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Friday, October 23, 2015

My Laundry Room "Wall"

My New Laundry Room!
Laundry Room?  Mudroom?  Craft room?  It doesn't matter what you
Laundry/Mudroom BEFORE
call it, I have this awesome room in my house that could serve many purposes. In fact, this is the room that really sold me on this house the minute we walked through the door.  I don't know the real history behind this space, but I would venture to guess that it was originally a bedroom, then an office, and finally a laundry room.  It is quite large at 10x15, and is also open to my back door entry.  Because of this, it is essentially a giant mudroom/laundry room combo.  Who wouldn't love that?!  The black and cream checkered floors are from the previous owners and I really kind of like them, so for now, they stay.  As for the walls, I don't mind blue, but this existing blue needs to go (put that on the to-do list!).
Laundry Room BEFORE
So why the new "wall"?  Many reasons, actually.  As KalamazooKitty has grown over the years, so has the need for a home office.  Yes, I could make a huge office in the basement, but I just don't think I would really use it down there.  And anyone who lives in a Cape Cod like me, knows that we just don't have extra rooms sitting around unused!  In addition to my need for a home office, my husband essentially works from home and needs a space as well (he is a Realtor with Jaqua Realtors in Kalamazoo, Michigan).  I also didn't have a great spot to organize bills, school papers or anything else to do with our
Office "wall" AFTER
home or businesses.  After pondering this for quite some time, I came up with one room as my only option: my laundry room!  Do I move the laundry downstairs where it probably originally was?  Do we divide the space by building a wall and creating two separate rooms?  Do we just set up the office within the laundry room and live with it?  Quite honestly, I didn't love any of those options.  I did not want to permanently change the room that sold me this house originally, in the event that we decide to sell at some point ourselves.  I also didn't want to move the laundry downstairs because it would be inconvenient, and again, not a great selling point in the future.  So in order to achieve my office, keep the laundry upstairs and maintain the mudroom, I decided to build a temporary wall to divide this large room into two smaller, more functional rooms.
Laundry Room BEFORE
So off to my stores I went!  I already had the tall multi-drawer cabinet and the black filing cabinet (both came from KalamazooKitty!), but I needed more "pieces" to create a two-sided wall that was functional, yet super cool!  I picked up some old milk crates that had actually been consigned twice (I love it when cool things come back!), some wood crates, metal locker bins, an organizer, a couple chicken feeders (what?!), some metal file bins, an old Steelcase desk, a burlap memo board, a time card slot, and even a metal dog!  Wait....there's more: a plug-in vintage hanging clock, a huge metal bell, an old darkroom timer, some hooks for drying clothes, a desk lamp, an egg basket, a bottle-drying rack, some old windows, a SLOW sign and an old-school pencil sharpener!  Who knew you could build a wall shopping only at KalamazooKitty?!  
Office "wall" AFTER
After collecting a few more things around my house that I already
Office "wall AFTER
had purchased at my stores, I started assembling my "wall".  In reality, I had no idea how I was going to take this pile of awesome stuff and turn it into a two-sided functional wall, but I knew what I wanted it to look like in the end.  So I started out with the tall drawer unit and the filing cabinet, then continued building off of those.  Much to my surprise, the boxes and bins fit together perfectly and took up the exact amount of space I had!  I faced some open-side to the "office" and others open-side
to the "laundry room".  I then, BY MYSELF, moved the Steelcase desk into the "room" that would now be my new office.  I just love that desk!  It is old, imperfect and full of storage.  I next added the accessories to my wall and desk, hung a window, filing bin and time card slot, and my office was complete!  For now, I left the original wall of cubbies that store our shoes, mittens, and office supplies.  In the future, I want to replace it with wall to wall, floor to ceiling, butcherblock shelves to hold some more old bins or crates.  Remember, this office is also part of the "mudroom", so I need to keep shoe and boot storage for sure...this is Michigan, afterall!
Laundry Room "wall" AFTER
Onto the "laundry room" side...I hung my ironing board on the backside of the tall drawer cabinet, hung accordion metal hooks across the milk crates for drying clothes, stacked wood bins above my existing cabinets, then added a houndstooth rug!  I love this room!  It isn't too small, it's super cute and it somehow makes the chore of doing laundry a tiny bit better (maybe)!  The "wall" holds a waste basket, my cowboy boots and hand towels.  I can sort my kids' clothes into the bins to get them off the top of the washer and dryer. Yes, I would like to stack my washer and dryer someday and add a butcherblock countertop, but for now...this works!
The best part of this renovation is that it is all temporary.  I didn't even screw the bins together, but if you have small children who like to climb, I would recommend attaching them together and to the walls on either side!  I managed to gain a much-needed office for myself and my husband, a laundry room that is functional and fun, all while maintaining my mudroom and storage areas.  And because it can all be removed in a matter of minutes, I didn't change the footprint of the house, or take away any great selling features in the process.  This is what I call a WIN-WIN!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Q & A by Kitty

Do you sleep?  Where do you shop?  What does your house look like?  Do you ever take off your cowboy boots?  How did your hair get so long?  Do you decorate homes?  And so on.  Over the years, I have heard many of the same questions over and over again.  So this is a little Q & A with some of the most common questions I've been asked:

Design by Kitty Copeland, Photo by Connie Arnsman
1. Do you decorate homes?  Absolutely!  That is my fun, my outlet, my joy.  What started out about 19 years ago as decorating for fun, quickly turned into a full-time career.  I had graduated from Western Michigan University with a teaching degree and was living in a local apartment.  During the summer, I spent hours and hours watching Lynette Jennings and Christopher Lowell.  Remember them?!  It was then that I realized how much I love home design.  I started practicing on my apartment, my first home and several friends' homes, as well.  It very quickly became my passion!  I continued to teach for a while, but I started getting too busy with my new career that I didn't return to teaching after my son was born.  I am currently still decorating homes throughout the Kalamazoo area and just love it!  Check out this link for a few photos of work I had professionally photographed (most of my work has not been photographed, other than on my phone).  In the past year I have gone back to teaching at the KalamazooKitty West Main location.  This time I teach how to paint furniture and how to stage your home to sell, rather than geography and math.  There!  Can't say I'm not using my degree!

Nashville, TN
2. Do you ever take your cowboy boots off?  I have to admit, my boots are a pretty recent find.  I had been searching high and low for a pair of boots that will slide onto my feet, with no luck.  I have a VERY high arch, which prevents my foot from sliding into many types of shoes, including cowboy boots.  So I set out to the greatest place in the world for a pair of boots...Nashville, Tennessee!  We went into endless shops with hundreds of boots lining the walls, floor and ceiling.  I left with nothing.  Not a single boot would slide onto my foot, unless it was 2 sizes too big.  Then I realized what I needed, and it was right in front of my face all along!  I needed a USED pair of boots.  Of course!  So I started hitting the clothing consignment shops all over Kalamazoo in search of that perfect pair.  I soon realized that cowboy boots in Michigan are few and far between.  Luckily a great friend of mine told me about a used sale last spring at the Fairgrounds, and I hit the jackpot!  I found not just one, but two pairs of perfectly worn boots in just my size (unfortunately for me, they also happened to be my daughter's size as well).  So back to the answer...Yes, occasionally!  I tend to "work" in tennis shoes and "live" in my boots.  I am now mildly intrigued by the cowboy boot industry.  Enough so, that I think I want to start taking them in on consignment!  More on that in the future...

My house :)
3. What does my house look like?  Well...I have three kids, a husband, a big dog, and a neighborhood full of kids who travel from one house to the next on any given weekend.  I try to keep it clean and picked up, but let's be real!  My house does have an occasional bad day.  Keeping this in mind, I decorated it with kid-friendly materials and surfaces.  It is casual, comfortable and a great place to call home!  I am a huge fan of decorating a home to fit the style of the exterior.  I live in an adorable cape cod that just screams CHILL OUT.  It has a casual feel from the moment you walk up the driveway.  My flower gardens are informal and my Adirondack chairs beckon you to take a load off.  We recently painted the exterior a custom color that has been named "Kitty's House Color".  It is dark gray one day, metallic the next and even green on occasion, depending on the sunlight.  I didn't want my house to be the color of anyone else's, which is why I created the color myself. 
My Laundry Room
My Family Room
So the interior follows right along.  Every "public" room in my home is a color that compliments the exterior.  I chose all my paint colors from one card in the Sherwin Williams fan deck so that all the rooms would flow seamlessly.  My colors are: Rice Grain, Ramie, and Favorite Tan.  My house, however, is nowhere near complete!  When you do the work yourself, it takes a whole lot longer (be patient, oh husband of mine).  I included a few photos of my home, but I haven't had it professionally photographed yet...that will come when it is finally complete!  Look at my post on how to "build" my laundry room wall!

KalamazooKitty.com @ Portage Rd.
4.  Why did I open KalamazooKitty?  I needed a place to shop!  My decorating business was in full swing, and I found myself shopping online or traveling to bigger cities to find the perfect pieces for my clients.  I always try to achieve a comfortable, lived-in look when I decorate a home.  This is nearly impossible to do entirely at a new furniture store.  I saw a need in Kalamazoo for a consignment furniture store for the homeowner who doesn't have a huge budget.  So after much research and planning, I opened in June of 2011 at 4217 Portage Rd. in Kalamazoo (flash back to another post to see where it all began).  It flourished immediately and I found myself running out of space in that 10,000 sf building!  That led me to open the 6883 West Main location in 2014.  Also a huge building at 8,000 sf, it filled up in a matter of days!  We still never turn down furniture due to lack of space, but we could always use another 20,000 sf if it were available!  Both locations are packed with furniture, lamps, accessories, rugs and more.  Everything for the home and then some, including decorating ideas galore!

KalamazooKitty.com @ West Main
5.  Where do I shop for my clients and myself?  Anywhere and everywhere!  I start at KalamazooKitty, of course!  However, due to the nature of consignment, I can't always find the exact piece I need for a particular room at a particular time.  If you don't buy it when you see it, it's gone forever!  That means I head out shopping other local consignment stores, thrift stores, Target and even TJMaxx and Marshalls.  Those places are great for sheets and towels, which I prefer to buy new rather than used.  Kalamazoo is now blessed with many great consignment and resale shops that fit any budget!  When I first moved here from the Detroit area when I was 19 years old, I felt like there was no place to shop in Kalamazoo.  That is no longer the case!  People travel from miles away to shop Kalamazoo because we have unique shops that can't be found anywhere else.  Way to go Kalamazoo, Michigan!

Those are just a few of the questions that I am asked on a regular basis.  Of course there are many more!  Yes, I sleep...when I can turn my brain off!  I suffer from a brain condition called creativity.  I am always, and I mean always, thinking about new ideas, new concepts and new design.  My greatest ideas always come while I am "sleeping".  Nite...

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!