Inspired Tuesday

May 22, 2012


I absolutely love this short snippet from, of all places, the latest Rejuvenation mail catalogue:

A Place for Everything

The organized kitchen was a place Harriet Beecher Stowe longed for women to have. She and other 19th-century progressives wanted to reform “women’s work” by modeling kitchens after factories, reasoning that knowing where things are make people more efficient.


Organized Kitchen

February 6, 2012

I worked with a client this weekend on an ongoing kitchen organization project – and I’m having a blast. I love organizing kitchens more than ever – now that I’m cooking more than ever in my own home and can truly appreciate how a well-organized kitchen can help with preparing meals, storing ingredients, cleaning up and all of the other living that happens in the heart of many homes.

Here are a few of my go-to tips when it comes to making sure your kitchen is well-organized:

  1. Rev-A-Shelf Spice Drawer Insert

    Keep necessities within reach of where you use them. Everyday items should be kept between waist and shoulder height – things used less often should go up high, and heavy items should go down low. It usually makes the most sense, for instance, to find a place near the stove either over or under a counter space for spices, oils, and vinegars. Storing everyday items like plates, bowls and glassware, close to the dishwasher makes unloading clean dishes quick and simple.

  2. Kraftmaid Deluxe Roll-out Tray

    Group like-items together. This makes things really easy to find. Keep all of your mixing and serving bowls together; all flatware and utensils near each other; baking dishes should be grouped; as well as pots and pans.  Do you have a number of small mobile appliances that you only use occasionally – like a blender, hand mixer or Panini press? Store those together in an area near where you might use them to make accessing, and putting away, as easy as possible. A roll-out drawer or tray – found at most most home supply stores and online – is easy to install and eliminates crouching down and digging around a lower cabinet space.

  3. Modular Storage Canister Set

    Clear containers are a pantry’s best friend. Basic mason jars are affordable, classic and easy to replace, and great for liquids and leftovers because they don’t absorb odors or colors like plastic sometimes does. There are also a number of companies that make tall, slim and stackable canisters that are great for limited dry goods storage and small spaces. No need for labels if you can see the contents, plus air-tight containers keep food fresher longer.

  4. If you don’t use it in the kitchen, don’t store it in the kitchen. Sounds logical, right? But how many people end up with a “junk drawer” full of pens, tape, tools, rubber bands, buttons, and other random items in the kitchen? We had a drawer like this in my house growing up. Try to relocate these items to their proper place in the house – or if you really need a catch-all collection place, use a cool basket with a lid or designate one drawer off to the side, and keep it sorted and organized with labeled plastic baggies or drawer dividers.

Organize your dinner party like the pros do!

November 10, 2011

It’s party season, people.

Birthdays, holidays, cookie parties – you name it – with cooler weather brimming, kitchens are heating up everywhere. People are cooking, gathering, drinking and juggling festivities galore. Yay!

Check out these tips that I totally stole from my latest e-newletter from The Chopping Block (ok, technically I’m borrowing since I’m giving credit and linking you to thier awesome website).

Don’t let hosting be a hassle! Here are some holiday entertaining tips from our chefs so you can enjoy your time with friends and family:
– Always make a prep list of what can be done in advanced.
– Create a timeline when everything needs to go into the oven or reheated, especially if you have just one oven.
– Set out all of your platters and bowls and stick a post it on each with the specific dish it will be used for.
– If you have a dishwasher, make sure it is empty. Loading as you go will prevent a kitchen full of dirty dishes and you won’t have to wash dishes with guests in the house.
– If you have guests who like to help out in the kitchen, have a plan of what they can do in advance.
– Assign a willing guest to provide beverages as guests arrive, which will make them feel welcomed right away.
– It’s okay to use a store-bought spread or starter to simplify things.

Happy hosting!


“Purge and Merge” success story!

February 17, 2011

From storage depot to happy home.  Here is a success story from one of my first clients:

After years of owning, but never really living in her property, this client called me to help her transform the condo that she’s been using mainly as “storage” space into a comfy, cozy home where she and her significant other could make a life and family together.  I met with both of them to talk through goals, objectives and the desired end result and I designed a blueprint and worked out a timeline and plan of action that everyone agreed on.

We tackled the WHOLE place – a generous two-bedroom, one bath, with large living, dining, kitchen and a bonus sunny front den, along with basement storage.  Each week we concentrated on a different place in the house and gradually transformed the chaos.

For two and a half months, I worked with the client to sort, group, purge, and re-purpose her belongings in a way that helped her create a new place that welcomed her partner and her partner’s belongings.  Along the way I taught her some tips and tricks for organizing and arranging her space that best suited her needs, so that she could keep it up after I was gone.

Watch the transformation below!

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Client testimonial:

As Jess’ client’s partner, I have to say I was amazed at the transformation of my new home when I arrived with my belongings on moving day.  I could never have envisioned having more than enough space for my furniture, clothes, and personal items just a few weeks before.  But it wasn’t only about creating space – I was thrilled to discover that Jess also has a knack for rearranging rooms and organizing “stuff” into aesthetically appealing configurations that made our home very livable, cozy, and easy to navigate.  In the midst of our hectic and busy lives, we have Jessica to thank for leading and guiding us through a well thought out plan that resulted in a moving and settling-in process that was much more relaxed and easy than either of us could have ever imagined!  



We’ve moved!

July 11, 2010

Well, we finally moved last weekend, on Saturday the 3rd. Thanks to our efforts in being mindful when we packed up our previous house, everything went really smoothly. All of our boxes were labeled with contents and some with rooms, and as the movers unloaded the truck, I stood and directed traffic.

I still can’t believe how much stuff we own though. The truck was packed completely full without an inch to spare. I’m really glad I was able to take the week off of work to unpack and organize, because we were practically swimming through boxes for the first several days we were here. Here are just a few pics:

The moving truck - packed to bursting

Living room and kitchen - front to back

Living room and kitchen - back to front

The soon-to-be office



Kitchen backsplash going in

June 22, 2010

The kitchen backsplash has been going in for the past couple of days.  It took us FOREVER to decide on the tile that we finally did.  There are so many really amazing choices out there.  We checked out all of the usual suspects where we had looked for bathroom tile, and then fell in love when we visited Ann Sachs.  They have a fantastic AS Basics line (all under $12/sf).

When we started looking for the right tile, we flip-flopped about whether to go with a larger tile, as has been sort of a theme through the bathrooms, or to go opposite, and choose a smaller mosaic size.  What we ended up going with is classic, white and linear.  After hearing all of the designers on HGTV warn against getting colored tiles (think about the original all pink tiled bathroom we had to rip out) we knew we wanted something neutral that wouldn’t detract too much from our cool cabinetry, and that we could also compliment with any wall and accessory colors for a long time to come. 

Original second floor bath

I think our bright orange espresso maker (thanks Dena and Poonam!) is really going to pop nicely against the simple contrast of white backsplash, white quartz countertop, and multi-gray wood-grain cabinets.



So, so close

May 29, 2010

So much new, where to start?  I’ve been traveling for weeks and am amazed at the changes that I’ve gotten to see after such an absence. From a gutted, empty shell, I’m now starting to see an actual house.

Since the last post, the floors are almost finished – they’ll need one last coat of poly before they can be officially done, but that will happen after everything else is placed and the constant in and out traffic of contractors and construction workers is done.

Kitchen cabinets have gone in. Countertops are in. Appliances are in.  Faucet and sink are in.  All that remains in the kitchen is the tile backsplash, which should be going in on Tuesday.

Woodwork has all been painted and/or stained.  Rooms have been painted. Baseboards have been installed and painted.

Can lights are in, and other light fixtures (closets globes, bathroom sconces, etc.) have been going in.

Here’s a sneak peek at the kitchen as it transforms:

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