Two kids in one room

March 23, 2012

I recently helped a mom of three organize a bedroom for two of her boys who had just moved in together to make room for their new baby brother to have his own nursery. Making a bedroom for one into a room for two can feel a little overwhelming – especially if you think the space is small to begin with.

This room was plenty big enough for the furniture that the family already had – a twin bed, a convertible crib, a large dresser for the boys to share, and a small bookshelf.

The furniture all fit inside the room perfectly – around the outer wall perimeters, but all of the nooks and crannies (drawers, shelves, and closet space) was either underutilized or overflowing.  So we made a few adjustments by categorizing like items together, putting often accessed toys and games at floor level for little hands to reach, and we found a place for everything – with room to grow!

The convertible crib that the family already owned had built-in storage – an added bonus! Because the pull out storage drawer is not accessible when the crib side is lowered, we put extra blankets and linens into it – things that aren’t frequently used. A dual-purpose piece of furniture like this is a great thing to consider when outfitting a kid’s room.

Search Results for "crib with storage drawer"

When we were cleaning out the closet, we found a collection of adorable small storage boxes that the family had received as a gift, tucked away in the back and forgotten about because no one felt sure about where or how to use them.  We creatively rearranged some books and displayed the storage boxes on the bottom of the book shelf so that the kids could use them to stash their favorite plush toys and knick knacks.

Kids' bookshelf

The boys love being able to pick out bedtime story books on their own!


Reuse – Refinish – Repurpose

March 14, 2012
Ayesha and I recently refinished and repurposed an old buffet for our friends  who just had a baby girl. Ayesha helped them come up with a design for the nursery that included the idea of a substantial piece of furniture, deep and tall enough to be used as a changing table now, with tons of storage, that can continue being used for years to come as a dresser, as the baby grows up.

We found a great, sturdy, solid wood piece at the Rebuilding Exchange – a Chicago nonprofit that sells donated materials from sustainable deconstruction projects, as well as furniture pieces from local artists and on consignment.

We sanded the old finish down and repainted the exterior with a semi-gloss super white so it would be easy to wipe clean – a MUST for a growing family.  Inside the drawers and cabinets is a colorful pop of deep raspberry – Ayesha’s brilliant idea!

We love how it turned out!

The great thing about repurposing a buffet, side-board or other non-traditional piece of furniture like this one, is the potential for storage possibilities. Not only does this piece have wonderfully long drawers of varying depths (perfect for putting tiny little baby clothes along with diapers, blankets and other essentials) it also has nice big open cabinets on the sides – perfect for baskets of toys, blankets or other large items.

Picture This!

October 11, 2011

Just left Chicago Home + Garden’s Picture This event at the Merchandise Mart Chopping Block. Amazing venue! Spacious and welcoming, this premier cooking school really showed off its assets as the perfect multipurpose hostess with the most-est. Added bonus: amazing food prepared in house with a lovely complimentary wine bar.

Great advice from ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) designers. I tagged along with my friend Layney who “speed dated” with several designers, moving among tables that seated one or more designers open for casual consultation, showing photos and talking through her own den/guest room design dilemma.

I had a great time eavesdropping on her conversations with designers from Jessica Lagrange Interiors and Susan Fredman Design Group. In attendance were several reps from different firms throughout Chicago (you can find the full list here).

All in all I give the event a 4 out of 5 – there were, unfortunately too few designers to really facilitate the “speed dating” format very well, but the designers who were in attendance were gracious and good humored.

Definitely an event to look out for the next time CH+G hosts one – and let’s hope they do. My parting gift was a great goodie bag too, with the latest issue of the mag, and chocolate! (along with the requisite adverts and designer flyers).

HUGE thanks to Layney for telling me all about it in the first place – CH+G is lucky to have such a loyal fan.



Behind door number one

September 3, 2011

When the summer heat occasionally chases me indoors into the A/C, I often get the organizing bug.

A while back, just such a thing happened to me, and I got the brilliant idea to tackle the “office” in my house, and try to make it more functional and inviting as a relaxing den by tucking all the office-y stuff out of sight – but not out of mind.

If you are able to have your home office in a bedroom with a closet, like I was fortunate to be able to do, make the most of that closet. I replaced the standard clothes-hanging bar with more functional shelving. You can do anything from a free-standing shelving unit to an installable, modular shelving system – which is what I recommend. That way, you can move the shelves around as your needs change depending on your office activities/hobbies/etc. I used some Closet Maid shelves to augment the closet layout, staggering the new shelves to accomodate all of my different sized boxes and bins.

When it comes to closet contents, forget about spending a lot of money on pretty containers or making everything look the same. No one sees it but you! I re-purposed a hodge-podge of empty file boxes and storage containers that I already had in the house. The key is to label everything with big, clear labels. I love the 3M or Postit varieties that remove cleanly, because I change out my projects often and re-label my containers.

An outlet immediately outside of the closet allowed me to tuck in the printer, and the 16″ depth was just enough for a lockable file cabinet – great for storing long-term paperwork and seldom-accessed documents (like IDs, passports, favorite momentos, etc.).

The set up is perfect for me – it’s not the type of space I would ever pull a chair up to and be able to work at – but that’s not what I need. I need a place to store things and occasionally access them. This does that for me. and I love that I had plenty of space to tuck my wrapping paper and gift bags/bows/ribbon/etc. (since I do gift wrapping in the den) AND, there is enough space to roll the vacuum cleaner in. Every little square inch of space is utilized without feeling overstuffed.

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Get free advice from design professionals in Chicago 10/11

August 23, 2011

Check it out! A friend of mine just shared the details of an upcoming event in Chicago. Sounds like it will be a fun October! Visit to RSVP with your design delemma. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Got a design dilemma?

ASID Picture This Event

Let the professionals help you when Chicago Home + Garden and the American Society of Interior Designers present PICTURE THIS.

Bring pictures of your latest design dilemma and receive free, in-person advice from an ASID designer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
6-8 p.m.
The Chopping Block
The Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 107
Chicago, Illinois 60654


Huff Posted

March 4, 2011

I never would have known we made the front page of the Huff Post Chicago if my colleague Lesley hadn’t told me! (She’s also a blogger – check out her foodie goodness at

Click the “READ WHOLE POST” button below to see our Huff Post mention.


House tour in Time Out Chicago: Home Design

March 2, 2011

Check out the famous Dot, posing for Time Out Chicago!

Published in Time Out Chicago on February 25, 2011
House tour: Lincoln Square two-story home
AJ Hassan and Jessica Berger found a Lincoln Square fixer-upper and turned it into a warm, modern home. By Kevin Aeh. Photos by Erica Gannett …Read full article.


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