • Implement/redesign filing system

Desk area before

Office before

Upon my return last week we discussed this “Punch list” and the client had made some decisions with some close advisement of family, myself and a contractor (in this case my husband who had done previous work for this client).  They purchased a new computer, all in one printer and shredder, we redesigned the desk and had it remodeled to fit their needs exactly and re-arranged furniture and implemented new storage/filing solutions.  Some furniture and other items were removed from the room or stored away, we brought in a second desk, relocated the sofa and additional seating opposite the TV and added lighting (on artwork, in the bookshelf/desk and an additional lamp).  We sorted through paperwork and created storage for archival documents, cleared out unneeded papers and equipment, installed a binder filing system (more on this type of system to follow in a separate post) and used existing storage and furniture to store items needed in the office.

Office in progress

As usual for any organizing project there came a point mid way through where the room looked worse than when we began.  In the photo above you can see the papers, boxes and clutter floating homeless in the room but at this point the furniture had been re-arranged to fit their needs and the desk was in the midst of being remodeled.  This project was done in about 4-5 days.  Part of the fun of this was that my husband and I worked as a team and he did the remodeling, lighting installation assisted with installation of all the new technology (computer, relocating phones/modems, printer etc).  In fact we worked so well together that we are thinking of trying more projects as a team in the future.  The results speak for them self (I think:)

Office-second desk with printer after

Desk after

Office desk after

Office after

It’s not every project that comes together so quickly and efficiently.  We had a successful week and I’ll be following up (as I always do with my clients) to be sure that the new space and systems we installed are working well.  I’m not only proud of how beautiful this room is (which I certainly can’t take total credit for!) but also how well it will now function but customizing and thinking through all this clients needs. 

Great Design is all about Form + Function!

Do you balance form and function as you design your spaces or do you lean more heavily towards one or the other?

February 13, 2012

Makeover Monday::Painting Studio Organizing

by heatherkp

Today is the first Monday I will feature before and after images of recent organizing projects.  I was excited to begin working with this artist and be able to help get this beautiful new home studio space set up!

The project encompassed mainly sorting items into categories for usage and designating spaces for each.  I also assisted with placing furniture and other items for use and Inspiration around the studio.  To give you an idea of time needed for this type of project, I worked mainly alone (due to this clients health condition) for about 6 hours to complete the space.

Studio Entrance Before (left) and After (right)

Sink Area Before (left) and After (right)

Studio Looking In Before (left) and After (right)

Studio Opposite View Before (left) and After (right)

This artist now has ample room, light and a well thought out space where each item is closely stored in zones created based upon their designated use.  For example the paints and paint brushes are near the palettes and easels, the drawing tools are near the drawing table, the frames are stored in an out of the way area and there are two comfortable chairs set up for reading (with books nearby for inspiration and research), placing models and sitting back to evaluate ongoing work.  I’ve suggested a couple small projects that will allow for better storage of certain items in the space (paper bins and an area for hanging extra frames).  As I always do with my clients, I will follow up several times to be sure that the space and placement of items is working well and if needed we will make adjustments so the client will be able to maintain a certain level of organization on their own.

Working with artists is a particular passion of mine.  I am so excited for this artist to begin to work in this new space and allow the creative process to flow unhindered by clutter!

May 22, 2011

Sorry but I can’t promise…

by heatherkp

I haven’t been around the blog lately and I’m sorry.

I can only say that big things are happening behind the scenes.  My attention is being fully absorbed by the many small and grand tasks involved in launching a new business.

Each Sunday I spend a little time reflecting on all that I’ve accomplished in the past week and this week was quite full!  I also set my schedule and goals for the upcoming week and give myself priorities to focus on.

This past week I…

  • Attended various networking events with over 450 people!
  • Planted my community garden plot (mostly veggies as well as some herbs and flowers).
  • Joined NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers
  • Attended a class to continue educating myself in Organizing skills
  • Obtained Business liability insurance
  • Located a Health insurance Broker and applied for yet another individual health insurance plan (this is a challenging mission!).
  • Enjoyed some local spring produce (finally it’s back!) from Normans Farm Market CSA
  • Consulted with my graphic designer to finalize business cards
  • Stopped to enjoy the peonies, iris, bachelors buttons and columbine blooming in my garden (there will be photo’s soon!)
  • Ate my first home grown strawberry and chased off a couple squirrels stealing them!
  • Started eating a gluten free diet and thank goodness for the fresh produce.
  • Completed an art commission for a friends hair salon!

    Detail of Blue Swirl Poppies

See, I told  you there’s a lot going on behind the scenes!  Not to mention this coming week our entire main level will be having all the hard wood floors removed (we’ve got termites:( and replaced.  Ughh, the good news is all new floors!  So with all this craziness I’m not going to make any promises about when I’ll be back but I will and I’ll do my best to stop in more regularly!

March 11, 2011

Clutter Free Friday

by heatherkp

“Living Empty means we release the things that are no longer in alignment with who we are becoming. The release itself tells us who that is. The emptiness shows us the way.”~Christine Kane

If you have been following my blog this year you may remember my word of intention for this year is Clarity!  In beginning to clear away some of the physical (and emotional) baggage I’ve been dragging around I’ve recently realized that I want to help people find clarity in their own lives.  I will be working towards becoming a Certified Professional Organizer over the next 1-2 years so this will be a subject you will be seeing more of here.  I’m actually surprised I didn’t include de-cluttering in my Wednesday Wellness series!  Living organized is living well!  My objective in helping my clients is to: Cultivate creative solutions for a more joyful home.

Do you hang onto stuff because you think you might use it again one day or it’s simply sentimental or you just can’t part with it because you love it?  There is no right or wrong answer but there are those of us that have a very hard time parting with things.  I am not a hoarder by any means and I also don’t consider myself a minimalist (and I certainly don’t think everyone needs to be) I fall somewhere in the middle, which I suspect is where most people fall.   I think we all have areas in our homes and our lives that get cluttered and overwhelming and sometimes we need a push to get started.  I do think it’s a very healthy process to get rid of things that you no longer need and making even small changes in your home can create big changes in your life!

Every Spring and Fall I go through a period of purging that usually lasts a month or two.  I get rid of things that I no longer need, things that are broken, things I just don’t love anymore and things that I know someone else could use more than me.  I have a rule that I picked up somewhere, whenever I get something new I have to get rid of something.  For example last week I got a new pair of PJ’s but I got rid of a pair (actually like 3) that were worn out and I didn’t really use any more.  I also have a rule that I rarely buy books.  I’m an avid Library user so I get tons of books from them and I consider all the late fee’s I get my contribution towards the library system.  If I can’t find what I want at the library I usually ask around and try to borrow it and if that doesn’t work I may end up buying it myself.  I love books but my house would be filled to the roof if I owned every book I read or wanted to read.

So, what are you doing this weekend?  Why not get started on that Spring cleaning if you haven’t already.  Maybe start with some books and some of those winter clothes you haven’t worn once this winter.  Go ahead, give yourself permission to live a little lighter and find a little more joy in your new found space!