Design Dilemma: The Case of the Missing Keys


When architect Jennifer Weiss spotted a Plexiglass bin that was overflowing with keys, papers and cellphones on her clients’ kitchen countertop, she knew instantly she could make their lives better.

Over the last several years Weiss, principal of J. Weiss Design, has been creating what she calls “command centers” or “entry hubs” for clients. That is a central location for the increasing amount of electronics, paper and change we carry around with us until we shed it all every evening near the front door (and often in places where they are less than aesthetically pleasing). The aformentioned clients inspired Weiss to design what she considers her best command center yet.

This unit, centrally located between the family’s two main home entry points, has an open tray on top for sunglasses, keys, cellphones and iPods. Cubbies below hold larger equipment, such as laptops or, in the case of this family, an answering machine and cordless phone. The lower drawer is for school papers and bills that need a temporary place to reside before receiving quick attention. This command center is wired, making charging up that  iPad or Kindle a snap.

Do you doubt that good design can improve your quality of life? Think about this: How much time do you spend looking for your cellphone before leaving the house? Is there a growing pile of paper on your dining room table? I thought so.

“Having something like this helps clarify things for people, and it certainly saves time spent searching for your keys,” says Weiss. “We look at it as small scale architecture. We used the same walnut wood that we used elsewhere in the house, so it looks modern and sleek. We also measured their equipment so it will fit everything they have now, and I think it can easily adapt for the future.”

And has it made life easier for the busy family of five? “They love it,” says Weiss. “When I mentioned it during our intial meeting, they agreed to the concept right away.” Call it a design dilemma solved.

To read more about this house, a traditional Moraga rancher transformed into a modern home for a family, check out the June issue of California Home+Design.


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