The Challenge: How do you add a laundry room to a modest 1930s cottage without losing crucial closet space?
The Solution: Style editor Heather Chadduck said goodbye to a cramped powder room and built a desperately needed laundry area there instead.
"At first I was hesitant to lose a bathroom," Heather says, "but it seemed like such a waste of space since it was right next door to a full bath." For an unexpected twist, Heather hung an off-the-shelf tablecloth on a slim metal curtain rod to mask the appliances when she's not using them. During parties, Heather uses the countertop as a bar area -- the most popular spot for mingling.
With the help of a carpenter, Heather tore out the old bathroom fixtures and opened up the wall. Then she built a pedestal to raise the washer and dryer off the floor, lined the top half of the closet with beaded board, and installed a concrete countertop. Finally, Heather stocked the bar with drinks above and detergent below.
When remodeling a tight space like this, it's the little touches that make the biggest difference:
Heather cut a pom-pom-fringed tablecloth in half and sewed curtain rings onto the hem. When she's not doing laundry, she closes the curtain.
A concrete countertop does double duty as a bar or table for folding.
A simple narrow cart holds detergent and everday cleaning supplies, keeping household items below the counter and wet bar supplies above it.
A carpenter built a platform to raise the height of the washer and dryer, saving Heather from deep knee bends.
The Challenge: How do you add a home office to accomodate busy family life?
The Solution: Take an under-utilized hall closet and turn it into a useful and attractive home office.
In order to carve out this pratical workspace, homeowners Lisa and Richard Todd had to think outside the box -- and inside the closet. They added shelving and a laminate desk that runs the length of the closet, and installed electrical and phone lines for proper lighting and computer use.
The Todds also livened up the space with vivid colors (aloe green for the walls, blue for accents and accessories), a custom framed bulletin board, and a decorative butterfly motif.
The Challenge: How can you liven up an unused staircase wall while following a development's design and architecture regulations?
The Solution: Add a unique built-in bookcase for style and function in an unexpected place.
Instead of serving only as a path from one floor to the next, the savvy stairwell in this home offers creative storage and display space. "The requirement of having windows in the stairwell left us with a strange transition between stair treads and wall," says interior designer Lila Adams. To avoid ordinary linear shelves, boxes were built to fill the gap between the steps and the window. "Using random sizes and shapes, you obtain an artistic and visually stimulating stairway and a great place to stop and ponder your next beach read," Lila points out.
The Challenge: How does a couple find extra space to entertain?
The Solution: Convert an undeveloped and undervalued walk-in storage closet into a centrally located wet bar.
Known by family and friends as consummate entertainers, Toni and Gary Hightower believed that this essential space, at the heart of just about everything, was not reaching its full potential. "I call it my hole in the wall because it wasn't supposed to be," says Toni. "It was a regular closet. You always need storage, but we entertain so much, we needed a wet bar even more. It's large enough to fit the basic elements for entertaining."
The Challenge: How can you renovate a dilapidated garage on the original 528-square-foot foundation?
The Solution: Turn part of the space into a home office getaway and keep the rest for storage.
"For those who work at home, the garage can be a great getaway," asserts homeowner Virginia Hendrick. When she learned that her hometown would require rebuilding her outdated garage on the existing foundation, Virginia knew she had a challenge on her hands. Windows, an updated door, and shutters transform the previously plain building's exterior.
The Challenge: How do you add space for a washer and dryer without adding on a laundry room?
The Solution: Renovate a tiny, unused breakfast nook into a double-duty laundry room and serving area.
By concealing a front-loading washer and dryer in a custom cabinet, homeowners Janice and Peter Young created a multipurpose space. One minute it's a fully functional laundry with plenty of room for folding and hanging clothes. Then, once clothes are put away, it becomes a decorative serving area.
Because the space is in plain view, the Youngs chose to conceal the washer and dryer within a cabinet. Baskets hide clothing, and a plate rack is adapted for hanging clothes.