March 2010: Kids


Cubbies beyond the classroom

Problem: Curbing shoe and coat chaos

Left to right, Meme Kattmann, 4, Finn Kattmann, 9, Oscar Kattmann, 7, family friend Jack Vigilante, 7, and Prentice Kattmann, 11, show off their personal cubbies in the entryway to their home.

No matter what the size and shape of your home, if you have a kid, you likely share a common concern: How to get Junior not to drop shoes, coat and backpack on the floor at the front door. For Mark and Bee Kattmann the concern was multiplied by six. Make that seven (there’s another baby on the way). Yes, six children equals a lot of clutter, a lot of lunch boxes, a lot of hats. After moving into their current home in Ivy three years ago, the Kattmanns had a solution. They designed a home expansion and renovation around a large cubby room directly off the home’s main entrance. 

“Before, the kids dropped all their bags and shoes in one big pile,” says Mark. 

Now, each child has his or her own cubby that runs almost from floor to ceiling. Each cubby has three separate shelves, leaving ample room for multiple pairs of shoes, boots and layers of outer gear. Hooks provide a convenient place to hang backpacks and lunch bags. In addition to the child-centered design, the Kattmanns also had kids in mind when choosing materials in the renovation. The floors as well as the cubbies themselves are made of reclaimed wood from nearby Shenandoah Valley barns. Utilizing distressed wood meant not only an aesthetic choice but an intentionally child-friendly feature.

“We can’t tell if that dent was something that happened a hundred years ago or just yesterday,” says Mark. 

The clever cubby room is actually a wide hallway that leads into a new bathroom and a laundry room where two sets of washers and dryers keep the large Kattmann clan in clean clothes. No more discovering muddy mittens during the hectic morning rush; the Kattmann kids can deposit the soiled stuff as they take it off. A copper topped counter built over the machines makes for added cleaning convenience. 

“Copper is antibacterial, and I don’t need a separate ironing board. I can iron right on top,” says Bee. 

For now, Bee and Mark each have their own cubbies as well. But when baby number seven arrives in June, they’ll have to share one. As long as neither is a shoe hound, they should be O.K.—Katherine Ludwig

Cramped closet solution

When storage space is at a minimum, consider a pocket organizer that hangs over a door. Use in the nursery for sorting diapers and burp clothes or in a front closet for corralling kids’ mittens and mufflers in winter and sandals and sunhats in summer. Canvas 4 Pocket Organizer from Koala Baby, $16.99, Babies “R” Us.—K.L.