Guest Groups: Get That Kitchen Organized!

When I am in the kitchen, among my greatest priorities is staying organized. An kitchen helps things run smoothly so that you can focus more on creating great meals. Here are a few things that I believe would help organize a kitchen without making it look too industrial. — Natalie out of Perry’s Plate

Lillian Vernon

Peel and Stick Chalkboard Panels – $22.98

I am a big fan of boards. All these Peel and Stick Chalkboard Panels would be ideal for menu planning.


SmartShopper 301 Digital Grocery List

This is an excellent little gadget for recording, organizing and printing your grocery list.


Slide Out Lid and Pan Organizer – $34.99

This lid and pan organizer slides in and out of the cupboard, which means you can stay away from unsteady heaps of cookware.

The Container Store

Portochef Recipe Easel by Umbra┬« – $29.99

This would be a great addition to your own menu planning. Put all of the recipes to be applied during the week within the organizer, and it keeps them dry and clean while you work.


Maple Peg Drawer Organizer – $59.95

This pegboard allows you to customize the way you want to organize your cupboard.

The Container Store

Fridge Binz – $7.99

Use these bins to organize items in the freezer or fridge. These would be great for oddly shaped items that don’t stack well.

Pottery Barn

Cucina Wall-Mount Kitchen Roll Organizer – $49

This handy kitchen roll organizer makes even a roll of paper towels appear elegant.

Lillian Vernon

Sure-Grip Tool Holder – $9.98

Keep your brooms and mops standing vertical and ready to wash with this handy tool holder.

The Container Store

Hermetic Glass Storage Jars – $2.99

Glass jars are so much more interesting to check in plastic containers.

Pottery Barn

Behind the Door Wire Storage – $59

Use that area behind your pantry door for keeping oft-used accessories, freeing up valuable counter space.


Stainless Steel Recipe Divider Magnet – $9.99

There is no need to perform complicated fractions from the kitchen. I love this particular magnetic recipe divider that really does all of the grunt work for you.


Compost Pail – $59.99

If you are in to composting, this would be a sleek way to hide smelly dinner scraps. Thank goodness for odor absorption.


Exact Spice Rack – $49.99

This place for your spices also keeps measuring cups and spoons.

Pottery Barn

Stackable Fruit Crates – $119

I love these stackable crates. They’re a great way to get a farmers’-market feel in your kitchen.

Pottery Barn

Vintage Cleaning Caddy – $79

If I had all of my cleaning supplies stored in one place, I am prepared to bet that my home would be tidier. Well, at the very least cleaning supplies would look cute in their caddy.

Pottery Barn

Pot Rack – $99

Clear up some cupboard space and store your pots on a pot rack.


Castela Milk Crate, Large – $35.69

These baskets would be ideal for storing cookbooks, magazines, as well as onions and potatoes.


Bakers Cooling Rack – $19.99

I really like that this cooling system not only saves counter space, but cupboard space too.


Bamboo Turntable – $25.69

A turntable such as that one makes corner cabinets useful again! You might even use this to hold condiments and tiny dishes at the dinner table.

Next: 12 Ways Toward a Nicer Kitchen

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A Hideaway for All Ages Perched Among the Trees at Maine

“I went through this place in a boat once, and I couldn’t even find it,” says architect David Matero, that sited this playhouse so nicely one of the spruce trees that it’s practically invisible by a hundred yards away. The architect made the contemporary Adirondack-style structure to be a place where his clients can play games, read, have fun sleepovers and even find a little privacy when the main home is crowded. A brand new rope bridge joins the tiny home — they call it a treehouse because of its placement among the trees — to some zip-line platform. From the stage the main home is a zip ride away.

David Matero Architecture

Interior photographs by Darren Setlow Photography; exterior photographs by David Matero

At a Glance
Who plays here:
A family from California and their buddies
Location: Harpswell, Maine
Size: 350 square feet (32.5 square meters)

The home is not literally a treehouse but is perched one of the trees so nicely that it has earned the name. “There really aren’t trees in Maine that would support a construction in this way,” Matero states. While this side matches the ground, the home sits close to the edge of a cliff. The long fall from the back of the home and how it’s nestled among the spruces give it a treehouse feel.

David Matero Architecture

“The site is really lively,” Matero states. The back of the home faces the water and can be high above the ground. A cliff outside it makes the height seem even more spectacular in the 2 balconies. One is off the main living space, and the other is off the sleeping loft.

This rope bridge joins the treehouse to the zip-line stage, which is just out of view to the right. Originally the family needed to create the treehouse atop the existing stage, but after working on a few proposals using engineers, Matero found it was not possible. Instead, relatives run across the rope bridge to the stage and zip down to the main property.

Here the home is concealed.

Every one of those western redcedar shingles was hand dipped in Australian timber oil. This gives them an appearance that aids the house blend into the woods. “I wished to give it a contemporary Adirondack-camp look,” Matero states. Pictured here is Mark Parker, caretaker of the property.

David Matero Architecture

Inside, a round window that came from another home that once stood on the property has been repurposed. The inside of the room is rough-sawn natural Douglas fir. Even though the treehouse is electrified, it doesn’t have pipes, insulation, heating or ac. It is strictly a summer hideout.

The built in window seats along the right side may double as double beds. The mahogany table folds down from the wall.

David Matero Architecture

The table is a superb place for eating snacks, playing games and doing puzzles, even while the window seats provide comfy spots to curl up with books, visit or watch out for ospreys and eagles. “The homeowners intended to utilize the treehouse themselves also. It is not just all for drama,” Matero states.

David Matero Architecture

When planning the space, the homeowners needed a sleeping loft of their own. They could use it like a fun little getaway or let guests use it.

“The homeowner was quite conscientious about mild,” Matero states. Skylights and windows open up the loft to as much light as possible.

Light fixture: Artecnica Midsummer Light by Studio Tord Boontje; bedding: Chinoiserie Pearl, DwellStudio

David Matero Architecture

The sleeping loft has its own balcony.

Here’s the view out to the water. It’s easy to understand why the home has been deemed a “treehouse” in this picture.

All windows except the window: Anderson

Architecture: David Matero Architecture
Builder: Brent Akins, Housewrights & Craftsmen

5 Fantastic Homes Having a Treehouse Feel
11 Amazing Home-Away-From-Home Treehouses

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Kitchen of the Week: Historic Queen Anne Renovation

Homeowner and architect Geoffrey Gainer of True Size Architecture Resides in a Queen Anne in San Francisco’s Mission district. While renovating the kitchen, he did not like the notion of attempting to hide new appliances behind wood paneling, but he didn’t want to look a modern space that would jar with the rest of the home. See the way he solved this layout dilemma by using materials that would show gentle wear with time.

Actual-Size Architecture

Gainer took out a wall between the kitchen and dining rooms to unite the spaces. The salvaged Douglas fir shelves come in the original 120-year-old wall, making the kitchen and historical home more cohesive. All these shelves, the cork floors and also the paper-based countertops will all ding, dent and darken over time to meld with the home’s old charm.

Gainer discovered the classic chandelier and made two kitchen pendants to match. Located parts from Ohmega Salvage along with the hardware store help tie the dining and kitchen area collectively. The massive steel post in front of the island serves as a structural support beam in the ceiling and functions as a conduit for the shelf lights’ wiring.

Metalwork: Wendell Jones; sheet metal (except hood): stainless steel, Pacific Coast Stainless

Actual-Size Architecture

The open cabinets are a great way to solve the shortage of lighting in the kitchen. Since this type of historical residence, Gainer could not expand the windows or transfer them. The floating glass cabinetry allows the light to filter through the full kitchen. Gainer bought knobs at Ikea and painted and sanded them to get a luxury appearance.

“Two sinks result in a fantastic marriage. It is seriously worth the additional couple million bucks,” says Gainer. He and his wife understood that it’d be hard for both to find room in the stove too, so they found a set of two electric burners in a garage sale and put in them below the window facing the porch.

Cabinetry and shelving: habit by David Brunjes; cabinetry completing: Ciarlo Brothers

Actual-Size Architecture

The lower cabinetry has been kept open to make obtaining everyday items easy. The kitchen island is open to the dining space, but Gainer did not want his guests to observe a kitchen mess while eating, so he wired the kitchen lighting and dining lights separately. At night, when the kitchen lights are off, the distance feels completely different.

Countertop: Richlite; fridge: GE Profile; range: Viking; hood: Stack, Rangecraft

Actual-Size Architecture

The space-saving island layout is Gainer’s favorite thing about the kitchen. The top drawer is a knife rack and the third drawer has a pot-lid rack using adjustable steel rods, which he designed. The distance between the sink and the cabinet walls was just big enough for Gainer to devote a drawer for tall bottles of olive oil and other cooking essentials. The front of this sink is truly a tilt-out tray to keep items easy, and there’s a habit swing-out trash can for easy cleanup.

Actual-Size Architecture

Gainer and his wife have two young brothers, so child friendliness was important. “Keeping them at the counter is much easier than attempting to monitor the mess in the table, and they like it better there too,” he says.

Oven: Miele; wall spout: Elkay; faucets: Chicago

More: How to Remodel Your Kitchen | More Kitchens of the Week

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Searching for 'Live-Apartners'

We’ve been visiting examples of his-and-hers bathrooms and vanities for quite some time today on . (Some say that the excess sink space does wonders in terms of maintaining the peace of a married couple.) And we recently featured a lodge in Oregon, in which a retired couple maintain both his-and-hers sinks and separate master bedrooms.

Renewal Design-Build

This Oregon couple isn’t alone. Even the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 1.7 million married couples were living apart for reasons aside from legal separation: commuter marriages, a challenging economy that’s forced couples to carry jobs wherever they are available and personal tastes. Across the pond, the Office for National Statistics has set the amount of “live-apartners” from the U.K. in 1.2 million, citing high-profile celebrities Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Burton as an instance of a happy married pair residing in adjoining flats in Hampstead, North London.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

This picture shows half a shared bathroom (with different his-and-hers sinks and a tub that is used just from the woman of the home). 1 door leads to her bedroom …

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

… and yet another leads to his.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

Interior designer Tracy Murdock met a client’s request to design a custom double queen-size mattress for this bedroom setup. She says, “The clients requested a special bed that would permit each of them to get their own space nevertheless still be together, so we created a large platform bed with two queen mattresses on the stage, each on its own control for adjusting firmness.”

Prove us Are you currently part of the growing “live-apartner” trend? Do you and your partner keep separate bathrooms, living spaces, sleeping quarters or homes? If this is the case, please post an image in the Opinions section and inform us. Your distance could appear in a follow-up feature on .

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