We Need a Drop Zone!!! + Design Inspirations

This past weekend's gorgeous Spring-like weather has put me into cleaning mode.  But just like how this Spring tease won't stick around for long, neither would this "cleanliness" at our home.  The one main culprit is CLUTTER.  

Mail, papers, homeless decor items...

Mail, papers, homeless decor items...

One thing I'm not diligent with is dealing with all the papers that come through our door.  No matter how much I try to cut down on our paper trail, some are still inevitable.  At times (actually, most of the time), our dining table is a dumping ground for piles of papers and homeless decor items.  On the rare occasion that it's cleared off, I snap a photo for Instagram:

Dining Room | Classy Glam Living

It all comes down to the fact that I'm just not a good cleaner-upper.  Our main floor has no closed storage at all, except for our kitchen and cloak closet.  As much as I want to hide my keys and mail in a kitchen cupboard, it just doesn't make sense (and I better not start with that habit!).  I desperately need a place to temporarily put away these things!

What I need is a drop zone/ storage/ command centre by the entrance.  A designated spot where I can drop off my keys/ sunglasses as I walk through the door and hide the mail that I'll eventually attend to.  A place where I can store papers temporarily until I file/ shred them, and where I can have a simple filing system for our family.

At the home office of our old house, the lower right cabinet of this DIY built-in unit was my drop zone.  It wasn't ideal, since the office was on the second floor, and I just didn't drop off the stuff in there often enough...  ie. the stuff would linger on our kitchen counter back then.

Home office | Classy Glam Living

At our current house, there's a perfect spot for a multi-purpose drop zone right by our garage entrance.  It's an empty corner beside our seating area; a space that's only 32" wide, where we put out our Christmas tree.

Our designated drop zone

Our designated drop zone

When it's not Christmas time, it's literally a drop zone...

It's a drop zone in reality, and I hate it.

It's a drop zone in reality, and I hate it.

So, as usual, I flipped through Pinterest for design inspirations to make this little space of our main floor more functional and presentable.  What I get are very out-in-the-open, in-your-face kind of drop zones/ command centres.  I see designs of...

1. mudrooms...  It's beautiful, but we don't need a closet that's out in the open.  

2. gorgeous built-in command centres/ work stations in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, our kitchen isn't designed with this purpose.

Drop zone inspirations | kitchen work station | Classy Glam Living

3. gallery walls of command centre.  These products are beautifully designed, but it looks too busy for my liking.

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

Pottern Barn

Pottern Barn

My preference is to have our drop zone blend in with our seating area, such that it appears to be more of a decorative element than an actual "drop zone".  Most recently, Jen at Rambling Reno also added a drop zone of a similar idea at her new house.  I wish we had addressed our need of a drop zone early on like she did when we first moved in.  

These beautiful inspirations show how drop zones can be functional and beautiful:

Simple, right?  It's basically just a dresser, or so I thought.  I wanted to limit the depth of the unit to a max of 15", so that it's not in the way of the window by too much.  That proved to be a problem in finding a piece at the right size.  

Anything that's at around 15" in depth is the height of a side table, which is around 28"-30".  That would look too short for our 9' ceiling.  I need a piece that's at counter height of 36", but it automatically becomes the depth of a dresser at 18-20".  That's too far out for the little nook.  

Could it be that a piece that fits our dimensions and budget does not exist?  The simplest things are always the hardest to find!

Seems like I've no choice but to add this drop zone unit to the Mr.'s to-build list.  Check back soon, as I'll talk about the design of this DIY unit next!

Plan for Our Basement Family Room

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

Now that Summer is over, and Fall is creeping up on us, the Mr. is itching to start with getting our basement entertainment area ready.  I guess he envisions that's where we'll curl up for some weekend movie nights in the winter months.  Love it when he plans ahead!

We asked our builder to finish the basement as our family room, so that we can banish our TV downstairs.  It was the best decision we've made for this house, allowing us to live in peace upstairs without TV distractions, and actually be more productive with our after-dinner activities.

So back to our basement... When the Mr. has the itch to get the basement done, I need to help scratch it by getting the design nailed down.  If you're following me on Instagram, and has seen my IG stories, then you would know that he has already painted the walls in Benjamin Moore's Intense White!

I'm so glad I've recently discovered iHomeRegistry.com as my design helper!  It is an online 3D home designing software.  I've never been professionally trained to use the CAD softwares for interior design, and yet I find iHomeRegistry very easy to navigate.  Best thing was, I can custom size everything, down to each piece of furniture!

Armed with my "drawings", I held a design meeting with the Mr.  (The following drawings were all prepared with iHomeRegistry.)

We wanted to maximize the TV viewing distance in the entertainment area, so naturally, this layout below made the most sense, with the couch and TV setup lengthwise across the space:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

This is my inspiration of the wrap-around media unit:

One of my pet peeves in decorating is working around the TV unit. However, with this being our entertainment room, I have no choice but to comply with it. Another challenge with this layout is the ducts and vents on the walls, which we can't block in case we need emergency access to them.  

That means we had to change our whole furniture placement to accommodate for these ducts and vents.  So, we moved things around.  Here's the new furniture placement layout, with the view from the stairs:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

As much as I hate coming down and staring straight at the TV, this layout allows us to accommodate for the wall ducts and vents.  Our couch stays on the left wall, and armchairs are now on the right.  Behind the armchairs, the Mr. will build a storage unit, similar to one at our old home office.  I'm still at a loss as to what should be done at the TV wall. 

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

Here's what reality of this new layout looks like, after the Mr. has painted the walls and moved the furniture pieces around (did I tell you he's a visual person?):

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

On the right side of the storage unit will be our eating/ crafting/ gaming area:  

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

For this all-purpose area, I'm planning to pair the IKEA Ingatorp extendible dining table:

... with the 4 chairs that the Mr. reupholstered last year:

On the left side of the couch, we'll create a bar area:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

My inspiration of the bar unit with brass and glass shelves is from this pantry at Chicago Restoration Hardware's 3Arts Cafe:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

It's the first time I'm using iHomeRegistry to play around with layouts, and it's so much fun and so easy to use, I'm hooked!  It's a great communication tool for the Mr. and I, because I can't draw for the life of me to get my design across to him, but he's a visual person who needs to SEE what's in my head ๐Ÿ˜†   This has helped me stop pulling at my hair when we sit down to talk design ๐Ÿ˜‚

So to tally up our new furniture pieces, the Mr. will be building 3 units - the media unit, the built-in bookcase, and the bar cabinets.  I requested that the door fronts be of the same style for all 3 units (with varying widths), so that they have a sense of coherence even though they're far apart.  Now the question is, does he build from scratch again (like he did for our DIY closet) or hack an IKEA cabinet (like our first IKEA hacked dressing room)?

And my question to you is, which one would you like to see? Build from scratch or another IKEA hack?
Please select one:

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living

SEE OUR MOST RECENT KITCHEN UPDATE!

Mirrors, mirrors, and more mirrors!  Seems like these recent blog updates are all about mirror installations.  Can't help it, they're the easiest way to give the illusion of added square footage and improve brightness in a small space.  

Installing the mirrors at the back of the kitchen glass cabinets was one of our to-do items on the list, found here.  When we placed the order of acrylic mirrors for our DIY closet doors, we also included an order for the kitchen glass cabinets.  We could've gone to our local home improvement store for a sheet of acrylic mirror and cut them to size ourselves, but we figured we would let the professionals at the plastic company handle the custom-sized cuts.   The cost difference in terms of time and effort would work out to be the same.

The Mr. handled the easy installation process, which was the same as for the DIY closet doors. He test fitted the mirror against the cabinet's back before the installation.  He used the thinnest double sided tape to avoid the wavy reflections.  See?  Doesn't get any easier than double sided tape!

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installation | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living

Here's a glance at the quick process:

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installation in kitchen cabinet | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living

The "before" shot, taken after we changed out the builder's knobs and pulls.

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living

And this is the "after" of the mirror backs installation:  (The above photo was taken on a gloomy day.  This one below was taken on a sunny day...  what a huge difference especially with the mirrors!)

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living

The mirrors add brightness to the otherwise dull cabinet backs.  Not only did the mirrors multiply the brightness and give an illusion of depth, but they seem to have doubled our inventory of stemware as well!

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 2
Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 3
Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 4

Here's the view of the kitchen from the dining room.  The mirrors are reflecting the light from the patio doors and large windows from this space.

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 5

The brightest time of the day in the kitchen is a bit past noon.  On a bright sunny day like when this set of photos was taken, I usually don't bother switching on the lights in the kitchen.  With the lights on, the mirrors catch and reflect the light right back.

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 6
Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 7

The simple addition of the mirrors livens up the little cabinet space, while making the kitchen more welcoming. Now that I'm spending more time at home, nothing makes me happier and more relaxed than a clean and bright kitchen. 

The designs we've integrated into this builder's kitchen allowed for ample counter space, which was a priority for this utilitarian kitchen.  We've added our personal touches to make it more luxe and less utilitarian.  

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 8

The kitchen is very close to completion.  It's got most of the large items down, and it looks and functions amazing as is.  Here is a list of what's left to tackle:

  • Install mirror backsplash

  • Build more drawers in lower cabinets

  • Install glass shelves for the glass cabinets

  • Install LED rope lighting for under the upper cabinet

  • Install valence

  • and I forgot to mention to the Mr. that I want the builder's dinky trim at the bulkhead replaced with a thicker one ;-)

Mirrors - The Luxe Factor in a Kitchen | Acrylic mirror installed onto the back of glass cabinets | Kitchen Design | Classy Glam Living 9