Before airplane travel was an option, Hollywood actresses had to travel abroad with steamer trunks, suitcases and carpet bags to accommodate their huge wardrobes and jewelry collections.
Since the Golden Age of Hollywood, people have been compelled to collect more things than ever before. The more belongings you have, the more storage you need to keep your home organized and clutter-free.
“Spelling Manor,” owned by famed television producer Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy, was a lavish 56,000 square foot mega-mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. Meticulously organized by Candy, there were rooms devoted to silver, collectibles and, perhaps most famously, gift wrapping.
After Aaron Spelling’s death, Candy decided to sell the house for an asking price of $150 million, making the mansion the most expensive home listed on the real estate market in U.S. history.
Unlike Candy, most of us don’t have thousands of square feet to devote to specific hobbies, but fortunately a carefully designed storage system that organizes belongings and keeps them tucked away – yet accessible – is within our reach.
You can get design ideas for Hollywood-style storage from pictures of Hollywood celebrity homes on sites like InStyle.com, ElleDecor.com and ArchitecturalDigest.com, then simply customize them to fit your budget, taste and house’s structure.
Start At the Entry (and Exit) to Your House
Organizing should start in the entry and exit to your home.
Celebrity homes often have grand entrances that are more showy than practical, but they usually feature a unique table that provides a spot for small items, like this X-based console in Julianna Margulies’ New York apartment. Another option for storage is a cabinet with drawers, like Amy Smart has in the entry of her two-bedroom cottage in Beverly Hills.
One of the most useful rooms that a home can have for storage, undoubtedly present in some celebrity homes but not glamorous so it isn’t featured in style magazines, is a mudroom.
If you have a mudroom, either at the front or back entrance to your home, it’s a good place to add shelving and cubby holes for jackets and shoes. Having a rule about keeping outdoor clothes in designated spots is an easy way to train family members to be organized and keep the rest of the house (including a swank celebrity-style front entry, if the mudroom is in the back of the house) tidier. A mudroom can be the launch pad for each family members’ daily activities, including a place to put kids’ school lunches and bags.
The Importance of Kitchen and Bathroom Storage
Real estate experts often remind sellers and homebuyers that attractive and well-organized kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Home buyers usually want lots of storage space, and this is particularly important in smaller homes where an efficient use of space is essential to avoid a cluttered look.
It may be a cliché, but there is merit to the saying “the kitchen is the hub of the home.” Custom cabinetry is a common feature in celebrity kitchens, including islands that can be used for meal preparation, eating and storage. In the Bel Air home previously owned by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr, the kitchen island also has a sink.
In a well-organized kitchen, storage can also be used for display. For example, comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, cookbook author and philanthropist, Jessica Seinfeld, uses glass cabinets to store and display her cookbooks and collection of vintage bottles.
In bathrooms, medicine cabinets, like the matching ones in Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick’s Hamptons retreat, are excellent for storing toiletries, keeping sink tops clutter free.
Adding furniture with drawers, like the custom-made walnut vanity in Cat Deeley’s master bathroom, is another great way to add storage to a bathroom.
Closets, Closets, Closets
You wouldn’t expect anything less than the most lavish, unusual, upscale and high-end closet designs for Hollywood celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor had a dressing room with embroidered silk-covered walls that housed her collection of jewelry and gowns, and the dressing room in Mariah Carey‘s Manhattan apartment resembles a chic boutique.
Some celebrity closets are more practical. Lacking space for a huge closet in her New York City Greenwich Village townhouse, Brooke Shields hired a design company to create shelving, a rolling shoe rack, and a library ladder out of rift-sawn white oak. A designer revamped storage in Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s Beverly Hills home, adding stained walnut shelving to the curved walls of a bedroom closet.
If you don’t have a large room that can be turned into a closet with built-in shelves and hanging rods, a bit of creativity will help you get more storage out of the space that you do have. For example, Elton John used space under the attic eaves of his Old Windsor estate in the UK to display his massive sunglasses collection.
Can’t Afford Custom-Designed Built-in Storage?
Investing in permanent storage solutions adds value to a home, but outside the world of Hollywood celebrities, most people can’t afford custom-designed storage. Fortunately, home improvement stores sell shelving and storage containers that can greatly increase the space in your home. Creative solutions allows you to add shelves and bins to a refrigerator to hold more food, shelves and cubbies to closets that lack built-in storage, and free-standing or wall-mounted cabinets to bathrooms that lack cabinet or drawer space.
Another benefit is that if you use commercial storage containers, you’ll have the option of taking them with you if you move, something that celebrities rarely have to think about as they can afford to buy large homes that already have ample storage.
You may not need a room devoted entirely to gift wrapping or a whole guest house for your collection of shoes, but you can still find inspiration in the creative and beautiful organization methods of Hollywood celebrity homes.
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