Storage solutions keep the clutter out of sight
Tired of stuff creeping into every room of your home?
Kids leave their boots at the back door and drop their schoolbooks on the kitchen island. Dad parks his briefcase on the coffee table in the family room. And mom's tennis racket leans against the refrigerator.
It's time for some home storage solutions.
Today when people have more stuff than ever before, builders offer ways to capture clutter in their new home designs. The large mudroom is a popular option with new homebuyers while some people like an oversized or tandem garage. Then others look for built-in custom storage throughout their home with walk-in pantries, built-in bookcases and cabinetry and closet organization systems.
Proper home storage means you live in a clutter-free environment and get more use and enjoyment from your home.
D.R. Horton offers an expanded mudroom option, which is shown in its Meadowlark model at Cambridge Lakes in Pingree Grove. "The mudroom isn't just 5 by 6 feet -- it's literally a room," said Chris Naatz, vice president of sales for D.R. Horton Chicago.
It's a multifunctional space with cabinets and counters that can serve as a home command center or hobby room. And there's enough space for kids to have a locker and cubbies for schoolbooks and sports gear, Naatz said.
When people select the expanded mudroom, it's an opportunity for homeowners to customize the space to fit their needs.
Originally, mudrooms were designed as a barrier between the indoors and outdoors, especially in colder regions, said Brian Brunhofer, president of Deerfield-based Meritus Homes. But today mudrooms aren't just mudrooms. They can be attractive rooms that provide organization and can also be used for laundry, recycling or even a garden center.
At Creekside at Inverness Ridge, Meritus Homes features an oversized mudroom in each of its five single-family home floor plans.
Residents use the room for laundry and coat storage. But many residents here are outdoor enthusiasts, so in the warmer months they like to wash off their golf clubs in the laundry sink. And in the wintertime, the room is great for suiting up before heading to the cross-country trails near the community, Brunhofer said.
Floor plans featuring a mudroom with a little different focus have also been popular for Wheaton-based homebuilder J. Lawrence Homes at Midlane Country Club in Wadsworth and Ambry Estates in Lynwood.
The difference in these mudrooms is that they do not include a laundry area because the builder believes it is more practical to have the laundry room on the second floor near the bedrooms, said John Wozniak, president of J. Lawrence Homes.
"This allows the mudroom off the garage to be used as a dedicated catchall for outerwear, bags, strollers and other gear. It's also a handy spot for stocking bulk kitchen purchases like paper towels and bottled beverages," he said.
Although mudrooms organize clutter at the entry, some homebuyers look for built-in custom storage throughout their home with walk-in pantries, built-in bookcases and cabinetry and closet organization systems.
"We design any room that takes cabinetry, and any room can have unique cabinetry for special storage needs," said Diane Bohstedt, designer with Cabinets at Danada/Studio West, which is owned by Havlicek Builders.
"When I think of storage, I think of the kitchen because every cabinet and drawer in the kitchen is designed for storage. People like the rollout shelves in cabinetry and sliding shelves in the pantry," she said.
"Also lockers are very big with families; even adults like them," Bohstedt said. An area in the kitchen can be designed with furniture-quality cabinetry for lockers, which would blend in nicely with an upscale interior.
Pets have needs too.
"We recently designed bedrooms for two Yorkshire terrier puppies in a new home," Bohstedt said. "So instead of a crate, they had little bedrooms with oil-rubbed bronze wire mesh, and they would go in there."
Throughout the home, owners can also be creative when it comes to storage solutions. For newspapers and magazines, baskets provide an earthy, natural look. Multipurpose built-ins offer a stage for an artful display of collectibles. And some ottomans and benches may have hidden storage or a coffee table built-in drawers.
Every home, no matter its size, has potential storage space.
Then there's the garage. Everyone knows that today a garage is more than a place to park the car.
A three-car tandem garage is a well-liked feature shown in the Savannah model at Meadows Edge by William Ryan Homes where many people use the third bay as storage space. A tandem garage is designed to have two vehicles park end-to-end, as opposed to side-by-side.
A nice aspect of the tandem garage is that you see more house from the street, which gives the residence more curb appeal. It's also a way for customers to get a three-car garage on home sites that aren't wide enough to accommodate the traditional three-car garage.
"Our two most popular plans have the three-car tandem garage, and we believe that is one reason these plans sell best. Also all of our plans offer options to enlarge the garage either to the side or to the rear," said Debbie Beaver, vice president with William Ryan Homes. "It's great storage for a boat, snowmobiles, motorcycles or the car enthusiasts' baby."
The extra space is usually an open area that owners can customize to suit their unique needs. The space offers several possibilities -- a workshop, hobby area, or organized storage space with cabinets and shelving. That's where Tim Coleman comes into the picture.
Owner of Coleman Home Solutions in North Aurora, Coleman provides all kinds of storage solutions for every room in the home. And he has a lot of experience with custom garage organization doing everything from wire shelving to custom wood cabinets.
As homes got bigger during the last 50 years, people started filling them up with so much stuff that they needed a basement or garage for lawn and garden tools, golf clubs and other sports equipment, Coleman said.
"Some of those sports bags are enormous, bigger than the kids. We help organize all that stuff," Coleman said.
"The garage is a natural place to store everything. And there are four areas to consider for storage space in the garage. Floor coating or tile, slat walls, shelves and cabinets and overhead storage that rolls down from the ceiling.
"The garage is the next frontier."