When you have a small footprint and you need more space, sometimes the only place to go is up. Our downstairs space is only 750 square feet and accommodates both living and working, so space is at a premium. We wanted to maintain our office space as a compressed six-foot-wide zone along the 38-foot-long north wall, and add storage space for samples, models, binders, coats, and bags. Hanging shelving or artwork in a space with only wood and brick walls presents a challenge, too, since we want to minimize change to the historical structure and to retain the openness of the space. So we decided to add a long minimal shelf along the brick wall and a series of simple pegs on the wood wall.
In this exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Hollywood, California.Week 11: Installing vertical storage.
We designed a steel shelving system but the cost of fabrication was prohibitive, luckily we found a minimal black steel bracket, Holly Shelf, developed by Henry Julier, that would only require two holes at each bracket, onto which we could hang a single 25’ long x 1 ½” thick and 14” deep continuous wood plank.
In planning to install the brackets along the brick wall, we spaced the brackets so that we would have all the holes fall on mortar joints, where the majority of the existing patches already were (as seen in this photo, we mapped all the holes in the wall to determine the best minimal strategy).
Because we planned to have a single wood plank as our shelf, each bracket had to be mounted perfectly level and aligned with one another, and spaced so that the holes fell on the mortar joint of the brick.
We continued working on our other projects through the installation process. It became a tight squeeze, with bracket installation, gardening, and office work all going on at the same time.
Since the mounting had to be perfect, we hired an expert cabinetmaker, T.K. Smith, to complete the bracket installation.
The cabinetmaker carefully grinds the excess bolt heads off while protecting the wood ceiling with the cardboard box the shelves came in.
After many weeks of trying to source a 25-foot long and 14-inch wide straight-grain Douglas fir board (with some distractions from our higher-priority projects), we had Design Plus Construction, one of our contractors, order a structural beam to this specification straight from the lumber yard and help deliver and install it.
After trimming the ends off, the single beam took 5 minutes to install.
Once the beam was installed, I applied a light rub of tung oil.
As seen from the balcony above, the shelf helps to provide shade for the computer screens on the desk.
The shelf is designed to hold 14-inch-deep binders, project materials, and samples and models.
The handsome wood beam adds warmth to the space.
For bag and coat storage, we wanted to mount simple wooden pegs along the wood wall in the hall between front and back. As with everything, it is very difficult to find simple design objects (unless you make it yourself). However yet again we were lucky to find these great magnetic cork pegs from
molo design, who recently showcased their walls and pegs at the Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles. Each peg is held by a super-strong magnet that attaches with a single screw to the wall. They're strong enough to hold all our coats and bags, but conveniently break away when a toddler hangs on it—no climbing here!
The pegs can be removed if you decide you want to clean up the space for special occasions, and easily returned afterwards.
The pegs camouflage into the wall when not in use.
We hung pegs at heights for kids and adults in a patterned-random way, to get clutter off the floor.
Compressing work and storage within the circulation space allows the rest of the space to remain open and flexible—key when your program changes so much over a 24-hour cycle.