From roomy new-builds to closet-less last-century homes, the organizational specialists at Tailored Living in Traverse City are all about turning the chaos of stuff into lifestyle Zen.

Two years ago, Robert and Sheryl Zimmerman asked their friend, Jeremy St. John, to join their new franchise of Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage, a Los Angeles-based, nationwide company. The Northern Michigan region they service is diminutive compared to the populous urban areas where most of the company’s 200 other franchises are located. But the Zimmermans saw the need. Together, they have become evangelists for the psychological and emotional benefits of a well-organized home. Both born and raised in Traverse City, Robert and Jeremy are passionate about Northern Michigan where there are a plethora of lovely preservation-worthy homes—with closets just big enough to hang a Sunday dress. Their mission? To prove there is always a way to create storage.

We chatted with Jeremy to get a better picture of what Tailored Living can do:

Your company’s motto?

We create calm from chaos.

What are the symptoms of someone who needs your company’s help?

If you can’t find your stuff … there is usually a tardiness element that goes along with that. BTW, that rule doesn’t apply to families with children under age 5. I have a 5-year-old and I can’t find my keys because they are in the bathtub …

If you walk into a room and feel more stressed than blessed. That especially applies to your bedroom because a cluttered room and/or a room that is polluted with a workstation can affect your sleep.

People don’t call us unless they need us—when areas in their home have become a personal source of pain. The first thing I do is get the client to breathe. I tell them I’m not here because everything is awesome. Something needed to be fixed. And then I tell them to make it like they want it. It’s hard sometimes to be that selfish.

But if they have the ability to envision it then Robert or I will help them translate their vision to reality. Robert is the lead designer and has the uncanny ability to create space where there is none.

Seems like all the storage in the world can’t compensate for too much junk. Do you actually help people get rid of stuff?

We are happy to help people get rid of stuff. I post a lot of articles on our Facebook page about how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. We will go into people’s homes and help them. But it is a very personal space. We are very courteous, very professional but it still takes a lot of trust on the part of our clients.

You work with all sizes of houses and all incomes?

That’s the hardest message to send to Traverse City, because there is so much high-end building. Those are great jobs and a lot of fun. But the fact is that housing is at a premium here. I don’t care where you live; it is an expensive house because they all are here. We really love going into a small space that is a source of pain for somebody and turning it around and making it more usable. Make their life easier.

So older homes …

If there is closet space available we can better utilize that space. Most often it involves using the high area. We can hang clothes in a 10-foot ceiling and you’ll still be able to reach them—with a pull-down bar.

Some older homes barely even have closets. What then?

Yes. A lot of these houses were built when people had one change of clothes for church! Case in point: We did an attic closet for an older home on Cass Street in downtown Traverse City. We have tricks up our sleeves to make things accessible in these low-ceilinged rooms with their steep eaves. When we were done it ended up holding three times the clothes it would have without our design. We invented space.

Garages are another potential for storage—and even living—space:

Yes, I call it a transitional space. It’s perfect for the Man Cave or the She Shed thing. A good-looking garage (that you aren’t afraid to get dirty) makes your house bigger. And the best thing is that when you organize your garage you can actually fit your car into it.

What’s the price tag for achieving the bliss of organization?

It’s really, really tough to approximate. If you want the sleek modern glass-doors-and-drawers look, you can easily spend five to six thousand dollars. But I have brought pure functionality to a reach-in closet for three or four hundred dollars.

The beauty of our on-site CAD design program is that we can tab out the jobs that need to be done. Then we can break it up over a course of a few years. You just call me every spring and say, “Ok, we’re ready for this one now.”

Northern Homes & Cottages

Photo(s) by Tailored Living