Page 1

Volume 3

Art of Organization Quarterly

How to Set Up the Perfect Surround Sound System Whole Home Organization at Homearama

Zen Living:

How to Stay Sane Living Together as a Couple

Sharing Spaces


MOTOR TREND GARAGE GUIDE 2017’s Color of the Year Takes Us Back to Nature

Why Staging Your Closet is Important When Selling Your Home

Art of Organization Volume 3


Closet Factory



Paris Bernhardt


Keerthi Chandrashekar


Keerthi Chandrashekar Don Lee Dan Moyer Katie Daniels


Derek Enriquez Jeff Bruzzesi Julie Green Bill Reid Katie Daniels Debbie Anastos Karen Ayala Patrick Hayes

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Michael Mendelssohn Regina Leeds FRONT COVER DESIGN Keerthi Chandrashekar BACK COVER DESIGN Carlos Lopez DESIGN/LAYOUT Keerthi Chandrashekar ARTWORK Keerthi Chandrashekar Carlos Lopez

CLOSET FACTORY 12800 South Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90061 Locations nationwide


table of contents Click on any of the stories to go directly to the page!





Discover your garage’s potential. From car showrooms to home gyms to a photography studio, see how our clients have transformed their garages from mere parking spaces into fully functional rooms.





Arguments. Annoyance. An untold number of eye rolls. What’s so hard about sharing a space with other people? And what IS our personal space?




KEY Design

















Artwork by Carlos Lopez




It can be hard to step out of our own shoes and recognize the different experiences and values that make up another human. This can lead not only to prejudices within ourselves but conflicts with others, especially in shared spaces. Living an organized life at home doesn’t just mean putting the trash away, it also means having a smooth, functioning relationship with those you live with, which is why we decided to dive into sharing spaces. We take a look at the reasons it’s hard to share personal space and ways to improve the overall experience, whether it’s with a roommate, partner, or family. This issue also features our 2017 Motor Trend Garage Guide. Garages are often overlooked when it comes to functionality (park the car, put the boxes over there), but that’s slowly becoming less and less the norm. They should be viewed as another room full of possibilities — they can be home offices, gyms, workspaces, you name it. The home is an ecosystem unto itself. Different spaces have to flow with each other and the different inhabitants have to live in harmony for it to live to up its potential. We hope Art of Organization helps you achieve just that: a “whole home” approach to organization.


Keerthi Chandrashekar Editor-in-chief



Closet designed by Leslie Klinck, Closet Factory Denver, CO 6

Staging Your Closet Helps Sell Your Home by Dan Moyer

Your closet says a lot about you, and your home, to potential buyers.


elieve it or not, but potential homebuyers are able to tell a lot just by taking a peak inside your closet. A disorganized and cluttered closet says, “This home is tight on storage space,” even if it’s not. If you’re experiencing marital problems, never put your home on the market without his and her clothes in the master bedroom closet. Otherwise, homeowners might think you’re desperate to sell and submit a low-ball offer. Even if your spouse travels a lot, make sure you hang a few of his or her things in a spot that’s easily visible. An organized master walk-in closet can be the deciding factor for some homeowners who are on the fence. Never underestimate the importance of

transforming your home into what homebuyers are seeing across the internet — from Instagram to Pinterest. Especially with newly built homes trending smaller, the closet is an opportunity to add immediate value, style, and functionality with a minimal commitment. The closet is where you start and end your day, every day. Homebuyers are aware of this fact too, so if they see a closet that looks hectic and distressing, that’s the experience they’ll expect to get. No one wants to move into a house that’s going to stress them out from day one, minute one. Group your wardrobe together by type, i.e. shirts, pants, dresses, etc., and then color coordinate. This helps your closet flow better. Potential

homebuyers’ eyes will easily move down the space, making your closet feel larger than it actually is. Toss out your old, mismatched hangers and purchase ones that are uniform. Like color coordinating your wardrobe, hanger continuity helps improve the visual flow in your closet. Make sure nothing is strewn around your closet floor before holding an open house. You want potential homebuyers’ eyes stopping on pleasurable aspects of your home, not items that are out of place. The more organized and luxurious your closet appears, the more likely homebuyers who walk through your home will submit an offer close to your asking price.



MODERN ENTERTAINMENT CENTER WITH BAR: White Melamine with Hacienda Black Drawer and Door Faces // Luxe Blanco Hi-Gloss Lacquer Bar Countertop Designed by: Derek Enriquez, Closet Factory Miami, FL

“The clients needed to maximize space in their vacation apartment — it was only 760 square feet! Entertainment centers can be used for many purposes, including storage. The clients regularly had guests over, and since the entertainment center was a focal point of the space, it felt natural to integrate a bar into the design.” 8

Entertain with Your Entertainment Center If space is an issue, go multi-functional. One way is to add a bar right by the television. After all, both entertain.




Setting Up the Perfect Surround Sound System by Katie Daniels

Get the most “boom” for your buck


y now, most of us have been to a or have our own home theater system complete with surround sound. As an owner of one, however, do you know if your surround sound system is optimized to bring out the most in your home theater? The cinema experience is a visceral one — alive with not only a enormous screen that pulls us into the fantasy world of film, but also sounds that fill our senses. Movies literally surround us with audio that comes at us from all angles, placing us firmly in the center of the action. This is what makes going to the movies such an immersive experience. Every car that drives by, every gun that’s shot, or every audible groan from our favorite characters is literally coming at us from the walls!

But, you don’t have to limit that experience to just the theater. You can also bring it home — in the form of your entertainment center and surround sound system to create your very own home theater for any room. Dolby Laboratories developed and refined the concept of surround sound. The idea here is to utilize multiple speakers to simulate a threedimensional sound setting. You don’t necessarily need as many speakers as the movie theater in order to create a great surround sound environment. In fact, all you need is the right set up for your room. A few basics before we begin: when you’re seeking out a new surround sound system for your home, you’ll notice that there are numerical configurations

associated with each: 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, and 11.1. The first number corresponds with the number of speakers and the second refers to the number of subwoofers, or the bass component responsible for the output of explosions and low end of any musical composition. A 5.1 surround sound system (the most common) will usually be comprised of a channel speaker (think dialogue), right and left speakers (think music), rear speakers (place these on the outer perimeter of your room or behind you) and the subwoofer. Combined, these components create the ideal surround sound experience. But that’s not the only option. Suppose you want to expand your home entertaining experience to supersize and maximize the experience. Turn the page to find out how to do just that.



Don’t Sideline the Subwoofer

Position the Center Speaker Higher

Bass is a crucial part of the sound spectrum,

Center speakers go in the center — simple!

and it’s important to always keep that in mind.

We recommend placing your center channel

Electronic House recommends “not treating your

speaker above your television set, centered

subwoofer like a misbehaving 4-year old and put

horizontally. It’s important that you get a sense

it in the corner.” Many times we are tempted to

that the dialogue is coming directly from the

keep the subwoofer in a hidden spot to cancel

screen verses some ambient source somewhere

out some of the deep bass, or because that’s the

else in the room, and this would be best

way you’ve always seen it done. But it doesn’t

accomplished by placing it above the screen if

have to be this way. There’s no need to hide the

possible. A great way to achieve this is with a

epicenter of your home’s sound system.

wall mount, rubber feet for angling, or a stand.

The goal here is to recreate the cinematic experience, so bring your subwoofer out of its hiding spot and experiment with some locations, preferably slightly off-center of where you’ll most likely be sitting so that the sound reaches out to you and your guests to create an engaging

If there is absolutely no way to do so, keep the center channel as close below the television as possible. Regardless. Center channel speaker = center. Important. And easy.

and immersive home theater experience. Also ensure that it isn’t touching anything but the floor to avoid any sort of rattling that can disrupt the sound quality of your system. If your system is currently without a subwoofer… you have a completely different problem on your hands. Get one. Now.

Remember…Size Does Matter Listen, no matter what anyone says, size matters. According to DIY Network, for most people with a “medium-size living room or den, 12” to 15” tall book shelf speakers make a lot of sense.” This is probably the size of speaker you’ll want to get. Unless…you’ve designed a home theater room or are currently building out your entertainment room in a much larger room or multipurpose space. Then you may want to consider 38” or more. The idea here is to create an immersive experience, so be careful to not to go too big and end up drowning in sound.


Bigger Room Equals Bigger System

Calibration is Key

While the 5.1 system

one single step can drastically help the sound quality of your entire home entertaining

is great, it may not necessarily work the best for the room in which you

A final word on obtaining optimum sound output from your home theater surround sound system is that you’ll want to calibrate the speaker system’s output levels correctly. This experience by bringing out subtle sequences and nuances within larger more explosive segments of your favorite action or horror movies. Many of today’s systems have built-in automatic calibration features that will do the trick for the less tech-savvy!

are currently enjoying your home entertainment center. Sometimes you really have to upgrade either the technology or the amount of speakers you have. A 7.1 or 9.1 system may be the best bet if your room is a more expansive space or if you’re remodeling your a dedicated home theater. Surround sound pioneer Dolby does a great job of recommending speaker placements for your home entertainment center surround sound systems whether you’re working

Click on this picture to go to Dolby’s online surround sound speaker setup guide.

with a 5.1, 7.1 (shown here), or 9.1 set up.

The optimal 7.1 surround sound system setup according to Dolby. 13



Whole Home Organization at Homearama

by Keerthi Chandrashekar & Michael Mendelssohn




very year since 2011, Closet Factory Virginia Beach has been outfitting an entire “Lifestyle” house with custom storage built around whole home organization at Tidewater Builder’s Association’s Homearama event, and last year was no different. Dubbed “Chesapeake’s Treasure Chest,” 2016’s entry for the holiday season garnered attention for its focus on organization and functionality that flowed throughout the entire house.

The office room The dining room

Curated by 11 Closet Factory designers, Chesapeake’s Treasure Chest features a number of components designed to make living easy and organization natural. The whole home approach was carefully planned out by the designers to make sure that the family who purchases the house would never miss a beat. To do this, they envisioned what a typical day in the life of a busy family would be, taking into account everything from the space needed in the garage for car doors to swing out properly to where certain items will be dropped off or picked up upon entering or exiting the house. “They arrive home, open the garage door and park in a custom outfitted garage,” explains Closet Factory designer Tami Sullivan.


“This every

The built-in China Hutch cabinet

“They then enter the house through a custom mudroom where there is a designated drop zone for the shedding of coats, book bags, caps and anything that doesn’t need to go any farther into the house. There’s also a bench to sit and take off your shoes and a counter surface for your keys or bags to land. This process was followed for every room.” The custom closets and wall units are always crowd pleasers at Homearama, but one aspect that’s seen its popularity rising is the walk-in pantry, reflecting a trend that more and more people prefer increased functionality and feel in their spaces. People like to get dressed in boutique closets because it makes them feel glamorous, and people love a walk-in pantry because it can make them feel like a chef. The walk-in pantry

process was followed for room.”

“Some of the most popular spaces have been the walk-in pantries,” Sullivan says. “The pantry should serve the kitchen, and items that clutter kitchen countertops and aren’t used every day should have a home in a pantry. It really helps people feel better about cooking too, since they can see their ingredients and tools laid out in an organized fashion.” 17


The master bedroom


The master closet

The reading cove A Murphy bed with a hidden closet

Closet Factory initially entered TBA’s Homearama in 2003 designing only certain areas of the house for custom home builders. Owner Jeff Bruzzesi, however, soon got tired of restrictions on areas where he could design and the limitations it placed on overall functionality with the rest of the house so he began partnering with home builders who would let him design the entire house — 2016’s home builders were Sam Cohen and Joey Corp. The approach to whole home organization has been a hit the last the five years for Closet Factory Virginia Beach. Every year’s entry has sold, and nowadays, Tami says, many of the attendees come specifically to see Closet Factory Lifestyle House. The designers, led by Jeff Bruzzesi, involved with 2016’s Chesapeake’s Treasure Chest home were Claudia Monahan (Design Manager), Carol DiBacco (Senior Designer), Tamra Lenz (Senior Designer), Sherrin Holder (Senior Designer), Karen Fleming (Senior Designer), Jacinta Walker (Senior Designer), Bekki Hockman, Courtney Gregor, Amanda Ellis, and Racquel Racette. The Tidewater Builder’s Association Homerama is well respected around the country for its tendency to showcase custom homes on the same block, allowing patrons to visit multiple homes in one easy day.







A wall-mounted car vacuum means keeping the inside of a car has never been easier.

Alloy race deck flooring doesn’t just add visual class — it’s easy to maintain and keep sparkling clean, like the cars it houses. 22

The Man Cave

A lounge area means this garage is for more than just parking cars. Take the time to carve out space for yourself. This one features a nook for watching car enthusiast shows.

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: High Gloss White Cabinetry with Polish Chrome Hardware and Alloy Race Deck Flooring Designed by: Julie Green, Closet Factory Houston, TX

“The client was looking for a Ford-inspired garage to showcase his classic car collection and store car cleaning supplies. We installed two 4-post vehicle lifts for the cars and painted one of the walls Ford blue, while airbrushing the Ford logo onto another wall. Best of all, the client can hang out in the lounge area and watch his favorite car enthusiast shows. He was looking for a place to relax, as well as entertain.� 23

DESIGN Don’t forget your showroom garage should reflect you as well as your cars. Put your passions on the wall for others and to remind yourself.

B e f o r e


4-post vehicle lifts allow for more vehicles in the garage and provide an eye-pleasing way to present the cars on-site rather than in a separate storage facility.



The Mechanic’s Garage

2-post vehicle lifts make working on a car from underneath far easier.

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: Contemporary Grey and Black Melamine Cabinetry with High Gloss Blue Accents and Black & White Race Deck Flooring Designed by: Julie Green, Closet Factory Houston, TX

“The client needed an area where he could work on his cars when they weren’t in his showroom. For that, we made sure that he had enough storage for all his tools, and a 2-post professional lift so that he could work on them underneath. Functionality and having enough space to work was the most important goal, but it was also important to make the client have an aesthetically pleasing space up to par with his showroom [shown on pgs. 22-25].” 26



Extruding aluminum handles make it easier to open drawers and find the right tool in the midst of a project.


B e f o r e

An Omni Track wallmounted track system allows you to store almost any item with hooks. Use it to keep clutter off the floor.




The A Curated Get up-and-Go Getter Garage A garage can be much more than just a parking space for your car.

A large workbench, like this countertop, makes it easy to start and finish projects. Just don’t forget to keep it organized and clutter-free.

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: Black Melamine with Carbon Fiber Decorative Door Fronts Designed by: Bill Reid, Closet Factory Columbia, SC

“This is a new home with traditional Charleston style architecture and the husband wanted an upscale man cave to store his fishing rods, surf board, and yard tools. The client enjoys fishing in the early morning hours so being organized for a quick trip out on the intercoastal waterway or possibly a deep-water excursion was very important. It was to be both elegant and functional.” 31



Slatwalls can organize almost everything, including outdoor gear. Just make sure to get aluminum reinforcements so you can store heavier items.



The Offroad Cave

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: Mist and Royal Blue Melamine with Polyaspartic-polyurea flooring Designed by: Joanna Forbes, Closet Factory Los Angeles, CA

“The clients wanted a large workspace so we installed custom cabinets to keep their out-of-season decorations out of sight and out of mind. We also installed a dedicated tool area so that they could work on their toys, incorporated the color blue, and customized the flooring with the logos from their motorcycles. With the polyaspartic-polyurea coating on the floor, they don’t have to worry about tracking dirt into the garage or spilling some oil since it all easily washes out.” 34

Garage flooring is one of the most beneficial upgrades you can make. Floors coated with polyaspartic-polyurea such as this one last longer, are easier to clean, and add a level of beauty to a garage that plain cement simply can’t compete with. You can also look into tile or race alloy flooring.



Overhead space can be used to store out-ofseason items such as Christmas lights and other less-used items.


The Gym

Garages are often a great place to work out. Install a home gym and spring for a television and fridge for the full gym experience.

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: Mist Gray Melamine with a Black Formica Countertop and Enthusiast Cabinets with Prism Red Melamine Doors Designed by: Katie Daniels, Closet Factory Los Angeles, CA

“Due to the client’s work schedule, he found it hard to squeeze in gym time. As a fitness enthusiast, it was important for him to have a functioning gym at home so he could make up for the long days in front of a desk. He didn’t just want to shove a few gym machines in the garage and call it a day — the television and fridge were added to make working out easier and more fun.” 37


The Mudroom

Garages are a natural entry and exit point for the home, making it ideal for a mudroom. Giving each family member their own space means everybody can make a clean getaway without forgetting anything.


Drop stations, like this bench with wall hooks, are just the spot to put down bags and remove dirty shoes before entering the house. If it’s been a long day, at least everything is in one place and you can later shift the items to their respective storage spaces.

MOTOR TREND GARAGE: Tafisa Brushed Aluminum with Melamine & Lucite Door Fronts and High Pressure Plastic Laminate Countertops Designed by: Debbie Anastos, Closet Factory Boston, MA

“The client’s vision was to turn a cluttered three-car garage into a space that could be a mudroom, photography studio, and a space her children could play and entertain friends (the client envisioned setting up tables for birthday parties). It was important that a majority of items be stored ‘out of sight.’ The home is located in a Boston suburb where winters are cold so heating was added to the garage for year round use.” 39


Remember, personal touches make any room come alive, even a garage. This Lego Eiffel Tower was built by the client’s son.


If you don’t have an extra room in the house, garages are a perfect place to have a home office. This photographer had her studio set up in the garage, but made sure to have enough storage space to store all her equipment out of sight so the garage could be used for other purposes, like a play area for her kids.



Closet Factory Allentown’s Award-Winning Design for Interior Space Utilization by Dan Moyer


ach year, the Lehigh Valley Builders Association (LVBA) honors local businesses for professional excellence. Closet Factory Allentown took home 2016’s award for Interior Space Utilization, marking an impressive third victory for the location. The team won the same award in 2014 and won in 2012 for Specialty Projects Up To $20,000. Members of the LVBA submit projects anonymously to a panel of judges from outside of the Lehigh Valley for consideration. Categories in the competition include Builder, Remodeler, and Specialty Projects. Here’s what Closet Factory Allentown owner and designer of the winning closet Bob Focht had to say about the project.


“The project was to turn a spare bedroom into, in the client’s words, ‘a subdued French provincial style dressing room’ with full utilization of available space for storage. The layout of the 11-foot x 11-foot-8-inch room was challenging, with two doors on opposite walls, two windows and baseboard heat on a third wall. To maximize the use of space, the obstructions needed to be incorporated into the design.”

“In addition, the client wanted the impact from the entrance to be striking with no hanging clothing visible from that view. This was accomplished by extending columns to hide the hanging clothing on both walls adjacent to the door. The focal point became the far wall of full height cabinets that included scarves displayed in clear acrylic front pull out trays. A beveled edge mirror in the door of one cabinet also helped create an additional perception of depth to the room.”

“The client’s selected style included decorative columns, crown molding, rope trim, with acanthus and fleur-de-lis accents. The antique white materials included painted wood and matching laminates in order to reduce cost. Due to the light color of the cabinetry, oil rubbed bronze hardware was used to provide contrast. Marble tops also added an elegant touch.”



“The double window wall was incorporated into the design by creating shoe storage above the baseboard heater. Columns and decorative accents and molding were used to frame the windows and pull them into the design.” “The heaters were hidden using a raised platform with decorative feet and arches, maintaining the function but camouflaging the registers.”


“The island had to be limited in size to allow adequate walkway. By placing it offset and towards the window, the impression as viewed from the entrance was of a larger space. This also allowed better access to the drawers. Deep and wide drawers of varying heights were used, and a double-tier jewelry drawer was included to maximize jewelry storage.”

“To maintain the look of the project, adjustment holes were limited to locations specified by the client. The use of varying depths of columns and cabinetry provided additional interest in the crown molding that extended to the ceiling.”





haring Spaces by Don Lee

Arguments. Annoyance. An untold number of eye rolls. What’s so hard about sharing a space with other people? And what IS our personal space?



iving with someone else isn’t some esoteric concept — most people will have roommates at various points in their life, whether it’s family, friends, or strangers. Most common in urban cities like San Francisco and New York, shared spaces are now prevalent all across the country, as the number of young adults living with roommates has doubled during the last three decades. With people relocating more frequently, wages remaining stagnant, and rent continuing to suck the wallets of Americans everywhere, co-living does not seem to be going away any time soon.


Publicist Alma Cook from Los Angeles is all too familiar with the idea of sharing a personal space. Throughout her adult life, Alma has lived almost exclusively in shared living spaces, with her most notable living situations being living in a nine-bedroom community house in Chicago with both men and women from her college faith community and, currently, a two-bedroom unit in Los Angeles with four to five musicians. What started off as a way to cut down on living expenses transformed into fun and memorable experiences that helped with her personal growth and development. On the other end of the spectrum we have Jennifer Knopf, owner of Realize Virtual Assistance, who’s had a sub-

par experience with shared housing. Similar to Alma, Jennifer’s search for an apartment was rooted in budgetary concerns, and it led her to room with her co-worker who was many years her senior. Initially, things were fine, two adult women coming home together from work then unwinding over dinner and TV. However, things started to take a trip down south when Jennifer began to feel uncomfortable in her living arrangement and realized that her living situation would never feel like a personal space. Time and time again, we always talk about needing personal space, but what really constitutes a “personal space?” According to an article from the Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research, personal

space is “the distance we keep from others and the space people consider their territory — an unspoken bubble that travels with us wherever we go.” When this personal space is breached in any way, people tend to feel threatened and uncomfortable. It’s important to note is that this breach can be both physical and mental. For example, a physical invasion of personal space can simply be someone reading a book in his or her room and a roommate unexpectedly coming in to iron their clothes. On the other hand, not looking forward to going home knowing that a roommate will be there can be classified as a mental breach. Ultimately, these two branches are part of the same tree: sharing a personal space has its difficulties.



W h y I s S h a r i n g A P e r s o n a l S p a c e S o H a r d ?

ust like your favorite guilty snack, it is not easy sharing a living space with someone. For years, co-living has caused strained friendships, breakups, divorces, and awkward situations. Part of the reason is because two different people from different cultures can find it hard to make those values and beliefs coexist. It can also be because one person is a neat freak while the other is a “Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?� kind of person. Then again, some people are just plain inconsiderate. Psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick offered her perspective on the subject by mentioning that people who are going to share a space do not necessarily share a single set of goals about that space, nor do they have a common history or background. This results in people with differing ideas, wants, and needs, all attempting to live together under one roof. For Alma, the transition into a shared living space with her roommate Katie was seamless because of their strong mutual faith in Christianity, similar sense of humor, and their strong convictions about what it means to be gracious and loving even when people nearby are causing harm. The same cannot be said for Jennifer. Aside from working at the same company, she did not share many things in common with her roommate, which made it a challenge to live together as time went on. Each person fulfilled her shared responsibilities such as cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes, but when it came down to interior decorating restrictions and unnecessary guidance counseling, the differences came into the light and the negative feelings began to flame up. In the end, the difficulty of sharing a space has to do with the fact that people simply have different things going on in their lives.


“In the end, the difficulty of

sharing a space has to do with the fact that people simply have different things going on in their lives.”

What Is A Personal Space To People?

ach person has his or her own unique perspective on what makes a space “personal.” However, a majority of people, including Alma and Katie, generally agree that a personal space is a place where one can be comfortable and simultaneously release the energy built up throughout the day while escaping the outside world to recharge and relax. According to a study titled “Situational Transformation of Personal Space” the shape and dimensions of that area morph depending on influences that include, but are not limited to: gender, age, culture, personality traits, attractiveness, psychological disorders, attitudes, the angle of approach, room size, and lighting conditions. In simpler terms, who we live with, the actions of us and that person, and where we live determine what our individual bubble will look like. For example, Person A lives in a clean 550-square-foot apartment with Person B, who shares the same love of movies, going out, and minimalistic décor. In this situation, Person A will have a fairly small personal circle surrounding him or her. Now, take that same Person A and place them in a dirty 550-square-foot apartment with Person C, who hates movies, stays exclusively indoors, and loves decorating the walls with rainbow colored paintings and decorations. This will cause Person A to have a much larger personal circle surrounding them than in the first scenario since the environment is less in line with his or her tastes, making it more aggravating. A common misconception is that only one person can reside in a space for it to be considered personal. If that were the case, then marriages would end left and right! Many people feel relaxed and right at home even in co-living situations. In fact, you could say that their “aggravation area” is larger when company is not around. Fundamentally, the conditions differ from person to person, but at the most basic level, a personal space is a place where one can feel happy and at ease. It does not require the absence of other people. 51

FEATURE large proportion of the population is in a co-living situation for one reason or another. Does this mean they enjoy their living arrangement? Maybe. Even though they might hate sharing a space, they may enjoy the benefits that come with it. On the surface, you have your obvious ones like cheaper living expenses and less responsibilities around the house, but dive deeper and you will find that sharing a living space has psychological benefits as well.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Sharing Space

According to an article published by BioMed Central Public Health, having a roommate or two may reduce the likelihood of depression, as living alone has produced an increased number of people needing prescription antidepressant medications. Reasons for the mental advantages of shared living include being able to receive emotional support as well as social integration. You feel comfortable and secure, knowing that you will have someone in the near vicinity watching your back. Single people, on the other hand, might face financial difficulties or distress due to a variety of socioeconomic disadvantages and nobody to vent to. Conversely, there are a fair number of negative aspects to sharing a personal space. The most common complaints include a lack of privacy and having to adjust to the lifestyle of the other person. However, just like the benefits, the drawbacks of sharing a space really boil down to the individual. Alma believes one drawback to living with someone is that conflicts regarding cleanliness or respect escalate more quickly in a shared space and there is no place to escape it since you are already at home. Jennifer’s perspective is that, in a shared space, every decision you make regarding the space will undoubtedly affect the other residents, which could potentially kickstart those negative emotions. On a side note, the downsides of shared living have become so apparent that, according to sociologist Eric Klinenberg, more young people are choosing to live by themselves — more than ever, 17 million women and 14 million men to be exact. This indicates that, despite the increase in co-living arrangements, adults in their 20s and 30s prefer to have privacy over risking their mental sanity trying to make it work with their roommates.


Ways To Make Sharing A Space Beneficial And Pleasurable ore often than not, people will pack their bags and reach for the door handle when the whole sharing a space thing just isn’t working. However, putting in a last ditch effort to make things work can help you develop useful life skills, specifically, learning to live with others. Psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick says that living with others develops one’s ability to recognize the wants and needs of the people around you and is a vital stage that people should experience between adolescence and adult life. Sometimes though, this does not come easy, especially if one or more of the people involved are already at their breaking points. Co-living can be turned into a positive experience, and all it takes is a calm discussion with all parties involved. A thoughtful discussion is the most effective means of getting along with roommates because it invokes self-reflection, or the realization that one cannot impose the way he or she lived onto other people. Considering following these steps to have a productive meeting among roommates:

“It’s also important to note that some people just aren’t suited to living with others, and that’s okay too.”

1. Schedule a time for everyone to sit down and set basic ground rules for the space. These ground rules should have an elaborate exchange of ideas for what works and what doesn’t work. 2. Spend a few minutes listening to what each person’s preferences and dislikes are. Make sure to add your opinions as well! 3. If a problem arises, deal with it right away. Before you know it, it can snowball into something unmanageable. 4. Have an open mind. Chances are, after your discussion, your roommate(s) are trying their best to respect you, your culture, and beliefs. 5. Treat others how you would like to be treated. A bit of kindness can go a long way and gives others the motivation to reciprocate.



Learning to Get Along

iving with roommates is not for everyone. It can either be an experience that will have a profound positive effect on you or a nightmare that will drag you further into a state of social isolation. No matter who you choose to live with, conflicts are bound to arise, as not everyone grew up through the exact same life experiences. However, the deciding factors that will make or break the shared living experience are how you choose to take on these conflicts when they arise and whether you take the precautionary measures to prevent them from occurring at all. It’s also important to note that some people just aren’t suited to living with others, and that’s okay too. Approach sharing a space with the mindset of how useful it can be for you: if you can treat it as an opportunity to grow and learn from other people’s points of view, then the whole experience will be worthwhile.


“What a party. Man, the feathers really flew.”



Living Together with a Zen Attitude Zen Organizer and New York Times best-selling author Regina Leeds shares her tips for couples living together. Your-way-or-the-highway rarely works. by Regina Leeds


We expect roommates to be a bit vexing at times and we’re not too concerned because the ‘relationship’ isn’t meant to last forever. But move in with your lover or get married and sparks start to

Have you ever wondered about these common irritants: • Why does he squeeze the toothpaste from the middle? It’s so wasteful. • Does she have to let dirty dishes pile up in the sink? • What’s that wet towel doing on the floor? Was he raised in a barn? • Why can’t she ever fold towels the ‘right’ way?


You get the idea. The list of potential offenders is endless so, how do we cope? As a professional organizer, I say follow ‘The Three C’s.’ Before that, however, let’s put on our Sherlock Holmes hats and do a little investigating, shall we? What’s the source of your irritation? It may have nothing to do with your partner.

Family of Origin When we’re growing up there is a natural assumption that every home runs pretty much the way ours does and the modus operandi we see is in fact the proper way to do things. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. There are, for example, different approaches to loading the dishwasher, folding sheets and towels, or making a bed. If you two are arguing about such things, have a chat and decide if you need to embrace one way or if each of you can do your own thing. I do think there’s a way to properly fold towels but if you like your choice the only thing that matters is consistency. If all the towels are folded in the same way, it’s going to look great and you should be able to find your favorite in any stack (I like to keep sets together and divide them by color).

Control Issues Sad to say this is a big offender. Being organized blesses your home, all its occupants, and your lives. Being a control freak who never allows for conversation or creativity because “your way or the highway” is not remotely desirable or nurturing. If you’re using organizing as a club to browbeat your family, you’re using it as a weapon, not a tool for growth, ease, and transformation. Find out why you feel out of control in your life and you will automatically relax your grip on your household.

The Power of the Three C’s I’ve been working with clients for over 25 years and I have observed many happy couples. Over time I have noted the happiest seem to follow the three C’s without effort. Read through them and see if one or two need to be implemented in your home.

Commitment Are you headed in the same direction as a team? If the relationship is on shaky ground, you can bet your displaced aggression will cause big fights about truly inconsequential things like where to squeeze the toothpaste! Have a heartto-heart about your future goals as a team. It’s easier to share physical space when you agree that you want the same things in life.

Communication This one seems obvious but let me share a story to illustrate how silence and lack of communication can damage any relationship. I worked with a lady once who confided in me that when her husband came home from work he never seemed to notice what she had accomplished. Instead, he noted the unfinished items that always exist in any home. It is, after all, a vibrant, living space not a mausoleum. He would come into a room and start shoving things behind doors and into drawers so that the place looked perfect. She felt judged. I asked if she had ever told him how this hurt her and, when she said “No,” I asked how long they had been married. I expected they were newlyweds when in fact they had been married over 30 years! Imagine all the pain and resentment that had built up over the years in what was

otherwise a wonderful relationship. I suggested she tell him and that evening she did. Can you guess what his reaction was? He felt terrible for having caused her pain when all he was trying to do was help. There is no downside to communicating as long as it’s done with love and respect. Are you and your partner good communicators? There’s no time like the present to start.

Compromise We’re back to your home of origin with this one. If something is particularly important to your partner, can you let go the way your family handled it and let your partner have a win? Remember the toothpaste conundrum? Why not get two different tubes of toothpaste and you can each squeeze from whatever place you like! Whoever does the laundry gets to fold the towels and the last one out of bed can make it the way he or she likes. Step back and realize that these are first world problems. Don’t let trivial matters spoil the energy in your home. Remember that coming together is not two individuals moving into the same space. It is the creation of a ‘we’ identity that hasn’t existed before and ‘we’ will surely function differently than your old ‘I.’ Celebrate that creation. It’s unique to you as a couple.



Pantone Universe Mug, Color of the Year 2017 edition $25 at the online Pantone store


Pantone’s 201 Speaks o

17 Color of the Year of Reconnecting with Nature E

very year famed color institute Pantone selects a “Color of the Year” that is supposed to be a color snapshot of what is “taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

by Keerthi Chandrashekar

The choice for 2017? A “fresh and zesty yellow-green shade” called Greenery, reflecting our innate desire to recapture some of nature as our lives become more urbanized. “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment,” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose.”

Tip: If you’re planning

on using Greenery in your home, be sure to head over to Pantone’s website for 10 suggested color palettes that go well with 2017’s Color of the Year.

Pantone also released 9 other colors that it predicted would capture the spirit of spring 2017.

Credit: Pantone



Closet designed by Karen Ayala, Closet Factory Los Angeles, CA


Merrick White’s Closet Transformation Style and sewing blogger Merrick White talks about how her brand new custom closet is just what she needed.


eing a working mom isn’t easy, just ask style and sewing blogger Merrick White about balancing a career and three kids. Which is why she’s not only pleased, but also downright excited about her new custom closet. Organization isn’t just about having neat piles of clothes, it brings peace of mind. “I’m discovering that the longer I’m a mom and the more kids I have, the more brain cells I’m losing,” White says. “Add running a business in there, and my brain is running in hyper speed half the time and I can’t keep up.”

“All that to say, organization is the only thing that keeps us running the household. We keep schedules, we designate areas for specific things, we plan ahead, and that keeps us all running smoothly, despite our busy lifestyle.” White needed a lot of shoe storage, says Closet Factory designer Karen Ayala. Another key component was maximizing hanging space while still have room for drawers and shelves. Other features adorn White’s closet, like a valet rod, which pulls out and makes hanging up outfits for a quick preview easy.

by Keerthi Chandrashekar photos by Taylor Cole Photography




Having an organized closet does more than help her focus on important tasks at hand — it has an innate tie with what she does for a living. “A huge part of my job as a stylist and designer is to come up with creative and interesting clothing, design, and color combinations,” White says. “Having all of my clothing, bags, jewelry, and shoes organized and nicely displayed feeds that creativity and makes my job easier and more fun because I’m able to walk into my closet and instantly see an outfit that I had never thought of. It also allows me to get dressed more quickly (which is helpful as a mom), and put away my clothes quickly after a style shoot so I waste as little time as possible.”




Click on this photo to watch Merrick White’s 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Closet Video by Carlos Lopez 65


Don’t Waste the Basement Basements can be bedrooms, wine cellars, or even both if you so please.

BASEMENT MASTER SUITE WITH WINE CELLAR AND TASTING ROOM: Absolute Acajou Melamine Designed by: Patrick Hayes, Closet Factory Denver, CO

“The client is a winemaker and very much wanted to utilize this space for his endeavors and as a tasting room. The upstairs of the home had very small bedrooms so he also wanted to create a master suite downstairs so I designed both the wine cellar and the sleeping/living area to fit the L-shaped space. We were able to incorporate a hamper, shoe shelves, and drawers to the living space as well.” 66



Drink wine, fall sleep, and wake up and get ready in the morning, all in this basement.




Chandeliers 101 C

handeliers are a great way to light a room, spruce up the elegance, and provide a pleasing focal point. If you’re looking to add one to a room — or a closet — here are the five most popular styles to consider.


Commonly thought of as “the” chandelier, crystal chandeliers come in different grades including hand-cut, hand-polished, machine-cut, or machine polished. Light reflects off of each precious piece of crystal for a majestic and romantic atmosphere.


by Don Lee


Influenced by Neoclassicism, traditional style chandeliers will have detailing that is ornate in nature and use finely polished materials in their designs. They exude elegance and add a formal tone to any room.

Chandeliers of the rustic variety commonly feature elements of nature, such as branches, plants, and animals. In addition, because of their organic textures, shapes, and warmth, they emit a natural aura that incorporates a bit of casual décor to the home.


Contemporary/Modern In contemporary/modern chandeliers, you won’t find any traces of ornate designs. Instead expect to see a lot of simple lines and simple tones with minimal detailing.

Transitional style chandeliers can be viewed as a hybrid of contemporary, modern, and traditional styles. You’ll find that they have a dash of modernity with a touch of ornate décor. Out of all chandelier types, transitional is considered the most adaptable, being able to blend into any interior.


DID YOU KNOW? The world’s largest chandelier, the Reflective Flow, measures 19 feet tall, 41 feet wide, and weighs a whopping 39,683 lbs. You can find it and its 165,000 LED lights in the atrium of the Al Hitmi Group building in Qatar.


1(800) 838-7995

Art of Organization Volume 3  

Discover the latest design trends, lifestyle tips, and storage solutions that mold organization into art.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you