Reconfiguring a small space
Just like Declan Moylan’s house, there are ways to enhance the space in a compact home
Alongside the rise of property prices, people are increasingly resorting to reconfiguring their homes to maximise living space, as it is now considered less expensive to modify your interiors than to extend. If you choose this route, you must make a Building Application and, usually, consult a structural engineer to advise on load-bearing walls.
‘ With the help of an architect, rooms that aren’t the right size or shape for everyday use can be transformed imaginatively,’ says Ben Paul of Neu Architects. ‘It’s about altering the way you use the space, or changing the spaces to suit how you want to live.’ Perhaps the most popular single modification, and the one that has the most effect, is the removal of one wall to turn two rooms into one. As well as creating an open-plan space this also has the effect of increasing the flow of light from one area to another. ‘A small space flooded with light feels brighter and bigger and provides a link with the outdoors,’ says Ben. This link can be accentuated with the addition of glass doors leading to a garden.
Out of the box
To increase actual space within an existing shell, we are making the most of the space above and below us: adding height by exposing vaulted ceilings, and excavating to create sunken rooms. In additon to structural changes, there are many ways to incorporate space-saving features, such as sliding pocket doors that are concealed in internal walls. A spiral staircase is more compact than a traditional one, as is a wall-mounted ladder, which is perfect for accessing a mezzanine level. But as well as creating actual physical space, the perception of roominess is all-important so even the act of decoration, using pale colours with a simple arrangement of wall art, will increase the feeling of spaciousness.
a spiral staircase is ideal for a small space
exposing a room’s rafters leads to an expansive feel