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Vacuum Clothes Bags

I have a pretty good idea of what I want for our clothes storage (a pair of freestanding wardrobes, on raised feet so you can see the floor beneath, at about 1700mm high so that they don’t go to the ceiling), but alas, I haven’t yet been able to find anything that matches that description…  The wardrobes therefore still remain a big item on my ‘to do’ list for the master bedroom.

In the meantime however, as the room needed to be completely cleared for re-plastering, we dismantled and sold our IKEA wardrobes on Gumtree.  We are now, consequently, a little short on storage space.  All of our clothes are currently squished into the hall and guest room cupboards and a fairly dated wardrobe that the previous owners kindly left us, (which we kept it as it was easy to move around), waiting for their new home.

So, to improve our clothing storage arrangement until a suitable wardrobe solution presents itself, we’ve done what I have thought in the past was really only necessary for fashionistas with vast wardrobes:  We’ve separated our clothes into summer and winter seasons and stored our winter clothes.   To keep the bulk down, and the moths out, I bought two of these fantastic vacuum storage bags from Lakeland. They worked a treat, and it was actually a rather entertaining 30 seconds watching our clothes compact down to half their size.  (I know, we really are living on the wild side down here in Camberwell).

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Master Bedroom Lighting & Storage

Two of the key decisions that need to be made in any room is how to light it, and how to add in storage.  I shared with you my thoughts on lighting earlier in January… so here is how things are panning out in our master bedroom.

For my three different sources of light in our master bedroom I am going for:

  1. A pendant light with a large folded white plastic shade in the corner of the room (top left sketch) to provide general overall illumination to the space. It will be on a dimmer switch by the door.
  2. Two drop pendant lights beside the bed to act as reading lights when we are in bed, and also to act as some ‘jewellery’ in the space. These will be on dimmer switches too, and switched individually on each side of the bed.
  3. A floor light in the opposite corner of the room to the pendant light to provide a bit of a soft glow in that corner of the room. I have sketched in a tall floor lamp, but it may very well be a low level globe light. This will be plugged into a 5Amp switched socket so it can be linked to a switch by the door.

 

As for storage, although I haven’t found the exact pieces yet, I have decided on the following shopping list as shown in the sketches above:

  1. Low end of bed storage box with drawers (for socks, shoes,  and ‘smalls’ as Alex calls them), which can double up as a bench.
  2. A pair of free standing wardrobes perhaps with interior drawers on one side (about 1600mm tall, so we can still hang dresses and suits, but that don’t go to the ceiling or overwhelm the space onto which we can put plants, books etc.).
  3. Under bed boxes from Habitat on each side of the bed for out of season clothes and our wrapping paper (which is there now!)
  4. Bedside table with one drawer and legs (to minimise the temptation for multiple junk drawers and to visually free up space on the floor)

I don’t want to install a run of full height cabinets along one wall or beside the chimney breast as the proportions of the room are just fine the way they are and I don’t want to alter it. Also, going back to my original idea of having a more modern approach at the back of the house, and restoring and respecting the original features as much as possible at the front – it makes more sense to have free standing furniture here rather than built ins.

 

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Wire Spice Racks

When I was looking for small baskets to mount on to the doors of my under tub storage, I stumbled upon these 4 tier wire spice rack baskets on Amazon in the same range. I was really pleased with the quality for the price of the single tier ones that  we purchased for our bathroom, so after sorting that out, we decided to buy a 4 tier rack for our kitchen.

We won’t be refurbishing the kitchen for a little while yet, but as we have to live with the current situation for a few more years, I figured we may as well sort out a few of the things that vaguely annoy us. One of those things was our spice jar storage situation.  All of the spices were clustered on a single shelf, making it difficult to find the ones we needed, which were then inevitably the ones at the very back.  This spice rack completely solves that situation, and also frees up valuable shelf space.  Job done!

I also bought another single tier rack to go on the cabinet door under the kitchen sink to store rubber gloves and scrubbing brushes – which are now much easier to reach.

Just a quick note about the installation of these spice racks…. make sure you check the height of the baskets in terms of where the shelves are in your cupboard to make sure they don’t clash. You will see from the photo that the second rack down from the top can only hold short items. Tall jars would just hit the shelf!

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A little more storage under the bathtub

When I refurbished my one bedroom flat on Camberwell Grove, I always slightly regretted not making use of the space underneath the bathtub given storage space was so limited. The areas behind the base and head of a tub is actually a perfect spot to hide away cleaning products so they are close to hand, or store bulky shampoo bottles which don’t fit in a medicine cabinet.

So, instead of a removable bath tub front panel which is typically screwed in to allow for access for future maintenance if required, I asked my builder to install three hinged doors instead.  I got the doors professionally sprayed so they will resist the humid environment of a bathroom better than a painted finish.

I just recently installed the wire baskets so can now show you the finished product!

The wire baskets are actually re-purposed single tier spice racks, purchased from amazon for £6.99 and fit just perfectly on the width of door.  I was a bit worried that the taller items might fall out when the door was opened as the basket is so shallow proportionally, but as I don’t swing the door open quickly it works just fine.

 

 

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Guest Tour – Max Brown Hotel Amsterdam

This will be the last post about our trip to Amsterdam – I promise! Its just that with our bathroom and study refurbishment now complete there is less to report on with the house until we start the next phase…

For the extended weekend portion of my business trip to Amsterdam, Alex and I stayed in the Max Brown Hotel in the Museum district. We don’t normally stay in hotels, opting typically for small B&B’s or the AirBNB option, but in Amsterdam the prices were basically the same so we decided to choose this hotel as the location was good. I was also curious to test out their version of the current hotel trend for providing tiny, but well designed and decorated, hotel rooms.

This fairly new hotel chain is very similar to the Ace Hotel Chain in concept, in that it provides trendy decor, quality linen, and posh soaps in generally smaller than standard rooms to cut down on cost and price, but not quality. Typically you can stay in a Small (ie teeny tiny), Medium or Large sized room – so even people who can’t afford a large room can still stay in a nice hotel, in a good location.   Like the Ace in NYC, the ground floor is given over to a stylish communal lounge and bar where visitors can hang out and drink coffee (because the rooms are so small).  As we discovered in NYC last year, the formula works as when you are out and about sight seeing all day you really don’t need a huge room to come back to.  And, as the super comfy bed and soaps are typically nicer than what you have at home, it still feels like you are on holiday and treating yourself.

Above are a few photos from our stay in one of the Small rooms. I’d say the rooms and common parts were all really nice, but the bathrooms (not pictured) felt a bit cramped and somewhat average in their finish…

 

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Bathroom Medicine Cabinet Storage

I just realised that I haven’t told you about our bathroom medicine cabinet as my photos of the toilet paper rolls and shampoo bottles didn’t make it into my ‘Glossy photoshoot images’ blog post when the job was done…

Right.

So in addition to bringing in more daylight and increasing the sense of space, one of my other key goals for each phase of work is to add more storage space. Victorian terrace homes typically don’t tend to have built in cupboards so it is often a challenge to successfully integrate storage without negatively affecting the original room shape and architectural features.

As part of our Phase 1 works we refurbished the original existing hall cupboard and updated it with electrical sockets to make a charging station for our ipads and iphones.

In Phase 2 we added high level storage to our guest bedroom where there were no crown mouldings to  interfere with for Alex’s computer games, photo albums and seasonal items.

In Phase 3, our net storage area is unfortunately somewhat less than what we started with, but we did get a third ‘bedroom’ out of it. An extra bedroom adds apparently (remarkably) about £153,000 to the value of a house in London according to this article from the Sunday Times, however given our new room isn’t a loft conversion that can fit a double bed, but a single bedroom/ study it might not add quite this much value!

To fit in the short hallway that serves both the study and bathroom, we needed to remove not only the chimney  breast, but the hallway storage that the previous owners had built. We also eliminated the cupboard where the boiler used to sit in the corner of the room when we moved it to high level. You can see the original storage with the slatted doors on the left in these old photos of what our bathroom used to look like. (Quite some change eh?!). To help offset those storage cupboard losses, I made sure that we had the largest medicine cabinet possible which spans the full 1400mm width of the room (minus some fixed panels at the sides so the door doesn’t hit the light fittings).  As you can see – our loo roll deep cabinet (critical dimension) provides quite a bit of storage, and with the full width mirror it helps make the space seem visually bigger.

 

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The 30 Day Challenge – Take 2 – Part 2

So it turns out that there are actual psychological studies that demonstrate that mess causes stress… The reasons clutter leads to stress are numerous and include that it signals to the brain that our work is not done, making it more difficult to relax. I can certainly relate to that one! I found this article from lifehacker.com interesting as it talked not just about physical clutter, but digital clutter that bombards us every day.  Although I’m not going to include my digital de-cluttering here, the article gave me good reason to keep up the challenge.

Here are the results of my next 5 days de-cluttering:

  • 6 pairs of shoes – either not worn in the past year, or worn so much that they are worn through
  • 7 items from the junk drawer – including 3 boiled ‘egg cosies’ (we never eat boiled eggs), and 4 energy saving light bulbs that I have been meaning to recycle for over a year now but have delayed as I didn’t know where to take them, until I found This website that tells you whre your nearest light bulb recycling location in the UK is located – brilliant! (No pun intended)
  • 8 magazines – Ok, I confess I’ve still kept a few, as I like to have them around, but as the trends change, they will no doubt find their way to the recycling bin this time next year
  • 9 bits and pieces from our kitchen – including 2 old food tins that I was keeping but never used, a jar of rock candy which neither of us like, 2 white gloss lacquered spoons which now look scratched and tired, another mis-matched teaspoon, a ball of never used string, a random plastic beaker, and a loose tea leaf holder whose clasp had gone
  • 10 items of clothing – taken to the charity shop