A family of four in a small 1970s bungalow is just the kind of challenge that Julie Carlson -- founder of the influential design and lifestyle blog Remodelista -- lives for. â€śWe really need every space to be useful in some way,â€ť says Carlson, whose content addresses real-life decorating and organizing concerns. In her own small (but high-ceilinged) home, open shelves in the kitchen provide easy access to the most frequently used serving bowls and pots and keep countertops clear. To contain the potential sprawl of family photos in a home thatâ€™s short on wall space, she created a gallery on open shelving under the staircase to hold framed pictures, as well as her favorite pitchers and vases.
Especially in a small house where storage is at a premium, custom cabinetry becomes both an architectural element and beautiful furniture. â€śWhen youâ€™re renovating, built-ins can be so painful to spend your money on,â€ť says Carlson. â€śBut over the long term, they pay you back and make your space the most livable.â€ť A clean yet warm birch-plywood wall unit in the living room showcases mini vignettes of her favorite things, while allowing space for a basket of firewood and an archive of magazines tucked into black cardboard file holders.
Carlson and her family spend much of their time in the kitchen -- aka the nerve center. She created a laundry station right off the room, hiding it behind a sleek plywood facade. The stacked washer and dryer disappear behind pocket doors, and she stashes detergent, a hamper, and other household utility items in a set of cabinets and drawers.
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