The Ideal Kitchen: A Better Way To Keep Paper Towels Handy

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If we could build the perfect room from scratch, what would it look like? What features would it contain? Let’s have ourselves a little daydream…

There are two kinds of kitchen-people: those who are content to cram their countertops with every single appliance, fruit basket, and cookbook they may hazard to use in the span of three to eighteen months, and those who want as little as humanly possible out on the counters.

The later will acquiesce, most likely, when it comes to a select few appliances they use on a daily basis. But where an espresso maker is acceptable, a utilitarian eyesore such as that of a paper towel roll is an unsightly insult to their clear-countered sensibilities.

Yet, for better or worse (for the environment), they require that the roll remains within reach.

Rather than sequestering the paper towels to an inconvenient kitchen locale (i.e. one that necessitates doubling over to fetch), what if there was a way to incorporate the household essential into the very design of the kitchen? It needn’t be invisible or obscured, so long as it didn’t advertise its presence atop the counter. 

That’d be pretty clever, wouldn’t it…

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: Finish Point Trim & Millwork

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: House Beautiful

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: Studio Dearborn

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: Bradshaw Designs

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: Studio Dearborn

Designing an ideal kitchen? Here's a better way to keep paper towels handy.

Image credit: Lavin Label

Monday’s Meditation: On Celebrating Our Progress

Monday, October 23, 2017

We had fifteen minutes before my client had to bolt out the door. Fifteen minutes on the dot, because the one thing parents won’t mess around with when it comes to promptness is school pick up.

Our session had been a successful re-edit of her daughter’s closet (it had been at least three years since we last worked together), but I had promised her that we could talk about her kitchen.

Normally, I wouldn’t divert to another project with fifteen minutes to go. I’d rather end a session early than leave my clients with a giant mess we don’t have time to tackle. But she was pretty intent on at least discussing it.

Fourteen.

She pulled out some baskets from the island, and opened drawers and cupboards. “See, this is weird, and what should I do about these? And is this really the best way to store this?” 

Thirteen.

I walked around the kitchen. I opened everything. I pondered.

Twelve; I checked my watch. Seeing me, she checked hers. 

Then I snapped to. It was all so obvious to me what needed to change in order to drastically make the space more functional for her and her family. 

“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I think these are going to be a lot better here, and these really make way more sense over here, and this is what it is, embrace it! Do you have room for this stuff over there? K; let’s move it. And then that opens up this drawer, and this drawer, and that drawer. Which is the perfect spot for–”

Eleven, ten, nine, eight.

I moved like a maniac through her kitchen, reconfiguring and redistributing.

“I’M SORRY FOR BEING MANIC. I’M AWARE I’M BEING MANIC, I JUST DON’T WANT YOU TO BE LATE, DO YOU USE THESE OFTEN? HOW OFTEN? DITCH THAT. LOVEEE THAT IDEA.” 

By seven minutes to departure, we had solved the crux of the issue. By six we had quadrupled her storage space. By five we had found a place for a whole collection of things that previously had been homeless. 

“SEE HOW MUCH MORE SENSE THIS MAKES DOWN HERE? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS STUFF LIVING HERE INSTEAD? REALLY?? WHAT EVEN IS THAT??”

Four. The drawers were closed. 

Three. The cupboards were done.

Two. The island was situated.

One.

“OKAY THANK YOU SO MUCH SEE YOU NEXT WEEK BYEE.”

As I drove away, the mania shifted into a sense of satisfaction. I had delivered for her in a way I couldn’t have three years ago, because I am so much more skilled than I was three years ago. 

Against a familiar, old backdrop, we notice our evolution.

It may be a place we revisit after a long time away, or a type of social dilemma we haven’t experienced in some time, or a personality type we once knew and now find ourselves involved with again. Nothing in life is truly the same, but there are reminders, windows into moments from the past, through which we recognize that we are not the same person we used to be.

Ironically unbeknownst to ourselves, we have been gradually growing and changing each and every day.

Though we are apt to look forward, to wish we were more–to strive–we are, at every moment, better, more skilled, more fulfilled versions of the people we used to be.

And that’s worth celebrating, if you ask me. This isn’t the first time I’ve urged us to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and doubtful it will be the last. 

In a fast-paced, comparison-rife society such as ours, it’s important to cherish the feeling, no matter how fleeting, of being proud of our progress and satisfied with ourselves.

How To Decorate For Halloween (& Other Holidays) Without Losing Your Sanity, Spending All Your Cash & Over-Loading Your Storage Space

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I have clients at both ends of the holiday-decorations spectrum. Some, as you can imagine, have tubs and tubs of themed decor for each and every occasion. For others, the holiday decorations are scant. Yet, I’ve noticed a tendency among those in possession of modest decoration collections: there is an underlying belief that to not go balls-to-the-decked-out-walls is to have failed, in some sense. It is to have deprived their offspring of obviously celebratory atmospheres.

“Annie, am I the worst mom ever if I don’t decorate for Halloween?” One of my clients recently asked me.

I’m not sure when, exactly, intensity and quantity overshadowed all else, but they certainly have become the standard to which we hold ourselves. As marketers have pushed merchandise and Pinterest has pushed aspirational images, subtle, Simple tokens of celebration have taken a backseat. In the vehicle we might colloquially term “#Goals,” lavish, labor-intensive installations are cruising shotgun.

The good news is: you’re still the boss, pumpkinsauce! Good enough is a measure you define. Perfectly themed is a classification you make.

You don’t have to buy two cartloads of paraphernalia at Target or at the craft store. You don’t have to hang trinkets and signs from every ledge and hook. You don’t have to be responsible for storing tub-full’s of decorations.

A few things that summarize the spirit of the holiday for you, placed strategically in high traffic areas to maximize visibility and impact, are always sufficient.

Classic, timeless pieces that might even be so subtle as to possess the ostensible ability to blend into your decor year-round will always serve you well in the long run.

Holidays can often be alluded to through the use of colors, often with just as much, if not more, success than through specific shapes or symbols.

Organic materials are usually the most affordable, most natural-looking, and least storage-space-requiring means of decoration.

These principles hold true for any holiday. What with Halloween being on the horizon and all, let’s peep some examples of decorations that Live way Simply. 

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Angie Holden

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Caitlin Cawley

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Good Housekeeping

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Honestly Yum

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Flax & Twine

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Stylizimo

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Midwest Living

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Good Housekeeping 

Sanity-saving, wallet-relieving, storage space-freeing rules for holiday decorating.

Image credit: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

 

Now tell me what you’re being. No, scratch that: tell me what candy I can expect were I to trick-or-treat at your doorstep.