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Small Room Needs Some Space

A couple who works from home gets help organizing their small living room/office.

What happens when two people live in a small apartment and work from home? A complete mess, that's what! Nicole Mensinger and Abe Bradshaw both work from the living room of their Brooklyn brownstone. They love their place, but are tired of living in a cramped and chaotic environment. They are at the end of their rope. That's where professional organizer Randy Ballesteros comes into play. He is a small-space expert who is ready to take on this challenge.

The couple's dining table doubles as an office space and storage unit, thus finding a place to sit and eat can often be challenging. They don't have much of a filing system, so there are mounds of paper piled on top of the table as well as underneath it. That becomes a big problem when it is time to relax because they are still surrounded by their work. They'd like to have a place to put the work and papers away, so when it comes time to chill out, they can.

The old dining table was too big for the space, so it is replaced with a small table that has the perfect form and function for the room. It opens up for a large work or eating surface, then folds down when they need more space in the room. A wall-mounted cabinet hung above the table serves as an office center. The wobbly recessed shelves are replaced with much sturdier ones to hold the couple's large multimedia collection and treasured knickknacks. A new entertainment center sits center stage and provides more storage.

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Old brownstones such as this rarely have a lot of storage. This apartment has only two closets, both of which are in the living room. Mixed in with the couple's clothes are mops, buckets, tools and all sorts of other miscellaneous stuff. Between the two closets is a small shelving unit that the couple found on the street. It has become an unsightly catchall for mail and paperwork. There is so much stuff lying around the apartment, Abe's new record player and collection of classic vinyl has turned into a storage table. He would like to play a record without first having to move mounds of paper off the turntable.

The walls are repainted a soft blue to lighten up the room and make it feel larger. Two tall, white cabinets are placed between the closets, each with its own distinct purpose. One cabinet is dedicated to Abe's record collection and all his music stuff. The second cabinet houses all of Nicole's paperwork and office supplies. The two closets are also given their own distinct purpose. The small closet is now only used for hanging clothes. The bigger closet, with the wing walls, is lined with shelves. One side is just for shoes, while other side is used for household and miscellaneous items. Placing the majority of hanging items in the first closet ensures that the items that are placed in the second closet are easily accessible.

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