Tiny Amsterdam Apartment Bursts With Character

Although this Amsterdam rental already had sufficient character, interior designer Rosa van den Kerkhof and Dirk van den Wijngaard turned into a cozy home that oozes with personality. A composite of antique bits, new industrial furniture along with cultural treasures mixed in from world travels gives this little, light-filled home a playful and diverse appearance.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Rosa van den Kerkhof and Dirk van den Wijngaard
Location: Amsterdam
Size: 65 square meters (699 square feet); 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom

Holly Marder

Van den Kerkhof dwelt at the apartment upstairs for nearly six years before this one became available. The hardwood flooring and the flat’s charming original features, for example, marble fireplace surround and high ceilings, instantly attracted the couple. “There was also central heating!” she laughs. “If you have ever spent a winter at a high-ceilinged, drafty old apartment in the Netherlands, then you’ll know that is an instantaneous selling point”

Holly Marder

The founder of her own interior design business, Studio Nest, van den Kerkhof loves to mix several design styles. “An interior is an extension of your personality,” she says. “I think it’s boring to stick with just one style.”

This cognac leather armchair was a lucky find on the Dutch secondhand website Marktplaats. Piles of magazines within arm’s reach plus also a large pouf turns the formerly empty space between the living and dining rooms into a comfortable dining room.

Holly Marder

In the living room, the couple paired a contemporary charcoal grey sectional with a classic chair, graphic black and white rug, and an array of textured cushions.

Van den Kerkhof initially studied theater design until she realized it wasn’t the ideal match. The correlation between theater and home design led her into the world of interiors. “If you style theater, you’re translating a story into scenery, so it is quite like designing an interior, except that it is a more tangible and durable kind of design,” she says.

Holly Marder

“I like things that are utilized, that have a story inside them,” van den Kerkhof says. “I feel it enhances the appearance and feel of a room.”

This lotion classic leather chair was her very first classic purchase, and, to this day, it is one of her favorite pieces.

Rug: Ikea

Holly Marder

“Working in the interior design industry has certainly influenced my style,” van den Kerkhof says. During her interior styling studies, she worked in Baden Baden, the former showroom of the iconic Dutch designer Piet Boon, whose style combines modern elements with renewable materials. “I heard a lot about styling out of my colleagues and has been highly influenced by Piet Boon’s symmetrical style. I have since tried to let go of a bit so as to produce my own style.”

The tray table is a gift from her father, who has traveled extensively around the world.

Holly Marder

This collector’s item classic armchair is another bit awarded to van den Kerkhof from her father. When he was young, he painted it without recognizing its own value. It’s one of her favorite bits — here, she has paired it with an inexpensive classic stool she recuperated.

The few latest purchase is that their Foscarini Diesel Fork floor lamp, which adds a bit of functional chic to the room while adhering to contemporary lines.

Shelving unit: Expedit, Ikea

Holly Marder

Van den Kerkhof gave a classic French cabinet a fresh lease on life with charcoal grey paint and some new grips from Zara Home. The item now provides functional storage for the couple’s TV.

The apartment sports a warm color scheme of black, white, gray and neutral tones, with the exception of a couple of well-placed bursts of color. “I adore gray combined with timber for a warm appearance,” she says.

Holly Marder

A low console is home to books, music, artwork, drinks and another one of the few favorite items — a lovely lamp that van den Kerkhof purchased while functioning at Baden Baden.

Above the console, a gallery screen features framed artworks by South African artist Marlene Dumas, a Matisse print, an Etsy artwork print and functions from an assortment of artwork called “Vita Brevis Ars Longa” (translated: “Art Is Long, Life Is Short). Van den Kerkhof painted the dog picture when she was 15.

Holly Marder

Even though the apartment doesn’t offer much in the means of space or storage, the couple love their home for its own authenticity and original detailing.

At the dining area, bright tangerine lamps draw the eye up, toward the high ceilings, and highlight the stunning original sash windows with stained-glass detailing.

Pendants: Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen

Holly Marder

Van den Kerkhof has carved out a very small workspace at the corner of the apartment, which is where she does each of her design work and meets with customers.

The desk chair has been found abandoned on the side of the street near a trash bin. “It was dirty and old, and it has a paint mark on it. Most people would say it is trash, but I really like it!”

Drawer unit: Alex, Ikea

Holly Marder

This cherished sideboard spent nearly all of its life in van den Kerkhof’s parents’ living room. When she went away to study, the cabinet went with her. Having experienced a few facelifts, from white to deep red, its fresh pale grey hue and fresh knobs create the perfect addition to the dining room.

In addition to the classic sideboard,a wooden tray is used as a foundation for a vase, a little book bought during a weekend in Paris, brushes and pencils used during her studies, along with a stone her father gave her when she was young. A candlestick out of Ikea gives the arrangement height.

Holly Marder

Renting can be a limiting design factor, so the couple made the kitchen their own by accessorizing it with pretty and practical items. Wood cutting boards provide a soft accent contrary to the kitchen’s white tiled walls.

A single shelf holds a collection of decorative blue and white china bowls, crisp white kitchen accessories and some of their favorite cookbooks.

Holly Marder

A silver Moroccan sugar cup and pot are a part of a group given to van den Kerkhof by her father. The matching tray table is in the living room. When her father was young, he worked on a ship and traveled a lot, collecting bits and pieces on the way. Van den Kerkhof pairs those treasures with functional utensil storage beside the stove in kitchen.

Holly Marder

Floor to ceiling drapes in a soft latte color accentuate the bedroom’s large ceilings. Crisp white bedding is a soothing background for a contrasting black ring lamp.

Holly Marder

Outdoor space comes with a hefty price tag in this portion of earth, so the set was happy to have this balcony to enjoy warm weather.

Holly Marder

A comfortable sofa in the balcony overlooks the enchanting Dutch style architecture where Amsterdam is famous.

“The place we live in is really beautiful, with lots of cafes and stores, along with also a food market on Saturdays,” van den Kerkhof says.

telephone: Do you live in a creative downtown apartment? Discuss it with us!

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DIY: Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint is famous due to its mix of sentiment, whimsy and practicality. Whether it’s painted on walls, furniture or appliances, chalkboard paint has surely come a very long way in the fundamental green or slate gray boards utilized in colleges.

I really like the use of chalkboard paint in bizarre ways — like on the back of a kitchen island or in place of a headboard — but I am also a classic girl at heart and a fan of those easy chalkboard. My son’s nursery to large child room’s transformation needed streaks being painted by me, and I couldn’t resist throwing a chalkboard to the mix.

Meg Padgett

Chalkboard paint is offered in varying shades of color through manufacturers like Hudson Paint, but at $25 per quart, it could get expensive. Save your pennies and have complete control over the color by simply making your own in three steps.

Meg Padgett

Non-sanded groutLatex paint in any color Mixing cup or cup
Brush or rollerPaint mixer drill attachment

Meg Padgett

1. Mix the latex paint with the non-sanded grout at a cup or cup. A good ratio to use is 1 piece grout to 8 parts paint. So, if you are mixing a small amount, combine 1 tablespoon grout with a 1/2-cup paint. To get a bigger amount — like I used — combine 1 cup of grout with a 1/2 gallon of paint.

Make sure that all the grout is mixed in — otherwise, the granules may be observable on the chalkboard. I have found that a 5 gallon bucket and a paint mixer drill attachment would be the simplest and most efficient way.

Note: Grout is generally only available in massive amounts — 10 pound boxes for approximately $12 — so plan accordingly. I knew I would be regrouting the shower and bought the Polyblend Non-Sanded grout to match. Do not have any plans in your future? You could have a friend who recently tiled a entrance or bathroom, so ask to use some of theirs.

To decrease the sheen at the high-gloss black “oops” paint I picked up at a discount and achieve the classic charcoal color I wanted, I mixed a 1/2 gallon of this black paint with 2 cups of white ceiling paint, then added the grout.

Meg Padgett

2. Paint the paint on the surface. Prep the surface as you would for any paint job. I painted two coats to get protection.

While I’ve employed a classic charcoal gray, the color choices are endless. Make chalkboard paint out of your left wing wall paint to get a seamless and enjoyable addition to a room or go bold with a bright, contrasting color.

Meg Padgett

3. Condition the chalkboard. Make your chalkboard ready for drawing by massaging the board with chalk, then wiping it off with a dry towel in circular strokes. With that final step, it is ready to be put to good use.

Meg Padgett

In my son’s room, I’ve gone large by painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint and framing it to make a spot that can be used for both educational and play activities.

More: Grown-Up Suggestions For Chalkboard Paint

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Believe Ginseng for Kitchen Countertops

Old-fashioned and elegant, zinc countertops imbue a kitchen with dignity and warmth. A mainstay of Parisian bistros, oyster bars and butler’s pantries, zinc often gets overlooked in favor of trendier stainless steel or tried and true stone. Nevertheless this classic material adds a singular character that contrasts, chameleon-like, into some kitchen design and installation. Read on to learn whether it’s for you.

More: How to Remodel a Kitchen

Aquidneck Properties

The Experts of Zinc

A classic patina. Magnesium carries a dull, slightly mottled surface that has more in common with pewter than with chrome or stainless steel. It looks seasoned even when it’s fresh, and it has an inherent heat that many metals lack.

Zinc typically starts out pale gray and develops a slight blue to green throw because it darkens with use and time. Its natural tarnish can be slowed somewhat with a coat of beeswax now and then.

Antimicrobial possessions. Zinc naturally resists mold, mildew and bacteria.

Stain resistance. Though zinc may react with specific substances over time, spills and splatters will not blot it in the way that they might with a porous material like marble or limestone.

Kemp Hall Studio

Malleability. Since zinc is relatively soft, it’s easy to have the advantages molded into interesting shapes and border treatments. It can also be hammered or textured to add visual depth and attention.

Versatility. Zinc works well in any area of the kitchen, from islands and breakfast bars to prep surfaces.

Ease of care. A fast swab-down with water and a gentle dish soap keeps zinc clean.

Cabell Design Studio

The Disadvantages of Zinc

Susceptibility to dents. The exact same softness that makes zinc easy to manufacture also suggests that cookware and knives can scratch its surface. If you would like to maintain your countertop looking fresh, scrapes and nicks have to be buffed out occasionally.

Susceptibility to heat. Prolonged exposure to a hot item, such as a pan straight from the cooker, can render an undesirable mark on a zinc countertop.


Tricky installment. As with other metallic countertops, zinc can be difficult for the average homeowner to install. It must be fastened to a substrate, and technical ability and experience are required to ensure a smooth surface and prevent scratches from showing.

Price. If you’re on a tight budget, zinc can blow it to pieces. Zinc starts at about $100 to $120 per square foot. If you’re determined to integrate it, then consider restricting it to a little section of counter space like an island.

guides to kitchen counters
How to Remodel a Kitchen

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8 Splendid Side Yard Designs

Welcome to the unsung hero of the national landscape: the side lawn. Some of us close our eyes while hurrying through that narrow space, only to get from point A ( front lawn) to point B (the backyard). It is often a dark, weedy place squeezed between the garage and the fence. What is there to love?

However, for many garden owners, space will always be at a premium. And rather than working with the side yard to stash your recycling bin and garbage can from sight, why not turn that slender location into a lush, quiet backyard?

After all, many of us have not just one, but two side lawns.

The secret to having a great side yard would be to design and accessorize it much like you’d decorate the upstairs hall in your house. Those walls need art! That flooring wants a carpet! Perhaps there’s even just a little market or a transition space that could accommodate a little item of furniture. There’s plenty of possible down that long, narrow space. So stop cringing, and reimagine the side lawn as a special place you can’t wait to navigate.

Below are some suggestions to inspire your lanky side garden layout.

Shirley Bovshow

Masterfully executed by designer Shirley Bovshow, this once-ordinary side lawn is now a lush place where the homeowner could roam with a morning mug of green tea.

What makes this space unique: The vine-clad arbor creates a welcoming door. The stepping stones are nicely spaced, so individuals can even walk in bare toes. The blossom plantings have a unified, green palette to soothe the eyes and there’s even fragrant lavender, to discharge its odor when ankles brush.

RDM Architecture

According to the architect, this sun-dappled side garden was created to complement a new master bedroom addition. Yes, it’s a side lawn, but this space is also a private garden to be seen from inside. The leafy tree blossom adds a sense of intimacy. The curved rock route is edged by soft color plants and annuals — demonstrating that you need just a few feet of room to create a garden. And the copper birdbath placed at the foot of a mature shade tree is an inspired addition. Even winged creatures will want to see this aspect garden.

Frank & Grossman Landscape Contractors, Inc..

Straight, narrow and wedged between a retaining wall along with the house, this side lawn might easily feel claustrophobic. On the contrary, it offers the feeling of walking through a calm, wooded bosk. If you plant trees in negative yards, select dwarf, columnar or slow-growing varieties that’ll be happy with the restricted growing conditions.

In this walkway, a fluffy floor cover knits together the flagstones, and the overall effect suggests a beautifully patterned carpeting.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Less is more in this utilitarian walk across the outside of a house clad in corrugated metal siding. The route is paved in easy-care decomposed granite, which makes it effortless to navigate. The plantings are raised to eye level, thanks to its minimal timber retaining wall. Bamboo is a good alternative because its roots are contained. Plus, it’s a simple plant to maintain hedge clippers.

Stewart Land Designs

Attractive and permeable, this stunning walkway is easily wide enough for 2 to traverse side by side. I like the care with this route has been designed and installed. It feels particular, with all the cut-stone edging doubling as a way to include the planting beds on both sides. The rock palette complements the brick home and creates an interesting circuit for anyone walking through this backyard. Pay attention to this copper lighting, strategically placed to make this a safe place for anyone walking after dark.

Haddonstone Ltd

Over the top, yes. But that’s the interesting thing about designing a garden. You’ve got the element of surprise in your favor. I doubt many of us would think about placing two enormous pedestal urns along a walkway, then planting them with tropicals and palms that spill over the rim. The therapy works here, allowing the programmer to feature plants that would otherwise block the path if used at ground level. Instead, seasonal begonias and compact floor covers decorate the base of each urn.

Colors Of Green Landscape Architecture

Some people today hang tapestries in their hallway walls. And some people today line their side backyard using a textural privacy screen that resembles a fabric tapestry. This narrow facet garden has a lot going for this: 1. The gravel walk is comprised with a slim metal edging on both sides, 2. The bamboo is densely planted, but preserved like a 3 and Dollar. Uplighting, subtle but effective, adds drama after dark.

Amelia B. Lima & Associates, INC..

If your narrow side garden is blah, here’s a planted wall that will motivate you to rethink that ugly fence or concrete block wall. There are lots of products, such as Woolly Pockets, available for creating a pocket-style planting system. And once you discover the right solution for your vertical space, you can immediately turn ordinary into extraordinary. Lush, tropical plants provide this facet garden a definite perspective. It is a showstopper!

Turn a Wider Negative Yard Into a Gorgeous Garden Room

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Cape Cod Style at California

When Julie and Rick Borgens purchased this bluffside home in California’s Orange County, the magnificent ocean view and expansive outside area overshadowed the dull 1970s stucco exterior. But with the help of Todd Custom Homes, Tuvalu Home and R.J. Imports, they were able to redesign the area into a home worthy of its dreamy site. Native landscaping and a luxurious backyard pool helped finish its transformation into a Southern California paradise.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Julie and Rick Borgens and two brothers, ages 19 and 21
Location: Capistrano Beach, Orange County, California
Size: 4,000 square feet; four bedrooms; four baths
That is interesting: The outside dining table was custom-built with additional height so guests can see the ocean while they eat — whales and dolphins often swim by.

Dana Nichols

A teak furniture collection and outside fireplace create a warm setting beside your home’s backyard pool. Julie put glass within an empty drum to generate a dining table which may be full of sand and seashells in summer and pine cones during the vacations. “As the seasons change and it gets chilly outside, we travel from the ocean side of the home to the fireplace around the pool side,” she states.

Driftwood heart and wreath: Tuvalu Home; drum table: R.J. Imports; teak chairs: Patio Outlet

Dana Nichols

The grottolike swimming pool and spa are tucked to the house’s backyard. Orange cape honeysuckle and blue salvia colour the landscape around the pool.

Landscape layout: Jan Houghton, Houghton Design Group

Dana Nichols

Instead of a classic front door, guests enter the property through the backyard gate which leads beyond the pool place.

Dana Nichols

Julie loves to include her favourite accent shade, bright blue, in careful doses so that it doesn’t detract from the home’s decor. She filled buckets with plants and seashells and piled them onto a blue chair to create a charming vignette in this outdoor place.

Wooden chair and bucket: R.J. Imports

Dana Nichols

Creative plant arrangements take the place of conventional art in this home. This six-wreath succulent arrangement in the entryway bridges the exterior with the interior. Lanterns turned terrariums serve the identical purpose in different areas of the home. “Art appeared too expected,” Alter says. “So a lot of people would only waste this space”

Succulent arrangement: The Ivy Guild, Inc

Dana Nichols

The home includes three indoor and outdoor living spaces in total. Doors from this open onto a deck perched high above an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean. The custom made fireplace surround is made of Canyon Creek stone from the northern Rockies.

Palecek chairs and sofa: Tuvalu Home; stone fireplace surround: Sepulveda Building Materials; TV framework: LCR Furniture and Design, Inc

Dana Nichols

Julie wanted several intimate seating areas within her home rather than one big one. Each is varied enough for entertaining, yet intimate enough for casual living — like this downstairs area. “It’s kind of interesting,” says Julie, “but we do use every area”

Seagrass chairs and menu: R.J. Imports

Dana Nichols

External, a custom-built grill using a huge backsplash offers privacy from the neighbors. Julie’s favorite beachy blue appears in the porcelain vase.

Rick enjoys winemaking, so the couple’s next job is a wine cellar on the lower level, available through a secret door.

Grill: LCR Furniture and Design, Inc..

Dana Nichols

In the kitchen, custom cabinetry hides the refrigerator and microwave. Julie originally envisioned a glistening white kitchen but cabinetmaker Michelle Anderson of LCR Furniture and Design, Inc. advocated this antique-style variation as a suitable match with the mix of walnut and other imported woods through your home. An oversize navy island offers plenty of entertaining and prep area.

Turquoise vases: Tuvalu Home

Dana Nichols

Upstairs in the stairwell landing, an open press room serves as the house’s third living room. The window seat, having a sea view, is one of Julie’s favorite places in the home. The brown leather couch came from Costco, the firm at which Rick has worked for 30 decades.

Glass lamps and drum: Tuvalu Home; master bedroom bed (through the doorway): R.J. Imports; framed artwork: Tuvalu Home; couch: Costco

Dana Nichols

The bedrooms are simple and modest in size compared to the home’s entertainment locations. “Apart from sleeping, we do not hang out in our bedroom a complete lot. No sitting chairs or anything,” says Julie. A mirror, rather than a dresser, makes the space look and feel bigger. This massive piece reflects the ocean view all around the master bedroom.

Paint: Silver Sage, Restoration Hardware; bedding: Pottery Barn; mirror: R.J. Imports

Dana Nichols

The guest room overlooks the pool side of the home, and another massive mirror reflects light.

Mirror: R.J. Imports; lamps, pillows and seashell blanket: Pottery Barn; striped coverlet and blue throw: T.J. Maxx; bed: Urbanism Furniture, Costa Mesa, CA; paint: Silver Sage, Restoration Hardware

Dana Nichols

Glass railings onto the deck framework the ocean view, but the couple found that a regular 36-inch-high dining table wasn’t tall enough to allow diners to see over it. “You’re constantly looking through the railing in the ocean. We had this dining table made at pub height so that we could see over the railing,” says Julie.

Custom bar-height dining table: LCR Furniture and Deisgn, Inc.. ; chairs: Patio Outlet

Dana Nichols

Backyard plants were selected for low water usage, ground-hugging colour and textural interest. Either side of the pathway are landscaped with native plants and succulents such as sedums and aeoniums, dwarf agaves, salvia, California fuchsia, ceanothus and sea lavender. The stone pathway leads to some other firepit down the hill.

Log planter: Plant Depot; landscape layout: Jan Houghton, Houghton Design Group

Do you Reside in a beachfront home? Discuss it with us!

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Open Walls Widen Home Possibilities

My dream home has a spacious wall with a door. It opens to a deck and a pool and some kind of sunny, spectacular view, preferably with all the Pacific Ocean in the background.

However, truth be told, I would settle for a garage door which opens on my own work-in-progress backyard.

Open walls would be the greatest embodiment of indoor-outdoor living, blurring the lines (well, eliminating them actually) between the two. They are a fresh-air enthusiast’s fantasy come true, and there is something about them which is merely friendly and positive. They are the greatest invitation.

But beware, the homes pictured below will likely make your own home feel closed and may induce acute home jealousy. Consider yourself warned.

Urrutia Design

I am pretty certain my dream-house fantasy is just a replica of this home. You may ocassionally find a deer or squirrel in your living space, however, the spaciousness and the willingness make it worth the trouble.

Dick Clark + Associates

Where an actual open wall doesn’t make sense, wall-size windows may do the trick. It seems as though you could dive right from these chairs and into the bay, but the fog has been kept outside.

A garage door doesn’t have to be hiding your automobile and boxes of crap. It may just as easily hide your living space. And it is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to produce an open wall.

Jeannette Architects

Gourmet kitchen, outdoor dining area. This glass garage door is clean and modern; it makes sliding glass doors seem positively old fashioned.


These multipane modern cottage windows open on the garden and make this little dining room feel ever so much larger.

Hanson Fine Building

Another wall of glass. The view doesn’t have to be spectacular to get a wall such as this to make sense. The space and light and feeling of openness are sufficient to make the wall keep. And do not you love the way the clear acrylic chairs play off the glass?

Ojanen_Chiou architects LLP

This sliding accordion door which opens floor to ceiling, turning a little kitchen into a bright, expansive area with an outdoor dining area.

Spinnaker Development

A home doesn’t have to be more ubermodern to operate with an open wall. This traditionally decorated home also receives a boost.

AT6 Architecture : Design Build

This bath takes some courage. I mean, someone in one of those homes down there might have a pair of binoculars. Still, why if living rooms and kitchens have all the fun?

Griffin Enright Architects

What’s there to say about a space with two open walls overlooking rolling green hills anyhow, “Sigh.”

Jennifer Weiss Architecture

Virtually all the exterior walls open on the backyard, turning a segmented home into a open, convivial area where the outdoors are as crucial as the indoors.

Ownby Design

Not having an open wall would be bizarre.

Knudson Interiors

A wall doesn’t have to open on a large, expansive space. Only a little tropical extension for this toilet is motive enough.

John Maniscalco Architecture

The urban version of the expansive perspective. No need for art.

Architect, Lorin Hill

Developing a tiny breezeway between the house and the open atmosphere are able to keep a room from getting too hot in the summer. It also offers a nice visual transition between indoors and out.

I don’t think that it opens, but I don’t care. Magnificent.

Opening Acts: Folding, Sliding and Pivoting Doors

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Baseboard protects the base of a wall from scuffs dirt and collisions at the joint where it meets the floor. Usually made from timber, it may be simple or elaborate, with moldings and trim.

Paul Hofmann Construction

Clear timber makes for a easy baseboard with a tiny trim at its base.

Robert J Erdmann Design, LLC

Miter cuts are rather difficult, making the corners of this curved baseboard molding a masterpiece of angle cuts.

Studio William Hefner

You can observe the pristine wall will be protected by the baseboard of this hallway .

Amoroso Design

A baseboard can be repainted whereas walls appear to reveal touch-ups.

Levy Art + Architecture

Fairly often, contemporary houses dare to exclude baseboards from their finishwork, and it’s pricey to complete walls off this way.

Bruce Johnson & Associates Interior Design

A clever way to get the traditional appearance of baseboard would be to utilize smaller trim and paint the rest, as in this kitchen.

Dwelling Building Group

Various cuts of molding or trim may add personality to the baseboard.

Browse more baseboard photos

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Small-Business Savvy: Establish a Shipping Station

When you’re setting up a creative studio, the initial focus will be in adapting a space so you can practice your art. If you make quilts, you will establish a table with a sewing machine. If you make ceramic bowls, then you’ll require a potter’s wheel. It’s important to market your studio with the ideal materials and supplies, but when your art can also be a business, an equal amount of consideration should go into making sure those quilts and bowls may get packed up and sent out to customers quickly and economically.

Packing and transport are a huge part of running a creative business, but they can be overwhelming for a small operation. So much energy may go into the making of this product which the shipping period can be overlooked. The important thing is setting up a space devoted to transport and nothing else. Spend some time getting organized and stocking up on gear before large orders start rolling in. Here are a few pointers to help any imaginative business achieve success.

Dream House Studios

Have a large, open surface devoted to transport. Designate a separate place as your transport channel. This space should incorporate an open surface for wrap everything up. The dimensions of this surface needed will vary depending on your craft. But generally speaking, the larger the surface the greater. Devote as much space to transport as you can. It may be frustrating to work in a cramped area.


Consider adding shelves or cubbies underneath the surface for storing boxes. Maintaining boxes arranged can be the biggest problem when it comes to shipping; heaps of boxes may escape control and immediately start to infringe on your creative space. So select a work surface for the transport channel with shelves or cubbies built in underneath. Flatten all of your boxes and keep them organized by dimension. Maintain bubble mailers and envelopes as well.

Hint: Shop most of your boxes apartment however keep a few made up and accessible so you will be all ready to go in case an order must have sent out immediately.

Utilize a pin board or pegboard to hang tools on so they are ready once you need them. Ensure that your shipping channel is stocked with all of the tools and materials you’ll need. You do not need to be scrambling at the last minute for tape or scissors. You need these products to be highly accessible but also out of the way of your workout surface. The best solution is to hang them by a pin board or pegboard that is adjacent to your shipping channel. Quickly pull down the gear that you require, and cleanup afterward is going to be a breeze.

Install paper roll dispensers for wrap paper and bubble wrap. Should you use rolls of paper or bubble wrap, then consider installing a few paper dispensers. You may either attach them to your work surface or put them next to your channel on the wall. Dispensers make it so much easier to manage paper and cut pieces off.

Jeanette Lunde

Hint: in case you don’t have space for dispensers, store your paper rolls upright in a bin next to your transport channel.

Maintain twine and ribbon together in a caddy. Add prosper to your bundles with twine or ribbon and maintain those loose spools arranged by storing them at a hanging organizer or caddy like this one. This caddy has sufficient space for multiple spools so you can add variety to your packaging.

Hint: Hang a pair of scissors from the caddy. This implies you can always find them when you need to produce a cut.

Keep business cards and other promotional materials at your channel. with your goods, you’re probably shipping out business cards and promotional materials (flyers, coupons ) with your packages. These materials need to be performed beforehand and organized at your transport channel. Organize them in a desktop caddy such as this repurposed metal one. Aesthetically this vintage piece adds rustic charm to the surface, however any drawer or cubbie system will speed up the shipping procedure.

Have a whiteboard or calendar handy for creating a shipping program. It’s important for small businesses to establish a shipping program — it is inefficient to run into the post office every second day. Establish a regular and be honest with your customers about when you send out packages. Maintain a whiteboard or calendar near your shipping channel so you can keep track of orders, check off jobs when you finish them and denote transportation times.

Cost Plus World Market

Wood Potting Bench – $119.99

Repurpose a potting bench to a shipping channel. A reclining seat may be the best answer to get a shipping channel. Many have shelves built in that are best for organizing boxes, mailers and paper. Also they’re normally made out of wood, so it’s easy to screw in hooks to hang tools and materials.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

The key to a successful and effective shipping channel is organization. Put time and effort into this stage of your business and make sure that your studio is stocked with the ideal supplies. Plan beforehand, before you start receiving large orders, to guarantee you will be ready when when items do get active.

Want more advice in setting up your creative space? Learn how to craft the perfect studio.

More Small-Business Savvy:
Personalize Your Packaging

Photograph Products Like a Guru

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Cabin Collection: 5 Modern Cabins Round the U.S.

Today’s clean-lined and spare modern cabins aren’t much different than the original cabins crafted in the States, that have been created of rough-hewn logs and had spartan furnishings. Present-day designers take inspiration from everything from Americans’ original homesteads to conventional lake homes in Finland. Here’s a look at five cabins from New England to Washington state, with a stopover in Iowa. Some are second homes, while others are full-time homes.

Joan Heaton Architects

1. Vermont

This contemporary cabin is nestled in the woods of the Green Mountains.

Joan Heaton Architects

The bedroom is part of this wide-open floor plan, but the curtains can be dragged for solitude.

Joan Heaton Architects

A combination of walnut, hemlock and ash woods add warmth into the open home.

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Larson Shores Architects

2. Maine

This magnificent home on an island in Maine is a few full-time residence.

Larson Shores Architects

The architect made sure to comprehend how the couple lived and carefully planned for all their storage needs. Thus, the residence is uncluttered and organized.

Larson Shores Architects

This complete bathroom is covered in a watery blue tile mosaic.

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Susan Teare

3. Vermont

Challenges in designing and building this cozy Vermont cabin included a small budget and how all the construction equipment and materials had to be transported in over a tiny pedestrian bridge.

Susan Teare

The flooring and staircase are reclaimed timber, and there is not a single inch of drywall from the home.

Susan Teare

A classic claw-foot tub, a whirlpool bath stand, barn light and exposed aluminum pipes add patina into the new structure.

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DeForest Architects

4. Iowa

Outside of Iowa City, an architect assisted a couple stake out the site of their dream home to take whole advantage of perspectives and energy efficiency.

DeForest Architects

The home has been heavily influenced by the local agricultural vernacular on the exterior, but it has a much more contemporary feel indoors.

DeForest Architects

The home enjoys sweeping views of the landscape and is bathed in natural light as a result of the big, well-placed windows and the open floor plan.

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Louise Lakier

5. Washington State

A couple and their two kids enjoy this family escape out Seattle. It sits atop piers from Puget Sound.

Louise Lakier

The home looks much bigger than its 672 square foot, because of mild walls, a tiled ceiling and large windows.

Louise Lakier

The owner describes her decorating philosophy as”eclectic, easy and inexpensive.” The family has done a fantastic job of making the space inviting and comfortable, dotted with entertaining coastal and atomic accents.

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Guest Groups: Modern Cabin Decor
Contemporary Cabins in the Woods

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Serene Cabin Retreat Near Austin

This cozy cedar cabin was originally built as a refuge for Melissa and Mike Wilson. When the opportunity arose to allow them to create this 20-acre property outside Austin, Texas, they understood that it was the perfect feast for their hungry cousins. The creative couple first designed a simple and colorful space to escape and operate in. Now they share their oasis by renting out the space to others, and hope to build yet another vacation rental in their property soon.

at a Glance
Who resides: A vacation home for Melissa and Mike Wilson
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1,000 square feet; two bedrooms, 1.5 baths

Kara Mosher

Minimal furniture invites visitors to use the comfy, alternate chairs in the living room. A Costco memory foam beanbag is paired with a cushion for a makeshift cushioned chair.

Kara Mosher

After Melissa first moved to Austin, she stayed at the Hotel San Jose and fell in love with the relaxed, contemporary design. “I’ve followed Liz Lambert’s work and have stayed at all her properties over time,” Melissa says. “Her work really motivated me. I wished to keep the design clean and simple, uncluttered and with a few unique pieces to invite you bring down your heart rate a little. I hope it does.”

Kara Mosher

Mike loves music, so the cottage’s album player (tucked beneath the ladder) is an essential accompaniment to his impressive vinyl library. “I think that it can help to set the tone for the distance. We do not have a TV or phone so it’s great to unplug, lie back, listen to great music and enjoy the warmth and solitude the cabin attracts,” Melissa says.

Sconces: Manuel’s on 5th Street (currently closed)

Kara Mosher

The exterior and interior of the home are produced from a regional species of cedar timber.

Kara Mosher

The couple has hosted everyone from honeymoon and wedding guests to writers needing somewhere to finish projects. The cabin has even been used by musicians working on albums and gearing up for excursion — including bands during Austin City Limits and SXSW.

Kara Mosher

Melissa put her own creative touch on decoration pieces across the area, such as this written reminder:”Discussing does not always improve upon silence.”

Kara Mosher

The simple kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances and custom cedar attributes. Both the countertops and seat are custom made.

Kara Mosher

The couple loves spending time in the floor-to-ceiling cedar space and fun with friends. One of Melissa’s favorite pieces is the dining table Mike designed; it sits against the wall with bench seating. “All you need to do is pull it away from the wall and you’ve got space to have six people for supper,” she says.

Kara Mosher

The cabin’s most important bathroom has a classic claw-foot tub. “A long soak in the bathtub is one of my favorite things I do to relax,” Melissa says. “I make sure we keep relaxing bath salts on hand for all guests to use.”

Kara Mosher

The limited color palette echoes the rest of the cottage’s soothing layout. Melissa used mainly green, giving the distance power and life.

Curtain: Cost Plus World Market

Kara Mosher

Melissa is a therapist also uses a spare bedroom for her very own private counseling practice. She and Mike intend to keep the cabin for a vacation rental and aspire to build yet another unique structure on the house within the next couple of years.

Kara Mosher

Upstairs, the second bedroom is in a spacious yet cozy loft space. A barrel nightstand contributes to the rural sense.

Throw cushions, blankets, nightstand: Pier 1 Imports

Kara Mosher

The downstairs bedroom windows fill the room with soft light, highlighting the colors of the room. Melissa made the light rainbow mosaic-tiled art bit.

Rug, bedding: Cost Plus World Market

Kara Mosher

Melissa and Mike enjoy their saltwater escape is close to downtown but still feels a world away. They recognize that it’s rare to find 20 acres in Austin and feel blessed to have this escape. “We are only 20 minutes away from amazing Hamilton Pool, and down the street from The Salt Lick BBQ and Lady Bird Wildflower Center.”

Kara Mosher

The creative couple’s thoughts aren’t limited to their own rural retreat — they also attend Burning Man each year. They brought the cedar swing set shown in this photo there in 2011. Two musicians at Curious Customs made the lamp hanging out of the swing set.

Kara Mosher

Melissa snagged this birdhouse out of a neighbor who had helped a girl with an amazing birdhouse set clean out her home. “They were just going to be thrown away, so I was able to choose a couple that I loved,” she says.

The weathered wooden picnic seat was salvaged from a local skating rink that needed to get rid of some tables. “I love that it has so much character and several layers of paint,” says Melissa.

Do you have a nation cabin? Show us your property.

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