Japanese Solution for Storage
Rita St. Clair
Japanese Stair Tansu
Japanese designers long ago devised an efficient storage system, known as a tansu, for that generally unused space beneath a staircase.
With the amount of stuff some of us accumulate, storage space never seems adequate, no matter how many closets a home may contain. But at least a few precious square feet of storage space can often be created, even in cramped quarters. It's just a matter of sharpening one's wits -- and pencil.
QUESTION: My entrance hall has a single closet that's maxed out with clothes and other things that don't fit anywhere else. I still need space for foul-weather gear such as boots, umbrellas and raincoats, so I look longingly at the area underneath the staircase that leads to the second floor. Please suggest how to use that space in an orderly way and how to design it to complement the hall's slate floor and the black metal railing of the staircase.
ANSWER: No one's more imaginative and successful than the Japanese in making the most of limited living space -- and making the result look orderly and effortless. For example, Japanese designers long ago devised an efficient storage system for that generally unused space beneath a staircase. It's a set of cabinets and drawers known as stair tansu.
The accompanying photo from
Yes, it's a clever arrangement, but I think in this case the form is just as successful as the function. The addition of such a good-looking storage unit is guaranteed to improve the look of almost any entrance hall.
A teak or cherry wood finish would contrast attractively with the slate flooring and metal balustrade in your own space. But perhaps you'd prefer a subtler, more complementary combination. In that case, paint the wood of stair tansu in a color matching the surrounding walls. That will create a floating effect for the staircase and visually expand the size of the entrance hall.
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I empathize with your desire to use wood in a bathroom. I've done so myself, though sparingly. Bathrooms these days typically have a crisp look, but they should never have a cold appearance. Properly placed and treated for moisture resistance, wood can supply much needed warmth in a bathroom
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(Readers with general interior design questions for Rita St. Clair can e-mail her at rsca(at)ritastclair.com.)
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