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

Your Home, Tailored to the Way You Live

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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.


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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Do’s and Don’ts for Small Living Spaces

MurphyBed3Here in BC’s Lower Mainland, particularly in the denser urban areas, small living spaces are the norm.  Even Vancouver’s luxury condos have space limitations.  Though Vancouver doesn’t have the same kind of space crunch as some other major cities (think Toronto or New York), urban square footage is still best used wisely.  Our professional home organization experts have some helpful advice when it comes to making the most of small living spaces.  This list of “do’s” and “don’ts” probably contains some things you may have already discovered and a few that might surprise you.  Put into action, you might find that you can live more comfortably than you ever imagined, even with less than 1000 square feet.

Don’t get into the habit of letting clutter collect.  Clutter can take over very quickly in a small living space.  Put things away right away.

Don’t buy or bring home things that you can live without.  Sure, that funky retro floor lamp might be half-price, but if you don’t really need more lighting then pass it over.  Save your precious real estate for things that you really need.

Do have a designated space for everything.  For those things that are absolutely essential to own, make sure they all have a designated “home” within your home.

Do communicate your system of organization to others that you share your space with (family, partner, room-mate) so that they are all on the same page when it comes to organization.  Better yet, come up with a system together that works for everyone.  It will be an easier system to maintain when everyone buys in to the same philosophy.

Do utilize wall space effectively.  Install shelving, cubbies and other things that turn your wall space into storage space.

Don’t over-pack shelves.  Adding shelving to empty wall space can actually be a bad idea if you end up filling up an entire wall, floor to ceiling, with books.  This only makes a small room look even smaller and more crowded.  Space things thinly on shelving to create an illusion of airiness while still having some extra storage space.  (If you have enough books to fill up an entire wall, it’s probably time to thin out your collection.  Refer to our first “don’t.”)

Do choose furniture pieces that are multi-purpose, like a foot stool with storage space inside or a couch that folds out into a bed.  Murphy beds are also ideal for small living spaces.  Another furniture tip: choose “light” furniture.  Not light, as in weight, but “light” in appearance.  Avoid solid, chunky furniture and over-stuffed couches and opt instead for things like tapered/thin-legged tables and couches with crisp, clean lines.

Do make the most of closet space.  You might think your closet is already too full, but there are ways to make your closet spaces even more efficient, hold more items AND make them easier to find.  Consider a Tailored Living closet makeover for your small home.