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

Your Home, Tailored to the Way You Live


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Home Organization Hacks: 85 Ways to Use Slatwall In Your Home to Make Life Saner

laundry room slatwallOne of the most versatile and, therefore, popular products over the years that we’ve been serving the Greater Vancouver market has been our slatwall  product. Slatwall consists of wood planks with grooves in between that can be installed over drywall. You’re probably familiar with slatwall even if you don’t realize it or recognize it readily. It’s sometimes used by retailers in stores to hang and display their wares for shoppers. Thanks to its excellent functionality and versatility, it has begun to catch on in the home, too.

The grooves in slatwall allow for quick and easy placement of hooks and hooked devices or containers. Once you place the hooks, previously unused wall space becomes practical storage space for a variety of different types of items. Best of all, you aren’t locked into a particular configuration when it comes to the things you hook into your slats. You can rearrange them any way, any time you need to. Your wall can be changed when your needs change without ever having to change the wall itself.

Tailored Living most often installs slatwall in garages, but slatwall can actually be used in any part of the home. In fact, we have installed it in laundry rooms, home offices and even bedrooms. Don’t worry… slatwall isn’t strictly utilitarian. Although extremely practical, it looks amazing, too. It can even be painted to match or complement an existing color scheme in whatever part of the house you want it.

Once you’ve installed your slatwall, you can adapt and customize it to your needs using a variety of storage maximizing accessories. As already mentioned, hooks are common, but you can also insert baskets, bins and shelves. You can insert them in seconds and move or remove them just as easily.

Here are 85 slatwall hacks for every room in your home that might inspire (or surprise) you.

steel slatwallIn the garage:

1) Hand tools (hammers, saws, etc.).

2) Organize nails and screws.

3) Hang bicycles.

4) Sleds.

5) Surfboards.

6) Skateboards.

7) Skis and ski poles.

8) Baseball bats.

9) Golf clubs.

10) Tennis rackets.

11) Skates

12) Sports balls (baseballs, golf balls, etc.).

13) Hand gardening tools.

14) Large gardening tools (shovels, spades and rakes).

15) Snow shovels.

16) Ladders.

17) Folding stools and chairs.

18) Fishing poles and gear.

19) Cleaning supplies.

20) Automotive fluids.

21) Camping gear.

In the playroom or a child’s bedroom:

22) Hold and sort Lego.  lego-615239_960_720

23) Toy cars.

24) Small toy balls.

25) Small blocks.

26) Play dough/clay and accessories.

In the office:

27) Pens and pencils.

28) Markers and highlighters.

29) Scissors.

30) Staplers and staples.

31) Rubber bands.

32) Paper clips.

33) Thumb tacks.

In the craft room / sewing  room / art room:

34) Scrapbooking embellishments, such as stickers, tape, etc.

35) Craft foam.

36) Craft fabric pieces.

37) Stamps and ink pads.

38) Craft wood scraps.

39) Felt scraps.

40) Clay.

41) Chenille wire.

42) Beads.

43) Paint and paintbrushes.

44) Glue guns and glue sticks.

45) Sewing scissors.

46) Sewing notions, such as buttons, thread, thimbles, bobbins, etc.

47) Sewing embellishments like sequins, patches, etc.

48) Yarn.

48) Embroidery floss.

49) Serger thread spools.

50) Crayons.

51) Markers.

52) Pens/pencils.

53) Kids scissors.

54) Popsicle sticks.

55) Glue bottles/glue sticks.

56) Miscellaneous craft supplies and embellishments such as pom poms, googly eyes, paints, paintbrushes and play-dough or clay.

In the kitchen:

57) Pots and pans.

58) Large utensils.

59) Gather and store small utensils like forks and knives using cylindrical containers.

60) Spices.

coffee-beans-618858_960_72061) Coffee beans/grounds.

62) Mugs.

On the deck / patio:

63) Small potted plants.

64) Gardening tools.

In the bathroom:

65) Towels and washcloths.

66) Toothbrushes and toothpaste.

67) Barrettes and hair clips.

68) Cosmetics.

69) Shaving supplies.

70) Miscellaneous grooming products (deodorant, lotion, etc.).

71) Hair styling tools (blow dryer, curling iron, etc.).

72) Small hair tools (brushes and combs).

General and Miscellaneous Home Use:

73) Clothing and accessories.

74) Display pictures on shelves.

75) Display decorative items on shelves.

76) Jewellery (necklaces and bracelets).

77) Mirrors

78) Pictures.

79) Hang keys (perfect near the front door).

80) Bags and backpacks.

81) Purses.

82) Umbrellas.

83) Hats.

84) Small candies.

85) Wine bottles/small wine racks.

Even covering just a small area with slatwall (say, a 3 foot by 5 foot space over your desk) can make a big difference in your ability to store items and stay organized. Imagine how much more desk space you could have! If you’re interested in seeing how slatwall could change the functionality of your home, let Tailored Living come by for a free in-home consultation. You’ll be under no obligation to purchase anything, and you might be pleasantly surprised how little it costs to save your sanity!

 


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BACK TO SCHOOL HOME ORGANIZATION – Part 2

Home Work

girl-drawing-back-to-school-1319256.jpgIn our previous blog we talked about all of the unique kinds of clutter that come with having children in school. Text books, backpacks, handouts, science projects and other school-related items need places to be. Without assigning them a specific one, they will surely end up on floors, stuffed in a closet or otherwise lost.

Of course, with school also comes homework. The amount will depend largely on the ages of your child(ren), but these days even Kindergarteners are encouraged to practice newly-learned skills at home. That’s why we felt it was appropriate to re-visit a topic we’ve talked about in the past: creating a dedicated space for homework.

If you’re fortunate, you may have a whole room (such as a home office) which you can devote to doing homework. Here in Greater Vancouver, more people are pressed for space in their homes, in which case perhaps only a small part of a room will become dedicated to doing homework. If this describes your situation, don’t worry, a little space is better than no space, and it’s usually better than relegating kids to doing homework at the dining room table. This is not to say that the table is always a bad idea. Sometimes the table is better, like when a child is working on a large visual project (like a science or art project) and needs space to spread out, or when a child needs some extra help on an assignment while Mom is busy cooking dinner and has to multi-task.

However, educators agree that, generally speaking, a dedicated homework spot is usually conducive to higher levels of concentration and results in more thorough work, fewer distractions and better grades. Here we provide a few tips based on research and recommendations by educators, interior designers and, the best teachers of all… parents.

* Keep it simple. Whether your kids have a whole room for doing homework or simply a desk in the corner of the bedroom, keep the area simple and streamlined. Don’t allow too much clutter to accumulate in this area. Toys should not be kept here. The desk and accompanying shelves or cupboards, if any, should only contain what is necessary for doing homework.

pencil-1185932.jpg* Stock the homework area with the right tools. As mentioned, toys don’t go here, but other things do. If kids have everything that they need right at hand to complete assignments (as opposed to hunting for it in other parts of the house), homework time will be more efficient and less prone to distraction. Things you might need to keep here, depending on your child’s age, include pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, notebook paper, scissors, stapler and tape, plus anything else that is age and subject-appropriate.

* Help kids organize all of their tools in a manner than encourages tidiness and efficiency. In other words, help them decide which things go in what drawer, what items should be kept on the surface of the desk (as opposed to being in a cupboard or on a shelf), and what things are better kept off the desk’s surface and on a shelf. You might even want to put stickers in different areas that indicate what tools go in a particular spot (this is an especially great idea for younger children).

FYI: Tailored Living slatwall and gridwall isn’t just for the garage. We can install it anywhere, including the space above and around a child’s desk. It makes for a handy way to store pencils, pens, scissors and other important homework tools efficiently, keeping the area organized and leaving the surface of the desk clutter-free.

* Keep distractions to a minimum in the homework area.

* Get kids in the habit of using the desk only for school-related work (not for playing Lego, etc.). This helps kids to get into the right mindset when they sit down to do homework. Their brain quickly differentiates that this area, and therefore this part of their day, is for concentrating on homework.

* Let kids help out when it comes to designing the homework area. Though the area shouldn’t be a place for toys, it can be a place for them to express their personalities. Let them choose their own desk, decorate the area with posters or artwork that they like, pick out a desktop caddy, etc. It will give them a sense of ownership over the space and become a place that’s not a burden to spend time in.

Need help designing your dedicated homework space? Let Tailored Living come in to your home for a free consultation. With our 3D design software, our experts can show you exactly what your new homework corner or home office space could look like in three-dimensions.

 


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BACK TO SCHOOL HOME ORGANIZATION – PART 1

organized entryway

 

 

EntryWay-5PART ONE OF A 2-PART SERIES

It’s that time of year again that parents look forward to with longing and kids hate to think about: back-to-school. No doubt at least some of your preparations have already begun. Shopping for school supplies and clothes is a big part of this season of mixed feelings. Fun new clothes and supplies might make the transition a little easier for those kids not necessarily wanting their summer to end. For parents, though, making space for new stuff and trying to get organized again after a couple of months of slacking can be a little painful for everyone. We thought it would be a good opportunity to share a few tips for organizing your home for back-to-school.

For today’s entry, we’re starting with streamlining the entryway area. Everyone with kids has experienced the chaos that can happen at the front entryway. Everything that the kids bring inside often gets dropped right there at the door. It doesn’t take long for clutter to accumulate and nerves to get frazzled because things soon get misplaced, lost and trampled upon. These tips will help you avoid that chaos and deal with the entryway clutter that results from going to school:

* Create a home for paper correspondence. Many schools have gone mostly digital, so the amount of paper correspondence being sent home from school these days has decreased somewhat over the last few years. However, notes from school by way of paper have yet to become completely obsolete, so professional home organizers suggest that you make a spot, a sort of “mailbox,” if you will, to catch those deliveries. The hardest part of this endeavor is going to be getting your kids in the habit of actually dropping notes off there. However, if they can manage this, there will be less frustration over notes languishing forgotten in backpacks and all the missed field trips because of them. Try to make it a place that is central and easily seen so that your kids remember, such as near the front door, or on a centrally-located desk, table or countertop. If there are notes that need a parent’s signature, let your kids know that you will sign and then return it to the same spot for them to pick up and take back to school.

* Assign a spot for backpacks. In most homes, school backpacks land in one of two places: near the front door or in the child’s bedroom. Either is a perfectly suitable place, as long as they have a specific spot. We recommend a hook in the wall somewhere close to the front door or in the bedroom, depending on your preferred location. Get kids to hang their backpacks on designated hooks so that they don’t become tripping hazards at the front door or, worse, get lost altogether.

* Make sure you have a place for jackets to hang. Then, get your kids into the habit of actually hanging up their coats when they come home. This issue isn’t necessarily limited to the school year. It can be an all-year round problem that just gets bigger as the seasons get colder. If you already have a coat closet at the door then you might already have this nailed. If not, think about purchasing a coat tree, or installing hooks or even individual cubbies for kids’ jackets. If your kids are small, make sure you place hooks where your kids can actually reach them.

EntryWay-6

Cubbies of various sizes perfect for all kinds of items

By the way, we think that one of the best accessories you can have in your entryway is “cubbies.” Not the ones you might remember from preschool days, but contemporary, decorative versions that complement your home’s decor. These kinds of compartments are ideal for storing items that commonly get left at the front door, like shoes, boots, hats, sports gear and other small to medium-size items. Larger cubbies (a little bit like school lockers, but way better looking) can be assigned one per family member so that every individual has a place for their own front door “stuff,” including jackets and backpacks. Tailored Living has a whole array of options when it comes to custom cubbies and entryways in general, including a variety of different finishes and lots of hardware choices and accessories to make your entryway streamlined and efficient for the school year and beyond.

 

Read more about entryway efficiency.


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10 Home Maintenance Jobs to Do During a Vancouver Summer

Naturally, we at Tailored Living are constantly thinking home improvement: how to do it better and more efficiently and how to make sure we meet all of the needs of our customers. Consequently, we thought it might be helpful to share this compilation with you of ten household maintenance tasks that are best completed during the summer months:

Paint roller with grey paint painting wall

Photo by Pasi Pitkanen

1) Painting, especially exterior. While we have had exceptionally nice weather this spring, generally it is impossible to count on more than a few rain-free days in a row at any other time of year here except summer. Of course, nothing will spoil a fresh outdoor paint job than a Vancouver rainfall, so take advantage of July and August’s great weather to paint your home’s exterior. Indoor painting can be done year-round, but summer time is an ideal time because you can throw open the windows so paint dries faster and any lingering smell gets dissipated quickly. Retailers of paint are more apt to have better deals on paint during the summer months, including lots of 2-for-1 paint can sales.

2) Cleaning window tracks and frames. Mold in window tracks is a huge problem in Greater Vancouver, but there isn’t much sense cleaning those tracks and frames in, say, November, because they will never dry thoroughly afterward. Without a good cleaning and thorough drying, they’ll just grow moldy all over again. Instead, wait until there are a few consecutive days of sunny weather in the forecast and clean window tracks and frames. Throw open the windows afterward and keep them open for as long as it takes for them to dry thoroughly. The drier they get, the longer they’ll remain mold-free.

3) Wash exterior windows. Again, wait until only sunshine is predicted for a few straight days and then wash the outside of all your windows

an old water heater, white, mounted on wall

Photo by David Cramer

4) Flush your water heater. Did you even know that this is a thing? A lot of home owners don’t, and many have never flushed their water tanks. Periodic flushing keeps sediment from building up inside, consequently preventing it from getting from tank to water tap and into your hot bath or drinking water. Once a year to once every two years is a good recommended schedule for this task, although you should consult your owner’s manual in case their recommendations are different.

5) Have your furnace checked. Most people only think about doing this in the fall when they’re getting ready to turn on the heat for the cold season, or when they turn it on and find out something has broken over the months of non-use. By then, your local furnace guy will be booked up for weeks. Catch him in the summer, and you’ll be able to get much faster service. You might even get a better deal.

GarStainless1

6) Clean out the garage. Give floors a good sweeping and mopping, re-organize any clutter that has been accumulating over the past year. Clean windows (if there are any) and make sure your garage door is in good working order.

7) Take care of your deck. Power wash the entire deck. Re-paint or re-stain if necessary (it will dry in no time in the summer sun).

8) Clean out gutters. By summer they will likely be filled with leaves, cottonwood fluff and all kinds of other outdoor debris. Summer is the easiest time to remove this stuff because it won’t be soaked and laden down with rain water.

9) Check exterior drains. Outdoor drains tend to get very plugged up due to all the rain we get in the lower mainland. Remove debris by hand that you can see. You should have your drains inspected and deep cleaned periodically to get out all the debris that you can’t see with your eyes and reach with your hands. Some companies even have small waterproof cameras which can be sent down a drain, giving you an accurate picture of what is actually down there.

Security door on a home10) Check your home security system. Summer time usually means vacation time, which means many houses sitting empty for days or weeks. It’s important to have your home adequately protected while you’re away, but you’re only protected as well as your system is working.

Need help with summertime garage organization? Or is it time to upgrade your closet, pantry, entryway or home office? Visit Tailored Living and book a free in-home consultation.


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Never Let These Four Awkward Spaces Get the Best of You and Your Home Ever Again

Custom Walk-In Closet by Tailored Living

Custom Walk-In Closet by Tailored Living

Tailored Living was founded on the idea of making the most efficient use of available space in the home. Buying a bigger home or expanding one’s current home is not a viable option for most people, most of the time, and here in Greater Vancouver, expanding is often not possible due to small lot sizes and strict community by-laws. This is where Tailored Living shines. You don’t have to move or expand to get more space. You just need the space that you do have to work harder and better for you, and that includes “awkward spaces” just like these four:

Alcoves: This design feature was popular in new home builds in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. These voids or recesses in walls were usually used merely for showcasing artwork, photos or decorative pieces. However, with urban and even suburban lots getting smaller and tighter, the focus of many new builds has shifted to maximizing space, and alcoves are waning in popularity. Maybe you live in one of those older homes with an alcove and it’s starting to feel like nothing more than wasted space that needs constant dusting. Tailored Living can work with alcoves and wall recesses of all sizes and transform them into functional spaces like shelves, drawers or cupboards. Larger recesses can even be outfitted with a Murphy bed that can be used for overnight guests.

Sloped ceilings and non-square walls: These are common with homes built up to the 1980’s, especially in Vancouver. Even some modern homes have them. While there is something nostalgic about them, they also present some very frustrating design and space challenges.

Don’t resign yourself to wasted space when it comes to these design and space challenges. There are lots of ways to make use of these areas in the home and create more storage space and even multi-functional spaces (like storage plus home office space).

Closet corners: Tailored Living built its reputation on efficient closets that make maximum use of minimal space, which includes those funky but unavoidable corners. Closet corners in a standard-build closet are wasted space. Tailored Living uses insider tricks of the trade and uncommonly-clever accessories and gadgets to make those corners usable, practical and able to store more than you probably imagined. This goes for any and all closets in your home, whether it’s a bedroom, hallway or utility closet.

DSC_2277.jpg

Photo: Nicola Betts

Under-the-stairs and other non-standard room shapes and sizes: You understand this struggle if you have stairs in your home. Many people just give up on these areas. Others use them as storage for random items that, hopefully, they won’t need to use very often because once stuff has been placed underneath they’ll be next to impossible to access again. Tailored Living has put some very unique and creative ideas to work with under-the-stairs spaces, even turning one client’s awkward space into a charming display area for some family heirlooms.

Floating shelves by Tailored Living with tea pots on display

One client’s creative use for space under the stairs.

So what’s the moral of this story? Don’t give up! You might be pleasantly surprised how hard we can get these awkward areas to work for you. All we need is about 20 minutes of your time. We can drop by for a free consultation and we can create plans based on your specific needs that show your awkward space in three-dimensions so you’ll be able to see exactly what your frustrating spaces can become with a bit of know-how.


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Spring Cleaning and Organizing in the Garage is Easier This Year

TraditionalGarCabinets2You know how you’re always feeling like there just isn’t enough time to get things done around the house? If only there were more hours in the day…. good news!  We’ve all been banking extra hours over the last four years, and this year we get to cash them in. It’s Leap Year, and there’s a whole extra day to tackle those jobs that keep getting pushed down lower and lower on the “To Do” list, like cleaning and organizing the garage.

We’ve blogged before about getting organized, but in case you missed those previous blogs, we’re going to cover some garage organization tips here. Even if you have read those blogs, it never hurts to read them again. Maybe you’ll be inspired anew to finally tackle problem clutter, dirt and other things that have been gathering in your garage over the months or years. Here’s how to re-create your garage space in four easy steps:

1) Discard: If you’re like a lot of home owners, all of the stuff from inside the house that you’ve tagged as destined for the dump or the Salvation Army gets placed in the garage. Often times that’s where it ends up staying, for weeks or months or even years. Now is the

Versatile gridwall from Premier Garage by Tailored Livingtime to get rid of all that stuff properly so you can free up that space for what it’s really needed for, whatever that happens to be for you and your family. It’s also a perfect opportunity to take a short visual inventory of what’s being stored in the garage and get rid of things you no longer want or use.

2) Clean: For a lot of people, this will be the most unpleasant part, especially if it’s been a while since your garage has been touched by a broom. Chances are that you’ll encounter a lot of dirt, leaves, cobwebs and maybe a critter or two (or what critters have left behind). It’s a good idea to wear a dust mask if it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned and moved stuff around in the garage. Don’t forget the windows, if there are any.

3) Sort: This step can also be done while you’re working on steps 1 and 2. Group “like” items together (cleaning products in one place, gardening tools in another, etc.) so that they can be stored together and subsequently found easily and quickly next time you need them.

4) Restore order: You know what they say: you can’t clean up a mess without first making a bigger mess. Don’t let that deter you. Just keep the end goal (a clean, healthy, organized and functional garage) in sight. Your efforts will be worth it in the end.

These steps and ideas come straight from the Tailored Living corporate blog on spring cleaning in the garage. It’s worth a read, as it contains even more ideas and suggestions on this topic. You can also check out A Five-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist which we first published last year. If you’d like to improve on storage capability in your garage, PremierGarage.com or the Tailored Living garage storage page.

By the way, just because February 29 falls on a Monday, a work day for many people, it doesn’t give you an excuse not to take advantage of the extra day. Take your Leap Day on Saturday or Sunday instead. You’ll ultimately be glad you did.


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How to Get the Most for Your Money on Your 2016 Remodeling Project

 

custom closet dark brown

Custom Reach-in Closet in Chocolate Apple Finish by Tailored Living

 

Out with the old, in with the new… as we head in to 2016, it’s a time when some people make resolutions to do something new, different or better or to lose, quit or get rid of something that’s been a hang-up in their lives. Still others have given up on making resolutions altogether.

If you are thinking of making remodeling your home, or parts of your home, a part of your New Year, we’d like to share some advice. It’s based on our experience as contractors as well as the experience of other experts in the industry. So, whether you call it a resolution or not, here are a few of our favourite tips on how to get the most for your money on your remodeling project:

1) Spend your money where it will make the most difference. A remodeling project may or may not increase your home’s value. If it doesn’t, don’t get discouraged. Instead, focus on how the project is going to make your life better. Will it help you live a more organized life? Will it help you spend less time doing household chores? Will it create a more efficient living space? Those are the best reasons to spend your money on remodeling. Just remember, too, that even if the remodel doesn’t increase your home’s value, it will probably increase its appeal to future buyers, should selling your home be on your horizon.

pantry drawers

A Custom Pantry Renovation by Tailored Living

 

 

2) When trying to save money on your project, look at the end goal. For example, if your overall goal in having a custom closet built in your bedroom is to make more efficient use of space, then the kinds of materials that you use are less consequential. Opt for cheaper finishes, hardware and accessories. This way you will still get a functional renovation and you satisfy your ultimate goal.

3) Do as much as you can yourself. We don’t advise people to take on a remodeling project that is out of the scope of their expertise. It can be very expensive to fix mistakes. Rather, focus on the smaller parts of the project that you feel like you are capable of handling yourself. For example, if you’re having a contractor come in to renovate your garage, perhaps you can do some of the pre-work yourself in order to save money. Painting, removing old hardware, even demolishing walls are just a few things that you might be able to do yourself. Less work for your contractor may yield some savings in the overall cost of the project.

4) Work with what you have. Moving doors and windows, for example, can add significantly more to your total bill. Rather, work with your contractor to get around things like that to keep costs down.

In our next December blog we’ll be exploring some of the options available for financing your remodeling project and offer some tips for deciding the best one for you.