Henry & Higby offers pre-construction consulting services for closets, kitchens, bathrooms and really any area of your home that may need an extra set of eyes focused on functionality, accessibility and storage. Whether it is figuring out how things may be stored in a kitchen or making sure that you aren’t missing out on an extra storage shelf in a bathroom cabinet, one of our favorite things to do is to help make the most of your space. A little forethought now on how you and your family live and work in a space can help make life easier and routines simpler for everyone.
Our projects aren’t always about unpacking boxes and setting up new systems, designing or redesigning closets or even decluttering spaces to make them more livable. Sometimes our job is to help stage a home so it is ready to go on the market. However, unlike typical home stagers, we don’t bring in all new furniture and “re-do” the house.
Instead, we declutter the house to show off the best features and use what the home owners already have to make the space look as marketable as possible to potential buyers. This is a more cost effective way to get the house ready and can actually help set the stage for a smoother transition if the owners are willing to focus on decluttering the space of unwanted and unused items.
The basic DIY package involves an in-person meeting - typically about an hour long. We walk-through the home and see what needs to be done to get it ready and a follow-up document recapping our notes from the visit – your homework so to speak.
Sometimes it is as easy as swapping or adding lights to a room and rearranging closets but other times the process can involve a partial move out of the house with excess furniture and items that are cluttering the home but need to be kept. And, the work doesn’t have to be completed alone, we can always come in and help make the shifts required to make the house stand out in the market.
Families often come to us looking for help creating and/or updating their routines to make everyday tasks a little easier. And, most often, the bathroom is a large part of the struggle. Whether it’s trying to get your kids ready in the morning or trying to get them ready for bed, there is a lot to get done in one space.
If the bathroom routine is a struggle for you, take some time now to get your bathroom more organized and streamline your routine with our tips below. Happy Organizing!
- Clear out everything from your bathroom cabinets and start to categorize the items by usage – for instance, first aid supplies in one spot, medicines in another and outdoor items like sunscreen and bug spray in a third. Then, once the items are categorized find a container that fits in your space and can hold all of the items comfortably with a little room to grow.
- Create stations for each step of your regular routine to make getting through them For instance, store all of the items needed for brushing teeth, styling hair or even handling bumps and bruises.
- Brighten up the space and make the routine more cheerful by adding a pop of your child’s favorite color to the room. Here the little one loved orange so we added the rug.
- Make getting out of the bath more fun with a personalized bathrobe or towel to run around in after the deed is done. When you have a child who loves being in the water, we have found that having a few tricks up our sleeve to get them out is always helpful.
- Simplify clean up by using a milk crate or other drainable container to keep the bath time toys tidy and dry.
We recently had a client ask us to help set up a desk for her 7-year old son. He wanted a spot of his own to sit and work on his projects and we were more than excited to help out.
We found a desk that fit with the aesthetic of the room from Land of Nod and then started the process of organizing the space. In this case, since our client's son doesn’t have a lot of homework yet, we hung up some cork boards behind the desk to display his art, reminders and memorabilia and we put his craft supplies within easy reach. A divided Lazy Susan creates an instant art supply bin than is portable and simple for small hands to carry and use. We also added simple stackable paper trays on top of the desk which create a drop zone for loose sheets and art projects.
Then, we put small trays inside the desk drawers to keep items such as pencils, tape, scissors and small notebooks neat and tidy. Our trick for helping kids remember where things should be placed is to add clear labels inside each of the bins and then they can easily retrieve them again before their next project.
As city dwellers, we know how to make the most of small spaces because we have been living in them and helping other people live in them for years. Being organized is definitely helpful when living in a smaller space but that doesn't solve all problems - that is where space planning comes in. So, learn how to make the most of your space with these suggestions.
Trundle Bed: Growing up in the suburbs, I loved having a trundle bed for sleepovers and guests and it is still a great way to make the most of a smaller bedroom. We use them in kids rooms so that they always have a place for friends to sleep and the best part they are easy to "install" just slide them under the bed and they are good to go.
Murphy Bed: Space is at a premium in the city so don’t make that extra room just a bedroom. Install a murphy bed so you can actually use and enjoy the space when guest aren't around (which is likely most of the time).
Banquette: Save some space in your eat-in kitchen or dining area by building a bench against the wall and moving your dining table next to it. This will give you extra space in the room and a little extra flexible seating on the bench.
How do you save space in your home?
If you are looking for more general tips on making the most of a small space, please check out our other post here.
One of the best ways to start the day is with an organized bathroom. And, the good news is that by following just a few key tips, you can capture the beauty and serenity of spa at home and have all of your supplies at your finger tips.
Mixing Form & Function: Beautify your shelves and counters by unboxing some of your daily supplies like Q-tips and cotton balls and placing them in pretty clear containers. You can use canisters from a bathroom set or you can even use Ball jars or inexpensive vases. They are pretty, functional and easy to clean when the time comes - just pop them in the dishwasher.
Finding New Purpose: Maximizing storage space in your bathroom is just like maximizing storage space in any other room of your home so it is okay to steal some tricks from the kitchen. Lazy Susans make corners more accessible no matter where you use them and plastic pantry bins are good for gathering like items - nail polish, sunscreen, travel toiletries - in cabinets all over the home.
Making Up your Make-up: Finally treat your make-up with a little respect by using a make-up organizer. That doesn’t mean that you have to place it on the counter for all to see (placing it in a cabinet is okay) but you will definitely find your morning routine is much easier when you can see all your products at once.
A warm and welcoming entry way is as important as a firm handshake. It ensures a good first impression which is why we are excited to help a client find ways to make her entry welcoming and functional because form without function is just a waste of time and space.
For this project, we need some smart solutions since the front door opens into a hallway that connects the living and sleeping areas of the home. With limited space, practicality is the name of the game so we are looking for items that don’t take up too much room and still provide some storage for the family.
Our initial thoughts include a bench for next to the door, a boot tray for storing shoes under the bench and some catchall baskets for seasonal and dog-related accessories.
What are you favorite ways to create a welcoming entryway?
Our kitchen day dreams are filled with visions of see-through refrigerators filled with beautiful produce (We’re looking at you, Yolanda Hadid!) and huge, bright pantries. However, the realities of New York living (think small apartments and cramped kitchens) dash many of those dreams and frankly a see-through fridge really isn’t practical. I mean I don’t think we want half-eaten pizza and last week’s Chinese takeout boxes on display for all to see - right?
Even if smaller space living is your reality, don’t despair! There are many ways to make the most of it and below are some of our favorite product picks for a beautifully organized kitchen regardless of size.
Lazy Susan: Make the most of every nook and cranny of your kitchen by using a Lazy Susan. They can be placed in hard to reach corner cabinets or on deep shelves to make items more accessible.
Shelf Liners: Make cleaning inside cabinets easy with plastic shelf liners like this one. Liners are particularly helpful in food storage areas in case of spills or drips.
Shelf Pullouts: Accessibility is an important part of organization. Add roll-out cabinet organizers to your lower cabinets so that you can easily reach items without straining your back and to maximize the space.
Small Appliances: If space is really at a premium, try purchasing reduced size appliances to save room in your cabinets and/or on counters. The products function the same but the bowls are typically smaller - 3.5 quarts versus 5 quarts.
Clear Storage Bins: Not everything needs a bin but they are helpful for keeping smaller “like” items together in your cabinets and drawers. Use them in drawers to organize your kitchen tools and cutlery and in cabinets and pantries to make organizing food stuffs easier.
Canisters: One way to make your space look cleaner and more organized is by using the same style organizing containers. If you are looking for new options, we are big fans of using clear canisters for cooking and baking supplies like flour, sugar and mixes. Not only do they look nice but clear containers show you when you need to restock.
Step Stools: Make good use of your upper cabinets and even the space between the cabinets and the ceiling with labeled storage bins. This will keep supplies out of sight but not out of mind. And, keep a step stool in the kitchen to making accessing those high up spaces a little easier. Folding step stools are good for saving space but we also love a rolling option as it is much easier to move around and it can stand in for an extra seat in a pinch.
Labels: The level to which you use labels to organize in your home is a personal decision but we do recommend them as an organizing tool. Clearly labels are great for containers holding specific items whether it is food or supplies but labels can also be helpful for creating designated areas in your home. For example, create sections in your pantry for breakfast foods, snacks or drinks. By sticking to categories on your labels, it is more likely that your family can and will help out and maintain it.
What are your favorite ways to keep your kitchen organized?
We have always loved a fire in the fireplace and the smell of burning logs. To us, it is a signal of the seasonal shift from fall to winter and absolutely one of our favorite times of year as nothing is cozier than snuggling near a fire to read with a cup of tea.
Second only to our love of fireplaces is the process of selecting fireplace accessories which we have had the pleasure of doing recently for a client. Andirons, screens and baskets, oh my!
Whether you own or rent your home, it is important to make the space feel like your own and there is no better way to do that than with some color and collectables. Here are a few nesting ideas for you to follow this fall to warm up and personalize your space.
Adding Flair: Even as a renter, you can add special touches to make your home feel like your own. If painting isn’t an option or is too much work, try removable wallpaper to warm up your space and make it more personal. It is pretty easy to apply and is easy to remove which makes it good for renters and owners alike. And, if you have children, adhesive wall decals are a fun way to temporarily personalize the space (Check here, here and here for some options).
Popping Colors: New throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to refresh your space. If selecting colors is tricky for you, try playing off backdrop colors. For example, if your windows overlook trees, try to pull some greens and browns into the space. Or consider taking risks and play around with bright and bold prints and patterns that may be a bit outside of your comfort zone.
Making a Gallery: Put up a gallery wall or art display shelves to share your trinkets and treasures. It will warm up the space and give you a chance to relive the happy memories associated with the items every time you see them. Click here for tips on how to hang a gallery wall yourself at home.
Channeling the Spa: A few luxurious items can bring a spa-like feeling to any bathroom - new or old. A rich, thick bathmat, new monogrammed towels, some rich bath oils and a scented candle will add a touch of class to the room and make you forget - at least for a little while - about the old tiles. If you are looking for a less expensive refresh, consider buying a new shower curtain. It is an easy and affordable way to spruce up your space while still having a big impact.
Finding your Scent: Add scented candles to make your home feel cozier and more intimate. Added bonus...who doesn’t look better in candlelight! A few of our favorites are below but remember that the type of scent you pick is a highly personal matter so take some time to check out lots of scents before making your final decision.
Making the Old New: New isn’t always better. Look for vintage pieces (maybe even from friends or family) to add character and a little sentimentality to your home. To make the pieces your own, add a fresh coat of paint or new fun fabrics that brighten them up and reflect a little more of your personality.
Switching it Seasonally: Embrace the seasonal shifts and add some flair to your home that relates to each season. Rich colored pillows or throws (think jewel tones) for the fall, plaids around the holidays or pastels in the springtime.
What are your favorite ways to personalize your space?
Substantial storage and outdoor spaces are luxuries not often afforded to those living in New York but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful and livable space. Having lived in New York for over 20 years collectively, we know how to make the most of small spaces and have a few tips to share with you about making it work.
Creating Space: If you are living in a truly small apartment, create visual space by getting items off of the floor. From night stands to lamps and even bikes and scouters, mounting furniture and fixtures to walls will help create more actual floor space and make the space feel lighter.
Doing Double Duty: The name of the game here is making your furniture work for you. Maximize storage by making each significant piece do double duty. This means that the stool in the corner should double as storage for your craft supplies or that the top of your ottoman coffee table should flip up to store offseason clothing.
Shelves on Shelves: When it doubt, put it on a shelf. A shelf can stand in for a night stand next to a bed or a display shelf for art in a living room or really anything. Put one above doors to your apartment for extra storage (we store extra paper products above ours) or consider mounting them closer to the ceiling all the way around the room for longer term storage. This will help maximize your living space and keep off seasonal items out of the way.