This project took me to a mid-century modern house in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona where a bustling family lives, thrives and creates. And where the mama bear of this family runs a boutique schoolhouse out of their massive bonus room / kids playroom. The task at hand was to help reorganize a space that had been in boxes for months while their home was remodeled. This sweet family had been living amongst dust and distraction for too long and were longing for little moments of normalcy to return. Mama bear was also longing to truly launch her boutique schoolhouse and creative camp. With a boxed up blank slate we went to work.
The client meeting and audit of all the spaces in this home that needed organization resulted in clear direction and a phased approach to getting this home back in order. Budgets were defined and organization goals were set. With every organizational project I take the approach of understanding how the space is currently being utilized and what is the client’s goal for the future of the space. I want organization to be personal and mimic the daily lives of clients so that maintaining organized bliss in the long run is not just a goal, but an easy practice.
The goal of this boutique schoolhouse was to create a multi-use space. When school’s in session the space is meant to be fresh and clean while welcoming learning and creativity. Secondarily, when this space is being used as a kids play room it is meant to inspire connection with family and friends through arts, crafts, games, homework stations and imaginative play. The first step in organizing this space was to bring in systems to allow for specific zones within the room and create spaces for everything that would be accessed. A trip to Ikea allowed for needed toy cubes, cupboards for classroom materials, rolling carts for quick grab items, hanging desk for craft containment and a table for community gathering. All while being budget friendly and allowing freedom for this space to be converted and grow with the kiddos.
The color palette of this space remained natural and neutral with a bright pop from yellow chairs. What truly brought this space to life were all of the little bits and bobs. Mason jars of feathers, buttons, gems, beads, and marbles. Caddies of paints, pens, markers, and supplies. Cubes filled with toys, building blocks, and science projects. Cabinets with bins on bins of class room materials, paper, stickers, math worksheets, and writing prompts.
After sifting through boxes for nearly three days, purging anything that no longer served a purpose and donating anything that no longer had a use for this schoolhouse, we found the intention of this space in three specific zones. Crafting and creativity. Schoolwork and learning. Imaginative, hands on play. The center of the room remained wide open in order to bring in tables for the schoolhouse school days, and leave a blank space for mama bears kiddos to spread out and play. Everything was labeled and organized within the three zones. Mama bear can now pull out the supplies she needs for school easily, students can find what they seek and clean up after themselves, and the kiddos who live in the house can access all the creative learning supplies they need while also being able to use the space without disrupting the schoolhouse.
This space truly speaks to creativity, vibrancy, joy, and learning. While there is a lot going on, the space is calming and peaceful. This mama bear thrives in creative chaos, yet she wanted a space where one didn’t feel chaos. She wanted a space where creating and learning and imagination and play were the chaos. I cannot wait to see the art that will cover these walls.
And because every great “after” has a “before”…