Accentuating Tiny Storage Spaces
In order to realize the endless stream of hyper functional storage solutions I dream up, I've come to rely on the expertise of more than a few fine carpenters. It's a help to my renovating exploits that I can paint and it's a plus that I have an expertise when it comes to picking colors. At the other end of my personal design skill continuum, is my poor drafting skill and non-existent ability to accurately read a tape measure without replacing sixteenths and eights with the word "tinys." My shortcomings are never reflected in the work, thanks to my gifted carpenters, who can both speak and fabricate in sixteenths of an inch. It's a gift to be sure to turn a lowly door into 28 square feet of storage.
I'll post this project in two parts because I believe superior storage space is something we all covet. A five-inch deep storage space can be difficult enough to process, let alone the twelve color argyle design, which turned a utilitarian liquor storage cabinet into an artful focal point.
It all began with a salvaged barn door, one of many from a collection of doors I've accumulated over the past twenty years. The provenance of the door is less relevant to the project than how the door is hung. I've found doors worthy of this endeavor for as little as $2.00 at auction, but in a pinch a brand new flat panel slab door, painted an especially exciting color, decked out in a color-driven pattern like mine or even treated to a swanky high gloss finish, will do the trick.
The hardware is a by-pass mechanism. All by-pass door hardware is rated for how much weight it can safely bear. On the lightweight end is a closet door by-pass set-up and on the super heavyweight end of the spectrum, a barn door mechanism. The depth of the storage you choose to place behind whatever door you choose, is entirely open to your design style and the skill of your carpenter. The beauty of the design is simple--the door doesn't swing but travels, or by-passes, the opening. Here's Andy, showing us how it works!
Carpenter Dan followed the design layout I drew directly on the wall. Each 41-inch wide shelf he built is adjustable and sits on pins set into the two upright sides. According to Dan, the finished cabinet dimension is 5-1/8 inch deep and the door adds another 1-9/16 inch. Even now, I can't say what all that adds up to, but it's less than seven inches, which is a boon to my narrow room. To be sure, the shallow shelving would withstand the perils of spilled gin or wet glasses--Andy primed the raw poplar with a coat of Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start, and then added two coats of Aura in a satin finish, matching all the other trim in the room. My living/dining room does not have crown molding, so I took advantage of an opportunity to sneak in a bit, adding height to the long narrow space. Transforming proportions while adding storage is a good day's work in my book!
Whenever you're of a mind to add a great deal of color or a great deal of pattern to a large space, it's best of find yourself a small place to do it in. Big patterns, especially colorful ones, can overpower a room in no time. Here, the small recessed area was begging for something special, and a menswear inspired argyle, creates references and an interesting backdrop for the neutral hound’s-tooth upholstery. In time, when I link my color palette together with pillows and accessories on the opposite end of the room, this small but artful collection of color will lend balance overall. The wall color, Grant Beige HC-80, makes a serene backdrop for this new storage solution.
Thinking about other interpretations of simply executed storage solutions, I would remove the glass from a door if safety is an issue and reveal the interior through poultry screening or decorative hardware cloth, similar to my Wild Pink cabinet across from this area.
Any freestanding cabinet you can find could be treated to a similar paint technique on the back--think found breakfront, a simple bookcase, or tall display cabinet. Next time, I'll list the colors I used for the painted argyle. Hope I got you thinking up colorful patterns now, and measuring every bottle and box you can't find a place for in your house.