Tina Ding




Cole Emmel, Storage Works co-owner, emphasizes the need for easily-accessible, customizable storage solutions. (Submitted photo)

Organized spaces for otherwise cluttered surfaces or closets encourages functionality. Whether decluttering a kitchen pantry, streamlining an office niche or even discovering hidden tools in a garage, managing and maximizing the potential of a space can result in accessibility, efficiency, and a sense of accomplishment.

Healthier lifestyles and food preparation, together with a growth in area food coops, calls for kitchens with ample counter space dedicated to preparing fresh foods. The storage of canned goods, spices, and equipment is essential to utilize the fruits of your labor. Ordinary kitchen cabinetry works to manage the kitchen; however, given the option, an organized kitchen pantry could be the perfect solution to maintaining a functional space as well as to support ongoing meal planning.

Think pull out wire baskets for potatoes or onions, vertical tray storage, pull out pantry shelving or drawers; spice racks, hooks, wine storage -- the sky's the limit. Home improvement programming and DIY ideas found online have folks thinking. When kitchens feel a bit inadequate to support growing needs of families or when spaces are underutilized in a home, it takes but an online search, or better yet, a local phone call to StorageWorks.

A division of locally-owned Interior Woodworks, StorageWorks strives to design a working space in both existing homes and in new construction. While Interior Woodworks masterfully creates personalized custom cabinetry for kitchens, baths and more, StorageWorks came about to help fill in the gap. For a handful of years, Interior Woodworks owner Mike Emmel felt he could meet the needs of his clients in another way. He realized there could be solutions for clutter and underdeveloped spaces in homes.

His son, Cole, a recent business administration college graduate and StorageWorks co-owner, agrees: "We have the resources and expertise to borrow from the cabinet shop," he said. "Following a consultation and subsequent decision to move forward with the design and project, our shop can tear down an existing system, replacing it with our product. Truth is, anyone could do this as a DIY project; however, we're here to offer our skillset, eye for design and expertise to ensure the project becomes everything expected."

Interior Woodworks Sales Assistant Jill Anderson said she finds the collaboration in design and services between the two businesses a perfect fit. "Whether our clients are seeking organization for new construction with unlimited ideas and resources or those that are planning an overall renovation of a specific space, our staff works together to ensure their plan will work for their space. Once the design ideas start flowing, Cole does his utmost to develop an aesthetic first view of the space. He feels that when looking into a master closet or when walking into an office space, the first cabinets should be eye-catching and visually appealing."

Master closet reach-in spaces call for customized rods and shelving as well as accessorizing options. From calculating how much hanging space is needed and whether or not to provide shelving or drawer systems or tip-out hampers, Cole has a plethora of ideas. If a walk-in master closet is in the works, he may ask more pointed questions during consultation to discover ways to utilize the space for unexpected solutions. Maybe the home needs storage space for important documents (locking drawers for hanging files), is pressed for shoe storage (revolving wall), or could use space for a wall safe (gun storage, valuables). Once key storage ideas are met, smaller options (such as pull out tie-racks, slack pull-outs and shelf dividers) can be explored.

"It's about customizing the space for each client," Cole Emmel said. "From the very first consultation forward, it's imperative we focus on the needs of our client to design a space that is beautiful."

The StorageWorks product is a thermally fused laminate, which comes in several color options. Cole renders the design, and upon final measurements and client approval sends it off site for custom cutting and construction. Once the product arrives, the shop sends staff out to install.

The heart of StorageWorks' business is service and long-time relationships. This is one way to fill the gap between elegant, custom cabinetry and completing storage functionality in home storage. These folks pride themselves in creating a unique space for your kitchen pantry, your garage storage or your scrapping nook. The options are endless.

Tina Ding is a teacher, freelance writer and grad school student with plenty of time for her husband and three children. She also loves photography, scrapbooking, reading and traveling.