One of the greatest luxuries of having a full-fledged house is the amount of storage that comes with multiple rooms and closets. But what do you do with all the stuff that filled these spaces when you move to a smaller house, apartment or even retirement community? This is one of the biggest challenges of downsizing; depending on the size of the new place, there often isn’t space for the same amenities as allowed in a larger home.
Such was the case for our client, Priscilla Fowler, an accomplished artist who moved from a house to a small 1-bedroom condo in one of Denver’s historic neighborhoods. Though the location was ideal and the building charming, the condo itself lacked an essential part of her life: an office. Priscilla needed an office space to keep track of her business financials, personal financials, and her elderly mother’s affairs, as well as to keep bills and other important documents organized.
A former software developer, Priscilla returned to school when her son went away to college and received a BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After working for a few years after graduation, she recently decided to retire and focus full-time on her art. “I have a studio space,” she says, “but I do most of my desk work for my art business at home. I like to work in the morning and to be able to go from my bed to the desk, but I had clunky furniture that just didn’t fit the space and didn’t allow me to be organized. And because the space is so small, an average desk would overwhelm the room.”
Priscilla knew she’d have to go custom. “I did a lot of research,” she says, “and Closet Factory products just looked nicer. I wanted to match the quality of my [recently remodeled] kitchen and Closet Factory’s units were the closest to furniture quality. Plus it was completely custom, where some of the other companies just had modular pieces that wouldn’t work for the space I have.”
Knowing that she needed a place to do her office work, but with little space in her bedroom, Priscilla called upon Closet Factory senior designer Jana Henderson to create a wall unit that included a desk, bookshelves for her many books, cabinets with glass fronts for storing supplies, file drawers, room for her computer and printer equipment and a cubby for documents in each of her major affairs – personal, business and her mother’s care.
The biggest challenge of the project was the wall that the unit was to be built on was across from the bed as well as the wall that the door opened into. This meant that the depth of the unit had to be carefully calculated so that it wouldn’t impede on the door opening and so that there was space to move around the bed and desk. To compensate, Jana used the vertical space available, building the bookshelves almost to the ceiling and the rest of the unit as high as the space allowed.
Once the design was figured out, Priscilla worked with interior designer Amy Fitch to decide on a color that would not overwhelm the small room. The final decision was an off-white paint with stain applied selectively for an aged look; beadboard backing lent a country look, and decorative glass jazzed up the storage cabinets. Overall the effect is universal to a variety of tastes and the unit blends with the wall, creating a beautiful focal point in the room without being overpowering. The glass desk top was part of a trade with a fellow artist in Priscilla’s studio, Sandy Jackson, and adds visual interest as well as being just plain cool!
“I think we worked really well together because we’re both creative and appreciated each other’s creativeness,” said Jana. Priscilla agreed, saying there were lots of revisions and changes to get exactly what she wanted, but that Jana was patient and really talked her through how she could carry out the look and function she needed while still staying within her budget.
When asked what the biggest difference the wall unit made, Priscilla had this to say: ” When I come in here, I feel serene and organized. I love having my file drawers right next to my desk because I can just file things away. Before, I didn’t have them in a convenient place and things just piled up. And, I love having the office in my bedroom because I can just shut the door when guests come over. Having this room done just warms my heart!”
To create the perfect office space for YOU, call Closet Factory for a free consultation at (303) 690-6901.
To view Priscilla’s beautful and unique artwork, visit her website at www.priscillafowler.com