Storage…Just Imagine the Possibilities!

Storage…Just Imagine the Possibilities!

Garage OrganizationSpecial glasses? You understand it for a 3-D movie, but for a model home tour? Still, you’re intrigued, and you don’t want to be rude to the salesperson here in the home’s garage, so you accept the glasses and slip them on.

Then you see it. Funny, you hadn’t noticed it before. Along most of the garage wall, shelving – some open for easy scanning, some with bins. Then there are the hooks for garden tools and bicycles to hang from. You look back at the salesperson’s work area, but now what you see is a lawn mower, trimmer, edger, snow blower, garbage can, and recycling bins. You slide the glasses down on your nose, peering over the top. It’s all gone. There’s just a deep recessed area and bare garage walls. Now you get it!

Rear Foyer - Elise, Maggie

Rear Foyer Concept

You step into the rear foyer from the garage, glasses in hand. You see a partitioned bench. A little cabinet. A sliding door. You put the glasses back on. Directly in front of you, several pairs of shoes parked neatly under that bench. Great idea! A place to sit, remove and store shoes out of the way, and not track dirt into the home. Organized within one of the partitions, you see a backpack, jacket, gym clothes, and lunch container. The adjoining one is like it, except there aren’t any gym clothes but there is something that might be a science project? You realize the partitions above the seat work like open lockers, organizing everything your kids might need on their way to school. What a relief!

Drop Zone

Drop Zone Concept

You turn your attention to the cabinet and discover a paper shredder resting on the pull-out base cabinet drawer. Perfect place for a shredder and sorting mail. The pull-out drawer above looks like the junk drawer in your kitchen – the one with glue and tape, scissors and markers, flashlights and batteries – but this one’s not in the kitchen! There are even USB and AC charging outlets. The sign says, “Drop Zone.”

Your focus turns to the pocket door. Sliding it open reveals hanging for off-season coats and shelves with bulk packs of toilet paper and paper towels as well as baskets with gloves, stocking hats, and ball caps. Again, you look out over the top of those glasses. Hanging rod and shelves. Nothing else.

Drawer dividers

Photo courtesy: KraftMaid Cabinetry; Tony Giammarino/ Giammarino & Dworkin, Design: Marge Thomas

The unique double island and beautiful cabinetry catch your eye in the kitchen. No need for the glasses to appreciate that storage can be beautiful! But just for fun, you put the glasses back on. You open the smaller island’s base cabinet and discover the specialty organizers built in. Your foot seems drawn to nudge that drawer under the cabinet door and a toe-kick drawer pops out with baking sheets and cake pans. Twin tall cabinet doors in the corner of the kitchen probably lead to a four-foot by four-foot pantry, but you discover not only a well-organized long storage wall, but also deep base shelves and a counter top at the back along with small appliances plugged in, ready to use. Perfect!

These sturdy cabinet drawers can store heavy dishes. Removable dividers let you configure interiors. 

These glasses are wild! Walking towards the owner’s suite your gaze is drawn to a door next to the staircase. Behind that door, board games, children’s books, and a basket of toys. And as you turn around, a six-foot coat closet, so there’ll be no need to lay guest’s coats across your bed when entertaining.

The owner’s suite. You love that bayed window. But you are seemingly pulled towards the short, arched hallway leading to the bathroom. That walk-in closet has double rods and shelves, providing over 17 feet of hanging on each long side, along with a single rod and shelf for long hanging at the back. With that much room there won’t be any need to put clothes back in the dryer on “touch up” just to get wrinkles out. You realize there’s also a wonderful fragrance. It’s stronger back in that short hall. Sure enough, sliding the mirrored door on the off-season closet reveals it was lined with cedar.

Two vanity cabinets in the bathroom handle your storage needs at each sink and linen storage above the toilet is home to your towels and washcloths. But no storage for bed linens? They’ve done everything else right. Was that just an oversight?

As you make your way towards the front bedrooms, there it is. The hallway closet holding all the extra sheets, blankets, and pillows. To your surprise, there’s a second closet for bed linens in the hall bathroom as well as its own towel linen storage in the tub/toilet area. Equally impressive are the deeper closets for both secondary bedrooms.

Pretty cool, these glasses. Calling attention to, and helping you see all the storing amenities in this home. Oh wait, one more door. Ah, the laundry room, with shelving above the washer and dryer and folding counter. One more time you put the glasses on. In addition to all the laundry room supplies stored on those shelves, you see laundry baskets stored beneath the folding counter, and scrap booking supplies on shelves beneath the glass block window to the right of the regular window. There’s even a closet in that laundry room that opens to reveal storage for your vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop. You begin to wonder, what ever happened to broom closets, anyway? It’s not like we don’t have brooms!

With advancements in technology, we may not be too far off from having such “magic glasses.” Until then, Design Basics’ Livability at a Glance™ floor plan colorization can help you identify all of the (orange) storage amenities within our designs. Then, just envision how you would use those spaces to make that new home perfect!

Along with Entertaining, Flexible Living, and De-stressing, Storing is one of the four lenses women told us they typically use when looking at a home design’s suitability for her and her household. Design Basics' fun Livability at a Glance Quiz can help you identify which of these four lenses is most important to you. Of all of the people who took that quiz last year, Storing was the top priority for 70%!

For more resources on storage and organization:

Kitchen Storage can be Beautiful!

Kitchen Storage can be Beautiful!

Some people step into a model home’s kitchen and see the beauty of having all that storage. Others step into that kitchen and are stunned by that storage’s beautiful finishes. Practicality and aesthetics.  Nowhere else in the home are those two elements of design more on display.

Strasser - #42420_kitchen

Custom kitchen in the Strasser Pointe (plan #42420FB). Photo by Renee D. Calvin Photography

With kitchens more open to entertaining areas in the home, they are being designed as an integral part of your entertaining. As such, form allows your personal style to shine. Light woods? Dark woods? Stained or painted? Cabinet profiles? Staggered heights and depths? Perhaps you prefer the look of stainless steel, laminates, or composites? Or modern clean lines where kitchen storage is virtually invisible? Then there’s the companion question of whether there will be exposed hardware, sometimes referred to as the “jewelry of the kitchen.” Styles range from practical to whimsical, classic to ultra-contemporary.

In tandem with style is the preference of most buyers to want uncluttered counter tops as they are stressful and can be an embarrassment when entertaining. Plus, when everyone brings a dish to your potluck dinner, you’ll want all available counter space.

Regardless of style, function dictates storage should be located where it is most needed. Storage for pots and pans should be near the cook top. A pull-out wastebasket drawer next to the kitchen sink (that’s also a great place for your recycling bin, as most recyclables need to be washed out first and you don’t want a water spot trail en route to your recycling container). In fact, pull-out base cabinet drawers in general are preferable, making quick work of retrieving the item you want as compared to simple base cabinets where you have to bend over to search for that item.

Drawer dividers

These sturdy cabinet drawers can store heavy dishes. Removable dividers let you configure interiors. Photo courtesy: KraftMaid Cabinetry; Tony Giammarino/ Giammarino & Dworkin, Design: Marge Thomas

Other cabinetry amenities can have a major impact of the usefulness of your storage, too. Having the light automatically turn on when you open the pantry door; drawer dividers for your tableware; creative solutions that put an end to impracticable, hard to reach storage in base corner cabinets. A tilt-out tray in front of your kitchen sink can hide your dish sponge. And, though it doesn’t increase storage, soft-close cabinetry hardware eliminates the noisy “bang” from doors closing.  

As a nation we’re cooking less, but not eating less. That means more storage for prepackaged foods. A 2019 National Association of Home Builders' report, What Home Buyers Really Want, identified that 83% of new home buyers today are looking for a walk-in pantry. As a loose rule of thumb, pantry size may correlate to the home’s overall size. We at Design Basics have never designed a home with too large of a pantry. Pantry cabinets gave way to corner walk-in pantries. Even larger walk-in pantries are in vogue today, with the ultimate being “prep pantries” large enough for storage and a food prep area, and “Work-in” (not mere “walk-in”) pantries complete with sink and dishwasher, and sometimes other appliances. Appliances create heat, so make sure your cooling system layout includes duct work for a Work-in pantry. Importantly, increasing the size of a walk-in pantry can provide the additional storage you want less expensively than the same amount of added storage accomplished through additional cabinetry. We’ve even designed large Work-in pantries to be built as safe rooms!

Dane Mills - #35084 pantry

Cabinet Pantry 3' shelves in the Dane Mills - plan #35084 (1209 sq ft).

Zinnia - #42041 Pantry

Prep Pantry 6'-0" x 11'-4" deep enough for base cabinets in the Zinnia - plan #42041 (2449 sq ft).

Teglia Farm - #42482 pantry

Corner Pantry 4' x 4', 7' shelves in the Teglia Farm - plan #42482 (1642 sq ft).

DiMarco - #50014 pantry

Work-in Pantry 10'-10" x 7'-6" with sink, dishwasher, and other appliances in the DiMarco - plan #50014 (2782 sq ft).

Angel Springs - #42409 pantry

Hidden Pantry 3'-9" x 7'-9" with 13' shelves in the Angel Springs - plan #42409 (2154 sq ft).

Revenna Springs - #35079 pantry

Walk-in Pantry 7'-0" x 6'-3" doubles as a safe room in the Revenna Springs - plan #35079 (2396 sq ft).

Whichever you prioritize, practicality or aesthetics, it shows when it comes to small appliances. Think toaster, coffee maker, crock pot, griddle, mixer, blender, and the like. Our practical side wants them plugged in and ready to use, while our appreciation for clean lines and uninterrupted beauty in our kitchens wants them off the counter tops and out of sight. The solution lies in a small appliance center, near the kitchen or within the pantry; if the pantry is large enough to have base cabinets, counter top and electrical outlets on at least one side.

Larimar Park - #42453 pantry

The Larimar Park’s (plan - #42453) Appliance Center, just outside the main kitchen, helps keep your kitchen counters free from clutter and your small appliances plugged in and ready to use.

Coming next week: Concepts in closet storage.

Livability at a Glance™ is our proprietary color-coded floor plan system that highlights four different lenses especially important to women: Entertaining, De-stressing, Storing, and Flexible Living. Discover your Lifestyle Profile by taking our Livability at a Glance Quiz.

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

Your Garage: Vehicles vs. Storage

Your Garage: Vehicles vs. Storage

You probably wouldn’t put your king-size bed in a loft space overlooking the great room. Yet we accept leaving our vehicles parked outside because there’s just no room for them in the garage! Storage has always been a challenge to be addressed in our homes, and even as our homes grew larger, we’ve increasingly come to depend on our garages for storage, particularly as restrictions and prohibitions against backyard sheds became popular. In fact, the 2019 National Association of Home Builders' What Home Buyers Really Want report found 85% of new home buyers are looking for storage in the garage!

Hickory Cottage - #42234_garage storage

At 24 feet in depth, storage opportunities exist along the back of the garage as well as the recess along the side of the Hickory Cottage’s (plan #42235) garage.

Garage size dictates what you can store in your garage. Toyota’s RAV4, the best-selling SUV in America, measures over 15 feet long. Providing a couple feet behind the vehicle for closing the garage door and 3 feet in front for a path into your home means dedicating 20 feet of garage depth for your vehicle(s). So, at Design Basics, we suggest storage possibilities exist when the garage is at least 22 feet deep. Similarly, we consider storage opportunities exist when the (2-car) garage is at least 22-feet wide, allotting room for two vehicles, including space to open those car doors. Still, garage storage possibilities aren’t necessarily limited to length and width, as garages with tall ceilings can provide overhead storage opportunities as well.

Think of sectioning off garage storage in “zones.” Outdoor equipment (lawn mower, snow blower); ladders and tools; sports gear; automotive supplies; and, kids’ outdoor toys and activities are good examples of such zones. To get the most out of your garage storage space, look into shelving and organization systems. There is a tremendous variety of DIY garage storage systems and numerous contractors who specialize in garage storage solutions. But it all starts with a plan that meets your specific needs and wants. Also, if garbage and recycling bins will be stored in the garage, what’s the shortest/easiest path for transferring them out of the garage and to the curb?

Storage accessed from the outside is rapidly gaining popularity. Ever find yourself peering into other people’s garages when those garage doors are left open? That actually reveals a lot about what your neighbors value! If you would rather not have everything stashed in your garage visible to passersby, look for home designs with built-in storage that’s accessed from the outside. That’s especially useful for outdoor items such as mowers, lawn games, camping gear, patio furniture, etc.

A pair of 36-inch wide doors access the 14-foot storage area alongside the kitchen in the Neeson (plan #50011). From lawn mowers and garden tools to winter storage for your patio furniture, storage accessed from the outside frees space in your garage for other items.

Example of outdoor storage (Zinnia plan #42041 - as built by Fox Builders, Ontario, OH).

Coming next week: kitchen storage can be beautiful!

Livability at a Glance™ is our proprietary color-coded floor plan system that highlights four different lenses especially important to women: Entertaining, De-stressing, Storing, and Flexible Living. Discover your Lifestyle Profile by taking our Livability at a Glance Quiz.

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

Think Storage

Think Storage

Storage. It’s a much-needed element in any home. And, we rarely hear homeowners say they have too much storage. But, that square footage costs money, and now averages upwards of $150 per square foot. Let’s say you have a 6’ x 10’ closet space; that’s 60 square feet, or approximately $9,000. That means storage space is expensive. One way to mitigate the expense is to include a well-designed storage system. They not only maximize space; they help you organize your stuff—and your life!

Areas where you can maximize storage space without adding square footage include extra shelving over your washer and dryer, under the stairs, or in the garage – again, storage systems are an excellent way to organize and contain items; also, think suspended shelves or shelves above your garage door tracks.

Specialized Storage. Do you dream of a huge kitchen pantry? How about a cedar closet for your households’ off-season clothes? Where will you stash the 36-roll package of toilet paper? Do you have room for the grand-kids’ toys and games? Is a wine room in your future? Wouldn’t it be great to have a handy place for your Christmas tree?

Over the years we’ve often heard homeowners requesting specialized spaces to accommodate their own unique needs. Gathering up all the ideas, we created what we call a Signature Space® – a small flex space/room measuring 6’ x 8’ that can be used however the homeowner wishes. The Serena (#42282) plan’s Signature Space could be used as a craft room, toys/games room, or customized storage.

Our Livability at a Glance™ color-coded floor plans help home buyers focus in on the elements they desire most in a home: Storing, Flexible Living, De-Stressing, and Entertaining. As in the Tillamook (#43038) plan, the different areas of the home are identified by color (Storing is orange) so you can visualize where storage is located/could be located. Using our Livability Search Tool, you choose which area(s) of the home are most important to you and those plans identified as being strong in this area(s) will filter into your plan search. Which of these four areas are most important to you? Take our Livability at a Glance Quiz to find out!


For more resources on thoughtful design:

Cover photo: Note the electrical outlet in the pantry; handy for charging small appliances. Photo by Renee D. Calvin Photography.

Keep Packages Safe with a Shipping Vestibule

Keep Packages Safe with a Shipping Vestibule

"It's a waste of time waiting around for the delivery driver, but if I don't, I'm always worried my package might not be there then I get home." "I may sell a dozen kits over the weekend [home-based business], but what I dread is having to plan my day around waiting for the delivery driver to pick them up."

It's almost become commonplace to hear about packages being stolen off porches, especially during the holidays, which is very disheartening. Whether it's a package being delivered or shipped out, you want it to be secure. There are apps that you can use in conjunction with a delivery service where the driver can open your garage door (or front door) and leave/take packages. But, how do you guarantee this is safe? We'd like to think delivery drivers are reputable and honest and won't take advantage of having access to our garage, even our house in some cases. This is where the Shipping Vestibule design is a nice alternative.

In the Leinart plan #29336, notice the shipping zone to the left of the front entry. There’s a secure closet accessed from the porch by your delivery driver keeping your home deliveries safe (you could install the app on this door for added safety and limit access to your home). Similarly, if you sell a dozen items online over the weekend, the shipping zone is ideal for packaging those items that you can then place in that shipping closet. No longer do you have to wait around for that delivery driver to drop off or pick up your items!

Talk to one of our plan specialists to learn more and see how a Shipping Vestibule can be incorporated into your home design! 

Cover photo: <a href="">Business photo created by freepik -</a>

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