Tailored Living (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, BC)

Your Home, Tailored to the Way You Live

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9 Insightful Tips for Designing a Wheelchair-Accessible Closet

wheelchairAs a society and culture, we have come a long way since the days when people had to fight just to get curbs lowered and stores and restaurants to install wheelchair-accessible entryways. Today, no one even thinks twice about leaving disabled-designated parking spots available for those who need them, because people know it’s the right thing to do.

Yet even in this age of heightened awareness, few able-bodied people understand what it’s really like to live an ordinary day with a mobility-limiting condition. Simply getting out of bed and getting dressed in the morning is a challenge, particularly for those who live in a space that has had few, or no, modifications. The standard-designed home simply does not accommodate many of the daily living challenges that people with mobility issues face.

That’s why we thought it would be fitting to talk about the wheelchair accessible closet. Just imagine how difficult it would be to try to reach a shirt hanging from a standard-height closet rod when sitting in a wheelchair. Fortunately, making changes to an existing closet to render it more wheelchair-friendly isn’t as hard and probably not as expensive as you might first think. The designers at Tailored Living are pros at creating flexible closet solutions, and our proprietary 3D design software, D’Vinci, lets clients see their potential wheelchair-accessible closet in three dimensions before it is even built. Whether your closet is walk-in or reach-in, we are full of ideas as well as the hardware and accessories to bring those ideas to life in your home. Here we will share a few of our best tips for planning your wheelchair accessible closet:

1) Enlist the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair for day-to-day living. The best design advice you’ll ever get is that which comes from a person who has had firsthand experience navigating a closet from a wheelchair. You’ll undoubtedly hear things that you might not have read on the Internet or seen in design magazines.

2) When calculating where to place rods, drawers, shelves, etc., consider not only the distance of the seat of the wheelchair from the floor, but also the distance from the floor to the height of the person when he or she is sitting in the wheelchair. The idea is to strive for personal comfort and avoid strain on muscles, joints, etc. Therefore, a child in a wheelchair will need a closet rod positioned much closer to the floor than, say, a six-foot tall, fully grown man. There is no “one size fits all” for anyone, and that includes people in wheelchairs.

closet drawers 23) Always keep maneuverability in mind when planning your design.  For a wheelchair accessible walk-in closet, a wheelchair must have enough room to roll in and turn around comfortably without hitting walls, drawers or anything that sticks out of the wall, like hooks or rods. If placing drawers inside the closet, the person must be able to access them easily, preferably from the side. Accessing drawers from head on is difficult because the person will have to reach over his or her lap first. Often this means that the deepest parts of the drawer will become inaccessible. Side-reach makes it easier to access the entire drawer, as long as there is enough room to maneuver the wheelchair in the same space. For drawers in a reach-in closet, the person must have enough room to maneuver the wheelchair within the room and still be able to access the drawers from the side. Also, remember that it’s not just high drawers that are difficult for a person in a wheelchair to reach, but low ones too.

4) Install sliding doors instead of conventional hinged doors. This eliminates any need for door clearance space, leaving more room for a wheelchair to maneuver.

5) Make sure flooring inside the closet is wheelchair-friendly. That means either a smooth, non-slip finish, or, if carpet, one with a low pile.

6) Use reach-tools to help maximize all of the space inside the closet. If you were only able to place hardware like hanging rods at wheelchair height, you would miss out on using all of the space above that. Fortunately, there are practical tricks and tools that someone in a wheelchair can use to access items that are out of his or her usual reach so that all space can be utilized. One such handy piece of hardware that Tailored Living installs in all kinds of closets (not just wheelchair accessible ones) is the pull-down rod, which is pulled down when access is needed, and pushed up against the wall when not in use. A garment hook (basically a long metal stick with a hook at the end) is a must for reaching hanging clothes that are otherwise out of reach, and can also be used to access a pull-down rod.

shoe fence7) For shoe storage, tilted shoe shelves sit at an incline with the lowest point at the front of the shelf. This allows an unobstructed view of what is on the shelf, even high ones.

8) Install a built-in ironing board at wheelchair height. The board slides away when not in use.

Pull-out belt rack.

9) Install pull out belt racks, tie racks and pants racks. They can be both excellent space-savers and practical accessories for making clothing easier to access from a wheelchair.

These are just a few ideas. For a personalized wheelchair accessible closet solution with your own customized design, contact us for a free, on-site consultation.

Do you use a wheelchair, or do you live with someone who does? If so, you are the true expert. What design suggestions and ideas would you offer?  What has and hasn’t worked for you in the past? Share your tips on our “leave a comment page,” or on our Tailored Living Coquitlam Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/tailoredliving.coquitlam/


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The Kid-to-Teen Closet: Designing a Closet That Grows With Your Child

girl with teddy bear and closetStandard closets are built with a “one size fits all” mentality. In reality, the “standard” closet isn’t really a great fit for anyone, but especially for children. If you have the budget to makeover your children’s closets, you’ll find that they’ll be far more functional.

However, although we can work with just about any budget when it comes to doing a closet upgrade, it may not be a reno that you’ll want to do all over again when your children get older and taller. Instead, Tailored Living can work with you to create a children’s closet design that can be adjusted and re-adjusted so it grows with your child.

1) Adjustable height rods. Placing hanging rods at a level where a child can reach her clothing herself helps to foster a sense of independence. She can choose her own outfit to wear and access it on her own. She can also hang up her clean clothes by herself.

Eventually,  she will grow and become a teenager.  Hopefully by that time she’ll have the self-sufficiency thing nailed. However,  it won’t be very convenient if the closet rod is still only 2 feet off the floor. That’s why it’s a great idea to plan ahead when they’re little. Pre-installing closet rod hardware at varying heights will allow you to move the rod girl wearing boa closetprogressively higher as your child grows.

2) Adjustable shelving. The same principle applies to shelving. What’s the point of a shelf in a closet if your child can’t reach it? You’ll be able to teach your child to get organized and manage his own possessions if you create a storage system he can access on his own, even at a very young age. Then, when he’s bigger, you can readjust shelving to better accommodate his height.

3) Accessories that transcend age. Baskets, sliding baskets, drawers, drawer dividers and shoe racks/shelves are the kinds of accessories that will be useful throughout your child’s entire life (although their contents will undoubtedly change from Hotwheels or Shopkins to sports gear or makeup).

4) Paint the closet walls white. We suggest painting the rear wall of the closet some shade of off-white, now matter what color the rest of the walls in the room are painted. It’s not easy to paint a closet wall once all the hardware is in place, so a neutral white shade will match any wall color. This way, if you paint your little girl’s room pink and she gets older and decides she doesn’t like pink anymore, at least you won’t have to re-paint the inside of the closet too.

Here are a few more general tips for organizing a grow-with-your-child closet:

boy closet* Instill a habit of organization while they are young. Teach kids what goes where (and let them help decide where to put certain items as they are capable). Re-visit your closet organization scheme periodically, as your children’s storage needs will change as they get older.

* Labels are your new best friend. Label bins, drawers, shelves, etc., with what belongs in that particular spot. (For children who are not yet readers, label with pictures instead of with words.) This will make it exponentially easier for your child to put items where they belong.

* Make sure to re-label when you make storage changes. Even if your child is 16 years old, labels are still an excellent visual reminder to stay organized.

Tailored Living has endless options when it comes to ideas, designs and configurations for a closet that will grow with your child. Our skilled designers and craftspeople can work with any budget and any size space and create a closet that works for your child and your family’s lifestyle.

One more thing: we’d like to wish all of our readers and clients a very safe and happy weekend celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday!


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Closet Dreams: Top Seven Closet Mods Moms Must Have

TL walk_in_closet2_organization_by_tailored_livingWe hope all you Moms had a beautiful Mother’s Day this past Sunday and that you got spoiled by your kids and grandchildren. There’s no one else on earth who can fill your shoes, but if you’re a Mom whose shoes fill most of your closet, we have the right solution for you. After all, doesn’t every girl dream of having a walk-in closet with a mirror, dressing room lighting, room for a hundred pairs of shoes (or more), and a section for every season of clothing?

For a lot of women, the ultimate walk-in closet is but a dream. However, no matter what size her closet is, it CAN be tailored to meet some of those personal dreams. In honor of Mother’s Day, we have decided to dedicate this post to all of those Moms out there who tirelessly give of themselves to make sure that their children and grandchildren are cared for and loved unconditionally. However, these mods are really for ladies of any age, with or without children. Check out the top seven closet mods that Tailored Living installs in women’s closets:

1) Shoe shelves: Shoes are an obsession that most guys will just never understand. Just because she already has ten pairs of black shoes doesn’t mean she doesn’t need another black pair because they’re all different and they all have very different purposes, right girls? However, accumulating shoes can eventually become a problem because you only have so much floor space in your closet, and even over-the-door shoe holders fill up fast. That’s why Mom will love Tailored Living’s shoe shelves. Individual shelves tiltshoe fence downward so that you can easily see what’s on it, even if it’s up high. A built-in fence keeps shoes from sliding off. Each shelf typically holds two to four pairs of shoes, but the design can be adjusted to accommodate more or less, depending on how much space you have to work with in your closet.

spiral-shoe-rack2) Spiral shoe rack: An alternative to the shoe shelf, the spiral shoe rack can hold up to 25 pairs of shoes. Shoes hang from specialized hooks on a spinning carousel device so they’re not only easy to access, they retain their shape better.

3) Pull-out mirror: A full-length mirror is mounted on a sliding rack. This allows her to pull out the mirror when she needs it. It slides back against the wall or inside a cabinet, depending on how it’s mounted, so that it doesn’t take up space when it’s not in use.

4) Spiral clothing rack: It’s kind of like having her own personal shopping boutique right in her closet! The spiral clothing rack allows for hanging up of typical clothing items, like dresses, and is ideal for funky closet corners where space might otherwise simply be wasted.

5) Custom drawer dividers: These are really simple and inexpensive to install, yet they ACC0 make a big difference when it comes to maximizing space and efficiency. Drawer dividers ensure that small items like socks, undergarments and accessories don’t get all mixed up in her drawers.

accessory hook6) Accessory hooks: This is another simple mod that can make Mom’s closet SO much more organized. Tailored Living’s accessory hooks come in a variety of shapes and configurations, and they are ideal for things like necklaces, scarves, hats, belts, purses and many other small to medium-size items.

7) Valet rod: Yet another simple and relatively inexpensive closet mod that is perfect for the working professional. It’s a clothing rod that’s housed in a track mounted on the side valet rodof cabinet or shelf. It takes up virtually no space when not in use. To use, she simply pulls the rod out. There’s just enough room to hang up tomorrow’s outfit so she doesn’t have to waste time hunting for it in the morning.

These seven closet mods are only a very small sampling of the incredibly-useful ones that Tailored Living installs in closets every single week. And don’t worry, Tailored Living can transform the guy’s closet, too. You can view some of the closets we’ve transformed and check out the accessories that can make your closet fabulous on our closet customization page.

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Downsizing- Part 2: After You Move

Small bedroom with Murphy bed and corner desk by Tailored LivingWhen the big day finally comes to leave the home you raised your family in and move to a more compact space, we hope you’ll be taking lots of memories and not lots of stuff. In Part 1, we shared five of our favourite tips for downsizing your home before you move. Part 2 is devoted to some great ideas that you can implement in your new home in order to make your new, albeit smaller, space work harder for you.

Hopefully you’ll have ample time before you move to compare your new space to your old one and that you will have a handle on just how much of your stuff you’re going to have to get rid of in order to make the transition. That being said, it’s almost always a shock to the system once you get into your new home and you realize just how little space you have compared to what you’ve been used to, even if you’ve prepared yourself ahead of time.

Rather than finding yourself in a position of having to get rid of even more stuff after you move, we’d like to help you try to make better use of your new space, limited as it is. Tailored Living designers can come into your new home, free of charge, and show you how you can create better storage. Two of the best places to make upgrades in your new home (where you’ll get the most bang for your buck) are:

* The closet. Tailored Living has dozens of different options for customizing a closet which can literally be put together in an almost endless combination of ways. The master bedroom closet is an ideal place to start, but it’s also great to customize a utility closet (like a hallway or entryway closet) if you can afford to do more than one. Shelving, drawers, clothes rods and other aspects can be configured to maximize space, particularly vertical space, which is almost always wasted in traditional closet design.

His and hers compact custom closet by Tailored Living


* The pantry. Kitchen and food storage is a frustration with almost every homeowner, even those who have spacious kitchens. A well-organized, custom-designed pantry can take the extra pressure off of the space in the kitchen, handling overflow of things like seasonal dinnerware, canned goods, appliances that aren’t used frequently, even your wine collection.

Compact custom pantry in white by Tailored Living

Optimizing these two spaces tends to make the most difference when it comes to smaller spaces, but Tailored Living specializes in several other kinds of space-maximizing renovations. They include garages, entryways, laundry rooms and home offices. Tailored Living also designs and installs Murphy beds, which can be excellent additions to the empty-nester’s compact living space, particularly if they ever want to entertain out-of-town guests or have grandchildren sleep over.


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Savvy Closet Organization Tips for Fall

Try as you might to hang on to summer, soon you’ll have to throw a sweater on over your shirt to stay warm.  Hopefully you’ll still be able to find all the sweaters and boots that you packed away last spring.  Tailored Living has some suggestions that will help you get your closet organized for the upcoming autumn season, and will also help ensure that when it comes time to dig out those shorts and bathing suits again in time for next summer, you’ll know exactly where to look.

* Pack summer clothes into water-resistant containers/boxes.  Since you probably don’t have the luxury of a different closet for every season, make more room in the one you do have by storing summer clothing for the fall/winter season.  Tailored Living suggests heavy-duty plastic tote boxes/bins with lids that clamp or snap down.  This will keep bugs and moths out, and water too, just in case of an accidental leak or flood.

A blue, heavy duty plastic storage bin

* Label your boxes.  You can print labels from your home computer/printer, or just write them by hand (no need to get fancy).  This way you’ll know what’s inside without having to open the box.  This will be especially handy if you have many boxes/bins that are the same, or you have to store your bins on a high shelf.

* Take this opportunity to get rid of clothing you no longer need/wear.  Pack up items and donate them to a local charity if they’re still in good condition.

* Organize clothing by type.  Hang shirts together in one section, pants/skirts in another.  This will cut down on the time it takes to hunt for a particular article of clothing.

A woman organizes clothing by type in her Tailored Living closet

* Give your closet a cleaning.  You probably don’t vacuum your closet floor regularly, especially if it is covered with shoes and other things.  Take a few minutes to pull out items on the closet floor and sweep or vacuum.

* Don’t forget your kids’ closets!  The same suggestions apply to their closets as to your own.  But one additional thing you should think about when organizing your child’s closet is the growth factor.  Kids grow from year to year and can even experience significant growth with the passage of a single season. So while you are transitioning them from their summer wardrobe to their Fall one, make sure they haven’t outgrown their clothing from last year.  Pull out anything that no longer fits and add it to your “donate” pile.

A picture of a Tailored Living children's closet

Perhaps you’ll find while you’re organizing your closet for Fall that you actually need an entire closet overhaul.  Tailored Living has hundreds of closet organization solutions, from small accessories like valet rods and belt hooks to pull-out mirrors and built in drawers and sliding bins.  Tailored Living can make any closet, even small, apartment-sized ones, more efficient, organized and easier to live with.

Check out some of our favourite closet mods.