Case Study: Transform your ‘problem space’ in three easy steps

PART 1 – Setting the scene: Transform Your Problem Space

Making the most of your undercover or outdoor storage areas can be really challenging. It boils down to this: How do you store random objects of all shapes, colours, sizes and functions in an organised and efficient manner while keeping the whole space looking tidy, attractive and in a style you like? Stay with me to find out how to transform your problem space, demonstrated by a recent case study.

The Problem Space:

My client recently moved into a small farm cottage where the carport doubles as outdoor storage area. It’s quite a spacious area that’s mostly weatherproof and full of natural light with a green outlook. The space included a cupboard, shelving unit, high fitted shelf, row of hooks and plenty of floorspace for boxes. Tin overhead and concrete under food. So far so good.

Alison wanted to use the space efficiently as a storage area for a range of unrelated items and – at the same time – create a nice-looking area that reflects her taste and warmly ‘welcomes’ friends and family to her home.

Entry way in need of some love
Entry way in need of some love

Enter self-isolation and more time than usual for all of us to work on projects at home. For Alison, who now walks through the carport many more times each day than before, finding a way to improve how it worked and looked became a priority. And so began our project together…

One of the things I most enjoy as a Holistic Interior Designer is to help a client transform an existing ‘problem space’ into an area that serves its function and has the right ‘look-and-feel’. Whether the space is large or small, indoor or outdoor, upstairs or downstairs, public or private, I’ve developed a simple three-step process to help.


Diverse and functional items adorn the garage walls
Diverse and functional items adorn the garage walls

I spy with my little eye….

Alison’s items are diverse, functional, and not particularly attractive. You can see the bicycle pump in emergency red, a watering can and SPEEDO bag in lurid green, a blue filing box, floral boxes containing letters from Grandma since 1973. There’s an unused blackboard and pinboard, collapsed boxes, a tent, cycling helmet, dog leads, a drill, old shoes, a camping bed … and on it goes.

These are useful items that need to be handy, but if you’re not careful, you can easily end up losing things (even if they’re in plain view) and your space looks, not to put too fine a point on it, messy and ugly…

Some of these things (like the garden fork and watering can) are in almost daily use. But other things (the letters from Grandma and roof racks) very rarely come down from their shelf.

As you can see, the shelving and cupboards are a random combination of old and new, coloured and plain, tall and low. There’s cardboard and concrete, plastic and rattan, baskets and metal, mesh and canvas. Alison’s tried to improve the overall look and feel with a pot plant here and there but, let’s be honest, it’s not really working. And she knows it!

A rather extensive colour palette throughout this outdoor area
A rather extensive colour palette throughout this outdoor area

With so many diverse elements in play, it’s easy to lose things that are in plain view and to get that sinking ‘I-really-have-to-tidy-this-up-one-day’ feeling every time you walk past.

Here’s where my Three-Step Process for Holistic Interior Design will help create order out of chaos.

If you’re finding Alison’s story relatable so far and have a similar ‘problem space’ where you live, keep reading next time. You’ll be surprised at the outcome😉