People & Places

Expert storage tips by cabinetry company Mr & Mrs Ward you should know

Planning a reno this year? We chat to Janice Kumar-Ward, one half of husband-and-wife cabinetry company Mr & Mrs Ward, about why it’s worth investing in custom-made storage

Why you should invest in custom-made storage: Mr & Mrs Ward’s expert tips

Janice, tell us a little bit about your backgrounds.
I have worked in the design and service industries since I was 15. After graduating I landed my dream job at an architecture and interiors business and I still work with some of those people today. Julian has worked for his family business in cabinetry since he was 15 and has gone from sweeping the floors to crafting top-quality, one-off pieces.

Why did you decide to launch Mr & Mrs Ward together?
Julian and I started designing Mr & Mrs Ward 10 years ago. The idea first came to us after I drew a TV unit on the back of our power bill and all our friends and family loved it. We then designed the Brutus drawer units, which we still have. They have moved from the children’s rooms to the living room and back again

What materials do you use?
Julian and his brother Tristan use products approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Their high-quality lacquers, veneers and materials are the most environmentally conscious products of their kind available in New Zealand.

What are the most common problems concerning home storage?
In our experience, it’s often that homeowners are not using what they have effectively, or are investing in expensive built-in items that are not flexible to changing requirements.

What are your favourite ways to add storage?
I love items that can be used as a console in the lounge, then as storage in a bedroom – my favourite thing is flexibility and choice. I love designing hidden cubbies; recently we used the corners of a wardrobe to make secret safes. We have done felt-lined and false-back drawers for precious heirlooms. And Julian has just come up with a hidden headboard storage system that will hide just about anything.

Mr and Mrs Ward’s storage tips

  • Have a place for everything – my favourite storage space is my special gift-wrapping drawer.
  • Buy storage items that are flexible, and change things up regularly – can your drawer units work in the living room? Do they have finished backs? If so, they could double as a room divider.
  • Keep the things you love; avoid hoarding but treasure things that give you joy. For me, it’s some of the children’s tiny clothes!
  • Buy locally made goods from local agents. If you break something or want it changed, this can be dealt with easily. Plus you’re supporting those who run showrooms and factories and employ many Kiwis.
  • Use every nook and cranny in your home by purchasing storage that fits your space.
  • Always screw large furniture items to the wall.
  • If you’re short on storage space, hooks are the next best thing!

Photography by: Duncan Innes.

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