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Contain yourself

Have more stuff than space? Here's where to stick it.

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WOOD WORKS
Because Terri Griffith and Serena Worthington needed to store books, albums, art, a home office and their enormous dictionary, a simple bookshelf in their Rogers Park dining room just wouldn’t do. “We wanted a fab midcentury Danish modern thing, kind of like what Bob Newhart had in his office,” Griffith says, but vintage prices exceeded their budget. So they explained what they wanted to their woodworker friend, Daniel Baudanza, who built the plywood unit using IKEA Broder brackets and fittings for $1,000, including labor and materials. —Laura Baginski

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GO INTO THE CLOSET
When Jason Loper (owner of Ravenswood boutique Zola Jones Designs) and his partner, Michael Schreiber, moved from a 2,000-square-foot apartment to their new 800-square-foot Rogers Park condo, they had to get creative with their downsized space. Their solution: Make a home office out of a closet in the living room. Loper removed the closet doors (“We use the computer as our entertainment center, so it works,” Loper says) and added an Elfa shelving system from the Container Store (about $500), which holds the couple’s books, DVDs and electronic chargers. To give the nook a “masculine, library-den feel,” he stapled about 10 yards of wood-grain oilcloth to the back of the closet’s walls ($4 per yard at oilcloth.com or Vogue Fabrics). And because the closet doesn’t have any outlets, he hung a power strip on the wall; it’s hidden, along with a wireless router, so only one cord is visible snaking out of the closet. —Kevin Aeh

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MY WAY OR THE HALLWAY
Cheryl Bonander transformed the hallway in her one-bedroom South Loop condo into a spot to stash her books, photos, magazines—even her home office. Bonander says it took “literal blood, sweat and tears” to put together her Pax storage system from IKEA ($740), which she customized to the thinnest depth possible to fit in her small space, but she loves that when she wants to use her computer, she simply slides open the glass door, pulls up a stool and gets to work. —LB

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YOU’LL FLIP
Robin Russo wanted a place to store her collection of vintage postcards, remote controls and books without having to buy a new coffee table with drawers. Her solution? Transform the table she already owned by flipping it upside down. Using the wooden table she found on the side of a road in Madison, Wisconsin, when all the college kids moved—“we call it ‘Hippie Christmas,’” Russo says—she laid down a sheet of glass her boss had pitched in the garbage as her new tabletop. You can do the same by purchasing custom-cut thick glass at shops such as Budlong Glass. —Jessica Herman

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CREATE A BOOK NOOK
When painter Gail Potocki’s growing book collection threatened to overwhelm her decor, she transformed a narrow closet into a library by mounting shelves to the studs, installing a recessed light and adding a comfy floor cushion for reading. “Escaping in there to read or look at art images is one of my favorite ways to relax,” she says. —Tate Gunnerson

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UP AND AWAY
When you need to store some stuff, you rarely think to look up. But Traci Truesdale says the shelving right below the ceiling that lines her dining room persuaded her to rent her Rogers Park apartment. Truesdale uses the shelves to display her antique photo collection, filled with shots of relatives as well as people she’s never met, and other retro objects. You can replicate it with wall-mounted Profile shelves from the Container Store ($30 for four-foot-long shelves). —LB

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KIDPROOF
TOC Kids editor Judy Sutton-Taylor wanted a trauma-free place her tots could color, play—and (safely) bump their heads. She commissioned a design from Paul Tanis, who ingeniously created one large coffee table by building four smaller ones to fit together (about $1,500). The wooden bases have rounded edges (safer for accident-prone youngsters), while the tops are a chocolate-colored Formica (a cinch to clean up). Around the perimeter, 12 baskets for stashing toys slide underneath the tables. “When the kids grow up we’ll take it apart and use the individual side tables around the house,” Sutton-Taylor says. —Liz Plosser

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Storage | Bathrooms | Dining Rooms | Kitchens

 

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