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

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Are You Ready for the Flood?

flooded garage with minivan inside

Hurricane Harvey nearly swallowed up this family’s minivan which sat inside the garage.

The back-to-back hurricanes over the last two months have produced some horrifying still images and video footage. This time-lapse video of a residential garage in Houston, TX slowly filling up with water during Hurricane Harvey in August chilled the bones of millions of homeowners. The 19-minute video begins with family members, in anticipation of flooding, taking steps to protect the contents of their garage by elevating them. Using collapsible tables, they moved items presumably stored on the floor or below table-height to the table tops. They are also seen stashing some items inside the family vehicle in an effort to protect them.

It’s not long afterward that floodwaters begin to breach the closed door of the garage. Water surges in, and then for a short time it appears as though the water has crested and all of the items on the tables are spared from water damage. As it turned out, this was only the calm before the real storm. Over the next several hours, depicted in just a few minutes of time-lapse video, the water steadily rises. Eventually, it covers the tops of the tables that the homeowners had so carefully placed their possessions on, and everything on them either sinks or floats. By the time the flood waters crest inside the garage, the water’s surface reaches the height of the vehicle’s tail lights before beginning to recede. Undoubtedly at least a little bit of that water entered the vehicle, so that even the things stored inside didn’t escape the water.

These homeowners did the right thing by removing stored items from the floor. However they clearly underestimated just how big the upcoming flood was going to be. Still, it’s likely that many of the items inside the garage, although waterlogged, probably survived the flood, and a good, thorough drying-out is all they needed afterward to salvage them.

dodge viper flood

A 2016 Dodge Viper narrowly misses becoming submerged in a residential garage flood.

What probably suffered most was the actual structure of the garage: flooring, framing, walls, possibly even the foundation, depending on what shape it was in before the flood and how long it was exposed to flooding conditions. Some of the worst damage that can occur is often the kind you can’t see until it’s too late: mold. While, in time, the interior and exterior walls may look as though they have recovered, mold can grow in the spaces in between. If not found and treated early, mold will continue to grow and spread.

You can find some great advice on inspecting your walls for mold at Mold Advisor. If you do discover mold in your own garage or home, you must be very careful in how you treat it. If there is only a little bit, you may be able to treat it on your own. If it has spread to more than about a square foot, it’s best to call in a mold remediation specialist. They will be able to ensure that it hasn’t spread to other locations and also know best how to remove it without releasing potentially harmful mold spores into the air (which can spread mold to other parts of the home AND may cause health problems for people and pets).

Other signs of water damage tend to be fairly obvious, although they may take weeks, months or longer to become apparent. Signs include (but are not limited to) water stains, cracks (in walls, floors, etc), buckling of walls or floors, obvious wet spots that don’t dry out with sufficient time (drywall, in spite of its name, can take a long time to thoroughly dry out), warping or crumbling drywall, soft or sunken spots in the floor that weren’t present before flooding, or splitting in wood.

Thankfully, here in BC we are at much lower risk for catastrophic flooding than the hurricane-prone south, southeast and eastern seaboard parts of the US. Tidal waves are a remote possibility here. However, the more likely flooding scenarios to occur in the Lower Mainland would result from extensive rainfall, something that is definitely within the realm of possibility here. Almost all of Richmond and Delta as well as parts of Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission and Abbotsford lie within the floodplain. While there have only been a couple of major floods in the last 125 years, there is a 30 percent chance that the Lower Mainland will experience a major flood sometime in the next 50 years.

There have been a number of “minor” floods in recent decades, usually resulting from storms with heavy rainfall. The Lower Mainland is well-equipped for some flooding in many areas, but even the extensive dike system found throughout the region can only hold back so much water.

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PremierTrax garage floor tile in Techno Green.

We aren’t flood experts here at Tailored Living, but we are acutely aware of the strong possibility of water damage occurring within the Lower Mainland. It is one of homeowners’ biggest concerns when building or remodeling their garage. Fortunately, Tailored Living carries a number of products that are ideal for withstanding potential flooding conditions. Our garage flooring is one great example. All of our PremierOne® floor coatings are industrial grade hybrid polymer sealants and created to withstand a variety of challenging conditions, including water damage and extremes in temperatures. Our heavy-duty, durable PremierTrax garage floor tiles are also impervious to water damage and can be easily removed, should you have a flood where repairs are necessary, and then put back into place.

We live here too, as do our carpenters and other staff, so it’s important to us that we carry and install products that we confidently use in our own homes, and which we know will stand up to the kinds of weather conditions unique to Greater Vancouver. We would be honored to come in and show you how we can help you make your home or garage more efficient and organized.

 

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Masked Bandits are Ravaging My Garage!

mammal-1227460_640The problem of urban vermin like raccoons and the destruction and chaos they can wreak on private property is not limited to homes that border greenbelts. Raccoons are pretty much everywhere in the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley area, and most people who have lived here for any length of time have had at least one encounter with the masked bandits. More often than not, they stay out of people’s way, and as long as you keep your garbage safely contained and secured, you won’t find them much of a nuisance. However, if you happen to have the misfortune of having raccoons settle inside your garage, outbuilding or inside your home, you might be in for a very long and frustrating battle.

Unlike coyotes, which construct their own dens, raccoons are squatters. They will simply settle in any spot that is vacant, has enough space (they don’t need a lot) and is in proximity to a reliable food and water source. Ideally, wild raccoons find shelter in hollowed-out trees or even move into dens that have been abandoned by other critters. But here in Greater Vancouver, we are well aware that more and more wildlife habitat is being taken over by humans. This encroachment affects different species in different ways. Some simply move further outward, going deeper into forest land. Others begin to die off in greater numbers because they are unwilling, or unable, to migrate to other locations.

Still others, like raccoons, are extremely adaptable. A 2010 PBS documentary called Raccoon Nation highlights just how unexpectedly resourceful raccoons can be. Raccoons are “far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined, and more destructive. It seems that the more obstacles you throw in their way, the smarter they get.” The documentary explores the possibility that the more we humans try to create ways to keep them at bay, the more we actually push their brain development forward, making them an even smarter and more resourceful species. Raccoons are incredibly fascinating creatures, but many people find it hard to sympathize with these ornery creatures and their destructive habits and cantankerous attitudes.

please-donate-1421204_640So, instead of settling in a nice hollowed out dead tree, raccoons in the city often make their way into people’s garages and sheds, under their porches and even in their attics. (Yes, raccoons can scale walls made of just about anything, even aluminum siding.) Once inside your garage or home, they are inordinately difficult to get rid of. (Why would you sleep in a tree when you could live in a nice warm, dry garage instead?)

There is a lot of confusion and conflicting information in BC about the rules and regulations regarding the management of raccoons when they have settled in your home or property. Because it’s such a common problem here, we thought we would share some tips and resources and talk about laws and responsibilities regarding the removal of wildlife from private property. Here are a few facts regarding the control of raccoons in all parts of BC:

* The BC Ministry of Environment maintains a list of animals which are either not managed in BC, or are managed to a limited degree. Under its “Schedule B” of “Species Responsible for Management,” raccoons (along with several other animals) may be “captured or killed only for the specific purpose of protecting property unless an open season is designated by regulation.” (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/lower-mainland/wildlife/species/species_lists.htm)

* In the Lower Mainland, there IS a designated open season for raccoons. According to the 2016-2018 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis, raccoon hunting season is from September 1 to March 31. Hunting areas are also defined in this publication.

* Raccoons which have taken up residence in a private home or garage can only be trapped by someone with a trapping licence. The rules for obtaining a trapping license are stringent, and can also be found in the 2016-2018 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis. All animal trapping must be conducted humanely, according to The Agreement On International Humane Trapping Standards which is outlined in the publication.

* There are specific and detailed regulations regarding the hunting and trapping of female raccoons with kits.

* It is against the law to poison raccoons (as well as most other types of wildlife). To do so is a punishable crime.

Raccoons in a garage or outbuilding are easier to chase away than those which haveraccoon-1602859_640 made their homes under your porch, inside your crawl space or, worst of all, in your attic. Sometimes all it takes is some loud, startling noises to scare them off. BC law states that you must use humane methods to rid your property of raccoons. Making noise is considered an acceptable method, although you may have to do this numerous times to drive them away permanently, since they will often return once the noise and human and activity has quieted.  So are tricks like using (certain types of) raccoon repellents around their dens (although some of these methods may not be very effective). As already noted, it is illegal to poison wildlife of any type.

The exception to this is if you happen to have a mother with kits residing on your property. It is illegal to separate a mother raccoon from her kits, unless the kits are of weaning age (12 weeks). Once kits are weaned, the whole family usually leaves on its own. If they don’t, try one or more of the discouragement tactics previously described.

On the other hand, if you discover raccoons in your attic, you will most likely need some outside help to get rid of them. Even if you manage to drive them out, they will probably return. You’ll likely require professional help to rid your attic of the pests. Regulations regarding humane removal and discouragement tactics still apply, as does the law forbidding separating a mother from her kits.

The rules regarding dealing with raccoons (and other types of wildlife) are complicated, complex and sometimes sound contradictory. They can be difficult to interpret, and fines for violating wildlife regulations are expensive. The best thing to do if you have a raccoon problem is to call a company that deals with wildlife removal (there are a handful in the Lower Mainland). Such companies are familiar with all the wildlife regulations. They are also registered and licenced to trap and remove raccoons humanely and to put measures in place to keep them from returning. Often, these measures are all that will be needed to rid your home of the pests.

At Tailored Living, we can’t help you get rid of raccoons in your garage. We can, however, help you organize it. Whether you want to create more efficient garage storage or you want to transform it into a Man Cave, Tailored Living has an extensive variety of products and solutions to help you get the garage you’ve always wanted.

 


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Five Weird Ways Laundry Rooms Have Changed Since the 1970s

laundromat-928779_960_720A lot of things have changed inside the humble laundry room since the 1970s. No matter what your feelings about this particular room, the way it has evolved over the years has vastly improved it, changes like these:

1) More efficient washers/dryers: Designers of cars weren’t the only ones coming out of the energy crisis of the 1970s with a determination to create energy-saving products. Large appliance makers also began brainstorming ideas for more energy-efficient designs. Though it would take another 20 years before significant break-throughs were made in washer and dryer design, today’s models are exponentially more energy-efficient than their predecessors and use less water.

2) Washer/dryer configuration: Stackable washer/dryer models were unheard of the 70s. Back then laundry rooms were big (as were many homes from that era) or the “laundry room” was actually just a corner of a giant, unfinished basement where there was lots of room for a side-by-side the size of a small submarine. Many living spaces have gotten considerably smaller since the 70s, especially in urban areas. Even in larger homes, laundry rooms have gotten smaller because, really, who hangs out in the laundry room? If you have X amount of square footage, you want to devote as much of that to living space as possible, and so the laundry room gets as little of those square feet as necessary in the floor plans.

3) The sink/basin: If you happen to live in an older home (1970s era or older) there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the wash basin, AKA the laundry sink. More often than not, these were hideous, free-standing monstrosities made of plastic or flimsy metal (not sink-1335476_960_720ceramic), holdovers from decades gone by. They were large enough to fit several small children, and if you happened to be vertically-challenged, you basically had to climb inside in order to plug or unplug the drain hole. The assumption back then was that washing machines pretty much sucked at removing anything more complex than a light coating of dirt and therefore you would spend hours every week bending over the basin to pre-scrub your clothing by hand before placing it in the machine. Sometimes the sink would double as a depository for the dirty water in the machine and the user would have to remember to place the washer hose in the sink before starting it or a flood would occur.

Fortunately, washing machines got better at their job in the ensuing decades. Not very many people hand-scrub anymore, or if they do, it’s because they have some sort of really hard-to-clean stain, like red wine or motor oil. Even then most people just use the bathroom sink to pre-treat stains so the ugly old wash basins are, for the most part, ancient history. Those who do have laundry room sinks in their contemporary homes tend to have reasonably-sized ones made of materials more attractive than plastic or aluminum.

psychedelic-1359990_960_7204) Laundry room décor: Like the other rooms in the home, the laundry room has evolved décor-wise. The average 1970s laundry room would most like have had walls covered with loud, obnoxious floral, striped or even plaid designs. Flooring was equally shocking; stripes, squares and geometric lines were popular in flooring, and it didn’t seem to matter if the flooring clashed with the wallpaper, as long as they were a drab dark brown, burnt orange or dirty green. Overall, the “busier” the better when it came to the overall décor palette, and walking into such a room was an assault on the senses.

Today’s laundry rooms are considerably less gaudy when it comes to décor. Overall, they tend to be simpler in design. Painted walls are widely preferred over papered ones. Whites and soft pastels dominate in the laundry room, which evoke a sense of calm and clean, which makes sense, because doing laundry already feels like drudgery. Your laundry room décor shouldn’t make the task harder.

5) The minimalist laundry room: We already hinted at this earlier. Since most homeowners don’t spend extended amounts of time in the laundry room, less floor space is being devoted to them than was in the 1970s. Many contemporary laundry rooms are just big enough for the washer and dryer, with a small counter for folding. In places where space is at a premium, such as urban condos, sometimes the laundry “room” isn’t a room at all, but rather a closet that just fits a washer dryer. This type of laundry “room” definitely presents some unique challenges, but is often the trade-off you must make for living in the city.

Generally speaking, laundry rooms of today are less psychedelic and much more efficient than those of the 1970s. While it still may not be the homeowner’s favorite room, the evolutions that it has undergone throughout the last half century has made it a more pleasant room to be in and more conducive to saving water and electricity.

Could your laundry room use a little help moving into 2017? Tailored Living has hundreds of products designed to make doing laundry faster and less unpleasant. Check out our laundry room designs, or book a free in-home consultation. We can help you make whatever laundry space you have (even if it’s a closet) more efficient.


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Eleven Closet Crimes You Might Be Guilty of Committing

mug shotIt’s almost the end of summer, and that means a wardrobe transition will be happening in the next month or two (depending on how long the hot weather holds out). If you find yourself looking at your closet and dreading that transition every single season, perhaps it’s because you are guilty of one of these ten closet crimes:

1) Disorderly conduct: You can’t complain it’s too hard to find stuff in your closet if you’re not taking the time to properly store items therein. If your closet always looks like a Tasmanian devil just passed through it, you need tohandcuffs work on creating, and then maintaining, order.

2) Forcible entry: Is your closet so jam-packed that you have to bodily wrestle with your closet doors to open them? Does your closet rival Fibber McGee’s, with its contents spilling out and onto the floor like an avalanche when you DO manage to get the door open? Is it like putting together a very complicated and precise three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle to return said items to the closet in just the right configuration so that you can fully close the closet door again?

3) Mayhem: Has your closet mate ever been injured by said items falling out of the closet? (May also fall under “Assault and Battery.”)

4) Criminal negligence: Do you continue in your dangerous closet storage habits in spite of the ongoing risk it poses to your closet mate?

couple fighting5) Terrorism: Do you regularly harass and/or threaten your spouse, partner or roommate with retaliation because his or her half of the closet continually encroaches on yours? Do you constantly nag him or her to pare down their wardrobe, stop collecting and storing “junk” (parenthesized because one man’s junk is another’s treasure) and generally to quit being a total slob?

6) Invasion of privacy: Do you go through your closet-mate’s possessions behind his or her back and arbitrarily decide what your closet mate should or shouldn’t keep in  their half of the closet? Do you ever get rid of those items without telling him or her (see Theft, next)?

7) Theft: Do you surreptitiously remove and give away, donate, sell or otherwise discard said items to try to make more room in the closet?

8) Fraud: Do you then lie and say “Honestly honey, I have no idea where your oil-stained, holey, ugly green flannel shirt went.”

9) Seditious libel: Do you complain to your friends and family about how slovenly, disheveled or chaotic your partner’s half of the closet is?

10) Disturbing the peace: Have you ever pitched a tantrum over the state of your closet? Have you ever slammed your closet door out of utter frustration, cursed or thrown things out of sheer indignation?messy closet

11) Corruption of a minor: Have you ever looked inside your children’s closets and realized with dismay that they have picked up on your closet crimes and are destined for a life of self-imposed storage imprisonment if some serious intervention doesn’t occur, and fast?

While this blog has been written tongue-in-cheek, living with a closet that you hate is no laughing matter. The good news is that, while you probably can’t change the size of your closet and make it bigger, there are certain things  you do have control over. Taking back that control is the first step toward rehabilitation and release from the prison that has become your closet.

The first step is to purge, even if you have to take everything out of your closet and start from scratch. (No one ever said that the road to living a crime-free life was easy!) We’ve written a number of articles and blogs previously that offer some excellent advice and tips on how to purge, how to decide what to keep and what to discard, and where to take both usable and unusable items you’re getting rid of. Again, and not to sugar-coat it: this could end up being an onerous task, depending on how serious and cumulative your closet crimes have been over the years. However, the results will be well-worth the effort that it requires.

The next step will be to take stock of what is left after your purge and begin planning on how to put it back, and whether some of it needs to be kept in your closet at all, or could be better stored elsewhere in your home. (This would free up even more space in your closet.) Again, we’ve published a number of different articles on how to arrange things in your closet in a way that maximizes available space.

Closet shelving.

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If it’s within your budget to do a complete closet overhaul (and it’s probably not as expensive as you might think), Tailored Living has hundreds of products and accessories (which can be mixed, matched and configured into an almost unlimited number of customized designs) to make all the space in your closet into useable space. In fact, we can actually increase the storage capacity of this space by 30 percent or more. With many of our clients we have been  able to double it. Even just adding a few strategically-placed shelves, cubbies or drawers and a few clever accessories can make a significant difference, and cost under $1000.

If a custom closet remodel isn’t in your budget, there are still inexpensive things that you can do that will make better use of your closet space. Check out Mike’s web article, Seven of the Most Common Closet Problems That Are Super Easy to Fix for some very practical, easy-to-implement ideas that are also cheap.

 

 

 

 

 


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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 Logistics of Custom Walk-In Closet Design or “You Can’t Put Those Drawers There!”

walk in closetDesigning and installing a custom walk-in closet is a dream-come-true for many homeowners. The wrong design, however, can turn into a nightmare. Sometimes homeowners and even professional designers focus so much on the aesthetics of a closet design that they forget about some of the basic logistics, and end up with drawers that smack into each other when opened, shelves that can’t be accessed unless you close the closet door behind you and other common closet problems.

Tailored Living’s expert designers are trained to spot such issues and adjust plans accordingly. The last thing you want after spending your hard-earned money on a custom-designed closet is to be unhappy with it for the rest of your years in your home, or until you shell out more money to fix the problem. We run into these issues frequently, so we wanted to cover a few that we encounter most often so that you can start thinking ahead of time about a design plan that really works for you (one without crashing drawers and inaccessible shelves) and one that you’ll be thrilled about when your custom closet is finally finished.

closet drawers.jpgPlacement of drawers and sliders: Anything installed inside a walk-in closet that slides out when in use (drawers, slide-out racks and baskets, etc.) or needs to be pulled away from the wall to be accessed can be problematic if not placed smartly. We often work with clients who already have a basic layout in their minds of where they want drawers and sliders to be placed within the overall system. However, people often forget to think about how these drawers and sliders are actually going to interact with the rest of the system and with one another, when opened.

For instance, what if your walk-in closet is fairly narrow, and you want to have drawers placed on opposite each other on the side walls of the closet, his-and-hers style? This mirror-image type layout seems to make sense and might sound logical. However, what will happen if both of you are trying to access drawers on opposite sides at the same time? Will you be able to open both sides of opposing drawers at the same time without them bumping into each other? Would you be able pull it open a drawer on one side all the way and still have room to stand in front of it? Although such a layout might work with all drawers and sliders retracted, it will be problematic if there isn’t enough room to open them without doing an awkward dance around them inside your closet. The novelty of your new closet will wear out pretty quickly.

How your closet door opens and closes: If your closet has sliding doors, then you don’t closet doors.jpghave too much to worry about in terms of your door interfering with shelving, etc., inside the closet. If you have a traditional hinged door that opens into your closet, you’ll want to think about what you install in that space behind where the door will open. Will you still be able to push the door in far enough if there is shelving behind it? If your closet is on the small side, will you have to perform awkward maneuvers to get inside the closet and then get behind the door to access whatever is stored there? Is it plausible to change the design of the closet door (change the door from inward opening to outward opening or install sliding doors instead)?

girl wearing boa closetThe age and size of the closet’s main user(s): This is something you’ll especially need to keep in mind if you are designing a closet for a child, or a closet that is going to be used by two or more people of significantly varying height, or if the closet is going to be accessed by someone who uses a wheelchair. A standard closet in a new build usually has a rod that is placed about 68 inches from the floor. Double rods are generally installed at about 43 inches and 84 inches. This would be considered ideal for the “average” user.

Of course, everyone knows no one is actually “average” in height. A slight majority of people fall somewhere just above or just below that, while the rest of the population is usually significantly above or below that, height-wise. What this means is that the “average” closet rod really only serves just over half the population well. The rest of us either have to reach down or reach up to hang clothing. Not only that, but the “average” closet rod height really cancels out a lot of otherwise usable space in your closet.

If you’re going to design a custom walk-in closet, please for the love of all things sane, DON’T have it designed for the “average” person. If you’re spending the extra money to get something tailored exactly to your lifestyle, you might as well place drawers, closet rods and any other spaces you plan to access frequently at a height that makes sense for you. If you’re reluctant to do this because, say, you’re over six feet tall and you’re worried about the resale value of your home if a prospective buyer is 5 feet 2 inches tall, you can work your design so that pieces like the hanging bar can be height-adjusted.portrait-1160487_960_720

The same goes for children’s closets. Hang rods and install shelves at child-height, not adult-height. This encourages independence in picking out clothing and in putting clothing and personal belongings away. However, children grow, so make rods and shelving adjustable so that they can grow with your child.

Consider other “hacks” that can help you access less-frequently used closet space: In order to make the most efficient use of the space in your closet, you should plan to utilize all of it, from floor to ceiling. Of course, doing so means that the very highest components, whether shelving, cupboards or otherwise, are going to be more difficult to access. These spaces are ideal for storing items that you rarely have to access. However, at some point you will have to access them. Hacks like extendable clothing rods, high-reach hanger hooks (a long stick with a hook at the end, great for reaching high-hanging clothes), step-stools / step ladders (with their own dedicated space in your closet) will make getting to those out-of-the-way spaces less frustrating.

 


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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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