Friday, February 1, 2008

time to organize...and re-organize!

The new year always brings lots of articles in newspapers and magazines on getting organized in January. I’ve often thought that this is good idea, but never really get much further than putting away the Christmas decorations before all other good intentions to keep on going gets buried. This year is different. Since I am forced to relocate my home office (my boyfriend will begin telecommuting as of Feb 1 and thus has trumped all of the original home office that we previously shared), it was the perfect time to really put all these good organizing intentions into play.

The guest bedroom would my target. I started by emptying out the entire room – those decorator shows are right – you need to clear everything out so that you start with a clean slate. The wall color was already great – a light teal/robin egg blue. I knew that my black desk and an overstuffed chair slipcovered in teal cotton would be coming back in.
I wanted to surround myself with things that would inspire me – which means lots of old books, prints, bottles and clocks. Add in natural elements and metal accents (our motto is lust for rust for a good reason!) and I figured that I had a plan. Storage was utmost important. Having lots of shelves would be the easiest way to store books and papers and then containers to hold everything else – organized of course by content or topic. Since all available bookshelves were being used in the old office (law books take up a lot of space!) I needed to find plenty of my own. Rather than cobble together a makeshift combination, I went to IKEA. There are times when you just need to buy the right item for the right purpose. I bought three white BILLY bookcases and four STRIPA shelves. They are all the same color, sturdily constructed, provide ample storage and don’t call out attention. I also purchased several cardboard photo boxes and magazine files – this way I can put everything in its place and have some hope of finding it when the need arises.

Other storage options are more salvage-style. Atlas canning jars and vintage spice jars, both with galvanized lids will hold everything from paperclips to Chinese fortunes to alphabet stamps to thumbtacks. Five Victorian flower pots hold business cards. My vintage botanical specimen bottles that I brought back from England (LASSCO) hold inspirational finds such as silk thread spools and old clock wind-up keys. A rusty grocery store display rack filled with turn of the century books is the ideal counterpoint to the new smooth white bookshelves. Since I have such an attraction to galvanized metal, I couldn’t pass up the square cabinet doors that were on sale for $1 at IKEA. They have a small ridge on the back where they must have attached to the cabinet. I found an old yardstick which filled this ridge perfectly. I cut the yardstick in half (since I had two doors to mount), attached the yardstick portion to the wall and then hung the door off of the yardstick. The doors make terrific magnet message boards and carry through the metal design element of the galvanized jar tops, metal wire baskets and metal hooks.

The last major surface to cover was the floor. Since we have a rambunctious golden retriever, Calvin, I needed something that would stand up to lots of wear and dirt. FLOR carpet tiles do the trick. These ingenious tiles come in a myriad of colors, textures and designs. You arrange them in whatever configuration you want. They are comprised of recycled materials and have a non-slip backing.

And the best part is the clean-up. If a tile becomes soiled, you take it up, wash it off, let it dry and put it back in place! Or if a tile gets totally trashed, you can replace just that tile without sacrificing the entire carpet. I like the designs and colors look so contemporary – gives a modern edge to my space without going overboard.

The best part is crafting a work space that is comfortable and practical as well as inspirational. Virginia Woolf had it right – a woman does need a place of one’s own. - Amy

1 comment:

paris parfait said...

It looks great! A wonderful thing to have space of one's own. Terrific idea to use the cabinet doors as bulletin boards. As for the Atlas or Ball canning jars, I have about 60 aqua ones on shelves in our kitchen holding pasta, beans, cupcake sprinkles, etc.