Saving Space

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Open shelving (pictured far left) and countertop displays (far right) are great ways to make the most of minimal storage space.


Reduce clutter and boost style with a newly organized home.

By Bria Balliet

Laguna’s beach bungalows are often big on character but short on square footage. With the new season making its official debut on March 20, embrace the spring cleaning tradition with a permanent solution to clutter: reorganizing to make the most of small areas.

Interior designer Sheldon Harte, whose main office for Harte Brownlee & Associates is on Glenneyre Street, suggests “looking up” as one of the most underestimated ways to achieve this balance of storage and space. “We do what I call seasonal storage, where maybe it’s your holiday decorations or maybe it’s stuff you only use in the summer,” he says.

These ceramic vessels ($78, at Areo Home; 888-814-7988; offer a unique storage solution.

One way to shift belongings skyward is through open shelving. It’s a great approach for those with nicer flatware or glassware that can be displayed, Sheldon notes. “You gain storage because you’re not breaking them up with all those doors and fillers—so those inches [of space] can add up to feet,” he explains.  In addition, opting for open kitchen shelving means that bulkier items are more likely to fit. For difficult pots and pans, Sheldon says hanging them above a stove or an island gets them out of the way neatly while adding a decorative element to the room.

Meanwhile, countertop displays follow a similar approach. “I have a client that doesn’t have a lot of drawer space, so she stores her silverware in vertical ceramic containers,” Sheldon shares. “… She makes an arrangement out of it with forks in one of them and knives and spoons in the other.”

Smaller abodes can also be made more comfortable by transforming everyday pieces of furniture into dual-purpose items. When Sheldon lived on Diamond Street, he found a way to save space with the placement of his dining room table. “When you opened the front door, my dining table was right there. So I turned the chairs backwards so it looked more like an entry table; … when I had parties, I took the chairs away and it became like a grazing table,” he says.

Ultimately, when it comes to making the most of a house of any size, don’t be afraid to break the mold by storing items in less conventional places or using pieces in innovative ways. In the end, the biggest asset to have when organizing a small space is imagination.

More to Store

Check out the following products to maximize space and storage in some of Laguna’s cozier casitas.

A smaller home doesn’t have to appear cluttered. By offering mobility in living spaces and pulling double duty as storage and display, these items help organize all of your goods in some unconventional ways.

J.K. ADAMS LARGE GRAY CEILING POT RACK, $190, at Crate and Barrel, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa (714-825-0060;

Arley Sideboard
ARLEY SIDEBOARD with moveable crate storage, $2,863, at Bliss Home & Design, Corona del Mar (866-312-5610;

LBM_52_Design_Modern Furnishing_3 Tier Table_By Jody Tiongco-15
TRIO-2 LACQUER THREE-TONE SQUARE COFFEE TABLE, $899, at Modern Studio Furnishings (949-376-0103;


CHICHESTER DINING TABLE with wheels for mobility, 
as well as two additional leaves to accommodate placement in a variety of spaces, $2,985, at Tuvalu Home Environment (949-497-3202;

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