Saturday, May 23, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - 10 Clever Ways to Maximize and Organize Your Space

Hello Cottage Friends,

Welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

Today I thought it would be fun to share some nifty space saving/organization ideas and products that help small spaces live larger. (And declutter castles, too.)

No compensation was received for sharing these ideas and products. If you pin any of them, please do so from the original site. 

Ready?  Here we go!

#1 - Pull a wheely.

For a small kitchen where counter and floor space is limited this rolling cart really fits the bill. Roll it out when you need extra prep space and then tuck it back under the counter when you're done. Neat.

#2 - When is a step more than a step?

Our friends at Small House Catalog are brilliant.  This is such a super solution for stowing shoes, boots or garden clogs before entering the house. Conquer the clutter!

Freshly stained deck, door and storage steps
A Stair with a Difference
Small House Catalog

#3 - The cat's meow.

This ingenious built-in stairwell laundry is part of a Montreal loft renovation.  Miss Kitty has her own lounging spot, too.

#4 - A real page turner.

An under-the-stairs library with a place to curl up and read. The only thing I'd add is some storage under the bench. 

See this and more great under the stair ideas here.

cozy nook How to utilize the space under the stairs
Float Project Design & Ideas

#5 - What's under your bed?

This pretty bed is practical, too. The platform has real drawers for storage. So much nicer than pulling out plastic boxes and canvas bags from under the bed (which is what I've done the past 5 years).  

Chunky Wool & Jute Rug - Natural
Pottery Barn

Sawdust Girl has a free tutorial for a DIY version of  this Pottery Barn Queen Size Platform Storage Bed here.

#6 - Think inside the wall.

Claim the space between your wall studs for storage. The Family Handyman has directions for building this wall niche here.

(Our new cottage has room for a built-in wall cabinet next to the shower.  We've blocked out the space between the studs, should we decide to add it later.)

#7 - It's a wrap.

Repurpose a common stool into a movable gift wrapping center. Or how about an umbrella and outdoor wear organizer in the mudroom? Get the tutorial at 2 Little Hooligans here.

Repurposed Stool
2 Little Hooligans

#8 - Here's the skinny.

In tiny bedrooms where room for nightstands can be tight, this repurposed desk really knocks it out of the ballpark. Check out how it was done at Mandy's Sugar Bee Crafts here.
Sugar Bee Crafts

I did something similar in our last home, removing and painting the drawer units from a beat-up 1940's vanity.

#9 - Don't stub your toe.

Your kitchen storage solution just might be hiding behind your cabinet toe kicks.  The Family Handyman has a tutorial for building under-cabinet drawers here.

Toe-kick rollouts
The Family Handyman

#10 - Know when to fold 'em.

For just under $400 you can have a wall tool storage and fold up/down workbench from  

Workbench when you need it.

Workbench & IdealWall Kit

Folds down when not in use.

Workbench & IdealWall Kit

Not up for spending $400? has a DIY version here.

Picture of Make a cheap fold-down workbench
Instructables DIY Fold Down Workbench

Hang a tool peg board above the workbench and you're good to go.

What storage and/or organization challenges do you face in your home? Or maybe you have a tip or two to share with us. 

Do tell. :)

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series
 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more of the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives shared here.
If you live in a small space I'd 
love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Our New Cottage - Progress Report #7

Hello Cottage Friends,

We've been very busy with finish work at  the cottage since the last update and I'm anxious to show you the progress.  But first I want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU for all the nice things you have to say about our project. I get so much encouragement from you. You bless me so much.

I also just want you to know that between all the long hours spent working at the construction site and the ongoing computer problems (yeah, like a new $240 hard drive followed by a new challenge. . .why is my cursor now jumping all over the place when I type? Argh!), I'm unable to visit your blog as much as I'd like.  Honestly, I miss you and look forward to the day when we're just living a normal life and I can catch up with all you wonderful people and your blogs.
Okay, let's see what's  happened at the cottage since the  last report.

May 5, 2015  

Drywall finish starts.

Footings are in place for concrete pad pour where the porch steps will go.


Working from the drawing Dennis penciled on the front porch column, Scott begins the finish trim construction.

He constructs and installs the bottom piece.

Dennis spreads gravel in preparation for the garden shed foundation.


May 6, 2015 

I paint the first coat of red on the south walls of Dennis' studio and the cottage.

May 7, 2015

Scott finishes the porch column.

And builds the footings in preparation for the garden shed concrete pour.

May 8, 2015

Dennis paints the eaves

while I paint the front porch window and door trim.

and our beautiful new porch column.

I'm so glad my husband was inspired to add the column detail. Scott did a great job building it; I love it!

May 9, 2015

Dennis paints the garden window.

Uh, what about the wood on the brackets? 
Oh, we'll paint those later.

Scott installs the rebar in the garden shed footings.

May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

We go for a drive. 

I see the perfect cottage arbor.

I take a photo.

Some day I will have a arbor covered in blooms.

Oh yes, I will.

May 11, 2015

Greg Bales is on site with his massive concrete truck.

The porch steps are poured.


 The garden shed foundation is poured.

Dennis uses the leftover concrete mix to pour a pad under the garden hydrant and carves a loving touch. I add the rocks (no, those are not potatoes on the top right...they're rocks).

May 12, 2015

Scott starts framing the garden shed.

I paint the first red coat on the east and north cottage exterior walls.

La Grande Drywall finishes all the drywall with a skip trowel texture on the walls of the cottage.


And a light orange peel on the cottage ceilings and the walls and ceiling of Dennis' studio.

May 13, 2015

I prime the walls and ceiling of the kitchen-dining-living room, hall and my creative space.

The garden shed framing is completed.


May 14, 2015

Walls are going up on the garden shed.

May 15, 2015

I start applying paint to the interior primed areas.

The color is Natural Canvas.

I use the same color on both the walls and ceilings. The result is the old world look I want.

Some of the garden shed windows are installed. (I have so much more to tell you about this shed. I promise to share the details soon.)

May 16, 2015

Dennis jumps in to help with the painting, finishing my creative space

while I work on the kitchen-dining-living room. (Um, should I be calling this the small great room?)

May 17, 2015

Dennis and I sweep the painted rooms where hardwood flooring will be installed next week.

Latest view of the cottage exterior. . .

We've had a lot of rain the past week, with more predicted.  I'm not sure when I'll finish the exterior painting, but I've got plenty to keep me busy inside.

Have a great week!

If you missed previous progress reports, you can find them here:

Progress Report #1
Progress Report #2
Progress Report #3
Progress Report #4
Progress Report #5
Progress Report #6

You can find our awesome builder at their website:
BLH Construction.