HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

Home Office In a Closet March 28, 2012

I was talking to a friend about this particular transformation, and realized it had never made it to the blog, so here you go.  For those of you who work at home, you can have a super-functional and pretty office, in just about 30″ of space (deep).


how to have a home office in a closet


How to have a home office in a closet

What would you accomplish if your office was this pretty?


Kitchen Remodel: What Would You Do? January 24, 2012

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Thanks for hanging with me on my kitchen series.  And now a shameless plug.  If you haven’t already registered for the now famous Dump and Run Kitchen Strategies Organizing Class on February 11, please do so right now.  It’s coming up quick.  This is the yummiest organizing class you’ll ever attend.  And SOOOO practical.  I’ll show you how to keep your family fed with cheap, healthy, tasty meals that I spend about 10 minutes a day preparing in my crock-pot.  You get to come, make your own crock-pot meal, and take it home to eat that night.  We oversold last year, but I won’t do that again this year, because there are only so many chairs in my house.  Hear what one person had to say last year and sign up now.  This weekend I made sausage and peppers in about 5 minutes, and it fed us for two days. 

If you come to the class, you’ll also get to peek in my pantry, get organizing ideas for your own drawers, and see my kitchen…Ah yes, we’re back to the kitchen blog series.

What would you do if this were your kitchen remodel?

I’ve been grappling with my kitchen for some time now.  It’s a nice kitchen, but not great.  My hundred year old home was not built with today’s family or designs in mind. Here is the current footprint before the remodel.

Kitchen renovation- current footprint
I know this kitchen has been remodeled once, because we actually have the very cool original blueprints framed and hanging in our living room and the paperwork on the cabinet refacing that was done 15 years ago.
Kitchen renovation before

Galley Style

Here’s my problem.  My husband and I are super frugal people.  We weren’t always this way, but by making very frugal choices over the years, we’ve been able to enjoy some really great things, like peace of mind, and career changes without fear. So now, when we’ve been blessed to move to a great house in a fabulous location, we’ve decided to make some changes to our dated kitchen.  It’s not a horrible, completely ugly kitchen.  It’s just a little dated.  It has its problems.
  • We butchered the laminate counter when we replaced the stove a few years ago.
  • The eat in area is just big enough for our table, but not big enough for more than two people.
  • The walk-in pantry is just steps outside the kitchen, in the dining room.
  • There is a ton of wasted space above the laundry, which is in the kitchen behind the fridge, in this picture.
  • The galley style is not my favorite layout.
  • The laminate cabinets are a bit dated, but not completely ugly, and could be improved, perhaps, by Cabinet Transformations.
  • Our “mudroom” is 6 coat hooks and a shoe-bench at the end of our counter.
  • Crumbling walls behind the cabinets and a direct vent to the outside behind the microwave create a constant draft.
  • But the biggest problem is the wall that separates the back staircase from the kitchen.  I can envision this wall GONE< GONE< GONE, and visually expanding the kitchen by about 8 feet.
kitchen renovation before
But there is a lot of good about our kitchen, too:
The durable vinyl flooring was installed immediately before we bought the house four years ago, and wears great.
The layout is adequate, and all the cabinets are sturdy.
There is plenty of cabinet and counter space.
The taxes on our old home appear to be very low compared to newer construction in the area. A remodel would jack up the taxes. Yuck.
The Choice for Our Kitchen Remodel
So I am currently faced with some options.  A minor kitchen remodel would include the following:
New Cambria engineered stone counters.  Maybe I’ll do a post later on why granite is not the best choice for a kitchen remodel.
Stylish new backsplash
Side panel on the dishwasher, providing support for the new counter and separation from the stove
Patch behind the microwave, closing up the vent flap, and stuff insulation behind the cabinets before the new counter top goes on
New sink, disposal, and faucet
New electrical outlets and new under cabinet LED lighting.
This option would take about a week to complete, but I’d only be out of service for the day they install the new counter.

The major kitchen remodel would be a total gut.  Here’s one version of the new floor plan.  See the big mass in the middle?  That is a big honking 12′ island with no wall in the middle, that allows me to keep my laundry in the kitchen and even add cabinetry.

Kitchen renovation plan 4

  • The major change would be removal of the wall behind the washer/dryer, opening up the kitchen for a humongous island.
  • We’ll either need to live with a bar height island or purchase a smaller washer/dryer to accommodate a standard height island.
  • We will need to relocate the current powder room to the current pantry, which will allow us to have a more traditional commode AND sink.  (Woohoo!  A sink in the bathroom?  Apparently an option one hundred years ago.)
  • We will have to get all new flooring, which means we may as well remove the 3 cast iron radiators and install radiant heat flooring, which means we have more room for cabinets.
  • We will gain visual access to the two windows, now currently in the powder room and rear hallway.
  • We will gain insulation!!!!!
  • We would definitely gain the WOW factor.
We would be out of service completely for 6-8 weeks.  With toddlers.  Who eat 6 times a day.  And access to our basement is through the kitchen, which means we’ll be limited to accessing that space (where I store many of my work supplies) sparingly.
Did I mention we’ll be down a kitchen for 6-8 weeks?  With toddlers.
But, we’d end up with a dream kitchen.  Here’s my inspiration.  This kitchen is on the website of one of my favorite builders, http://ciprianiremodelingsolutions.com .
Kitchen renovation inspiration


What would you do?  Obviously, there is also a major price difference, but the frugal choices we’ve made up to now mean we’re not especially pressured financially.  I just have to find somewhere else to hang out for 6-8 weeks besides the kitchen.  With two tiny eating machines in the house. OK, I’ll admit, I eat constantly, too.
Do I just shelve the whole idea of a kitchen remodel for 4 more years until they are in school and out of the house much of the day?  Has anyone else lived through this?  Want to talk me into a position?  Come to the Dump and Run class on February 11, make your case, and leave with your dinner.
Do nothing for 4 years, then dream kitchen?
Minor kitchen remodel now and dream kitchen later?
Major kitchen remodel now?
Move?  (Do not give my hubby one more reason to hang out on Realtor.com!)
What would you do?  I’d love to hear.

Decorating Bookshelves December 27, 2011

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Your bookshelves can say a lot about you, if you know how to decorate them.  For inspiration with your bookshelves, look no farther than your favorite accessories or favorite accessory store.  That’s right, don’t limit yourself to books on your bookshelves.   Read the full article and use these bookcase decorating principles to create a bookcase you’ll love using things you probably already own.

Go from this:

Bookcases before

How to Decorate Bookcases- Before

Decorating Bookcases- After

Decorate Bookcases with Style- AFTER

Bookshelves Need Focal Points

Decorating bookshelves

Decorate Bookshelves with Room to Breathe

Play with Color

Stack and Stand


Add Lighting

Fill In Around the Edges

Whether you have a bank of built-ins, a stand-alone bookcase, or a few shelves to play with, arranging your bookcases with accessories you may already own can add miles of style to your home.  Read the full article for more on how to decorate bookcases.

Originally published in About One.

Photo Credits © HeartWork Organizing


Second Chance Decorating December 21, 2011

Filed under: Color With No Regrets,One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:59 pm
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Everyone deserves second chances, and that goes for good vintage furniture, too.  There’s something amazingly satisfying about repurposing something into a beautiful redesign.  Even if they aren’t old enough to be antiques, they are usually better quality that some items we find on the market today. When there is a chance to give a great piece a second life, and maybe save a few bucks, I’m all over it.

(If you find this post and the blog interesting, please click over on the side on the Subscribe button.  You’ll get fresh posts sent to your email or RSS feeds (your choice) as soon as they are hatched.)

This recent living room makeover is a great example.  If you didn’t see it, check out the wide shots of the room in the December 2011 newsletter.  Here are four of the items in the room, made over to be the perfect fit for the owner’s style.

We spent 6 hours hunting for the perfect sofa.  Would you believe we found it?

Slipcovered sofa before

Are ya lovin’ it?  Trust me, despite the very, very pink exterior, the interior of this sofa is wonderful.   Full of feathers and the most comfortable sofa I’ve sat on in ages, the client got a steal at just $125.  Wanna see the after?

Slipcovered sofa

The beauty, of course, is that frame will likely outlast the slipcover, which can be changed in the future.  But it can also be washed, if need be.  Your regular  showroom sofa can’t pull that trick.

Then we we found a few other funky items, one of which captured my imagination.

floor lamp needs a makeover

This floor lamp has bamboo-styled legs, which is a detail that I love in small doses.  But the brass trim was beaten up and the shade was a complete wreck.  Would you look twice at this beauty?

Chic black bamboo lamp

Several coats of black enamel were all it took to restore this lovely lamp.  Did I mention she was only $20 bucks to start?  And now nestled between two gorgeous, colorful and comfy chairs, she’s the perfect lamp table for the reading nook.

Here’s another transformation waiting to happen.  When I found these two club chairs and matching ottoman for only $150, I didn’t let the little bit of surface wear and ink stains throw me off.  You know there is a color change coming, right?

Club chairs waiting for slipcovers

With my favorite instant makeover tool, high quality stretch slipcovers, and a bit of work in the background, these “new” chairs fit right in.

club chairs with slipcovers

The last of the second chances I’ll show you here is a bright pop of color.  With just a teensy bit of repair, we repurposed this old chest into the room’s coffee table.  If I told you I was bringing a beat up old orange trunk into this room with a grand piano, would it make sense?  But this one, which once might have been a foot locker or fishing tackle storage for all I know, looks right at home in this warm place for one of my favorite families to gather.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these items we used in this second chance decorating project.  Are there vintage items in your home or at your local thrift shop that can be fabulous with just the right touch?


How to Get the WOW Factor in Just One Day July 30, 2011

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 8:03 pm
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Color.  Need I say more?  Just a little.  Just the right values.  Just the ones that will highlight the stuff you already own.  Improve the lighting.  And a little shimmer never hurts.  See for yourself.




Same furniture.  Same rug.  A whole new attitude.  If the entry into your home isn’t saying wow, please call me. We can help.