TRANS­FORM A SMALL HOUSE INTO A HIGHLY FUNC­TIONAL SPACE

NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page - BY MAR­CIA LYON

Some houses have “al­most” enough space, but what is there is poorly dis­trib­uted and fights daily traf­fic. Tiny rooms and re­stricted cir­cu­la­tion space make daily ac­tiv­i­ties con­fined and frus­trat­ing. A mod­est six-foot ad­di­tion and sim­ple mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the ex­ist­ing floor plan could change your life!

PROB­LEM

With no back en­try (or ac­cess to the back yard), the main fam­ily en­trance (A) was the side door, which passed through the nar­row base­ment stair land­ing. Af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing two doors, your first view was the side of the re­frig­er­a­tor. Still in a con­stricted space, you had to dump in­com­ing items on the tiny is­land and then go through an­other door to the front hall closet (B) for coats. More of­ten than not, coats, shoes and back­packs ended up in a pile around the re­frig­er­a­tor.

The size­able but poorly laid out kitchen (C) forced the cook to zoom from cor­ner to cor­ner to reach ap­pli­ances, dodg­ing a nar­row move­able is­land that some­times wound up block­ing one of the ap­pli­ances.

The kitchen shared a view of the nicely main­tained backyard gar­den with the break­fast room (D). The break­fast room was used, but the fam­ily com­plained that sit­ting there made them feel trapped. Fur­ther con­ges­tion oc­curred when the break­fast room was be­ing used and some­one had to ac­cess the half bath (E) tucked in around the cor­ner from the kitchen. Vis­i­tors got to see all the pri­vate and messy parts of the house if they needed to use the fa­cil­i­ties.

The living room (F) and dining rooms (G), spa­cious and for­mal in style, were rarely used, with the fam­ily hud­dled up in a for­merly en­closed porch wide enough for just one sofa. This sar­dine-style ap­proach to a fam­ily room (H) pre­sented a too cozy sit­u­a­tion for sib­lings and all the ex­tra stuff they brought into the fam­ily room in or­der to keep the living room clean.

SO­LU­TION

An ad­di­tion (I) was in or­der, so we squared (and an­gled) off the back of the house, adding just un­der 100 square feet. The re­sult cre­ated a nice view and ac­cess to the back of the house.

The new porch (J) is cov­ered, and pro­vides a pro­tected en­try as well as an out­door sit­ting area off the fam­ily room (K). Fam­ily mem­bers en­ter di­rectly into the kitchen next to a coat closet and use the large is­land as a “dump­ing” spot for gro­ceries, books, etc.... Mir­ror­ing the coat closet is a food pantry. An open­ing di­rectly into the fam­ily room is just big enough for com­mu­ni­ca­tion while shield­ing the view of the kitchen. Doors and win­dows are lo­cated so that the pri­mary fur­ni­ture wall ori­ents the sit­ters to­wards the kitchen. Dou­ble doors be­tween the fam­ily room and the dining room main­tain the for­mal­ity of the dining room (G).

Part of the new kitchen (L) was the old break­fast room, so we swapped places and lo­cated a new break­fast room (M) in a lit­tle less space than what the for­mer kitchen (C) took up. The base­ment stair was mod­i­fied by re­mov­ing one wall and the door, giv­ing the break­fast room more vis­ual space.

A new pow­der room (N) is more centrally lo­cated, with the door off a hall for max­i­mum pri­vacy. The an­gled wall re­peats some of the other an­gles and widens the path to the rest of the house.

MAR­CIA LYON is a pro­fes­sional re­mod­el­ing designer and free­lance writer pro­duc­ing projects in Toronto and sev­eral ar­eas across the U.S. and Canada. You can reach her at 416-201-8867 or e-mail mar­cia@cre­at­ingspaces.net or check her Web site: www.cre­at­ingspaces.net

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