It sometimes takes a stranger to understand our own needs. We live so intimately in our homes that most of us have trouble looking objectively at our spaces to improve upon them.
So when Ikea launched a competition for room makeovers, to be selected by video submissions, two local families reached out for help.
Matt and Adriana Marble of Blue Springs formed a solid case for their master bedroom. The couple was living in a common situation: They sacrificed their needs for a restful sanctuary while focusing all their attention on the more “public” rooms of the house.
Their personal space suffered with a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture that didn’t serve their needs or fit their style. When they turned their room over to the Home Tour Squad in January, designer Stephanie Recupero reorganized the space and installed elements that got to the heart of the couple’s issues.
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First, she divided their belongings and turned the closet over to Adriana, taking out a bar that jutted hangers into the room and replacing it with a flexible wardrobe system frame that could adjust for things like knee-high boots. A plate rack from Ikea’s kitchen department serves as a place to hang earrings, while a slender bar from its all-purpose rail system handily ties up Adriana’s extensive collection of scarves.
In the bedroom, the couple’s two old dressers were removed and two new wardrobe systems installed, reaching from floor to ceiling to maximize space. Inside are a hanging bar and drawers, of course, but also off-season storage boxes at the top, open shelves for hats and shoes, a roll-out tie rack, and a tray for rolled-up belts, watches and even Matt’s state football championship rings. LED strips inside the closet light up when the doors open, a thoughtful touch that allows Adriana to continue to sleep through Matt’s early morning routine.
Recupero purposefully left spaces unfilled for the Marbles to figure out on their own. “This system grows with you, allowing you to accumulate more or change what you have,” she explains.
Additionally, a new dresser provides drawers for folded items or media storage below the TV. The top, now clear of these objects, can serve as a drop zone for keys and wallets.
With everything dutifully put away, additional space was left over, especially on the walls. Recupero used this vertical space for displaying treasured objects and family photos. She also made additional tweaks to the floor plan, such as squaring up the bed, not on the wall but in relation to the windows, and reunited a split pair of chairs, placing them around a low table that might now be used for more than clutter.
“We can actually sit and relax,” Adriana says.
In surprise makeover fashion, the Marbles were nearly speechless about the alterations when they first saw them.
“This is exactly what we wanted but never knew,” Matt finally sputters. “It feels like home now whereas it was always just a place to put our bed.”
From awkward to awesome
Across town in Fairway, Wade and Kristy Johnston had a different design problem for the Home Tour Squad.
Wade’s basement-level office was an odd L-shape and poorly lit. His desk was decently organized, but for a graphic designer spending eight to 10 hours and occasionally hosting clients in that space, it wasn’t up to snuff.
“I wanted to redo my office so it was more like a lounge,” Wade explains.
Designer Robin Bach broke down the area into three distinct spaces that cohesively make sense: a seating area, a conference area and a work area.
She moved a couch down from upstairs and paired it with a low cork coffee table as a comfortable place to read; a rug under a new table and chairs visually differentiates a meeting place; and a desk reoriented toward the room instead of facing a wall overlooks it all.
Kristy could hardly believe the transformation. “It’s intimate, even with these big pieces,” she says. “I would have thought all the furniture would be too much, but it’s perfect.”
Ikea upgraded Wade’s desk to one that raises from chair height to standing height at the push of a button, along with a lumbar-supporting chair and foot rest.
Bach addressed the poor lighting with multiple fixtures — sconce, spotlight and chandelier — and the inclusion of a mirror reflects that light throughout. Bach also personalized Wade’s space by displaying his vintage cameras and hanging posters of his work that he never thought to do before. Details like cord organizers and a clock on the wall impressed Wade, too.
In a weird closet-like space the Johnstons never knew what to do with, Bach added multiple wall shelves and a flat file for Wade’s artwork.
“It finally looks like it has a purpose,” Wade notes. In fact, the entire space now fulfills a purpose, multitasking professionally and personally.
After the excitement of the reveals and a chance to settle in, the two makeover families have a new understanding of what it means to be organized and efficient: It leaves room for living life.
For the Marbles, that translates into Saturday morning cuddles in bed with all three of their girls; and for the Johnstons, it means a more productive environment that’s welcoming to all.
To see the two makeover reveals in action, go to HomeTourSeries.com in March.