Elements of a Top Storage Designer

By Denise Butchko | Posted: 03/22/2013 9:49AM


Denise Butchko An honorable mention winner in this year's Top Shelf Design Awards is an experienced (past standard retirement age) designer who created a multifaceted space. The space needed to meet six different needs including business office, craft area, laundry area, gift wrapping area, lockers for coats and hats and last, but not least, space for extra storage.

That's a lot of demands for one space, right?

The designer, Tom Mayfield, works for Closet Organizing Systems in Bartlett, Illinois, and is known for his passion for design (a top feature of any awesome closet designer).

So what was involved in making this project come to fruition?

Well, in addition to the demands for storage and different purposes, there were also a couple of obstacles.  A large window and a small alcove contributed to making this design puzzle even more challenging to solve.

But Mayfield was up for the task.

Each area needed to have a defined space that was large enough and complete
enough to serve the needs of both the parents and their children according to the demands specified.

The locker area was set up with four lockers for the kids. Each has three hooks
for clothes and back packs, space for shoes, and a closed overhead cabinet.

The seat bench laminate top crossed the entire width of the locker area and is tied into the adjoining office space. Bead board backing in the lockers, raised panel doors on the cabinets, and a crown and base moulding added a degree of elegance.

The office work area was placed in the corner with ample desk and counter space extending  about five feet out to the left side and about seven feet out to the right side, so there's lots of horizontal work space. The base cabinets provided space for file drawers and their printer on a pull-out shelf. The upper cabinets housed other storage needs along with mail sorting and slots for papers and envelopes.

“We added lights over the entire work surface and used the same marbleized laminate for the desk/counter top.  And we mixed framed glass doors with solid glass doors to mix things up a little.” says Mayfield.

The remainder of the office area provided space for two floor-to-ceiling closed storage cabinets with pull-out trays and shelves for a variety of business storage

The hobby area doubles as a business workstation so several people can work on
projects concurrently.

The island unit has a multi-drawer section on one end for supplies and a closed cabinet at the other end for larger, bulkier supplies, with space between for stools on both sides of the work surface so the kids can work together at the same time. The island itself is approximately seven feet by two and a half feet.

The laundry area has an alcove with a stacked washer/dryer and sink cabinet for laundry
supplies. The customer needed more storage, so we created a closed cabinet, mounted on
castors that could easily be moved to access connections for the washer and dryer. All elements in this area, even though in an alcove on a separate wall, had the same visual appearance as the rest of the room.

“Finally, we had to find space for gift wrapping paper and supplies So we created a special base cabinet with a wrapping surface and large pull-out bin behind the cabinet doors that could hold multiple rolls of gift wrap and a tray for ribbon spools. A drawer at the top provided space for other needed supplies. I also designed a framed bulletin board for pinning things like schedules, reminders and art work.” says Mayfield.

And everyone seems pleased with the results. Closet Organizing Systems president, Bill Curran, Jr.'s perspective on Tom and his design skills are that “While most people would have cordially taken a pass on hiring someone at his age, I found that Tom has a real passion for designing and is great with his personal follow up. And having a passion for what you do speaks for it all by itself.” say Curran.

“It also doesn’t hurt that he has an excellent grasp of spatial considerations and his pencil drawing work iss outstanding.  We tried to get Tom to learn CAD, but sometimes you’re better off working with the capabilities he has so finely refined in all his previous years of designing closets. I've never met anyone with his energy level at age 83. He personally makes an effort to visit all of his customer installs.”

And Mayfield's thoughts: “Combining six entirely different multifunctional needs into one cohesive, efficient, andaesthetically attractive space where all family members could be together without being on top of each other was quite a challenge, but one we conquered with great ingenuity and enthusiasm.”

As for the customer's reaction - “We couldn't be happier with our new room! Tom did an excellent job of putting my visions on paper and turning that into our perfect multi-purpose room!”


About the Author

Denise Butchko

Denise Butchko is a design and marketing expert who teaches these concepts with the intention of helping people grow their businesses (particularly those in the design/build industries). She’s been a contributor to Closets magazine since 2003 and is a judge for the closet industries “Top Shelf” Design Competition. She's also a member of the first graduating class of Registered Storage Designers. Her design work has been featured in national publications like “Better Homes & Gardens” and The Chicago Tribune and she works with some of the top interior design firms in the country. She’s helped cabinet companies launch closet product lines and trained sales professionals in both design and marketing, including ways to leverage social media and design to increase opportunities and brand themselves as the “go to expert”. If you want to have fun while you learn and bring your “A” game to your business, Denise is the one to partner with to make that happen. You can find her at Google+ or go to denisebutchko.com or to butchkoandcompany.com

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