Category Archives: House & Home

The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

One of my big goals in 2017 is to get hyper-organized in all areas of my life, from client processes to the way I store my makeup to the tidiness of my closet.

The beauty of getting organized is that as you’re sorting, it becomes crystal clear what items no longer have a place in your life. If there isn’t room or it no longer serves a purpose, throw it out! There’s a sense of satisfaction in letting go and donating all that clutter.

I didn’t always have a walk-in closet. In fact, until a year ago, my clothing and accessories were confined to two side-by-side IKEA wardrobes because there wasn’t enough built-in closet space in my 1920s home to hold much of anything.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

My IKEA wardrobes made it easy to stay organized with add-in drawers and shoe racks and Joey took over the small closet in our room. This worked well….but there was an even better solution lurking in a drafty, bare raftered attic space tucked behind a door off to the side of our room. Most of the time, I forgot it was even there.

A few years earlier, Joey had spent a month remodeling it to use as an art studio, cutting odd-shaped drywall pieces to align with the peaked roof and angled beams. When that was done, he painted it out and added flooring. It was cozy but even in the center, the space wasn’t quite 6 feet tall so he had to duck inside and always sit on the floor to work. It wasn’t ideal for him but it was perfect for me since I’m 5 foot 3.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

The Tour

After Joey built out a new, roomier studio space in the basement, I took over the former attic area. In went more shelving, Cole and Sons woods wallpaper left over from our dining room, a fresh coat of white paint and rope lights, which snaked along the floor seams.

This once unused, dark space I always avoided slowly came to life and was now the perfect hangout for playing with new looks and getting dressed up!

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Once the space was cleaned up, we moved onto a solution for holding all my clothing. A lot of you ladies who have had clothing racks know that the cheaper store-bought ones tend to bow in the middle or come crashing down from too much weight (been there, done that!)

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

On the other hand, metal pipes can handle all those dresses! Joey built 3 clothing racks in total from supplies he found at the hardware store. They line up with the pitch of the ceiling. The center is taller and holds dresses, some of which are quite long while the left side holds skirts and coats and the right holds tops and sweaters.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Right by the entrance to the left, there are shallow built-in shelves which are perfect for holding clutches, sunglasses and shoes. The wallpaper behind them adds a nice pop of pattern.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Below those shallow shelves are the things I need to grab most often, tucked away in white wicker baskets from Target including underwear, bras and pajamas.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

A nail was added to the side so I could hang up a few smaller bags.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Behind that are beam supports that once left an open area of wasted space so Joey added a piece of wood as a base and then angled slats which make it possible to display more shoes. (In case you’re wondering: in a past life, I sold shoes for 5 years and the obsession rages on.)

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Along one side of the space is a very long, windowless area that’s much too narrow for furniture. This was by far the hardest part to figure out a solution for because we couldn’t have anything bulky along the walls.

It has a steep incline so we installed a long piece of wood from Home Depot along the entire length which makes it an ideal spot for more sunglasses, purses and jewelry.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Below the shelving is a row of identical IKEA white banker’s boxes which are used for storing purses, keepsakes and everything I want to keep but isn’t used regularly enough to have sitting out.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

On the right, we installed four round IKEA mirrors which create visual interest and reflect light.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Along the very back of this narrow area, Joey built in additional shelves which I use to hold the basics that don’t need to be hung up. I use them to store a stack of leggings (top), jeans (middle) and hats (bottom). On the floor, I have storage boxes for more bulky stuff (shoeboxes for designer items I want to keep) and on those rest clear plastic organizer trays for scarves, socks and tights, all arranged by color.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Closet Sources

• Round mirrors (similar), IKEA
White banker’s boxes, IKEA
• White wicker baskets (sold out), Target
• Clear jewelry and sock trays (similar), Target
Woods wallpaper, Cole and Son
Paper bags, Be-Poles
• Metal hangers (sold out but I love these from HAY), IKEA
White pendant light, IKEA
• Clothing rack piping and supplies, True Value
Rope lights, Home Depot

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

5 Organizing Tips

I have a few easy tips to help you stay organized once and for all:

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

1. Arrange your clothing first by type and then by color.

Think of it this way: if you’re looking for a shirt, you know where to focus and you tend to remember an item of clothing based on its color. I have a ton of dresses and if I’m in the mood for a pink one, I can quickly locate my options.

2. Store your less used items away.

Get rid of the clutter by buying up a bunch of boxes in the same color and style to create a sense of uniformity and clean lines while hiding those seasonal items and keepsakes. Out of sight, out of mind!

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

3. Roll your socks and tights.

These items get tangled and separated easily but if you’ve rolled them into trays, it’s easy to find a specific color and pattern quickly without ending up with the entire tray thrown onto the ground!

4. Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space.

My closet as a whole is a pretty decent side but the right side is very long, dark and narrow. Adding a row of mirrors creates a sense of depth and makes it feel slightly less claustrophobic.

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5. Wrangle odds and ends you don’t want to lose track of into bags.

I love Le Sac En Papier bags because they’re sturdy and stylish while hiding clutter. I have a ton of swimwear (I tend to travel to warm locales often) but don’t use it on a daily basis. The pieces all go in this bag so I can find them easily when packing.

Nubby Twiglet | The Closet Chronicles: A Tour Plus 5 Easy Organization Tips

Thanks for reading! It’s been pretty rewarding taking this once wasted space and transforming it something that I now use every day. With everything having a place, it’s less likely to get messy because I have no excuses.

Any questions about the space or organization? Let me know in the comments!

A Tour Of My Black-Walled Bedroom

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

When I moved into my house back in 2009, my bedroom was painted a horrid shade of glossy band-aid beige. Actually, the entire upstairs was. My aunt Shannon spent her days off helping me cover it up as quickly as possible with my home office across the hall becoming white with black trim and my bedroom becoming black with white trim.

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

I’d always dreamed of having a black room and finally owning a place of my own gave me that chance. The thing about my bedroom is that the ceiling takes on the shape of the roof so it has a very high center. Having a high ceiling that is edged in trim painted white means that the black doesn’t feel so suffocating.

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

While I’ve always been a fan of stark, graphic color schemes (surprise, surprise!), when Joey moved in shortly after, he wasn’t a fan of having absolutely no color. In my mind, I spend my days working with tons of colors as I create my clients’ brands. Color is always on my brain so when I go home to relax, I crave a blank slate.

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

I’d been talking to Joey about revamping our room with a splash of color over the Summer but felt stumped. I wasn’t sure how. Then, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “A massive portrait of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra.” I told him I wanted a piece of art for our room and since he loves pink, I went with a pink background. Joey is a painter specializing in pop art style portraits so he was up for the challenge. He kept her hidden in the basement until he was done and surprised me with a 4 for tall painting a few weeks later!

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

As soon as the painting was done, I ordered two Chad Wys prints splashed in similar colors, one for each side of the bed. A few weeks later, I was walking through the medina in Marrakech and stepped into a shop selling hand-loomed wool blankets. The pink stripes matched Joey’s painting perfectly so I bought it for a total steal (about $40.00) and it became our bedspread.

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

Our room still felt barren so I grabbed a big, lush plant from IKEA, along with a lamp and added a geometric wall planter.

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

Finally, Joey had the idea to revamp the built-in storage cupboards on the wall next to our bed. He removed the doors, knocked out the center framing, painted the interior black and mounted a TV. Now, it feels like a much better, more customized use of space.

The thing I should mention about our bedroom is that it’s even more challenging to decorate given that it has 4 full-size doorways. Yes, you read that right. This means that there’s very limited wall space for furniture. Door #1 is the entrance to the room. Door #2 is Joey’s closet. Door #3 was a storage space Joey remodeled and turned into a shoe closet for me. Door #4 was a massive attic area that Joey remodeled and turned into my walk-in closet. (For the record: yes, I know I’m lucky!)

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

That’s my walk-in closet above. With all the doors that need to swing open, we’ve purposefully kept the furniture situation super minimal. We just have a bed and 2 nightstands so the space doesn’t feel overly crammed.

If you’re interested, here are the decor sources for our space. Some items were purchased 8 years ago so I no longer have links but all the recent items are linked:

Elizabeth Taylor painting: Joey Maas
Chad Wys prints: Society 6
Face pillow: Urban Outfitters
White lamp: IKEA
Acrylic nightstands: Ebay (old)
Plant and planter: IKEA
Cut-out bed frame: West Elm (white is discontinued)
Pompom blanket: shop in Marrakech
Light: Ebay (old)
Statue bust: Home Goods (old)
Geometric wall planter: Urban Outfitters
White TV: Sceptre via Amazon

Nubby Twiglet | My Black-Walled Bedroom

The cool part about this room revamp is that it cost very little. We already had the furniture and the walls were already painted — all it came down to were a few splashes of colors, some plants and a few pieces of art. I love how the vibe of a room can change with a handful of adjustments.

Of course, being Winter, the lighting situation isn’t ideal so I apologize for the graininess and lack of quality of these photos. I hope you enjoyed the tour and if you want a tour of my walk-in closet, let me know in the comments!

On a final note, Joey is accepting custom commissions so if you have a portrait in mind, get in touch at joeymaas@gmail.com.

Next up in home posts: our newly remodeled bathroom!

The Brand New Bathroom: In Progress

Nubby Twiglet | The Brand New Bathroom: Martinique Wallpaper

I’ve missed you guys this week! I’ve been holed up in the studio finishing a bunch of branding projects and sending the next issue of Rock n Roll Bride off to the printers while also putting the finishing touches on our newly remodeled bathroom (wallpaper! brass everything!) before leaving for Italy.

Our house has been in complete shambles over the last month as our upstairs bathroom has slowly been getting gutted and revamped into a much brighter, more modern space. Finally, we’ve turned the corner with all the dirty, hard work being done (plumbing, drywall, painting) and all the fun design details are now coming into play.

I’ll be doing a big reveal with before and after shots once I’m back from traveling but in the meantime, I wanted to give you the inside scoop on what it’s going to look like! The focal point of the room is going to be the Martinique wallpaper that I’ve been obsessed with for years. I first spotted it at Indochine in New York back in 2002 and then again at the Beverly Hills Hotel last year. So good, right?!

I went back and forth for weeks on a wallpaper choice and first decided on this design but realized it was a non-repeating pattern that was cut into a custom mural-style piece. I figured if we messed up hanging it, the whole thing would be a total waste so back to the Martinique pattern it was. Since we were able to borrow a tile saw from a friend and Joey did all the remodeling and tiling himself, we had some wiggle room to splurge on something we both love (and that will remind us every day of Palm Springs!)

To accent the very bold banana leaf pattern, we’ve gone with all brass hardware on every detail from the sink faucet to the toilet lever to the p-trap. The rest of the details including the tile, grout and paint are white. The wallpaper does the talking (and rightfully so – this is a true classic!) so the rest of the bathroom is modern and understated.

Nubby Twiglet | The Brand New Bathroom: Martinique Wallpaper

Sources: Martinique wallpaper, brass mirror, brass toilet paper holder, brass towel ring, brass faucet, brass toilet handle, subway tile, brass p-trap and brass and marble knob.

This bathroom remodel has been a turning point for me. In the past, I felt the need to rush through every house project, brushing past the tiny details because I just wanted it to be done. Now that I’m a bit older getting more into house stuff, I’m enjoying researching options more. I didn’t know what a p-trap even was before this remodel but now I want everything to match. Even researching knobs for our medicine cabinet has been fun (for the record, Anthropologie has some amazing options).

I can’t wait to show you the outcome…along with the atrocious before photos! Because, my friends, whoever thought it was a good idea to glue linoleum directly to the walls of our poor little 1928 bathroom needs to get schooled. I’m so relieved that view has been replaced with floor-to-ceiling white subway tile. Ahhh, sweet relief.

5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

I moved into my current studio space a year and a half ago but it’s only been in the last month that I’ve felt really at home and content. Maybe that’s true of anywhere you live or work — it takes awhile to find a balance in your surroundings and a ton of trial and error.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

It’s about moving furniture around into the right configuration, finding art that inspires you and picking out plants that liven up your space but also about settling in and having routines.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

It’s a process that’s partially about self exploration (what do you really like? What inspires you day after day?) and also, practicality. I made the mistake of doing a few impulse buys on “pretty” things during the first year that just didn’t work out — mainly uncomfortable furniture and items that weren’t well made.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Early on when I was planning out my studio, I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of sources and ideas. I occasionally still pin photos there and it’s fun to look back and see the evolution of a space.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

There are 5 key elements that have made this space feel just right and I hope they give you some ideas for your own, as well. The great part is, most of these tips will work just as well in a spare corner of your room as they will in a larger space.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

1. Inspiration board

Nothing beats the feeling of pinning up great business cards, pages from magazines and thank you notes into one big, loose collage. I have a massive inspiration board next to my desk that Joey built for me on a small budget. If you want to create one in a similar style, here’s the DIY.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

2. Personal photos

A workspace isn’t complete without a few personal mementos. I have a handful of photobooth strips with friends tacked up but beyond that, I love ordering square print sets from Artifact Uprising because you can do it straight from your phone. Bring all those digital photos to life! Current favorite: that baby photo of Chubs! Awwww.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

3. Practical, multi-purpose furniture

When I moved into my space, my furniture was a mix of hand-me-downs and impulse buys. None of it was very practical, except my bookshelf. Over time, I’ve focused in more on function. The plant stand (below) is a new favorite from IKEA that fills up wasted corner space nicely but also groups up some of the plants that were taking up valuable desk space.

I also switched my desk out for a big kitchen table (also IKEA) as the studio grew so 2 computers can comfortably fit. Kitchen tables are great because they’re a pretty fixed, comfortable height, unlike a lot of desks I tested out which were too tall.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

4. Books and magazines

I’ll say it again and again: print isn’t dead! If anything, I appreciate my collection of books and magazines now more than ever. I love going out and searching for fresh print inspiration at Rich’s Cigar Store (magazines) and Powell’s and Anthropologie (books).

If you have an open wall in your place, you can create a simple display for them — Joey mounted leftover door moulding with metal dowels from the hardware store and it’s held up great.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

5. Plants, plants and more plants

Plants breathe instant life into any space and they’re an affordable way to add personality. I’ve bought most of mine from IKEA and Trader Joe’s and then picked up a few specialty cacti from Portland Nursery.

Plants not only look good but they give you a reason to get out of your seat and tend to them! Quick tip: I use a spray bottle to mist my cacti and succulents to avoid over-watering.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

After a lot of moving, unpacking and adjusting to a variety of workspaces, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter how small or big your area is or even where it’s located as long as it feels comfortable and reflects your unique personality.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

I’ve worked in a bunch of spaces including my childhood room and transformation doesn’t take a massive budget or even much planning — it can happen with the tiniest shifts. Surrounding yourself with a few personalized touches can help your creativity thrive.

Where Do You Work? Here’s Where My Creativity Happens.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s creative workspaces. When I get really into what they do, whether it’s design, photography, painting or another creative endeavor, the next thing I wonder about is where the magic happens. I love the behind-the-scenes shots and also, learning more about their processes.

In a world that feels increasingly digital and disconnected, seeing where someone works feels grounding. It reminds us that what they did didn’t just magically appear online — it was crafted by a fellow human through a process of trial and error.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’ve been in my current studio space for nearly a year and a half now and it still makes coming to work feel exciting. To this day, it’s not perfect and I’m okay with that. I shot these photos yesterday without any staging or rearranging to show you what it’s like in its current state.

BRANCH_STUDIO_7

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

The prep-time before I moved into this space was nearly non-existent so you can see that there’s no finishing trim along the bottom of the walls. The plywood floors show grime quickly. The mostly brick structure and old windows make for some very cold winters which means that Samantha (my design assistant) and I are usually sitting next to a space heater. But I love it. I love the feeling of turning a key every morning and opening the doors to a space I can call my own.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

You might remember this post from early last year, right after I moved in. The space looked pretty good but has shifted quite a bit since then. The desk got switched out to a large kitchen table with space for two iMacs. My flat files moved in to house print samples and office supplies. A ton of succulents were added. Small switches in furniture and objects has meant that everything feels more organized and purposeful now.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

While I adore this current studio, it’s number 5 as far as creative spaces go. One thing that can be deceiving with having a blog (and being online in general) is to just show where you are now — because that never tells the full story. I’m one of those people who LOVES the story behind the story. With this space being a personal blog and a way to connect with you, things will never be picture perfect. That’s real life. Are you ready to take a little trip down memory lane with me?

My Past Creative Spaces

I pulled out a hard drive last night that was so old it needed to plug into a wall on one end and a USB on the other! It’s the size of a stack of journals and makes a loud, whizzing sound. I started digging for photos of my previous creative spaces — and wow, were they loud and messy! I could only find photos of the last two but I’ll tell you about all of them.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #1: The first was in my childhood room at my dad’s house — it’s where I started blogging on Live Journal and where my business ideas began! My dad helped me pick out bright red paint for the walls when I was a teenager, even though it made him cringe. Haha.

Space #2: My next space was in a house I shared with four guy roommates from 2005 to 2007. It was my first time living away from home so I had a lot of fun experimenting with decor. Thinking back now, it was a cluttered mess! This was my space all through design school.

Space #3: In 2007, I moved into a rental that had more room and privacy. It’s where my blog really grew and I built my freelance business while working my first full-time design job. There are some photos of it mixed into these collages.

Space #4: In 2009, my brother and I bought our house and it had enough room for me to set up a dedicated office space across the hall from my room. Over the course of two years, I went from a barren room to a well-designed space. This is the room where I launched Branch in 2013. Most of the photos in these collages were taken here. It’s since been redone and looks like this!

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #5: After a year of running Branch from the spare room at home, I signed a lease for a studio in my neighborhood filled with other creatives and this is where I’m at currently. I love it but it’s good to remember that it wasn’t an overnight transition — in fact, it took nine years to get from my room at my dad’s house to here!

If you’re dreaming of having your own dedicated space, I want to remind you that it’s not out of reach. One of my favorite mottos is, “Do what you can with what you’ve got.” It’s definitely kept me going when things were less than ideal and makes me appreciate what I have now even more.


Your turn: I’d love to hear about your creative space! Do you work from home, in a co-working space or a favorite coffee shop? What do you love about it? What would your dream space be like?