For most people, the tenets of a comfortable living space consist of three basic things: style, livability and organization. The challenge is finding a harmonious balance of the three. An organized home may appear stylish but feel sterile, whereas a stylish home may be wonderfully livable but look cluttered. And too often, finding this winning recipe for success comes with a hefty price tag—whether investing in new furnishings or a professional organization system.
Enter Caroline Clifton-Mogg’s The Comforts of Home. Mogg opens the book by starting with The Elements—from describing the joys of an orderly home to ironing out the details of storage and cleaning. She then walks readers from room to room demonstrating how easy it is to create a comfortable living space using items already at your disposal.
The Heart of the Home
No doubt, organization is one of the most challenging issues when it comes to the home. “Storage must work for you in order to be effective,” Mogg says. “It doesn’t matter how many drawers, shelves and cupboards there are—if they are in the wrong places of the wrong sizes, then all is for naught.”
In no room does this sentiment ring more true than in the kitchen. “Increasingly important in an ever faster and busier world, the kitchen, whether large or small, has become the domestic hub of every home, with comfort a priority,” says Mogg, noting that it “should be a well-designed environment where the preparation and cooking of food is easy and stress free; where kitchen life is a pleasure, not a chore.”
Among Mogg’s tips for kitchen storage:
• Keep like items together. From fine china and casual dinnerware to glass and foodstuffs, basic organization starts with grouping birds of a feather.
• Keep the pantry well stocked with the basics, “so that you don’t run out of them at the wrong moment,” Mogg says. Furthermore, group like items together to locate them more easily in a time crunch: salt and spices, nuts and dried fruit, coffee and tea, rice and pasta, etc.
• Organize kitchen and table linen by size, shape and function.
Still stuck? Mogg offers these solutions to four common storage problems:
1. Problem: Your kitchen is less than half the size of a standard master closet.
Solution: You don’t need a big kitchen to have everything you need on hand and easily accessible. Rustic-looking wall shelves with rows of lookalike canisters and heavy-duty wicker baskets store all the necessities of a kitchen pantry. A magnetic knife strip holds cutlery to save precious counter space.
2. Problem: You don’t have enough cabinet space to store dinnerware.
Solution: A vintage plate rack can be had for less than the price of a latte at most flea markets. Add a few hooks along the underside to hang measuring cups or small pots.
3. Problem: You have one kitchen counter with some open storage and one cabinet—and that’s it.
Solution: Stand-alone furniture is all the rage in kitchen storage and design. Use a vintage bookcase to store pretty plates and glassware. Bonus: A lightweight nightstand is easily portable and can be moved to the center of the kitchen for use as an impromptu island when needed. Open under-storage space is useful for stashing cleaning items. Conceal the area with vintage linen dishtowels.
4. Problem: You have limited space for pots, pans and bulky utensils.
Solution: Pot racks save space and are aesthetically pleasing, while wall-mounted towel racks and S hooks are a convenient means to store kitchen utensils.
5. Problem: You need a kitchen pantry, but all you have is a cloak closet.
Solution: Add homemade wooden shelves and voilà—a pantry is born. A towel rack on the inside of the door is a perfect place to hang aprons or scrub brushes.
by Rebecca J. Razo
Photography courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small