"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Style At Work: Mary Pankiewicz

I recently finished up writing my second bookazine (hooray!) which is due out in stores in the coming month (I will keep you posted!), only this time instead of flea markets my topic focused on how to get organized for Spring. It was a terrific project, and as some of you may have guessed -I needed to get some expert advice...which is how I met Mary Pankiewicz.

Mary is a certified professional organizer (CPO), the owner of Clutter-Free & Organized in Tennessee and the mother of seven grown children. Needless to say she was a tremendous resource  --and you can look for her insight and expertise coming soon in Organize: Spring.

While I was checking out her website, I ran across this photo her darling office.

To be filed under the heading: How Cute is This? I asked Mary to tell me a little more about the clutter-free cottage she calls, The Biltmore Birdhouse. (Named after the family of house wrens that took up residence during construction)

Orginally constructed by her son, Kenneth Pankiewicz, as a place to store a windfall of inherited antique furniture, the vision changed after a particularly inspired shopping excursion.

"I went to TJ Maxx," she recalls, "and they had the most beautiful wastepaper basket --it was just so me!" Ever the organizer, however, she says, "I looked at it and thought don't buy it unless you know what you're going to do with it --and then it hit me!...I could turn that building into my office...so now I think of that as my $8,000 waste basket!"

"At the time, there wasn't electricity, it was really just a framework of a building," so once again her son got to work and transformed the structure into a dream office for mom. A place of her own, ironically after all seven kids had left the nest. Her favorite part: the french doors that face the barn and look out onto the meadow beyond.

In fact, Mary says after purchasing an L-shaped desk for her space she put the piece on gliders for easy repositioning in the room, "I would not let them put a hole in the floor [for an electrical outlet] until I knew that I had the right view out of all the windows."

In addition to the desk, Mary says she also created a second, 'stand-up' desk using her father's art board. "It's a hollowed out door on top of two A-frames that I painted white," she explains. "I put my laptop on the stand up desk because I found out I was much more efficient with my emails if I am standing up...we make much faster, better decisions when we're on our feet and we're standing," says the CPO. "If you have stacks of paper to go through -if you go through it on your feet, you'll go through it a zillion times faster."

Although, the mini-farmhouse that mirrors the design of Mary's main address just 50 feet away is all hers, she admits she shares the digs with an adopted cat and the occasional hummingbird. 

Mary suspects the cat may be under the impression the space is actually his. "He's even walked across my computer," she explains, "and I've had to have a computer person out to figure out what he stepped on."

Photo courtesy of Clutter-Free & Organized.

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