Making Room For Clutter
Technology has impacted how we work, increasing our productivity, efficiency and ability to manage multiple objectives. When it comes to our homes, technology makes it easy to control our thermostat, monitor the home alarm system, and use our iPhone as a TV remote control. Amazing, eh?
But with all the tech-stuff comes the challenge of keeping the the cords and the clutter they create under some measure of control. You know... a place for everything and everything in its place. So here are five fresh ideas to help you do just that.
• First Idea:
Create a charging station within a drawer. It takes a bit of doing but when you are remodeling a kitchen or adding a home office, this one is an easy one. And while this works if you only have one iPhone and one iPad, there probably isn't enough electrical outlets to accommodate a family of phones and pads. So think about making that outlet a plug strip. That way you are less likely to run out of outlets.
• Next Idea:
This one is amazing. Imagine that your entire countertop in the kitchen or the bath has the ability to charge your smartphone. Well, imagine no more because there are vendors making solid surface counter materials that can keep our cell phones charged up with out a cord. Amazing, eh?
Imagine how good this would be if the top to your cocktail or end table had the same feature.
• Third Idea:
We first saw the prototype of this about three years ago and knew that it would be just a matter of time before a standard outlet and USB charging port would be combined and in the marketplace. No more fumbling around for a charging brick.. just plug that pad or phone using a standard USB cable. Cost will vary but you can generally pick one of these up for about twenty bucks. Installation is easy. Just remember to kill the power to that old outlet before replacing it with this new one other wise it might be you that gets the charge. And certainly, a licensed electrician would be a wise investment, especially if you have several installed all thru the house.
• Fourth Idea:
This is pretty low tech idea when it comes to other solutions but it works. Take a series of those large spring-loaded paper-binder clips and mount them at the back or to the side of a desk or countertop. Weave all those cords thru the "arms" and keep the cords dangling out of sight until you need them.
• Fifth Idea:
Sometimes part of the clutter issues are really about not having sufficient places to plug our stuff into. From Task Lighting comes this angled pug strip that can be easy customized for what ever you want. Say that in a two foot length, you might want two 120v outlets and three USB outlets. No problem. And how about where to place it? The track is angled and designed to fit under a countertop as in this picture or beneath the bottom of a wall mounted cabinet.
As you pass the southeast corner of Tachquitz and Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs, it is hard to miss the angled entry to the original library, a structure that opened in 1941.
And while it has not been a library for many years, sitting stripped of books and bookcases and vacant awaiting a new purpose, it is a classic bit of architecture that represents the hopes and future of a desert city in its infancy.
Now, after many starts and stops, the Welwood Murray Memorial Library is getting ready for the future. The city has signed contracts to renovate the building into a multipurpose facility housing a micro-branch of the library, the archives of the Palm Springs Historical Society and a branch of the PS Bureau of Tourism.
And Michael A. Thomas, FASID and the Design Collective Group is pleased to have an important roll in the Welwood project providing the interior design and design specifications for this historic location.
As the interior design firm charge with the interior design, one of the main objectives is to be sympathetic to the architect John Porter Clark's design of the building. There are just 4 interior photos and little reference material available to use as guide posts for the design development so some research and digging around was necessary.
What was learned during the discovery period about the original interior is that it was likely a quite simple, functional and perhaps even a bit austere space, not unlike other government and institutional buildings of the same era.
If you were one of the Palm Springs residents to step inside when the Welwood opened in 41, you would have seen bare concrete floors, exposed poured-in-place walls, vaulted plaster ceilings and hand built wood bookcases.
And when the doors open late this year, the design renovations will feature very similar details.
In the design for the library, the vision is to provide an impression to the visitors and guests that the interior has been well preserved over time. So refinishing the original concrete floors, keeping a semi-raw texture on the concrete walls, replacing the moldings that outline the vault in the ceiling and installing book and display cases in finishes that appear aged were solutions that celebrate that era.
But it is just as important to look forward and give new life and functionality to this building. After all we live in an era when technology plays an ever increasing role.
So the library will provide free internet connectivity to those who venture into the space.
Standing tables ( think Apple retail spaces ) will have plug strips to power laptops.
Specially designed table lamps (with lamp shades made from recycled newspaper ) will feature multiple USB ports to connect and charge a tablet, iPad or smartphone.
It is indeed exciting to be a part of the redevelopment and repurposing of the Welwood. And with so much happening in downtown Palm Springs, this renovated facility will play an important role in providing information, education, knowledge and research to Palm Springs guests, tourists, researchers and locals.
The "kickoff" celebration is May 6th at 9 am right on the steps of the Welwood and is open to everyone.
“The City of Palm Springs is experiencing a tremendous renaissance and I encourage everyone in our community to stop by Tuesday and learn more about how the new remodeled Welwood Murray Memorial Library will transform our downtown,” said Mayor Steve Pougnet. “This is an exciting time to live and work in our city and the best is yet to come.”
Please join the festivities and help celebrate a new chapter in the life of this building. And visit us again here for more design details as they emerge.
You probably didn't but homeowners spent $130 billion on remodeling last year -- the largest amount since 2007. And more and more people are starting to update their home as the economy begins to move forward. In fact, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies expects double-digit gains in this spending category through the remainder of this year.
And there is some good news about remodeling depending on what you do. Consider this: According to the annual Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling.com, when you sell your home, you’re likely to get back as much as 97% of the money you spent (back) on some improvements -- but only around 50% on others.
To put that in perspective, it means if you spend $125,000 on a project, you could see as much as $120,250 – but also as little as $36,500, in your sale price. It's tricky business so take a look around your neighborhood, find out what projects are being done and what price people are getting once their homes are remodeled. Use this information as a guide.
A recent project in the Racquet Club Estates in northern Palm Springs is a great case study. An investor purchased a classic mid-century for $365,000. It had been on the market for more than 90 days and was in pretty bad shape. But after a fairly extensive remodeling, the owner sold the property for $570,000 in just a few days after going on the market.
Thinking about a remodel? Call us and we can help you with an assessment of the possibilities. And one more thing,.... remember that one key to success is, as they say,... location, location and location.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.