Currently Loving DIY Decor


living in a nutshell

I love interior design books. I love the nice hardback covers and pretty photos of gorgeous spaces. It’s especially awesome when you come across an interior design book that not only has pretty pictures, but is filled with simple DIY projects and practical ideas for everyday living. Last week, I picked up a book such as this! Living in a Nutshell by Janet Lee.

First of all, a little bit about Janet. She’s an Emmy Award-winning television show producer and has styled and produced for leading home decorators, entrepreneurs, and designers such as, my favorite, the one and only Martha Stewart. She started out as a home décor producer for Lifetime Television’s Our Home and spent ten years as a senior producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show (while working closely with another favorite, Nate Berkus!). Janet blogs over at and lives in New York City.

Janet’s book, Living in a Nutshell, is a super practical DIY guide of decorating ideas that trick the eye into believing a small living space is larger and more glamorous than it’s four walls. Even if you don’t live in a tiny space, these style-infused and oh so clever ideas are sure to inspire – especially if you have a love for modern style with a dash of urban quirk. This book comes complete with an illustrated survival tool kit as well as extensive listings of off-the-beaten-path design resources and a buying guide. Lucky for us, Janet is here on the blog today to share some of her favorite tiny, skinny storage solutions! Without further ado, here’s Janet…

I’m a small-space nester living in over a dozen petite pads in the past 20 years. I am in a constant battle with clutter and each space along the way has become my personal decorating lab where I road-test storage solutions that look cool out in the open, maximize vertical as well as horizontal real estate, and are super easy to maintain.  I need instant gratification when it comes to my storage and organizational systems or I won’t keep it up. I am not naturally neat and tidy by nature so these skinny storage ideas will give you the motivation to stay the anti-clutter course!

Every small space dweller fights the good fight against clutter. These skinny storage solutions and décor ideas won’t take up valuable real estate and are more a pleasure than a chore to maintain.

Shoe Bar. Lightweight polyurethane molding lets you display your favorite pairs of heels while freeing up valuable closet space. Removable  picture hanging strips keep the design chic and portable. No need to hammer nails or put screws through the wall.  Ideal for renters.  (p. 81)

Stretching Your Storage. Keeping clutter at bay is a stretch for most of us but with inexpensive rubber boating straps you have a hip catchall space to store keys, bills and sunglasses maximizing valuable vertical real estate. (p. 125)

Skinny Coat Rack. A removable wall decal affixed with Command clear hooks is transformed into a 3D hard-working coat rack strong enough to hold an umbrella, coats and hats without taking up valuable real estate.

Shoe Chair.  A flea market chair, with the seat removed, can hold up to 20 pairs of high-heels. Add a few removable hooks and you’ve the perfect place to display and store hats and handbags.

Gallery Frames.  Oversized art frames can cost more than the art itself.  Inexpensive doorjamb weather stripping has a soft rubber side to keep artwork unharmed and a pre-drilled metal side that attaches to the wall with decorative thumbtacks. (p. 147)

DoubleDuty Shelves. Talk about a shelf with benefits! Industrial C- clamps can double the storage and style potential of ordinary shelving. Now this shelf can hold books, an umbrella, coats, sports equipment and more. Just twist each clamp and you’re done. (p. 136)

Shrink-Wrap File Cabinet. Couture is only a blow-dryer away.  An old file cabinet gets a designer makeover with removable vinyl adhesive that hugs every curve with the heat of a hand dryer. With a wink to the Louis Vuitton original, personal initials “JL” playfully stand in for the iconic monogram.  (p. 42)

Standing Lamp Only. If you don’t have an inch to spare in your cozy nook, these easy-to-make standing lamps from a wall decal, a lamp cord and a flashlight holder won’t leave a footprint. (p. 109)

And the Oscar Goes to… Plastic trophy heads attached to the wall with picture hanging hooks stylishly hold scarves, ties and lightweight handbags maximizing the vertical storage potential in your space.

I’m really digging Janet’s fresh approach to slim living and stylish organizing! Regardless of whether we live in a space of 500 sq. ft. or 5000, we can all appreciate the art of using our spaces wisely.  And when it can be done with such fun, originality and finesse, thats always a home run in my book. Oh, and I love the text on the floor mirror in the decal lighting photo, don’t you?!  What’s your favorite project of Janet’s? It’s so hard to choose, but I’ve got to say that ever since reading this post, I’ve been keeping my eye out for trophies at the thrift stores, ha!

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  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Neat post! I love all of the projects but especially the filing cabinet. There are so many possibilities!

  • Reply
    Macie L
    June 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Janet obviously knows what she’s doing to have worked for such greats in the industry. I live her ideas and find them to be refreshing. I find some to work so hard at coming up with innovative ideas that they lose sight of what is aesthetically pleasing to most. I feel she is both creative AND stylish.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Great ideas 🙂

    -Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  • Reply
    Jules Klimek
    June 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I really like the shoe racks, the frames for large artwork, and the trophy hooks – heck! I like all of them! Thank you for sharing… Oh, and as I sit here at my desk made from wood and two filing cabinets… might have to look into chic-ing these up a little!

  • Reply
    Dacia @ Lemon Drop Life
    July 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I love that C-clamp idea!!

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