Spaces 4 Living

An Architect's Idea Book: Sharing ideas and inspiration to help create beautiful living spaces.

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Playroom Storage Ideas

Awesome bedroom or separate playroom either way if you have the space that your little one can call their own is a great step towards their independence.

My son has a nice little room but things are always pulled out into the main space. For the most part, it is life as we know it when all the living areas are on the same floor. His room is a bit small which is half the problem. As he is growing, the want for constant supervision from a baby to toddler is making way to preschool independent play.



Bright room brighten minds! Well I like the sound of it anyway. Quirky layouts, hide-away spaces and peek holes are always a delight.


As great as a space may look, it must have storage, whether it is built-in, stacked baskets monochromatic or colour coordinated, it is a necessity.




Zones for activities

There is a place for mess! Who wants to knock down the “perfect” tower, racetrack or fort every day. The photo above has a loft which is a perfect area for creating and keeping masterpieces for a few more days.  The loft also doubles as a sleepover area for guests.



Open shelving can be daunting, but by adding baskets, or grouping smaller containers can minimize the mess. Still not for you? Add a few doors to keep things out of sight.



Let your kids input help guide your space. Be realistic about how you will treat the space, a new space will not “make” everyone tidy over night.

If you are a “everything has its place” minded family, open shelving would go down a treat.

If you are more ” I clean up after my kids and have very little time at the end of the day” minded family, then think about bigger “dumping” or pull-out bins. Everything is at their finger tips and it is really quick to put things away at the end of the day. It is even easy for the children to help.

Most of us land somewhere in between. Assorting collectibles in appropriated sized bins, some open and some closed shelving and also larger baskets for your children’s most used toys. Mix and match and see what works best for you.


You just can’t stop the toy migration…but good storage solutions at least reduces the clean-up frustration.


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A Nursery for the New Baby


kierans projects


I have enjoyed adding a few memorable decorations bit by bit to my son’s nursery. Over his dresser/ change table, I hung the white and blue pom-poms that I made for the party after his baptism. In his room, I also hung bunting that I made for his first birthday.  All the little things that I have enjoyed making for him through-out the year, rather than finishing everything before he even arrived. For me, it has given a reminder of family and friends…special mementos, as it were.

When we first received the news that we were expecting our little one, I was so relieved that we had already put the sweat equity into renovating a room that was to be our home office. It just so happened that this room was adjacent to our own room and the colours we chose were soft yellow-greens (a calming yet creative atmosphere). We originally chose the colours by analysing the Feng-Shui of the house but it also was the perfect gender-neutral colour scheme.

Please note that I did NOT hang any decorations over his crib, even though I wanted it there originally, I just couldn’t give into chance that if one of them fell and the strings accidentally choked him….I would just never forgive myself. I would implore that you also do not hang things over a baby’s crib for that same reason.


♥♥♥  The Nursery ♥♥♥

The art of a nursery is designing for the momentum of growth rather than perpetuating infancy. At five years old your child shall know what he or she likes but until then its a guessing game.  The task as a parent is to create  an environment that will encourage the mental and emotional growth of our children.


No matter what you chose…material, layout, whatever,  as long as your baby has a loving environment you are in the right direction for a  happy child.  No matter what, have fun with it.

I found some great examples that I hope you will enjoy.



I love the alphabet mural on the wall. It is colourful and playful. You could let your creativity lose on this.  The warm grey is clean and contemporary especially with the adjacent striped wall.



This is a bit more on the romantic side, but I do like the mis-matched fabric of the furniture, to keep it from being too bland, The whole scheme is within the same colour palette but it is the arrangement of textures that gives this room its appeal. The little canopy is nice to look at, but just keep in mind that once they are able to reach it, it shall be pulled and tugged. Do not make it too long that they can wrap themselves up. It may be best to remove it once they are about 6 months old and reintroduce it for their single bed at pre-school age.




Honestly, this feels like a breath of fresh air. The white room with light playful prints and mural all are within the same theme and opens the space. It is still a bit more on the grown-up side, but as the little one grows it will soon gain his or her personality.


Regal duchess! but oh so achievable. (warning reminder on the drapery!) Even without the sheer embellishment this room is in a class of its own. A neutral background with soft pink accents on the ceiling,  picture frames and rug gives the room depth and a feel of luxury.


A fun and playful nursery. This lovely colour co-ordinated scheme is trend-setting and contemporary. You could get the same look by picking a dominating patterned fabric, in this room it is the grey chevron fabric, along with a supplementary plain solid colour, a warm yellow in this scheme. It feels fresh, light and simple!

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Taking on “Tiny House” ideas for your own home.

The concept of Tiny House Living is becoming more and more popular. The increasing number of foreclosures and unemployment in recent years has really pushed homeowners to rethink the concept of home and its size. Most tiny homes are under 500 square feet and many have stretched this notion to 150-300 square feet house on wheels. The ideals are simple living…focusing on outdoor spaces, de-cluttering and down-sizing. Smaller housing is not just for the retirees, but for those who wish to own their home who normally couldn’t afford a house or those who feel mobility fits their life style.


Tiny houses do not imply to live without comfort, just using your space more wisely. That is a concept that we can all employ.


Vertical Space

Craftsman Basement by Seattle Architects & Building Designers Board and Vellum
Eclectic Bedroom by Somerville General Contractors Morse Constructions Inc.


Built-in floor to ceiling storage or creating a partition wall with cupboard and drawers lets you packs away all your collectibles.

Eclectic Kitchen
Traditional Kitchen by Huntington Kitchen & Bath Designers Susan Serra


Using the vertical storage in the kitchen adds a bit more visual interest as well creating more storage. Whether choosing to incorporate shelves and/or rails to display your kitchenware or you could suspend over an island   if you have the space. The wall solution is not just limited to pots and utensils, there are baskets you could add for spices, plants and even task boards.



Shallow shelving 

Contemporary Kitchen by Jackson Interior Designers & Decorators dwelling
Eclectic Bathroom
Finding extra space to store things in shallow shelves or thin concealed drawers that might be otherwise wasted.


Under the stairs

loft-staircase-storage  office-under-staircase


Using the dead space under the stairs is a great area for added storage, closet, home office or a powder room that can fit a number of storage needs and stair configurations.

Wall niche

Traditional Entry by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators Alexandra Rae Design
Modern Staircase by London Photographers David Churchill – Architectural Photographer
Modern Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Michael Tauber Architecture
Traditional Home Theater by Peoria Design-Build Firms Dan Waibel Designer Builder


Creating a wall niche is not just reserved for the medicine cabinet.  Framing out the space to add niches for art, books, shower shelving,  or even to hide AV equipment.

Hidden storage under bulky furniture


BoConcept  (Chiva functional coffee table & Adria Nesting tables)

We’ve seen the storage in an ottomans and drawers in coffee tables, but the Chiva coffee table combines both ideas with elegance. Nesting tables are not a new concept, but them are coming back into trend. Storing tables beneath tables is a traditional and simple space saving innovation to keep.


Hidden bed


Poppi Theatre by Resource Furniture
Atoll 000 by Resource Furniture


Nothing short of amazing! I love the ideas that Resource Furniture has to offer. A twist on a murphy bed shown here is only a small sample of what they create. These beds are a vast improvement from the traditional hide-a-beds for guests in the living room. So comfy, they could be your own bed.


Dual Function and Transforming Furniture

Goliath Glass Table 
Goliath Glass by Resource Furniture

Modern console table transforms into a dining table suitable for 8 people. Incredible!


Loft Floor Space

Tiny House Floor Storage

This storage solution is not for everyone, but for the loft or attic floor especially in a mobile tiny home, this is a great idea to incorporate storage without incrouching floor space with large furniture.

If you can’t go over, go under! (the floor). Using the ceiling space between floor joists is a great spot to keep your books and trinkets.

Knee wall storage

 Traditional Hall by Chappaqua Architects & Building Designers Fivecat Studio | Architecture
Contemporary Family Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Ashley Roi Jenkins Design, LLC


Built-in storage into the knee wall maybe a great solution for hard to find furniture pieces and it keeps the floor space open.


There is always a storage solution, no matter the size of the space. Whether choosing built-in, dual function, transforming, wall space, floor space are but a few examples to use space more wisely and many more ideas out are there.

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The Small Bedroom

Whether your quandary is with a small guest room, child’s room or master bedroom the resultant frustration of “what on earth do I do with it?” is the same.

An appropriate size bed for the size of room is one thing, but sometimes when space is premium, we run out of options. So the next best thing is to be creative with storage, add some quirkiness and work some design tried and tested methods.



This bed just fits and no more in this guest room. For a night stand, shelving on the back wall provides just enough space for a glass of water for your temporary guests.




Kids bedrooms are always so fun for creative space solutions. Whether it is using beneath the bed with drawers for toys or linens or cubbies for books right by the bedside. Find places for pin boards, display areas where you’d least expect it, and (in the case of the image of the above left) a port-hole shared between sibling rooms. The over sized map is a great visual interest for re-directing your attention. It helps give the impression of a wider space, which is also aided by the curve-linear  design of the rug on the floor. The image on the right, uses a simple white scheme to make the space seem more airy, but as with many schemes the clutter (and colour) is kept to a minimum.




The fun and little hidey spaces aren’t just for the kiddies. When there isn’t enough floor space for night table or a chest of drawers, build up! The built-ins around the bed, not only add storage but add a great deal of character and interest as well. The spaces seem to look more finished. There is space for ornaments, books, and personal belongings. An alcove around the bed is the perfect opportunity for mounting wall sconces and an interesting headboard…a little niche.


I adore this space. It is fun and playful. If it would have gone down a traditional route of bed-night stand etc. it probably would have folded in on itself. The over all black and white scheme has interesting elements “dotted” throughout. This not only a pun on the upholstery pins that create an upscale interest on the basic white shelves, but also to the creativity within this tiny space. The placement of the shelving creates a bedside surface at the window and another for a workspace at the foot of the bed. Even the quirky “Apocalypse Now” quote on the roller blind adds to the rooms interest. The coloured ceiling and mock black posts and rails around the bed space makes me think of a four poster bed! So much artfully placed creativity leads you to pause and to take in the elements of the space and not its size.


The successful outcome of the small space is only limited by your imagination. It almost forces you to become more creative with your spatial solutions. You’d be surprised that it may end up being the best room in the house!


The Art of Decorating with Black


So often many fall at the wayside away from colour and slump into the unfulfilled wasteland of beige! Some are intimidated to commit to using bold and bright colours in there living spaces…so goodness knows how they would react to black. OK black is not actually a colour, but it is a bold choice.

There are ways to enrich your space, just remember a little does go a long way.


Black Doors


Black doors can help create an upscaled and elegant look,  not just for the exteriors but the interior doors as well. The vertical plane of black draws your eyes to the other black objects in the room and creates a visual balance. It also helps balance the other large black elements in the home, for example that huge 60″ television that you always dreamed of, a black leather sofa or the unlit fireplace.


Black Windows


The odd thing about black or dark window woodwork is that you look past them to the outdoors. Whereas with white, your eyes tend to fix on the white frames instead of looking beyond. Bring the outdoors inside with black, charcoal or a dark stain.


Black ceilings



Now I bet you think I have gone too far!  A black ceiling adds a completely different character as compared to the traditional white. Your eye has a tendency to look for defined details to inform it of boarders and boundaries. Therefore, if you had black or partially black walls with a black ceiling your eyes would be tricked by the size of the space…making the room feel more spacious.

On the other hand, if you were to have lighter walls and a dark ceiling, the ceiling would appear lower. This could be beneficial in a room with a high ceiling that you wanted to make it feel more cozy and intimate.


Black Floors



Black floor have a huge impact. It is a bit more of a finacial commitment than paint, but the rewards could be outstanding. It says luxury all over it. If you have a dog that sheds it maybe more of a chore to keep spotless and high shine floors show more dust so unless you enjoy sweeping every day opt for a matte or textured finish.


Black Cabinetry or Surfaces



There is one way to get your white surfaces to pop in your kitchen and that is to have black cabinets. For a  contemporary open layout this would be stunning. The black gives the modern white space living a new twist. However if you inverse the palette with white cabinets and black surfaces the same pop occurs, but with a more traditional appeal. Granted, the main influence on the contemporary vs transitional vs traditional depends upon cabinetry style and layout.


Architectural details


Why not paint the wainscoting black (charcoal is illustrated in the photograph) or the ornate frames. It gives the woodwork a new lease on life and celebrates its artistry and craftsmanship.

The key element in using black, is that it enhances the other colours in the spaces as well (in my opinion) gives a sense of solid, grounding elegance. Dare I say, its the equivalent of that “little black dress”- a staple that imbues a air of simple sophistication.


Kids Bedroom Ideas

Spring Break is just around the corner. What a great time to get the kids involved into spring cleaning and revamp their bedrooms.  A child’s bedroom is an important place. It is where he sleeps, plays and studies. This space is where he can develop and express his own personality.  First and most important criteria is to create storage for toys, books and clothing. Secondly, free floor space for playing and lastly as he gets older, is a seated desk area for study.

So not everyone has 9 foot ceilings, but this is an amazing space none-the-same. The custom lacquered plywood unit is a great example of using a relatively low cost material to produce a fantastic finished product. I love the built-in staircase rather than the use of a ladder. The child-size cupboard is great use of space. I like the idea of the duel function of the drawers as steps, but I could foresee the child not shutting the drawers properly and could potentially be a bit of a trip hazard. Love the idea, but kids will be kids. But you know your own children and know if they are messy or tidy at the end of the day.

The project could be a great bonding experience for the child to design their own cut out shapes, colours, and patterns with help from Mum and Dad.

Contemporary Kids by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Tamara H Design

This free standing loft bed is great for any child. Who wouldn’t love a tent canopy over their bed!! The corners of the tent are lifted by a pulley connected to the ceiling on either end of the bed for a great hidey spot. The incorporation of the bedside table/tray and magazine rack on the outside of the bedrails is necessity that is often overlooked. The storage beneath the stair tread is perfect for books, games and tubs of toys. I would suggest a non-slip applique on the treads for added grip, since socks and smooth finishes don’t really mix. The pull-out sofa bed is great for hanging out and sleep overs, but a desk space could be placed here instead if it could not be placed anywhere else. The added detail of the treed wall mural gives the room that added visual that sets his room apart from every other.

fancy wall murals

Traditional Kids by Raleigh Interior Designers & Decorators Driggs Designs

This daybed style is great for all ages. The custom plinth (can be created from modified kitchen bases) can be made to fit a single or double mattress. The built-ins add great added storage space in drawers, cupboards and shelves for an assortment of things. It also doubles as a great bonus room when they’re off to college without much alteration.

Eclectic Kids

For those creative types why not used a painted peg board to organise all their crafts and projects. The mounted cups hold pens and pencils, while other boxes and clasps hold coloured paper, ribbon and string. This set up is not limited to the bedroom, it could be suited for a family rec room or  hobby room.

Contemporary Kids by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Sarah Gunn, Interior Stylist

For the Tweens, a dedicated work desk is essential for studying. Creating a pin board is great for organising assignments. Most of the furniture you will probably have already so why not paint to refresh the old furniture, add statement pieces like a special chair and light fixture to create that uniqueness for your child and new contrasting bed sheet and curtains to complete look.