Supporting the Community

Both Bonnie and I feel that it is important to give something back to the community, especially where it concerns children and families in need. I recently had the honor to be asked, through NARI, to help out with some renovation work at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park, NY. I say honor because my experience there has given me a new perspective on the impact that the charity has on people. Vanity The funding for the Ronald McDonald House charity is donated, and much of the “staff” are volunteers. The families served are not charged for the time they stay at the house. They simply have a need to be close to an ailing child who is in the hospital; the house provides that and more. It becomes a sanctuary during a time of extreme stress. The house has a kitchen open to all, and provides “home cooked” meals for their guests. They provide wifi, and even video games. This year’s remodeling effort covered more than 20 rooms, and most of the materials were donated by everyone from lumber yards, flooring companies and supply houses, to designers, electricians, carpenters and their friends and families. My family helped with the installation of flooring in two rooms. We were all affected by the experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that our efforts went to such a worthy cause. Thinking of the experience now literally brings tears to my eyes. The aches and pains we felt over the few days after we worked there became a badge of honor.
 
About a week later,Hanging doors, closet, Built in closet, Custom built ins, Barn door, sliding door Symmetry was approached again. This time by Kelly Dall, and our friends at Artisan Design Build Remodel, to help finish a room by giving the guests a simple and attractive way to organize their belongings during their stay. The collaboration resulted in a closet and storage solution that is functional, attractive, and blends seamlessly with Kelly’s design. I’m sure it will be appreciated by anyone who stays in the room. I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to give more than just my time, and to partner with both a gifted designer, and a remodeling firm that always provides impeccable work. I truly believe that the sum of the work far exceeded our expectations. Bill Kahn – Vice President / General Manager
       

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Spring Cleaning For Storage Spaces

After this long and cold winter, we’ve become accustomed to the collection of gloves, scarves, hats and the pile of shoes by the door. However, once the good weather finally arrives, it’s time for spring sports and all the accompanying muddy gear. Worst of all, this mess is the first impression people have when they arrive at your lovely home. One of the most overlooked essential areas is the coat closet. These closets tend to have a hanging rod and maybe a single shelf. By simply adding some shelves you can create space for boots, shoes, and other gear. If space permits, you can store hats, caps, winter scarves and gloves by adding drawers or baskets that slide out. Closet baskets and drawers are great to have near the bottom of the closet, around a small child’s height, making it easier for the little ones to put away their own stuff and to grab their toys or mittens before running out the door. These are also an excellent place to store the dog toys, leashes, and other gear. Our dog takes his own leash out of the bin when it’s time to go walking! While some homes don’t have a convenient coat closet or have already fully utilized that storage space, many of us have an area that can become a mud room. In this space you can find room for kid’s jackets so that the coat closet can be more formal for dedicated adult use. A mud room can include hooks for hats, scarves, or other grab-and-go items. Alternatively, an attached garage can provide mudroom type storage. The garage is a great way to grab extra space while containing the clutter discretely. The key is to install custom storage that will protect any expensive sports equipment, like storage shelves, drawers and baskets. Shelves can handle the boots, shoes, and cleats; while standing storage bins can hold bats and longer gear. Hooks can also be added to any storage area to catch the baseball hats, dog leashes or other frequently used items. Cabinet doors add a beautiful finishing touch. Spring is almost here—and it’s time to store the winter away while planning for warmer weather. A well designed storage solution can take your gear away from your door, and leave you more time to stop and smell the daffodils. Enjoy!

As seen on NBC’s George To The Rescue

Rose Ott Design invites Symmetry Closets to collaborate on a George To The Rescue (NBC) project in Island Park, NY.

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Symmetry Closets as seen on NBC’s George to the Rescue

This episode of George to the Rescue featured the Byrne family of Island Park, NY.

John “J.J.” Byrne, the oldest of two sons, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was seven years old, but that didn’t stop him from taking an active role in his community of Island Park, NY. JJ Byrne is civic-minded, he is assistant to the mayor of Island Park, an active member of the church, and he also works hard to fundraise and raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. J.J. fundraises for his team, “Team Shenanigans”, every year for the “Great Strides” walk by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Tara Byrne, J.J.’s mother, is also active in the community, where she served as past president of the PTA, and now acts as a member on the Island Park school board. The Byrne family agreed they wanted a nautical theme to come through in the new interior design of each space dedicated to the rescue. The ocean colors and textures would match the family’s love for the tight-knit beach community. Rose Ott Design, George to the Rescue, NBC,Symmetry Closets This was Rose Ott’s fourth time working with George To The Rescue, and for this specific project, Rose asked Bonnie to help with the family’s laundry room in desperate need of organization. They both agreed custom cabinet built-ins for the laundry room would be just the right touch for optimal organization. The laundry room was cramped with hanging clothes and other miscellaneous household items, and there was a lack of storage space to begin with.
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Photo courtesy of Rose Ott Design

Custom Kitchen Storage, Grey Cabinets, Sunflowers, Bar Stool, Dishwasher, Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Rose Ott Design

Bonnie and her custom closet team got to work to create storage with style. They installed a wall hanging iron board and a storage unit with baskets for that extra, personalized home organization touch. To pair with the nautical theme, Bonnie knew brushed brass was the best hardware choice to match the overall design theme. White shaker style cabinets and crown moldings completed the look.

A Space Tailored to Keep Out Dust and Toxins, But Still Have Room For Enjoyment

Rose and her team, which includes her husband and builder, Frank Ott, wanted to create a specialized area for all of J.J.’s extracurricular activities. They wanted a clean and organized space, but also a place where J.J. can relax and enjoy his environment. The George to the Rescue team took out the carpeting in the front room that would soon become J.J.’s home office, to eliminate any amount of excess dust or toxins that might irritate J.J.’s medical condition. J.J. mentioned that some of the kitchen appliances were in disrepair, and the space just wasn’t up to par for any type of entertaining – be it holding meetings involving fundraising, PTA or school board meetings. In the kitchen they ripped out and replaced the ceiling due to mold, again to limit toxins possibly in J.J.’s breathing environment. With home entertainment in mind Rose’s team got to work in the kitchen. Ripping out a wall in the kitchen opened the space for more room to entertain guests, and for the family to enjoy more time in one of the most intergral parts of the Byrne Family home. Now, the Byrne Family is set up for many years of joy in their newly revitalized home. The Symmetry Closets team thanks Rose Ott, and the George to the Rescue team for the opportunity to be a part of this project!
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Link to Team Shenanigans

Team Shenanigans Fundraising page

Ring In The New Year

2015It’s that time of year—the Holidays are here! Around the edges of the holiday bustle, the good times with family and friends, there are usually also the moments of quiet introspection—of being “in the moment.” It’s a good time to take stock of all the experiences we’ve had this year, and what we envision for the new one. The reflective nature of the holidays is encouraged by all the lights and shiny décor we embrace to brighten the long nights and short days around the Winter Solstice. From the twinkling lights to the mercury glass candlesticks, to the ornaments on the tree and hearth, to the fireplace itself—we seek out light and good cheer.  As the holidays wind on down it’s a wonderful opportunity to take the time, and make space for you. It can be as small as scheduling ten minutes a day to breathe or meditate. Or perhaps spending an hour reading a book, or taking a walk one morning a week in the woods or beach with your dog/child/favorite sibling…. Space for yourself can be larger, too. It can manifest as breakfast in bed, a nice bubble bath, or someone helping you clean out the basement/garage/closet/or that drawer in the kitchen.   Some people would request a room of their own—to write, work out, do crafts, sew or knit, watch sports—the possibilities are truly limitless and fully customizable!   Let’s make this year one of fulfillment, in which we get to enjoy achieving our goals. Let’s also make this a year in which we get some of those essential moments to take a breath, sit back and gain some perspective. So in the spirit of acknowledging all the different ways to be reflective this time of year—we wish everyone a Joyous Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, a Delightful Kwanzaa, and a Healthy, Prosperous New Year.

The Secret History of the Closet

Blog Written by Nancy Mitchell  apartment therapy You probably think of a closet as a little room where you hang up your clothes. But for much of its history, the closet has served a completely different purpose entirely.
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Modern Walk-in Closet

Come back with me, if you will, to the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages having a bedroom was a bit of a privilege — most common folks slept either on the floor of the great hall of the manor where they lived, or in the single room that served them as kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom all in one. Only very wealthy people had bedrooms, and they used their bedrooms not just for sleeping but also for working and entertaining important guests. The bedroom, at this time, was not a very private place. So where could you go if you wanted a little time alone? Enter the closet. At the end of the Medieval period, well-to-do homeowners began adding ‘closets’ adjoining their bedrooms. The closet was a place to store treasured possessions, but it was also a place for prayer, reading, and quiet contemplation. It was by far the most private place in the house, and to this day the word “closet” can carry a meaning of secrecy and privacy. If two people retreat to a secluded spot to have a conversation, they can be said to be closeted together. A “closet racist” is someone who hides their views from the world. (This particular meaning of the word closet may have contributed to the phrase ‘come out of the closet’, although according to Mentalfloss this particular metaphor was not used by the gay community until the 1960s.)
custom walk in closets

Modern Walk-in Closet

In Europe the closet eventually disappeared, as houses grew larger and other rooms afforded opportunities for privacy. But the Puritans took the idea of a closet with them to the New World — although it had become by then simply a place to store things. Of course, closets are not nearly as prevalent in older houses. There might not even be one in every bedroom, because people then had a lot less clothing, and they were a lot more likely to store their clothes in a chest or armoire than hang them up in a closet. (The coat hanger, in fact, wasn’t even invented until 1869.) Today the closet is enjoying a bit of a zenith, owing to the fact that many modern Americans own (what would have been considered by the Puritans at least) simply enormous amounts of clothes. The mania for luxury closets has even led to closets outfitted with sofas, vanities, or desks, making them a sort of retiring room/boudoir in addition to a storage space. Which means that these closets have, in fact, come completely full circle. This post was inspired by and owes much to Lucy Worley’s fascinating book about the history of the home, If Walls Could Talk. It will make you, I guarantee, a completely fascinating dinner party conversationalist, able to wax eloquent about thing like how often medieval people bathed (spoiler: they didn’t) and historical attitudes towards beards. Author: Nancy Mitchell As a Senior Writer at Apartment Therapy, Nancy splits her time among looking at beautiful pictures, writing about design, and photographing stylish apartments in and around NYC. It’s not a bad gig.

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An Organized Home Office for Any Room Size

By Bill Kahn, Custom Closet Professional and former Vice President of Symmetry Closets.

Let’s face it… in the days of smart phones, high-speed internet and Wi-Fi, the work day doesn’t stop when we get home.

We all have projects or tasks that we need to do in the “off hours.” Many of us have started our own home-based businesses, or perhaps we telecommute a few days a week. More so, when the day is done, almost all of us need a dedicated workspace in our homes where we can “drop off” all the dead weight. Now at this point in our thought-process is where we start to think we just don’t have the space. This is how our dining room and kitchen tables become our home office space. Eventually, it may graduate to a small writing desk or card table in an unused corner. Our filing system consists of piles of paperwork and folders strewn about the table and any other nearby surface. We end up eating in front of the TV since there’s no room at the table. Our paperwork and bills are out in front of us all the time, the work day never truly ends and we’re always stressed-out. We think we don’t have the space to put it all away without misplacing it. Well, we’re wrong. Custom Home Office Design A home office doesn’t need to be a separate room with a door that closes us off from the rest of the world. A good work space can be a small surface that can fit the laptop, has some filing space and room for office supplies. Maybe there’s even room for a printer, but the important thing is to have someplace to put it all when we’re done with our day.

An organized office needs:

  • A file cabinet. Most of us only need one drawer.
    • Box up anything over a year old and put in a closet or other storage area.
    • Or scan your documents for electronic filing (back up often to a separate device).
    • Remember to go through and shred any personal financial documents over seven years old. (Business owners should keep those for ten years.)
  • A drawer for pens, paper clips, power cords and other small office supplies.
  • Maybe a closed cabinet with a slide-out shelf for the printer.
  • Space for extra paper, pads, binders and books.
A custom designed work-station eases stress and creates an escape in the home that we never realized possible. We all need to relax, and putting the work day away is one of the best ways to start.

OUR FEATURED DESIGNER Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Design

Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Design

Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Designs

How Symmetry Closets and Adam Cassino Design Began Collaborating:

“A colleague of mine recommended Symmetry Closets to Adam when he realized he would need an expert closet designer for this project. When we spoke about the designs for the client’s ‘his and hers’ walk-in closets Adam knew exactly what he wanted and he gave us very detailed directions when it came time to install. That’s the nice thing about him, he knows exactly what he wants and expresses his design expectations very clearly, which makes the process that much easier for us. Bonnie wasn’t a part of the entire design and renovation process but she recalls the amount of precision Adam and his team exhibited, “Adam makes decisions quickly and efficiently and that make a large complex project move faster.” This applied to Bonnie’s part in designing the client’s two walk-in closets, “Adam gave us a very realistic time frame to produce the order and install it to the exact specifications he requested. We are in the design phase of another project with Adam and we’re enjoying the process.”
About Adam Cassino A New York City native who is passionate about all things design, Adam is trained in several interconnected fields that lend him to be a well -rounded designer and problem solver. Priding himself Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Designon customer service, Adam is known for developing long -term, intimate relationships with his clients, making himself always available and approachable, often far beyond the completion of a project. Adam’s range of knowledge in engineering, design, architecture, and real estate is beneficial when working directly with architects, contractors, and other design individuals. His diversified background, coupled with innate talent, a well-received demeanor, and strong work ethic, allow Adam to achieve great success in his projects, and a high level of gratitude and satiation in his client base.

Design Backstory: Luxury Interior Design for the Entire Home

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Fully redesigned master bedroom. Melville, NY. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Design

“Believe it or not, the interior of this 6,500 square feet family home started out as gothic and heavy. Our client brought us in before purchasing and asked if we could transform it into a light and airy transitional feel that they loved; we clearly could. Without delay, remodeling began, and in less than a year this now updated transitional home is a delight to be in. We changed the color palette of the entire home, changed stone surfaces, flooring, bathrooms, kitchen finishes, all lighting, and added elegant woodwork detail throughout. Now fully furnished in exquisite, comfortable, and usable pieces, this home has far surpassed our client’s expectations and is a beloved space for the family.”
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His and Hers Master walk-in closet. Melville, NY. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Design.

A Homeowner’s Dream Come True: Interior Design Ideas Come To Life

Our time working with Adam has been nothing short of amazing. He brings innovative thinking, an innate technical mind, & a sharp eye for all things beautiful. These qualities combined have created the most incredible spaces in our home. His visions of a space are always creative while closely paying attention to the functionality of the room. He has become not only our designer but a dear friend in the process. He has a keen sense in getting to know his client which allows his work to reflect our own personal style throughout our home. We worked on many projects that involved designing from scratch custom pieces in our work spaces, closets, and living areas. Adam was always on the ball with every detail of the technical aspect of the symmetry closets, custom walk ins, custom built ins, custom drawers, soft close drawerswork. He inherently understood how each space & the furnishings should fit & flow together. This goes for all parts of the design process from our unbelievable entry chandeliers to the placement of our towels and trays in our bathrooms. His eye for details, color, and style comes naturally to him. The process of creating our new home could have been overwhelming to us. It ended up being the most exciting and special time because we had Adam to guide us.

Symmetry closets, foyer, custom designHis and Her Master Bedroom Closet Designs: A Match Made In Heaven

Clean lines and an overall lighter feel throughout the home was achieved in the design project over the course of about a year. At that point the closets were finally in sight for the husband and wife. The clients wanted their closets to appear classy and leaning more on the extravagant side to match the rest of their newly designed home. The wife wanted plenty of room for her shoes and symmetry closet, wedding gown, wedding dress, wedding dress storage, custom shelving, shoe shelves, custom island, white closethandbags, and for them to display like a upscale dressing room. She also wanted even more drawer space, so they decided to put in a peninsula attached to the wall with a stunning white marble top. Follow Adam on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamcassinodesign/ Visit her website: http://adamcassinodesign.com/ IDS

Multitasking Extraordinaire: Spring Clean, Prep for Taxes and Help Charity–all at the same time?

The Start of Long Island NY Spring 2016

This time of year, our thoughts turn to Spring, and Taxes…so logically, Tax Deductions as well.  A conversation with our Tax Adviser got us thinking about these connections.

In honor of the Season, let’s consider some ways that Spring Cleaning can—literally—help the world.  Think that’s a large statement?  Well, try this on for size:

Spring Cleaning:

Clothing:   By February, with the hats and coats, gloves and boots always needed, you may never want to see a sweater again.  That’s a perfect time to take a look at your winter clothing situation.  At this point in the season, if you or your family hasn’t worn it, you really can ask why it’s occupying valuable real estate in your closets.  Now, there may be good reasons.  It was the sweater you were married in…ok, you get a pass.  But, while the weather is still keeping us stuck indoors, let’s start a pile of clothes to give away. Coat Closets:  This is an obvious one—if the winter coat hasn’t been worn by now… Often the coats we don’t wear are the ones we keep around because we liked them once. Of course, keep the dressy coat.  Just so long as it fits.    But when the coat closet is too full for guest’s jackets, because we’re keeping coats that don’t fit or are out of fashion, we certainly have the choice to let those go.  Someone who doesn’t have a coat would love to have one!   And wouldn’t it be nice to have some space in there?  Start a pile. Pantry:  If you’re anything like me, by February, you’ve run through your entire soup and stew repertoire.   You’ve used many canned, jarred, and dried goods.  This is a good time to question:  How committed am I to learning how to cook mung beans?   Or, am I ever actually going to serve this jarred pasta sauce I bought on sale…in September?   Your pantry is likely too full, with pasta you bought two boxes of and just didn’t like, with … you can fill in the blank.  You get the idea—start a pile.  This food is valuable nutrition someone else can use.  And, you get the bonus of freeing up space for food you like and will serve your family.

Helping the World & Charitable Tax Deductions:

There are two ways you can help the world by giving away stuff you don’t need:
  • You free up your personal emotional energy. This is a serious statement.  By keeping stuff we don’t need or even want, every time you open the closet/pantry/coat closet, you see this stuff that causes you stress.  You know that that coat hasn’t fit in a while.  And you know that you just don’t like that pasta and feel like you wasted money on it.  We can all use less stress.  We actually feel lighter when we release this stuff.  And, you free up room on your shelves and closet rods for new opportunities.  You make space for trying a new look, for trying the quinoa recipe or even for buying that bread machine you’ve wanted but couldn’t fit on your shelves.  Give it a try—you’ll like it.
  • You help other people who live right here, nearby—who can really use the stuff we don’t want. And this is the Tax Deduction for next year.  We’ve compiled a list of local charities we know and love.  We suggest that if you want to clear up some space by donating clothing or other items, that you consider these worthy charities:

Donate to Charities:

  • Dress for Success: Donate professional women’s clothing in good condition.    The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. https://newyork.dressforsuccess.org/
  • Veterans House, Family & Children’s Association: Donate men’s clothing, coats, pantry goods, blankets, special request for a bath scale with slip resistance.  Please contact Velma Berry for details. vberry@familyandchildrens.org
  • Mercy First: Provides a home for children who need one and offers life skills programs for older children, including cooking, food safety, etc.  Donate dishes, pots, kitchen supplies.  Also can use tables & chairs for young folks moving into permanent adult housing.  Please contact Ellen Miller 516-921-0808.
  • ReStore: Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.   http://www.habitat.org/restores
  • The Book Fairies:  Donate gently used children’s books to this tax deductible charity.  The books go to schools, libraries and non-profit organizations to enrich the lives of children by encouraging a love of reading.  Contact info@thebookfairies.org for details.
  • Long Island Cares:  Works with affiliates to bring food to food pantries.  Food Locator link http://www.licares.org/find-help/food-locator/
  • Ronald McDonald House of LI.  Once a house is built, it is completely supported by charitable donations, which can include household items and packaged food.  The foundation only supports the initial construction of each house.  Contact: Jennifer Nicholson, Director of Special Projects 718-343-5683/516-775-5683 x158, jnicholson@rmhlongisland.org
It’s truly a win-win.  You can free up your storage space and clear out emotional baggage too.  This is a convenient way to help our neighbors, and to help ourselves too—while banking some Tax Deductions for next year!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

How to Move In with Your Better Half (and Not Break Up in the Process)