Saturday, February 20, 2016

Look Up for Great Storage

We love board games. We have lots of board games. Storing board games in a traditional house is easy because closets are common. Here in the Shouse, closets are non-existent. I contemplated storing them up in one of the lofts, but as the old saying goes, "Out of sight is out of mind." I know that had we stashed all the games up in the loft, they would remain there and we would rarely get them down to enjoy.

For a time now I had stored some of the games in the living room on shelves. I hated this. I would sit down to relax after a long day and look at the cluttered (and sadly often dusty) shelves with the chaos driving me to distraction. Then when we cleaned out the storage barn we found two more boxes of games. There was no way all those games would fit on my existing shelves. I had to come up with a better way to store the games where they were both easily accessible, but still tidy.

I kicked around lots of ideas like adding cabinets with doors (too expensive), building a wall of bookshelves to look "built in" (same problem I already had, just more expensive), and adding skirts or curtains to the existing bookshelves to hide the contents of the shelves. None of those ideas felt right.

Poking about on the web, as I can frequently be found to do, I came across this bit of inspiration by doing a Google image search:

I hadn't yet finished the ceiling area in the living room. I wanted to embrace the exposed joists that supported the upper loft and formed the ceiling for the living room. I had several ideas for finishing the ceiling, but other projects too priority, to the ceiling was fair game.

Looking over lumber at my local DIY big box store, I settled on 8' lengths of 2.5" wide by 3/4" thick lengths of wood. Each one cost just under $1.50.  These are sold in bundles of 6 by my local store, so I bought 5 bundles, making 30 boards total. I also purchased a box of 2.5" Torx screws to secure the boards to the joists.

I contemplated staining the boards before putting them up, but ultimately settled on the natural wood. I really like to embrace the colors nature has created. These are pine boards, they are light in color and have a very fine grain with occasional knots. Some boards have nicks, chips, or slight splitting. I embrace those unique qualities. Because of the way I chose to put the boards up, the combined strength of the shelves is surprisingly high.

Measuring the distance the shelves would need to span, I found the room to be just over 10' wide with 6 joists. I settled on cutting the wood in 6' and 4' lengths. By first attaching a 6' board then butting up the 4' board, I was able to span the room. The next row I flipped starting with the 4' length and then adding the 6' length. I did this 7 times. This made my shelves 22.5" deep; plenty deep for board games, books, shallow long baskets, etc. The final available shelf space varied slightly as I had one double joist in the ceiling, but the average space between the joists was 22". I repeated these shelves on the opposite side of the room. As an added bonus the shelves concealed the insulation exposed from the loft.

I moved all the board games into their new spaces and was able to declutter the book shelves. I couldn't be more pleased with the overall look. Living in a Tiny House has many challenges, but one-by-one each challenge can be met. I love finding creative ways to add storage and character to my Shouse.

Part of the fun of building your own house is experimenting with options. Get creative with storage and don't forget to look up.

Now, how to finish the underside of the loft so the oriented strand board doesn't look so bad... hmm. On to the next project!