While her new tome is overflowing valuable tips and tricks about living rooms and bedrooms, we couldn’t help but be drawn to her back-of-house spaces. Beautifully designed and expertly organized, it’s clear Rollins took as much care and pride in these areas as she did in the main rooms—a lesson for all of us that no space is too small or too humble to be considered.
As she explains in one section, “workhorse spaces are the unsung heroes of well-run houses everywhere because they let you get down to the nitty-gritty of living— by which I mean washing, cleaning, arranging, and prepping—in efficient, practical ways that keep messes to a minimum and far from prying eyes and make a comfortable, clean house feel like magic.” We couldn’t agree more!
The Laundry Room
“My laundry room is a point of pride. Basically, I could run a hotel with it. Form follows function here. The floors are done with a checkerboard star pattern in cork, which is easy on the feet. I covered an island in a ticking stripe that works for ironing and folding and conceals storage underneath. Laundry and cleaning supplies are stored in baskets and organized on trays. For a decorative touch, I added vintage soap-ad posters and a sleight-of-hand design flourish: I had a carpenter bevel the edges of standard two-by-four blocks of wood and lined the walls like wainscoting. It looks like the rusticated facades of Renaissance palaces— how’s that for elevating folding and sorting?”
The Linen Closet
“My approach with linen closets is to have multiple small ones with ample open shelves, each dedicated to its own room or pair of rooms at the most. Sheets, pillowcases, and duvets are all stored as sets—rather than individually—so that suites of things stay together. I store cleaning supplies here, too, and beauty products such as candles, toothpaste, and extra toothbrushes in baskets to keep things neat.”
Her Walk-In Closet
“The walk-in is the closet of my inner clotheshorse’s dreams. Here I gained loads of traction from simple, inexpensive ideas. All of the clothing hangs from essentially reinforced curtain rods made by the ironworker I use for my curtain hardware. Shoes sit on open shelves constructed from plywood and then painted. I just kept adding stuff: off-the-shelf mirrored dressers that I pushed together and topped with a piece of plywood wrapped in leftover fabric and covered with a pane of glass; a run-of-the-mill Regency-style armoire I lacquered that same lipstick shade [as the walls]; and most importantly, art.”
The Party Pantry
“[T]he party pantry is quite possibly my favorite spot in the entire house. It’s honestly my dream come true: an unfussy, utilitarian space in which all that I could ever need for entertaining is stored. It’s one-stop access for all my candles, crystal, china, linens, vases, baskets, trays, napkins, glassware, flatware, you name it. Most of the stuff is organized by set or color on open shelving or hanging racks, while flatware, place mats, and napkins are organized by sets in drawers, so I can see it all in one fell swoop and build a table just by walking in the room, picking and choosing elements as I go.”
“When it comes to storage, I’m as fanatical about organization in the kitchen as I am everywhere else, with the same basic philosophy: if you can’t see it and easily access it, you can’t use it. I don’t like the look of built-in cabinetry, so I made mine look like armoires or vitrines with decorative cornices and baseboards. Drawer and cabinet pulls are a mix of vintage department-store door handles I scored at an estate sale and off-the-shelf brass hardware inspired by ship interiors. I wallpapered the backs of glass-fronted cabinets, which hold easy-to-get-at snacks on one side and baking basics on the other, in the same pattern I used on the walls in the butler’s pantry for a thread throughout that adds cohesion.”