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Part 2: Little living large- Unique hardware & hooks

Hi friends! Thanks for all your comments and support on Part 1! We're back for round 2 to chat about another fun way to create some unexpected pizzaz in spaces for tots without dipping too deep in the piggy bank. Hardware in a room can make such a pop. Closet doors, dresser knobs, and clothing hooks can be forgotten when completing a space. But with some careful measurements and installation, these can emerge or perhaps become fun focal points beyond the furniture and textiles.

Trade a generic knob on a dresser for a tactile leather pull or hang a series of equestrian saddle hooks for backpacks and hoodies. These features highlight functionality and lend a finished well-appointed impression instantly. Sometimes people will shy away from these projects because the task of installation seems too daunting.. I get it. At the end of this post, I included some handy trade-tips to assist in this process. Because frankly, been there, done that, and did enough ummmm..patching (or lets be honest-strategic artwork placement!) to remember what went wrong.

Lets chat about the power of hooks.

More generally, lets talk about cleaning up for starters. In our house, I strive to keep order daily, sometimes hourly. Sigh. As super-organized people will acclaim, cleaning up doesn't happen in one fell swoop. It's the constant micro-tidying and picking up throughout the day as we transition from one activity to the next. With children, this transition happens often and can leave us in complete disarray in the playroom while exiting stage left to have a snack in the kitchen or play in the park. When we return to the crime scene hours later, the floor still covered in the same slaughtered toy remains of children gone wild, we're rightfully stressed. We CAN overcome some of this mess and madness.

Maintaining quick clean-up methods that includes our children's involvement establishes healthy routines that kids crave while alleviating a super-storm at the end of the day. Long story short (too late)... hooks can be an simple keeper of things often needed. They get junk off the floor, creating less visual "mess." They allow easy access to clothes, hats, costumes, and toys that kids can help put away. Regularly used items can quickly be arranged in an organized manner. And... they can look really cool.

Some Off-the-hook hooks. hehe.

Photo & Design: Living Quarters Interior Design. Private residence NYC.

Equestrian leather and brass double hooks from Anthropologie are paired with painted halved milk crates, a perfect repurposed solution for children's books (above) or even a home for sometimes messy collections of stuffed animals (below). Another easy clean-up vessel to consider.

*Important Pro-tip: for wall-hook installation, always pre-drill for appropriate anchors to hold weight for any hanging items. Many times the proper installation hardware is not included in the packing, so be sure the screws you are using are paired with correct anchors for security. Coats and backpacks can be alarmingly heavy. See further notes at the bottom for installation.

Photo & Design: Living Quarters Interior Design, private residence NYC nursery

A rainbow-bright array of color is available from Room & Board for these Crew wall hooks. Group in subtle repetition or wild combinations to make a joyful noise in any children's space. Large in scale at 5" high, these hooks render easy use for small hands to master motor skills in the obligatory task of tidying and cleaning up. Chores become a little less monotonous with these helpers hanging around. Notice the matching screw color on these hooks are imperative to the design... you will need to find anchors according to their specific size in order to keep the look cohesive.

Another great find from CB2 I used recently are these Dot to dot set/3 hooks. A practical place in any bedroom to hang a diaper bag, shirt or toy in a playroom, they can oscillate between an earthly hip and playful vibe. Kids can interact with with this series in countless configurations that introduces learning moments for size, scale, shapes, and texture. Use as a single set or in multiples to create repeating patterns. Paint a series of asymmetrical blossoms over a dresser or otherwise unused wall with these at the center of each flower. Or as wheels to a painted truck or train. Dip-dye in different pastels or primary colors. A stellar idea for a focal wall? Use in combination with other round kitchen/bath cabinet knobs for different sized planets/moons for a solar system on an inky intergalactic background. Possibilities are endless.

Couldn't these meteors be a perfect addition on a galaxy focal wall?! Or a fun accent for an outdoor/explorer theme?

Dressing up the dresser

Livet Hemma, Ikea"s design blog for "Life at Home" transformed this Simple white Ikea dresser by adding a coat of light pastel paint, removing the standard knobs and replacing with these cool leather tab pulls. A makeover from ordinary to unexpected.

*Important to note: if you take on the DIY project of painting an Ikea piece, please note that most are made from particle board covered by laminate. Laminate needs some special attention prior to final paint to hold a solid finish. For best results: prep all pieces prior to fabrication for ease. Light sanding with a fine grit paper/block and wipe down with damp cloth. Follow this with a primer appropriate for laminate that has a shellac base (best are Kilz Adhesion, Zinsser Bin, or Zinsser Bullseye 123). This will give a rock-solid foundation. Dry completely. After inspection, ensuring all surfaces are covered, paint desired color in thin coats with a low-knap super smooth paint roller to avoid texturing the finish. After coats for opaque coverage applied and thoroughly dried between applications, a simple acrylic sealer spray can be adequate to hold paint for low-traffic pieces. For items that see more volume of wear, a heavy duty sealer like Minwax Polyacrylic may be a safer bet.

A classic kids theme that always I am always hooked on is a nautical one. The crisp contrast of summer red, white and blue... or the pale pastels of sea-glass tones are whispers of summertime and lazy afternoon beach days. I found this boat-cleat hook and cabinet door series from DeLong Ceramics at an NYC Union Square holiday market a few years back while actually looking at their gorgeous christmas ornaments. I instead fell in love with these ceramic beauties and picked up a pair of maties (pictured left) and 4 boat cleat hooks for an installation I was finishing. The pair of maties come in 4 seaside tones: white, ivory, aqua, and green are 6" high. with screws. They still occupy booth A12 if you happen to be in the area during the Christmas holiday!

When asked who tackles our household honey-do's and wish-lists, people are sometimes surprised that I take on most "handyman" installations solo. Yet, how could a proficient interior designer possibly have escaped learning a thing or two from the field? Observing the best, asking questions, and giving drywall a run for its money has made me unafraid to take on manageable projects.. and of course know when I'm over my head to call the professionals! One very important lesson that has repeatedly dodged a project fail is the process of drilling and anchoring. For amateurs this task can seem intimidating even with the right tools. But a few tricks of the trade can alleviate this stage-fright.

How do I select the right screws? How do I know what size drill bit to use to pre-drill the anchor holes?

1. First find the best screw that works with the object you are securing.

  • Does the head of the screw sits properly into position? Make sure if a flat or rounded head is needed for the product design, you consider this detail.

  • Choose a finish intentionally that matches or compliments the object if visible.

  • Ensure the length is sufficient to screw through the object plus secure into wall. I usually bring the item to hang with me to the hardware store to test a variety of screws...inevitably if I fail to do this and make a wrong game-time decision, I return shamefully to reselect

2. Match screw to a corresponding anchor appropriate to wall material (drywall, plaster, concrete) by simply turning the screw into the anchor to test the fit. if you're unsure of the proper application, talk to your hardware store experts to determine the best specification for your wall. Remember, if you're screwing into wood, an anchor is not necessary

3. The clincher for pre-drilling: roll the selected anchor and visibly closest diameter drill bit between your thumb and index finger. The difference in diameter between the two will feel almost imperceptible with the perfect match. Its always better to end up with a hole incrementally larger than the anchor shaft, as it should only take a tap of the hammer to secure in place without destroying the wall finish.

**IF you are screwing into wood, you will still need to pre-drill. This time, you will need to make a hole smaller than the screw thread diameter. The hole should be just large enough to create a path for the screw to get started with a drill and still have enough wood to grip the thread .

Happy installations.. more next time on bespoke bunkbeds. Cheers to all things charming, whimsical, and practically unpredictable!

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Mar 08, 2019

This is fabulous! I love your ideas!!!❤️


Mar 08, 2019

What great ideas!!

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