Saturday, March 26, 2011

26 March 1957 “Space Savers”

Following up on our guest blog organizing topic, I thought I’d share some more smart vintage storage solutions.

closetarticle1This article has some very good closet solutions. By simply building out a wasted corner in the bedroom storage is made. It would be a simple matter of some 2 x 4’s and molding and paint. This also adds, I think, more interest to the room. As the variation in the line of the wall gives architectural interest to a room, rather that the usual builders square many modern homes present to us.

The fact that they lined the inside with fabric that matches their chair is an easy and fun touch. Think what a great way to use that small amount of vintage fabric or single roll of vintage wall paper. You could also build out a corner like this, make the bottom a closed cupboard and the top open book/display shelves. Then you could like it with that vintage paper or fabric. Really, this is a doable DIY project for the homemaker, no need to put on a  “Honey Do” list here.

 closetarticle2 closetarticle3 The first section of this idea shows a hall closet. I love the idea of the inexpensive window shade to pull down to disguise perhaps not the prettiest storage on top shelf. Another use for vintage paper affixed to the shade! The closed box on the floor is for boots and things and the mirror in the door with little closed shelf would be great for even the tiniest apartment. It basically gives you the front hall even if you haven’t one. And we should have a place for keys and last minute touch ups at the door.

The second image shows another ingenious idea. How clever is this: A built shelf only 6 1/2 inches deep on piano hinges. So when you aren’t accessing it, it simply folds against the closet wall. This is great for anyone with a simply little square closet in a bedroom. It swivels out for great access and then just folds away. Shoes take up a considerable amount of space and the little spots for all your handbags and such. I think one could even make a little jewelry storage area as well. If someone is in a tiny one bedroom or even a studio apartment, what a great solution this would make. It almost could make one closet into three (With one on either side of the closet).

For the last shoe storage solution,  you wouldn’t even need a trip to IKEA. Any hardware store sells dowels. Simply angling wooden strips on your closet walls and drilling holes for the dowels and viola’ shoe storage where you want it!

kitchenhideawaytable I think this little hideaway table in my 1940’s homemaker’s manual is very clever. Though here presented as the perfect spot for the homemaker’s afternoon lunch, how great would this be for a ‘hideaway office’. Many of we modern people have laptops. If you have a small place or even just a corner somewhere and no room for  your own little office, what a great trade off. You could have a section of the kitchen or mudroom that could fold out like this for bill paying, online recreation and even part of a cabinet could be used to store your files of bills paid and other documents. Even a second drawer or shelf for small craft supplies for that impromptu moment of creativity that is easily cleaned up before hubby or children come home. I like this idea a lot!

kitchenstorage These kitchen storage ideas are very clever and I particularly like the center one. Simply taking out a space between wall studs (Usually 16 inches of space) one could make such a shelf. You could live it open storage or hand a gay vintage curtain over it. No room for a root cellar/basement storage for those home canned goods? Well, there you go! When we think about what we really need to make a day of food and clothes and entertainment and office time, we can see very little space can provide a lot. And, the more we make things streamlined and organized the LESS time it takes to clean it up and keep up with it. And for mother’s what a great lesson to a child, the lesson of organization and tight living. Especially as they will one day be at college and living in small spaces themselves most likely. Who needs IKEA?

I hope you enjoy these little ideas and share any of your own with us. Happy Homemaking.


  1. Thank you for sharing -- these are terrific ideas! I'm amazed by how much more usable they've made these small spaces.

  2. Very interesting. I really like the hide away desk.

  3. I love the hide-a-way table. It would be great to be able to sit to do many household chores. I love the fact that these ideas don't cost a fortune. In the 50s, most husbands would have had the skills to make those changes to their houses (and without cordless drills)!
    We drove to an antique store in the country today and spent $25 on a chrome table with a red formica top for our breakfast room. It was manufactured in Denver, probably in the 50s. We're just delighted with it and as soon as my husband gets it shined up, it will go in our breakfast room. Finding 4 matching chrome chairs with intact upholstery will prove to be difficult, so we will probably find unfinished wooden chairs and paint them, still a retro look.
    Thanks for another great post.......Denise

  4. Innovative and creative ideas that would work especially well in older homes. Our house is a very well built house from 1969 but it does have something in common with other houses its age and younger: bifold doors on all of the closets! While I have taken some of them off and replace them with curtains, that solution does not give usable door for additional storage. Unfortunately, even basic slab doors which are hollow are expensive and fiddly to install. It makes one wonder if the less efficient allotment of space in slightly newer houses has been the building industry's way of encouraging people to want larger(read more expensive) and larger houses.

  5. I lived in a 1900's house that had a pantry cabinet built between studs of the wall. It had two doors on it (spanned three studs) and they had shelves just tall enough for a 16 ounce can from eye level to floor. It was the handiest little pantry and took only unused space on an inside wall.

  6. The 'between the studs' shelving is smart and really easy. I am telling any of you homemakers, this is an easy no-hubby-needed fix. Especially if you live in a more modern house (with drywall/gypsum board) because a simple little drywall saw and a stud finder it's so easy to do with very little mess. Drywall cuts rather easily and the rough edge left on the stud is then simply 'trimmed out' with 1 by's bought at your local lumber yard and stained or painted.
    I love the little desk as well. What a great solution for a small kitchen or a small studio apartment. If one had to live very tight in NYC or some other small space, this could be your craft center/studio/office/bill paying station easily folded away as well as a serving try for cocktails or hors dourves.

  7. The between the studs shelves are fantastic for small items that would get lost in a big pantry, like a box of Jello. I had a tiny 4.5 depth pantry in my old kitchen and it was so nice to find something without rummaging. Just be sure there aren't any pipes in your walls if you're doing it yourself. Sawing into water pipes is messy but gas pipes would be dangerous!



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