making a house into a home – from bland landing to cozy home library

I am first to admin that I might be a bit of an organising addict, but having lived not-too-long-ago in a tiny house with no storage (but luckily a double garage where everything was kept in storage starting from coat racks) where I couldn’t find anything I am so happy to be in a much bigger house. But this house had no storage whatsoever, so I had my work cut in adding plenty of it.

Old Landing Collage
“The starting point. Light carpets, space under the stairs and an awkward little landing area.”

As the house was brand new, it was also very bland and generic when it came to decor, so we were quite determined to make it look like our house. I’ve been sharing some baby steps on that journey, and finally here comes an area that is finished, or almost as I think the walls are still going to get a lick of paint, and I might add a little side table and an area rug…

Landing Collage
This is a perfect space for the travel guides and coffee table books, as well as professional work-related books with a few decorative items scattered around too

So let me present you: the landing. This area just seemed like a huge waste of space; too small for an office or a play area but too big to be left as it was. Also, what use is the area under the staircase anyway…Therefore my solution was to custom-built a bookcase  (which I designed myself like all the other storage in the house) with extra-deep linen cupboards underneath it – and so I managed to create a little, cozy library area for reading. Of course at this point we had already taken off the carpets from all rooms and the stairs and replaced them with American Walnut floors, which I oiled myself with the semi-gloss Fiddes hard wax oil.

The rest of the decor came from the following sources: our good old Marimekko red Unikko (poppy) covered Fatboy Bean bag got a spot in this room, the 50s style olive green chair is from the American World Market store. The curtains were made in John Lewis some years ago, the lovely red Henge storage unit from The lamp we got from a nearby village some years ago, so need to try to chase the manufacturer for that…

Children’s books have been placed in the bookcase close to the bedrooms for easy reach

The bookcase idea worked really well – the children can now easily choose books for the bedtime as they area right next to the bedrooms, the linens are no longer hidden in piles in our bedroom (no storage there yet…) and the area feels cozy now.

You might think that yes, it’s nice but what about the cost. I looked first into solutions like Ikea, and could have gotten something nice that way too – not a perfect size match but with little tweaking those solutions could have worked well also. I also looked into companies that do made-to-measure storage, but they seemed really expensive and at the end of the day don’t really customise for your needs, but rather offer a standard range and add little filler pieces for gaps.

So I ended up with a local carpenter whose rates were very reasonable and competitive to many ready-made solutions. The highest cost ended up being the wood itself as I wanted walnut to match the floors we had laid. It really pays off to investigate different options and get a few quotes as tradesmen’s rates vary a lot also. This way you might just realise that your dream solution doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

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