Transforming our Space -- Thank you Rebecca!

I am being thrilled that we have received some tremendous help from an extremely talented and creative design and layout specialist!

It feels like things are going to be okay now. Another GBC mom, Rebecca understands the challenges of creating a functional family home with what's on hand and minimizing the purchases.

Plus she's got a great handle of Feng Shui too. That's fabulous for us and as a bonus it will also likely thrill my my mother-in-law who tried long-distance to assess our home's requirements when we were shopping for a home a decade ago.

Rebecca also noticed many positive things about our home that we thought were negatives. I always knew a professional eye could help us see things in a new light.

Here's what she is helping us with and what tremendous ideas she's given us in just the first meeting!

Problem: No mud room. It's a problem for many of us in those 50's-70's tract homes that don't have those little "extras" like entrances. Following Asian customs, we keep our shoes at the door, so those take up a lot of space. Our coats are all on hooks

Solution: Shelving and Hooks on the wall near the door. Rebecca is helping us use a bunch of freebie hutches from MSU salvage to create lots more hanging shelving/storage in our house. Yay! I wasn't so insane to keep those wooden pieces. Rebecca said our "hidden treasures" will save us alot of money in storage.

Problem: Small bathrooms with little storage and a defunct vanity. Okay here's one where we knew we needed to make a purchase. We had water damage to the vanity and the plumber's "temporary" repair left us unable to use our drawers. It's moldy anyway. It's got to go! We were just at a loss about what to use to replace it.

Solution: New inexpensive basic vanity with some DIY customizations. Using our existing vanity top, we can get a new wooden base with 2 doors and make it even more useful by adding some storage options we can do ourselves. One of those customizations is to put inexpensive stainless steel sliders with drawer pullouts inside the cabinets. The second customization is brilliant. You can take those useless pieces of faux cabinet drawer fronts that don't really open and turn them into storage areas using a simple "tip out" tray kit.

Problem: Occupational therapy trampoline is necessary but always in the way. Our son's occupational therapist told us that one of the best things we could do for all of our sanity is to keep the trampoline handy so he could use it often to help him meet his needs for alot of sensory input. But daddy was getting very tired of tripping over it in the living room and had injuries to prove it!

Solution: Wooden bed risers. Again, a simple but brilliant solution. We can make our son's bed a little higher with the risers and the trampoline can fit right under there and be pulled out whenever needed. The risers are supposed to be sturdy enough that he can still to all his aerial flips and jumps on his bed. We'll probably have some challenges to overcome with getting the trampoline out and back, but I think we can give it a really good try.

Problem: Horrible lighting. Thank goodness she confirmed that our house is dark. I thought it was just me. I recently realized that our house is so depressing to me because it has so little natural light. And we need some "calm" as well as "energizing" lighting schemes for different times of the day. Our whole family struggles with sleep issues and I'm guessing that lighting could be really helpful to regulate our moods and circadian rhythms more.

Solution: Lots of simple easy solutions here in addition to improved lighting placement in her space plan. "Natural Daylight" bulbs in all our fixtures. 3-way light fixtures to offer different types of moods. Improved window treatments to allow light when we have it, but block the street lights at night. She gave me the top on how to make cheap room darkening curtains -- Just sew two pieces of heavy muslin in between the inner and outer layer of decorative cotton fabric. We're working on just the right solution for the curtain rods that will be tough enough to stand up to having little people wrap themselves in the curtains for sensory input! I'm thinking I'll just make the curtains with tab tops with velcro so they'll just release under pressure. Under cabinet puck lighting that plugs into one outlet and all the others can be strung to the other lights will help light the kitchen. Battery-operated push lights for closets and cabinets will help light up interior spaces.

Problem: Storage, storage, storage. Okay by the time we finished the home tour, Rebecca told us we had TONS of storage space and that we just weren't using it efficiently.

Solution: Reconfiguring bedroom closets with Closet track systems by Closetmaid / Rubbermaid. You can configure these in anyway you want and change it over time as the kids get bigger or you have different needs for the closet storage. I think these might be the "fast track" closet systems I've seen online and I thought they were awesome when I first saw them. She found lots of other unused storage areas upstairs and down to help us with our "bulk" Sam's Club purchases. She had ideas for garage storage to give us more space in there. She also suggested we convert our bi-fold doors into a french door style opening. All it takes is a few hinges and maybe a little trim modification and we'll be able to reach into the area of closet we can't currently reach. Cool!

Problem: Kendrick hates his bedroom. I didn't even realize I had made some poor choices of bedroom colors. My blue and green choices were not soothing (though I did use the accent wall colors in the right places).
Solution: Paint colors and placement. She suggested a different color palette and a different furniture layout to open things up. From her reading about sensory processing disorder and her knowledge of Feng Shui, she thought that his room most needed the "clarity" theme to best address his sensory needs. She suggested I ask him what his favorite color is or observe what color he wears most and of course it is red! I know red can't be soothing! She suggested we give him some red accents but use a chestnut brown color which would be soothing and it is actually made of red so it might appeal to him.

This is just the tip of the iceberg....So much more to come!

Decluttering in the New Year - Recycling everything!

Well, we're keeping up our attempts to declutter our way through 2009.

One of the barriers I have to decluttering is holding on to things that cannot be recyled curbside but should be able to be recycled.

Upon investigating, here are the places that will indeed recycle those items that have piled up at our house!

Plastics #2-7 including caps and lids:

Styrofoam: Various Dart Container sites
Cardboard and Boxboard:
Clothes that aren't good enough for donating:
Computers, Printers, TV's, electronics
  • Lansing City - Fee-based appliances & electronics recycling event on May 2, 2009
  • Search by zipcode at Mygreenelectronics website - (I'm trying to contact each of the sites listed in our area to verify their services/costs.)
Books, magazines, telephone books
Expired car seats, baby swings, etc.:
  • There is still nothing available locally, but you can ship these items to babyearth in Texas and receive a $5 coupon from their store.
  • However, the folks in the Portland, Oregon car seat recycling program suggest that the environmental impact of shipping the items is worse than landfilling them. I'm wondering if the use of freight train for shipping the items would be more environmentally sound. I've heard that Amtrack is the cheapest way of sending large packages.
  • Check out this blogger and trying to get a nationally mandated car seat recycling program in place and this blogger about how to start programs in your area. I've already been working on that but it seems we have no local market for these items.
updated 3-9-2009
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...