Functionality. In terms of design describes usefulness, convenience, practicality; but it is often seen as boring or without style. Still functionality is a term I use consistently when describing my personal designs. Functional style are at the forefront of my work and the way in which I style my own home. Without it, décor is just stuff. It serves no purpose other than filling space. I believe you can have functionality within a stylish design style in order showcase everything you love. Functionality does not have to be boring.
Recently, we decided to focus on functionality to our son’s bedroom.
Like most kids, he is a collector of all things. He has his trophy collection, his LEGO® people collection, books, action figures, cars, rocks. You name it, he has at least three of them. I have done my best to purge his mini collections while he is at school but they always seem to be replaced with the new “it” thing.
I have to give him credit though, this kid is organized and takes care of his things. With that in mind, my husband Lou and I decided that it was time to give him a more functional space to keep him organized while showcasing some of his favorite toys, builds and rocks.
In our former home, Lou and I designed a wall-mounted work and storage space in our home office/playroom. We lovingly called this room the “Plaffice” and it quickly became our kid’s favorite area in our home. The desk and storage area was created using a modular shelving system from IKEA called the ALGOT. It was functional, affordable and stylish all in one. I loved the clean white lines of the unit and storage boxes where I could hide the kid’s mess. Lou was a fan of the fact that he could display his USC memorabilia. Most importantly our kids loved that all their toys and art supplies were easily accessible. It was perfect for our growing family.
When we moved, I considered taking the wall-mounted unit down to reassemble it in our new home. However, in the end I left the unit behind. Having to man a major move alone with three kids while Lou was deployed was difficult enough already. Taking down the ALGOT unit and having to patch the wall for the new owners between our kid’s nap times was going to be nearly impossible.
So this weekend we ventured on another DIY for our new home. Recreating the desk and storage wall in our son’s room. It had been 3 years since we built the first unit in our Plaffice. Unfortunately, like many IKEA series items, we discovered that the ALGOT system is being discontinued. We did not know this before planning for the new system and sending Lou out to purchase the pieces. He did the best he could to gather as many pieces of the formal plan that we drew up online. Ultimately though, the bins with lids that I loved were sold out at all our local stores.
Even with a few missing pieces, we moved forward with the ALGOT system. The great thing about Lou having already worked on a similar unit was, he knew exactly what he needed to purchase ahead of time. Following his trip to IKEA , Lou headed to HomeDepot in order to purchase (4) 1-in. x 3-in. x 8-ft., trim board primed pine finger-joints. These would serve as the frame for the storage wall. Once at home, Lou mapped out and installed the support wall frame using the primed trim board.
We knew from the start that the storage wall would need to be easily accessible for our son’s current height. With the ALGOT system we have the ability to easily and quickly adjust the height of the shelves as he continues to grow.
Lou used our son’s current desk chair to determine where the pieces for the table tops should be placed. The two table pieces would establish where the remaining shelves sit on the wall. This entire unit took Lou about three hours to complete from start to finish. As long as you have the dimensions of the wall that you are working with, a few standard tools (drill, level, measuring tape) and the support material, you can create a similar set up in your own space.
In the end I would say that I love the wall-mounted desk and storage unit in this house just as much as I did in our last. It works for both style and function. Every little collectable now has its place with room to grow.
Naturally our girls now want a similar set up in their room. We may wait for the long anticipated ALGOT replacement but IKEA will not confirm when their new storage system unit will be released. We are also considering the upgraded version, SVALNÄS, that offers a different take on the all white unit.
This bamboo and white combo unit might help break up some of the pink hues that have swallowed the girl's room whole. Stay tuned for the next round of DIY with Vanessa (Owner/Creative Director/Dreamer) and Lou (The Muscle/Handy Man) of In Good Design.