Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beautiful Built-Ins Save Space

Harmon Builders has already done a fantastic addition for us. Having no reasonable way to add more square footage, space efficiency is our best bet. We love having a home in historic Frederick, but older houses present some challenges. Built-in shelving and cabinetry would be ideal for maximizing our usable space to keep and enhance the gorgeous architectural details that enticed us to buy an old house in this area to begin with.

By adding built in cabinets, drawers or shelving under the stair cases it is possible to build a distinctive piece that brings character and the storage space a modern family needs to a home with closets sized for an era gone-by. Another way to take advantage of the space available is to add cubbies or shelves near the ceiling. Often homes under-utilize the vertical space within, and older houses frequently were built with higher ceilings than new homes.

In a bedroom you may use vertical space for a built in loft beds with storage or desk space below. In our home we are looking at the possibility of opening attic space into the smallest bedroom (which doesn't have a closet) for a sleeping loft space. The ceiling height available would not make a true loft room an option there, but it would be perfect as a permanent bunk for one of our children. This would free the space below to allow for a wall of cabinets or a wide, shallow closet and a desk and chair. Even the ladder to a loft can serve to create storage space by having graduated depth shelving tucked between the risers on the ladder and the wall behind.

You may have seen dining areas that have built-in banquettes. I love these because you don't need to account for area for pulling chairs in and out from the table, which is surprisingly space consuming. Often the bench seating also has a hinged compartment for storage below the seating. Another way to use that area is to add drawers, which make the space more accessible and functional. An idea I just discovered is to add a safety hinge on the vertical back of the seating area with concealed shelving behind. This makes perfect food storage, especially for cans and dry goods.

Shallow shelving can be built into bathroom walls between studs. These are scaled perfectly for beauty products and toiletries. A mirror can go in front like a medicine cabinet or the shelves can be left open. These can also be inset into tiled shower walls for shampoo and conditioner.

In the laundry room, a counter can be installed over the washer and dryer to make a convenient folding station. Drawers or pull out shelving between the appliances can go underneath the counter top for storage of detergents and fabric softeners.

In a small home, you can find ways to take advantage of all kinds of space that others take for granted. Gorgeous built-ins add storage with great character.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I'd post a link here with some ideas from a Better Homes & Gardens slideshow.