Cottage KERF: Downstairs Storage + Office

Welcome to the dungeon!!!


This basement makes up 50% of our house. In fact, it’s not really a basement anymore. It’s more like a “lower level.” When we first toured the house, I didn’t know how I’d feel about having stairs divide our living areas so much, but the space down here is so modern, open and BIG that we decided it was worth it!

From the other side of the dining room lies the staircase. When we moved in it had a door to close off, but we removed it and are so happy with the decision. It would have been in the way all the time!


At the bottom of the stairs, you see the wall of photos at the top of this post, and as you turn to the left, the first of 3 big closet doors.



U turn!! You can see the hallway at the end with the guest bath, to the left you’d find the opening to the family room and to the right, tucked away, is my desk.


The first one is our pantry. It’s a little bit of a hassle to have to go downstairs for chicken broth or an appliance, but at the same time, I’ve never had a pantry this big before and it’s GLORIOUS!


You can see rows of canned goods, jars, extra sauces and things to try and the appliances we don’t use everyday on the bottom. They made Matt utter curse words, but now that they’re installed, it’s all good.


The nice baskets are great to carry up all the juicer or food processor parts at once. We built this shelves from IKEA Ivar parts.


Reusable bags are hung inside the pantry as well!


The next two closets in the row are also part of what sold us this house. So much storage! I love storage space, and our previous two houses (one owned, one rented) really didn’t have that much.


We got these racks from Lowes and they are great for holding all kinds of things.


On the right you can see cubes labeled things like “Tupperware” and “Gift Bags” as well as plastic bins with things like picnic ware and décor like extra candles. I hope someday that these all match, but since I already owned these cubes, they work well.


I also have a designated Goodwill bin, and it’s great to have a space for things that I decide I don’t need to sit until they are ready to be donated. [Mom that basket on the left was on its way to Great Harvest – not Goodwill!]


I also have a space for paper recycling (near my desk) and trash. We got these plastic totes from IKEA and they have revolutionized our recycling system!! We have one for cans and plastic under the sink upstairs and then paper and trash downstairs. Matt is in charge of taking out the trash and recycling, but I often help him by carrying all the totes to the porch. So easy to have handles, and they are spacious enough to fit a week or two worth of paper without overflowing (like our last house’s system did!)


More things stored on the shelves: file boxes, a hat box full of writing paper, and a bunch of my blog/office supplies hidden from sight.

IMG_2767Blog IMG_2769Blog

I use this awesome antique box my mom gave to me for all my desk odds and ends like extra camera lens, thumb drives and power cords. So helpful!


And finally, I store my purses and bags in here. Since I usually pack/unload these near my desk, this was a much better spot for them than in the back of my clothes closet. Baskets at the top house things like art supplies and extra electronics.


We have one more fun storage area under the stairs that currently houses sports equipment and summer things like beach chairs. Maybe someday this will turn into a kids’ clubhouse!


To the left of the closet wall is my office – a little nook with a built-in desk by our only window in this part of the basement.


It has a lovely view out to the yard and our porch for gazing while procrastinating a project! [Note we hope grass grows back soon! Construction just ended!]


This features the shade Matt helped install that blocks lunchtime sun. I also close it at night so scary people can’t see in. I love the shade because it doesn’t bother the supplies I have on the windowsill and also still lets in a ton of light.


Here are those windowsill supplies – an antique cheese box that stores notepads, a stapler, envelopes and our address stamp and two jars with Sharpies (love the rainbow!) and pens/scissors.


I also found a great spot for my food photography canvas!


If you do a 180 from my desk, you’ll find our family room – and that’s for the next post!


Storage + Office

Paint: All some generic white by the previous owners

Pantry Shelving: IKEA Ivar

Closet Curtains: IKEA

Closet Racks: Lowes

Mirror: JC Penny Linden Street [a blog review ages ago]

Storage cubes: Target

Recycling Totes: IKEA Dimpa

Storage baskets on top shelf: Davidson College event

Compartment box: antique store

Computer chair: Target (or Pier 1 – I forget!)

Desk shade: Bed, Bath and Beyond

Lamp, Ball jars, box: Inherited antiques

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life January 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

The storage space is definitely awesome! Can’t wait til we have a house someday!!


2 Antonia @ healthinspirations January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I love your house. Everything’s decorated in such a thoughtful and friendly way. Also I envy the amount of storage space you have. You are so lucky. Can’t wait for the next post on your family room!


3 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I love it! That canvas is beautiful!


4 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Ahhhh! I’m so jealous! I would faint if I had this much storage. Enjoy it for those of us who live in small spaces! :-)


5 modernworkinggirl January 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Mmm. I might be in love with those green curtains!


6 Kavi @ Lab to Fab January 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Perfect timing – I’m currently trying to pare down my belongings and de-clutter my apartment. I’m impressed with your neatness and organization!


7 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Love love!!! So pretty :)


8 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) January 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Love love love your storage space and also how you arranged everything. I would kill for storage space like that! We are trying to organize, rearrange, etc for our first baby, due in May, and the room that will be the nursery is one of our main storage areas + storage closets. Not sure what we are going to do… ha!


9 Hannah N. January 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Omg, love the pantry! Where did you get the file boxes?


10 KathEats January 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Sorry, forgot those – Target!


11 Lea @ Healthy Coconut January 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

wow, you’re right. That’s way more than a basement, that’s a whole completely level for the house.

Where did you get the leafy curtains to cover the pantry?


12 Shannon January 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm

SO MUCH ROOM! Love it :)


13 lynn @ the actor's diet January 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

so much nicer than my basement growing up!


14 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I would have no problem walking down the stairs for that pantry, either!


15 Estela @ Weekly Bite January 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Beautiful space! Love all that storage :)


16 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Definitely not your typical dark and dreary basement!


17 raspberry January 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Whoaooooaaa! Where did u get everything? Pewp upstairs or downstairs?


18 KathEats January 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Haha. Does the couch look comfortable Raspberry!?


19 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio January 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

just amazing!! I can not wait to have my own home.


20 Natasha January 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

If you have a baby you will put that door right back on! 😉

You are an organization inspiration!

Love, love all of this.


21 KathEats January 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Haha. I’m sure we’ll have to get some kind of baby gate system someday…


22 katie @KatieDid January 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm

so gorgeous, love the pattern on the curtains. the light is also great for a basement!


23 Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious January 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I wish you could organize my house! So clever.


24 Lauren @ Sassy Molassy January 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Love it! Kath, you are the queen of organizers and using boxes, tubs, baskets, bins correctly. I have yet to learn that art. But then again, I don’t have good shelving and it probably starts there.


25 CaitlinHTP January 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

So organized. I am jealous.


26 Jennifer January 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Beautiful!!! I love how some of the walls curve in your house. Those curtains you used for the storage are so pretty. I just love your taste in decor.


27 Susan (Oliepants) January 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I love storage space and you made great use of it! Love how organized you are.


28 Emily @LivingLongfellow January 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Holy cow. I can’t imagine having that much food and appliance storage. Good to see you’re taking full advantage of it.


29 Karen January 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Living in a condo, I’m so envious of all of your storage capacity. Oh, and I’m glad you ended up making that food photography collage; I remember someone suggesting the idea. I LOVE it!


30 Emily January 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm

THANK YOU, Kath, for taking the time to do these posts. I know it must be tedious to put together everything, but I love that you open your home to us, and I always draw inspiration from some of your ingenious ideas (I never match socks anymore!).


31 KathEats January 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm
32 Amanda January 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm

If I ever find myself behind on my house work, I look at Cottage KERF to get me back on track.
Your place looks great! Thanks for sharing.


33 melissa (fitnessnyc) January 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm

love these posts!


34 Katie January 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I have such pantry envy right now!


35 Mai January 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

i LOVE how organized you are.


36 Dee January 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Wow, I loved how you are using your space. So inspirational! :)


37 Erin Hack January 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Wow, I am jealous – that pantry is amazing! I can’t wait to have my own house someday. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!


38 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles January 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I also have my pantry built in the basement…I just think of all the exercise I am getting going up and down the stairs! We finished the basement and call it the ‘man cave’ cause the boys spend so much time down there! Great for indoor hockey and ping pong.


39 Juliet January 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Where did you get the K & M from?


40 KathEats January 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I believe Michaels’ – and then we painted them for our wedding!


41 Paulina (One Smile Ahead) January 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I seriously love the idea of keeping pens in jars! I think I’ll be snatching that one from you 😀 The amount of storage space is incredible! Everything looks beautiful :]


42 Kathy W. January 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I think you mentioned those curtains came with the house–and yet their colors perfectly tie together all the different colors of your storage boxes!


43 Erin January 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I work for the company that makes Borden cheese so every time I see that crate, it makes me smile!!


44 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

You have the cutest house. I’m so jealous!


45 Laura Ann January 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Come organize my house!


46 S January 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

My pantry is down the stairs too. I figure I burn an extra 5 calories to go get the things I need;)


47 Angel7 January 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I absolutely love the way that you decorate, Kath! You have a keen eye for what looks best :)


48 Janet January 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I have a solution for the door at the top of the stairs. A pocket door. They are great for tight spaces. Might help with heating/AC control on both levels also.


49 KathEats January 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

A lovely solution, but I don’t know if there is wall space for it?? Our fridge is on one side and a perpendicular wall on the other


50 Laura January 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I am loving the leaf print on those curtains! I have an open closet that I’ve been wanting to put curtain doors over for forever, but have yet to do so.

I am getting so many organization ideas from this post. Thank you for sharing!


51 Sunya January 6, 2012 at 12:54 am

Love this post! Organization makes me happy! Thanks for sharing.


52 Lani January 6, 2012 at 2:27 am

The place is looking good!


53 Rosie January 6, 2012 at 6:37 am

Very cool. I love the space and how you’ve decorated it. Isn’t organization fun?? (Wait…did I really just say that??) :-)


54 KathEats January 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!


55 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count January 6, 2012 at 7:33 am

You are so right…It’s wonderful to have all of the storage you need!


56 Jo January 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

Very nice lower level space; well laid out and organized. Nice colourful touches with the pantry drapes.
I’m amazed your grass would grow back in January…that would never happen here in Ontario! Gotta wait for spring.


57 Angela January 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

Can I hire you to organize my house…err life? :)


58 Kelsey January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

Looks ggggggggrrrrrrrrrrreat! And I’m ready for the next post!


59 Hope January 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

You are so organized! Everything looks amazing! I dream to be as organized as you are!


60 C.J. January 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

This look beautiful! Funny coincidence…I just started reading your blog and didn’t realize you’d also gone to Davidson (I’m a recent graduate…go Wildcats!). But I spotted those wicker baskets with the red ribbon you have on your top shelf and thought “Wow, those look JUST like the baskets I took home from an event at Davidson!” (some fancy lunch event, right?). I scrolled down to discover that, lo and behold, they were! What a small world…always so happy to make a Davidson connection!


61 KathEats January 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm

What a hilarious coincidence!! I think we got ours from President Ross’s inauguration!


62 C.J. January 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Ha, that is EXACTLY where I got those, come to think of it! Too funny…


63 Andrea @FrSeed2Stomach January 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I love how you’re able to work antique rustic stuff in everywhere and combine it with more modern accessories!


64 Christine January 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

I would LOVE all that storage! And I have that same cheese box, although mine is a bit more faded. We use it for tv/dvd remotes


65 brittany June 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Do you recommend BPA free plastic for storage? I kind of had a small heart attack when I realized that my goal to save money on storage bins at the dollar store was possibly the worst decision ever considering everything there is made in china and not BPA free. Im just a little OCD about some things right now and need some awesome website recommendations on the subject and/or someone of a like mind as me to tell me to breathe and relax or tell me to weed out my bad plastic, etc…lol :) HELP! :) THANK YOU!


66 KathEats June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Most of my food is in glass jars, but some (flour) is in plastic. I honestly hadn’t given it much though. I’m sure glass is better, but I doubt the plastic is too harmful. If you’re going to buy all new though, maybe just buy glass?


67 brittany June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

…..From what I am aware of its just bad to eat and drink from plastic that isnt BPA free. But when it comes to storing things….is there anything harmful about it? Fumes? etc..? I guess that is what I am trying to say lol :)


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