Want a Stylish Alternative to Cubbies for Kids’ Storage? Try a Faux Mantel

published Sep 19, 2022
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Credit: Abe Martinez

Whether you have one kid or several, finding smart, sturdy, and stylish storage solutions is likely always going to be Marianna Popejoy live in a 1025-square-foot worker’s cottage in East London with their six-year-old son Finn. Professionally, the couple runs a creative agency together, so they’ve proven to be a great team full of unique ideas. For the last eight years, they’ve been renovating their narrow but “deceptively spacious” home that’s over a century old, turning it into something absolutely stunning.

The Popejoys’ entire home is beautifully designed and filled with plants. The organic textures and biophilic design aesthetic create a calm vibe around each and every corner. Another smart way this couple keeps their home serene is by coming up with truly one-of-a-kind storage solutions. “Storage has definitely changed our lives,” Popejoy says. “It helps to create such a relaxing feel in the space, as all of the clutter and toys have a place.” Their son Finn’s room has maybe the most unique storage idea, which consists of a faux mantel turned into a bookcase.

Mantels and fireplaces aren’t something you’d expect to see inside a kid’s room, but they do pop up from time to time, especially in older homes. In this case, a faux mantel turned out to be the perfect place to store Finn’s books and toy bins. Faux mantels can be found in all sorts of colors and finishes, so Popejoy painted Finn’s a bright shade of orange to fit with the whimsical, kid-centric vibe of the room. Inside the mantel, the family mounted two wood planks to create shelving and painted them the same shade of orange, then styled out the perches with Finn’s favorite reads. The extra space underneath the lower shelf even allows them to stash bins of toys! You could also try this kind of shelving idea in a non-functional fireplace, no matter the room of the house.

“We try to make everything that we choose for our home work really hard,” Popejoy says, and this mantel-turned-bookshelf is a perfect example of that philosophy.