A few weeks ago a client and I had a breakthrough – we made a small change, but it had a big impact on her space.
This was a very small entry right after you open the front door, typical in many New England homes. On one side there was a closet, and on the other side there was an open area. In that open area the client had a row of hooks with a shelf above, and a bench with cubbies below. That all made sense, and is often the set up I recommend to clients.
But this just never worked for her family of 5, including 3 boys. Why? The kids couldn’t really reach the hooks as they were too high, and the bench made it even harder to reach. The boys shoes would get jumbled in front of the cubbies, not often making it into the cubbies where they were supposed to be.
So after pulling everything out of the bench and off the hooks, we started to brainstorm ideas and the client said, what if we get rid of the bench?
We moved the bench and marveled at the amount of space that was left. Then we decided to take off the hooks and shelf, and lower it a few feet. Now the boys could easily reach the hooks – without the bench blocking the way – making it much easier for them to actually get their coats on the hooks! What a change!
And with the hooks down lower, the shelf was now at the right height to be a “landing pad” for the parents’ keys and phones, and also the basket of incoming mail.
While the bench went to another room, we kept the baskets from the cubbies and just put them on the floor – one for each child. Now that they were open on the top, it was much more likely that the shoes would end up in the basket.
Now that this side of the entry was 100% more functional for the kids, we decided that the closet would be just for the parents. We cleaned it out and purged some items, but now parents’ coats, shoes and gear all had a home.
What a great transformation with a few small changes!