House Doctor: A small space calls for smart storage solutions

The Dubai design expert Robert Reid on buying furniture to store clothes and personal effects.

A small apartment always has limitations, the most pressing in my case being the lack of storage. As with many homes here, my apartment has a small built-in wardrobe, which I modified to double the hanging space. However, I am not left with much room to store shoes, clothes and personal effects, and have been considering my options.

I have been looking for an interesting dresser for storage across from my bed that will also serve as a place for my television, but would like it to have some character. If all else fails, there is an almost endless selection at Ikea, but I was hoping for something more exciting than that. For shoe storage, I have considered a few alternatives. Between my dress, casual and sports shoes, I have more pairs than I care to admit, plus numerous briefcases and totes, so I have been thinking of ways to devise an attractive storage cabinet.

I am not particularly fond of "sets" of matching furniture in a bedroom or any other room. Selecting complementary pieces of furniture gives a space a much more sophisticated flavour and avoids the look of a showroom vignette that is not very clever, comfortable or inviting. The goal for my bedroom is to find a collection of unique pieces, such as the bed I ordered from Duxiana and the Cassina ZigZag chair I acquired from Poltrona Frau, each having its own special personality. As a designer, I regularly explain and illustrate to clients that successful interiors generally integrate a carefully coordinated array of styles and influences, reflecting a refinement in the homeowners' tastes.

Going back through the stockpile of photos and clippings I collected, I suddenly came up with two ideas: (a) if I can source one locally, I can use a tall "lawyer's bookcase" - one with flip-up glass-fronted doors on each shelf or (b) find a tall Asian media or storage cabinet and install individual shelves inside.

Down the road, either option can easily be repurposed by me or anyone else. I like the glass-front idea so I can see what is behind each door, but I can also imagine finding an Asian-inspired cabinet in a fun colour that will add great visual interest to my bedroom. An ideal store that is likely to have many options is Marina, with numerous locations in the UAE.

My first order of business is to measure the length and height of my largest shoe, plus an overall inventory, to make sure whichever cabinet I find will accommodate my storage needs.


Robert Reid is a professor of architecture, art and design at the American University of Sharjah.

Published: August 6, 2011 04:00 AM


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