TRANSFORM A SMALL HOUSE INTO A HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL SPACE
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!
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.
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 mar[email protected]atingspaces.net or check her Web site: www.creatingspaces.net